Rethinking IT asset management using a zero-touch process


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Updated Jan. 27, 2022

When ServiceNow employees began working remotely in March 2020, the company’s global offices turned into work-from-home remote sites almost overnight. One of the biggest headaches was IT asset management—getting laptops into the hands of all new and many existing employees.

In the past, laptops went from our value-added resellers (VARs) to ServiceNow sites, where our IT team configured them for pickup or shipped them to remote employees. But with the pandemic creating major supply chain challenges for a dispersed workforce, that process no longer worked.

Employees needing replacements had to wait, which hampered productivity. We were still hiring at a rapid pace and, in the early summer, began bringing on interns, each of whom needed a laptop. In one week alone, we had to configure and deliver hundreds of machines.

To resolve the growing bottleneck, we had to completely rethink the provisioning process.

Enter zero-touch configuration

Using ServiceNow IT Asset Management (ITAM), we built a zero-touch process that automates the ordering, asset tagging, delivery, and setup of new laptops to new hires and replacement machines to employees who need them. Now, any employee who needs a laptop submits a request through the Service Portal. The request is approved automatically if the employee has met the tenure requirement.

The rest of the process is automated. Following the approval, the VAR is notified and ships the laptop directly to the employee. When the employee receives the laptop, they log in, and setup begins (see Figure 1.) IT’s preconfiguration tasks are eliminated.

The process is the same for new hires. As part of onboarding, they select the laptop make and model from a standard service catalog. Approval for the new machine is triggered using the same automated workflow. The new employee receives the laptop before the first day of work.

Zero-touch process for new and replacement laptops: Request is submitted via Service Portal, automatic approval, notification is routed to one of our strategic partners, who ships the laptop, employee lots in with credentials and setup begins, everything is tracked and processed on our platform

Figure 1: Zero-touch process for new and replacement laptops

ServiceNow ITAM manages everything behind the scenes, without human intervention. The company receives VAR alerts when the laptop ships so the IT team can track delivery. Employees also receive automatic notifications, such as the request number, delivery time frame, and carrier tracking number. Proof of delivery completes the process. A new asset is then created in the Asset Management Database (AMDB), and asset depreciation begins.

In November 2021, we expanded our zero-touch process to add a laptop leasing program in the US, replacing laptop purchases. Using existing APIs, we built new ITAM workflows to move to the two-year leasing program.

The goal is to create a better business experience by providing the latest technology. Our employees are more productive, and we can attract and retain new talent. In addition, newer technology means fewer IT issues. 

Benefits of zero touch

Zero touch accelerates laptop delivery and simplifies setup, so ServiceNow employees can be as productive as possible. That makes for gratifying, high-touch experiences, especially for new hires who meet with IT on their first-day orientation to iron out any immediate issues.

We save about 45 minutes per asset in the operational efficiency of the IT team. As of Q3 2021, zero touch fulfilled 1,522 computer refresh requests in the US, saving $152,000 and 1,141 IT productivity hours (see Figure 2).

2021 zero-touch results: 1,522 completed requests, $152,000 in cost savings, 1,141 hours saved

Figure 2: 2021 zero-touch results

Using our VARs' inventories created greater efficiency and cost savings by eliminating the need for on-site inventory. Startup time is 90% faster because we’ve eliminated the time delays inherent in our previous, manual process.

One of our primary focus areas is improving the employee experience. ServiceNow ITAM workflows, combined with some out-of-the-office thinking, have helped employees and new hires focus, first and foremost, on their most urgent work.

Find out more about how we use ITAM to automate asset management in the ITAM section of the Now on Now page.

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