Law Firm Lays the Groundwork for ServiceNow Success

Founded in the early days of industry and commerce, this international litigation, business, real estate, and government law firm has grown to represent many of the most well-known organizations in the world. Today, the firm employs more than 1,300 lawyers and maintains 25 offices across the globe. They are renowned not only for their contracted legal work but also for their international charity and pro bono practices.

Despite their large employee base, international clientele, and major outreach programs, the firm had no succinct Enterprise Project Management business function or platform. There was little to no visibility on project status or even on vendors being used for different engagements. No one, from the CEO down to Project Managers, had a consistent dashboard that they could use to make business decisions like project staffing, hiring, or billing.

While they recognized their universal need for an enterprise business platform, it wasn’t until a CIO change occurred at the organization that ServiceNow was considered. Having worked on the platform before, the new CIO saw ServiceNow’s evolution from a ticketing system to a fully integrated platform and recognized the opportunity facing the law firm to benefit from single platform support across all their business structures.

Using this model, he challenged the team to consider how to leverage the ServiceNow platform to extend ITSM capabilities beyond just technology services to encompass and solve for their critical business goals, such as operational visibility. This vision also included leveraging ServiceNow to manage their service demand and availability through a common platform.

Developing a platform strategy to provide an array of enterprise services to the entire organization is a long term strategy. To begin that journey successfully, the new CIO and team crystallized their initial roadmap to include two parallel goals, both aligned to set up long term platform success: Restructuring their project management processes using ServiceNow’s IT Business Management’s Project Portfolio Management and establish a solid CMDB. Both goals would have an immediate impact on the firm’s ability to critically evaluate their projects and streamline their vendor management, as well as lay the groundwork for future projects.

Creating Trust Through Transparency: Choosing Acorio as ServiceNow Partner

Knowing they were ready to begin their ServiceNow journey, the firm set out to find the best Partner and the best implementation solution.

They had done their homework. Even before they had met with any ServiceNow Partner, the law firm and new CIO had specked out and mocked up the dashboards and reporting they wanted, as well as new workflow structures for their project management processes. This executive-level commitment would prove to be a critical aspect of their ServiceNow success.

With their plans in hand, they sought out Acorio at ServiceNow’s annual Knowledge conference to discuss their ideas for growing ServiceNow at their company. Because the initial meeting happened at Knowledge, many members of the Acorio team were able to meet with the client, including our ITOM Practice Lead, Terrell Pursley, to discuss their CMDB goals, as well as Acorio’s overarching ITOM methodology. This thorough framework and depth of experience managed to instill trust and build a strong working relationship – or, perhaps it was just the karaoke at the Knowledge party!

While it provided incredible momentum to launch the project (and sustain work throughout the engagement), the firm has a very clear picture of what ServiceNow should look like at their company. However, they were also looking for a partner to provide expert advice and solve for their overarching business goals, rather than to simply take the initial whiteboard and implement it.

Even in the initial meeting at Knowledge, the partnership began with some critical exploration – and the Acorio team asking true specifics about the actual project goals, the way the firm thought they wanted to get there – and then offer some insights based on past client experience on how to actually solve for their long term needs.

Acorio’s in-depth conversations and commitment to doing what was best for the client’s instance was the driving factor behind the firm’s choice to choose us a Partner. But the journey didn’t end there! Both Acorio and the internal project teams maintained their vigilance throughout – ensuring the final product was the best possible solution to meet the project goals and not just a pre-canned implementation.

Hitting the Ground Running: Acorio’s Project Solution

The new IT leadership hit the ground running with a host of individual goals including new PMO structures, increased data visibility, and the underpinning of a trusted data source. Crystallizing that into an overarching theme of the project – the company was looking to integrate IT with the business.

Doing that would require the new ServiceNow platform to deliver four critical requirements:

  • Clear, defined, metrics that ServiceNow implementation could effect, such as top-to-bottom visibility
  • Real-time understanding of current IT infrastructure including identifying custom applications, data center output, and branch office assets.
  • A complete reworking of the existing Demand processes
  • Standardized vendor management processes with automated workflows with access and visibility for multiple business units

With a new, modern IT business in their sights, the project team got to work 

Creating Business Processes with the Entire Business

Achieving business-wide IT integration cannot live in a silo. Critical to success was working with the entire business (and not just the PMO and IT teams) from the very beginning to define metrics and goals that the ServiceNow implementation could effect.

Understanding the individual business units’ goals and initiatives was critical to developing comprehensive technology solutions to address those needs, for example:

  • Identifying a specific set of processes to automate in meet the goal of moving from a 3:1 attorney-secretary ratio to a 5:1 support structure.
  • Customizing and building on to the existing ITBM modules to alleviate specific pain points in the law firm’s vendor management

By listening to, and solving for, important business goals, the IT team was able to build goodwill and momentum for their new unification strategy.

Additionally, a crucial element of the engagement success was the constant dialog between the firm and Acorio, particularly because of the CIO’s strong belief in ServiceNow and thorough research of product capabilities – and, in consequence, constant thirst to optimize the new program to capitalize on these new innovations.

The Right ServiceNow Data Foundation

Another crucial lynchpin for Business-IT alignment was establishing a cohesive and maintainable data strategy via CMDB and Discovery. To accomplish true connectivity, the new IT leadership wanted a real-time understanding of the state of their IT infrastructure to proactively manage their assets.

To achieve this, the team launched two simultaneous CMDB streams:

  • Customizing the CMDB to find all custom applications: The team developed new options for CMDB fields and tables to surface all the various custom apps servers running out of the law firms’ data centers, branch offices — as well as all and the various dependencies related to these apps. This included detailed relationship descriptions and federate with other data sources through integration.
  • Rework Assessment in Demand: The team executed a detailed rework of the assessment step in Demand and advanced the overall module performance.

Streamlining  the Law Firm’s Vendor Selection with ITBM

Finally, the team created a new, standardized vendor selection and management tool using ITBM’s native vendor management capabilities.

In addition to standardizing the overall vendor selection process, the new ITBM module automated many of the business’ most significant pain points and created a vendor scoring matrix so that the team could know what vendors were being selected and how they matched on the matrix.

Throughout the entire ITBM implementation, there was a strong focus on the user interface (UI) so that users could be as efficient as possible in the various processes.

The Result: Dedication to the Future of ServiceNow

In the end, the new CIO and team achieved their goal. Today, the IT team is fully integrated with the broader law firm business – all built on the ServiceNow enterprise backbone.

The dedication to providing the law firm with multi-level visibility into their programs, vendor and data provided immediate benefits for overall decision-making and overall corporate efficiency. It also offered a preview of the power of the full ServiceNow platform to serve as the law firm’s EOS – feeding the fire for future projects and expansion. Their whole perspective has shifted, now that they can track efforts all the way through completion, they can drive forward as a results-oriented organization.

Today, the team has full visibility to understand the sequence, processes, and level of effort for building ServiceNow out and are turning their eyes to the future.

Because they are well-versed in their existing infrastructure, they feel empowered to continue expanding Discovery on their own, with minimal support through our Acorio Virtual Assistance program. Their next instance goals include Security Operations and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) as well as a bit of Asset Management.