Large organizations are increasingly under pressure to justify IT budgets and ensure closer linkage between business requirements and IT outcomes. Allianz conducted an extensive audit of its business and IT processes to determine its requirements. It was looking to consolidate and automate its key IT processes onto a single platform, with the intention of offering a unified portal to its 2,000 end-users so that issues, change requests, and development requests follow the same process, modeled on industry-recognized ITIL standards.
Martin Hrazdira, Head of IT Operations at Allianz, explains further: “Our home-developed helpdesk solution was slow and the interface was old fashioned and confusing. JIRA was used as our development request tool, but as there was no integration between the helpdesk and JIRA we couldn’t track incidents which needed a development effort. The audit also found that our development processes needed improving, particular around release management, test management and test documentation. Overall, we wanted a much more transparent model with improved communication.”
Different market solutions were evaluated, but when IT agility specialists LBMS presented Micro Focus SSM and SBM, the possibilities soon became clear to Allianz. LBMS showed the Allianz team a development framework which was then customized to their specific requirements through a series of workshops. Hrazdira comments: “We really liked the consultative approach LBMS took throughout the project. The one-platform approach suited us and we appreciated the expertise and guidance from LBMS.”
Micro Focus SSM was first implemented to create a single point of contact for all IT services. Micro Focus SBM was then used to streamline the communication with the business. Through a custom-built SBM module, ideas put forward by the business are routed through the process with various check points to allocate budget and resources. All parties are kept informed throughout and when approvals are in place to proceed, the actual resources used are captured in timesheets so that any discrepancies can be easily identified and resources required for future projects can be predicted more accurately. This close business involvement in understanding the IT effort creates insight and transparency.
SBM is not only used to automate and streamline IT processes, as Hrazdira explains: “We soon realized that SBM could be used for our business processes too, so now all customer complaints are managed in SBM. We also plan to include select HR functions which will make our on-boarding process much easier. When employees leave Allianz, a process is in place to make sure any equipment they have is returned and system access is revoked. We can do all this without expanding the SBM platform; it’s just a new use case within the existing environment.”
The improvement in helpdesk operation is perhaps most noticeable to the end users. Over 6,000 tickets go through this system every month and users love the new graphical user interface. User satisfaction has reached an all-time high and system performance is much improved.
Managed through SBM and SSM, development processes have been optimized. Software release and deployment management are much more structured, run faster, and provide full control. This has enhanced the test team’s ability to plan activities, meet increasing test demands, and improve test efficiency without having to grow the team, as witnessed by Hrazdira: “Our software releases are now managed through the SBM platform, giving us full confidence in our decisions and the quality of our release.”