Biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust has replaced two legacy IT service management systems (ITSM) with a cloud-based alternative and has cut £600,000 annual costs and improved service levels.
The company, which is headquartered in London, has about 600 permanent staff with a relatively small IT team of 41. The projects it supports span the globe. It is replacing a combination of legacy systems in the form of software from Touchpaper and LANDesk with a cloud-based service from ServiceNow.
Mark Bramwell, IT head at the charity, said its ITSM processes were "not particularly effective, efficient and joined up" and there were lower-cost alternatives in the market.
"The previous service was not cost-effective compared with new and emerging software-as-a-service [SaaS] offerings," he added.
The new service, which is based on ITIL v3, is making measurable savings in licence costs and because there is no need for a physical infrastructure or desktop applications.
Bramwell said there are other benefits that cannot be quantified but do deliver savings. "It is fully integrated, so management information is easy to extract," he said, adding that the information is constantly updated and available to any IT support professional.
The cloud-based system also offers more flexibility to IT staff. The previous systems relied on "thick clients" with the software sitting on every desktop, he said, so "we could not access remotely and IT support had to be desk-based".
IT strategy and cloud services
Before the ServiceNow contract, Wellcome Trust only had small-scale cloud-based systems for HR and its investments, but its move to ServiceNow's ITSM in the cloud was a key step. "This is the biggest cloud service we have taken in terms of the number of customers and the importance to the operation."
The Wellcome Trust is now exploring the cloud for business applications as part of its IT strategy which kicks off in October. "We are exploring the cloud as legacy applications come up for upgrade and we bring in new ones," Bramwell said.
Cloud security considerations
But with recent cloud computing security breaches, such as the one at Sony, there is still a lot of uncertainty about whether to opt for public or private clouds. "The doubt that we are going through at the moment, given the press coverage of the public cloud, is security," he said.
ServiceNow is a service where customers pay an annual subscription per user. It boasts large corporate customers including Centrica, Zurich Insurance, Citibank, Vodafone, the New York Stock Exchange, UBS, American Express and BNP Parabas. It was recently chosen by UK companies SkyIQ and Brit Insurance in the UK.