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Comms giant BT sees $30m+ savings in 5 years with ServiceNow project

IT and network services to replace 56 legacy workflow systems with ServiceNow

UK telecoms and IT services company BT is forecasting £25 million ($30.8 million) in savings over five years by ditching some legacy applications and switching to ServiceNow workflow and automation technologies.

BT Digital, the company's IT unit, said it plans to replace 56 legacy applications and 76 different ways of implementing service processes with a single ServiceNow platform as part of a large group-wide transformation programme.

The deal is said to apply to external IT and network services for BT clients as well as internal support at BT.

ServiceNow — which made its name as an IT service desk but has since branched out into HR and other kinds of workflow — has worked with BT since 2019.

In a pre-canned release, BT, the UK's flagship £21-billion ($25.94 billion) revenue company said the technology was supporting a culture change programme from "DevOps and AI perspectives."

Early evidence suggests a 50 percent reduction in efforts required to deliver service requests, and it was able to make 20 times the number of changes into customer services in a given time period compared with using earlier systems, it said.

ServiceNow is hosted on its own cloud, but integrated into BT's data repository, built with Google Cloud, to access real-time AI insight into the service management process, the companies said.

Jim Dempsey, director of service, digital and networks at BT, said: "The early productivity gains are very encouraging and will help galvanise ambition within BT as we manage the migration to ServiceNow through the business. There's a lot to do but it's exciting to see how much we've achieved in the few short weeks since we went live with the project."

The BT Group is what remains of the UK's state telecoms company, British Telecom, which was privatized in 1984 by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government. The group's large IT services division supports customers in finance, retail and transport.

Jordi Ferrer, ServiceNow vice president and general manager for the UK and Ireland, told The Register that because BT had enjoyed enormous growth, it had ended up with a multitude of systems, practises and ways to engage with customers. "But obviously as technology has evolved, and customer expectations have increased, and there's more price, pressure and cost pressure, they've had to really rethink what their overall strategy is."

The £25 million ($30.8 million) savings figure was emitted by BT and was likely to be on the low end of the scale, Ferrer claimed.

"We have a set of jointly defined metrics. For BT, this is a large investment in terms of technology, but also the time and the services. We always look at specific outcomes and metrics to help our customer understand how they are getting value for money."

"BT has announced £25 million. If you're the customer, you're always trying to say that you're getting less value out of what you're buying, because that's how you negotiate something. This is what BT says and we're very happy with that. We're delighted with the engagement," Ferrer said.

The current programme is focused on service calls for IT and networks, both internally and for BT's customers.

ServiceNow can also be used to manage workflow in HR, but BT is waiting until it has rolled out SAP S/4HANA for finance and SAP SuccessFactors for HR, announced in December 2019, before deciding if ServiceNow will play a role in this function.

"They're in the middle of a deployment of product and then hopefully, in the future, we'll be able to work on that, but the current scope is not related to that," Ferrer said. ®

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