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Aster Group to implement ServiceNow

Housing developer to use cloud-based service across multiple business functions following succesful implementation for IT service desk

Housing developer Aster Group is moving its HR, facilities and finance to ServiceNow after a successful project to put its IT service desk on the supplier’s cloud-based platform.

Aster wanted to replace its IT service desk platform because, according to operations director Richard Strange, the in-house hosted system was “cumbersome and very difficult to report from”. The system, which supported 1,300 staff, had also become difficult to maintain and upgrade.

“It had lots of limitations and we decided we needed something different,” said Strange. “After looking at lots of different options, we decided that ServiceNow ticked all the boxes.”

Strange had worked with ServiceNow for a number of years in previous jobs and was sure it could do what was needed, particularly as it is cloud-based. “We want to be more flexible in the way we work, with people being able to work from any location, so the cloud fits nicely,” he added.

Aster had already used the cloud in small doses, he said, but most of its systems were “behind its four walls”. 

Working with IT services consultancy Fruition Partners UK – part of CSC – Aster began the project to move its IT service desk to ServiceNow in January and completed it by the end of March.

Visibility was an instant benefit of the new system, said Strange. “We could now see the type of request going to the team which we couldn’t see before.”

The IT department can now measure its performance through this visibility, he added.

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Strange said that although the initial driver was the need to upgrade the group’s IT support, there was an appetite for change across other service functions, particularly facilities, HR and finance. 

“Our goal as an organisation is to move from being dependent on traditional communications, such as email, phone and spreadsheets, to a self-service world where the delivery of key internal services is automated where appropriate,” he said.

In addition to IT, the facilities team is on board with a request management module, said Strange. “We hope to go live with HR in early September and then we will go into the finance department,” he added.

These departments have never used this type of service delivery platform before, being used to managing things in email and spreadsheets, he said, adding: “They like what they see.”

Aster Group, with its small IT team, used Fruition Partners UK, an expert ServiceNow supplier, for advice. “They guide us and make sure we don’t ask for anything silly,” said Strange. “Otherwise we end up spending hours on developing something that doesn’t bring any value.”

Separately, Aster is looking at moving to Office 365 and Exchange online. ......................................................................................................

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