Martin Black - Head of ITSM Centre of Excellence and Antoine Castex, Principal Cloud Solution Architect & Google Cloud Product Manager, Veolia
At Veolia one of the cornerstones of our business philosophy is sustainability.
Whether we’re providing a clean water supply for millions of people across the globe, treating almost 50 million tonnes of waste each year or enabling energy, heating and cooling solutions for numerous cities worldwide — we want to operate in a way that benefits citizens and the environment.
And this strong belief in sustainability extends throughout every aspect of our organisation.
It’s one of the reasons that makes moving to cloud-based data management platforms so vital. Not only will it drive efficiencies by simplifying processes, but it can also empower us to better allocate resources and work in a more sustainable manner.
Value not costs
At Veolia, we always think about value — not just costs. A great example lies in our decision to move to the cloud, bringing more sustainability-focused operating models to make our business as environmentally friendly as possible, while benefiting from high reliability and scalability.
The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) buys 100% of its energy from renewable sources, making its data centres completely carbon neutral. Leveraging GCP, in tandem with ServiceNow, we can move to a serverless model, only using the exact amount of resources needed at any given moment.
This approach is part of a concept known as ‘digital sobriety’; using less energy intensive processes wherever and whenever we’re able.
But the benefits of a shift to a cloud-based solution aren’t purely environmental. With the current trend towards widespread remote-work, the fact our employees can gain full access to information from anywhere in the world is invaluable.
Additionally, GCP is natively secure — something that is paramount in today’s business world. And so, we are able to enforce another core principle – secure by design, for all of our systems as a mandatory approach.
A multi-cloud approach
A key aim within the ITSM CoE at Veolia is that we want our staff focused on the most important aspects of their jobs.
Rather than having such a critical part of the business spending time on repetitive tasks, such as shutting down or repairing servers every evening, we believe our IT teams should be centred around bigger challenges, such as DevOps.
This allows us to adapt to a ‘microservices’ architecture that is more agile and quick to evolve, in comparison to the monolithic systems of the past. Moving to GCP, underpinned by ServiceNow, is an essential part of this transition.
The ServiceNow portal for Google Cloud enables us to manage all of our cloud projects through a single, centralised solution — simplifying workflows and freeing up time for our employees to tackle the true IT challenges.
This simplification is perhaps best illustrated through the increased control we have over governance of project requests in GCP.
Using the ServiceNow portal, we’ve created a simple form to ensure the project follows the correct naming conventions, is tracked by location — will it need international collaboration, for example — and has an estimated monthly budget.
All of this data is collated and sent to an approver, who can communicate further with the requester if necessary, and source any additional information required. Projects only go ahead if there’s a clear business need.
Reaping the benefits
We’re already reaping the benefits of using ServiceNow to drive our cloud-based services. Cloud resource deployment lead time has reduced from two days to near real-time, leading to a saving of approximately €12k a year.
Customer adoption and satisfaction rates are extremely high, with 600+ projects created in GCP — driven by the ServiceNow portal. Additionally, there’s a greatly reduced risk of uncontrolled cloud costs because of the governance we’ve been able to put in place.
Undoubtedly, we’ve learned a lot on the journey. You need to tailor your tools towards the end target. For Veolia, that was reducing waste — whether it be lost time or poor allocation of resources — in both the digital and physical realms.
By adapting incrementally — iterating and reviewing along the way — we’ve been able to maximise the business value of GCP.
Finally, without senior level sponsorship and advocacy none of this would have been possible. Thankfully a proven tool like ServiceNow makes it much easier to get the buy-in.
We’re excited to see how far we can push the platform in the future — to help build a brighter, greener, more sustainable tomorrow.
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