ITSM Scalability and Advanced Integration Requirements
In a long-standing partnership, Sopra Steria and Micro Focus collaborate regularly on a range of IT initiatives, such as application testing, security, infrastructure modernization, and IT service management. Sopra Steria is particularly concerned with sustainability and commits to reach zero emissions by 2028. Sopra Steria champions digital transformation to the cloud, both internally and on behalf of its many clients. Patrick Bailly, Domain Owner ITSM & Tools for Sopra Steria: “We have been recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) with an A rating for our environmental and climate actions. We are very proud of this position and will do everything we can to promote sustainable IT practices.”
Sopra Steria offers Micro Focus Service Manager to its clients as an ‘ITSM as a Service’, a popular solution with more than 30 high profile clients in France. A key feature in the solution was related to the integration with other elements in clients’ ecosystems, leading to costly system integration consultancy. When Sopra Steria investigated the marketplace, they found that artificial intelligence (AI) offered new and exciting opportunities in service management, so they investigated three potential alternatives, which also provided cloud deployment options: ServiceNow, EasyVista, and Micro Focus SMAX.
SMAX Provides Additional Functionality at No Extra Cost and Streamlines Client Migration
“The team immediately identified the value of the extra SMAX functionality, such as social interaction, machine learning analytics, and AI-driven ticket routing management and classification,” comments Patrick Bailly. “We could leverage our existing investment with Micro Focus, and a proof-of-concept demonstrated that migrating from Service Manager to SMAX was easier than migrating to ServiceNow, for instance.”
SMAX was deployed to Sopra Steria’s VMware-based private cloud environment. Sopra Steria piloted the SMAX migration with some relatively easy client environments to test the concept and the level of adoption. After successful completion, another pilot project worked with clients with advanced integration points and more complex service requests. The out-of-the-box SMAX functionality streamlined migration, saving time for everyone involved. SMAX performed well throughout, and clients were pleased to see new modules added to their service management suite, such as resource, asset, and stock management. SMAX codeless configuration also enabled simple development to easily deploy mobile applications.
Patrick Bailly’s team introduced a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) chain in the SMAX Change process, leveraging JIRA and GitHub, to implement agile development practices for their customers. “Agile development, including automated testing, gives us short release cycles for SMAX with stakeholder validation throughout the process,” says Patrick Bailly.
Cost Reduction, Scalability, and Improved Agile Service Delivery
The move towards agile processes and a large-scale client migration project to SMAX relied on effective executive sponsorship and very clear communication, including regular technical, operational, and financial reporting. The container-based cloud deployment leverages Docker and Kubernetes technology, so it was key to assign the right skills internally. Development and Operations teams were trained on SMAX and the new technologies surrounding it, to provide Sopra Steria clients with the best possible service. There was close collaboration between Sopra Steria teams and Micro Focus technical success teams, with linkage into Micro Focus R&D on critical issues, such as data segregation, important to guaranteeing customer data privacy when several customers are hosted on the same platform. This partnership worked particularly well, according to Patrick Bailly: “We had some SMAX enhancement requests and were really pleased with how responsive Micro Focus was to these. The requests were made only months ago, and already a number of them have been validated and implemented in new SMAX versions, to the benefit of our clients.”
There is a clear cost reduction associated with cloud deployment, and as there is built-in high availability, SMAX can easily be scaled up or down as required by individual clients. The flexible deployment options and multi-console mode provide cost saving opportunities too. “The team really appreciates the SMAX social interaction features, such as the service portal, virtual assistants, and chatbots,” comments Patrick Bailly. “Combined with the new service modules and proactive, machine learning driven, problem and suggestion management, they have improved service agent productivity, and enabled agile service delivery for our customers.”
He concludes: “With quarterly SMAX releases we are confident we have the latest features at our fingertips, taking full advantage of AI and analytics capabilities. The client migration was streamlined and well supported by Micro Focus.”