Undertake a global IT-wide configuration management project to provide insight into the IT infrastructure and its service dependencies as a basis for all ITSM processes.
Continental AG is a German industrial powerhouse. It has 178,000 employees in 49 countries and reported sales of €33.3 billion for 2013. The business is split into two divisions: automotive and rubber. Although the latter is arguably the most high profile, making high-quality tires under the Continental brand for manufacturers worldwide, it is the €20 billion automotive division where the most opportunity lies, it being well placed to capitalize on four megatrends within the automotive sector: safety, environment, information and affordability.
To do so Continental needs a consistent and agile IT infrastructure. To move quickly on new opportunities, the business needs to encourage collaboration between departments, share information and roll-out best practice processes.
Continental has a two-tier IT infrastructure. Each division has its own local IT teams, attending to day-to-day IT issues. There is also a corporate IT team, working across the organization. Within this 350-strong department there is a specialist team focused on quality and processes.
“We have a group of 30 employees looking at service management, including six process owners,” says Stephan Dietz, process owner service asset and configuration management, Continental. “But it is a big challenge to establish best practice globally. There are many cultural differences, in addition it can be difficult to physically visit every location.” The company wanted to transform IT delivery, integrating a service orientated approach to IT.
“We’re developing a service culture,” says Dietz, “but we’re not there yet. Senior management understands that we need a service approach to get the most out of collaboration and supplier management. For instance, outsourcing can only work with service orientated thinking.”
To achieve this Dietz and his team embarked on a configuration management process in late 2011. The aim was to deliver complete transparency across software and infrastructure components, along with associated relationships and dependencies.