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  • Writer's pictureTom Urban

University Saves $1.2M Annually by leveraging ServiceNow for IT Billing

An Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) University faced significant challenges in managing its IT Billing processes. The university relied on a labor-intensive and error-prone manual system, which included the use of SharePoint and spreadsheets for tracking inventory and creating IT invoices. Additionally, The University encountered difficulties in obtaining, cataloging, and demonstrating approvals from diverse consumer groups, who utilized various methods such as DocuSign, faxes, and emails for approvals. Finance further added complexity by requiring approved documents to be attached to each journal entry.





Challenges:
  1. Manual Tracking: The University grappled with the manual tracking of inventory and invoices , resulting in time-consuming and error-prone processes.

  2. Approval Variability: Obtaining, cataloging, and demonstrating approvals from different consumer groups posed a significant challenge, especially when multiple approval methods were accepted.

  3. Compliance Pressure: Finance's insistence on attaching approved documents to journal entries added compliance pressure and complexity to the process.

Goals

The School embarked on a mission to transform its IT Billing processes with the following objectives:

  1. Process Simplification: Simplify and streamline the Billing workflow to reduce manual effort and errors.

  2. Consolidation: Consolidate billing procedures across all IT Towers to achieve operational efficiency and consistency.

  3. Scalability: Establish a scalable process for requesting and tracking approvals to accommodate growing demands.

  4. Automation: Automate approval tracking, including reminders until completion, to enhance efficiency and reduce bottlenecks.

  5. Eliminate Manual Entries: Eliminate the manual creation of journal entries to improve accuracy and efficiency.

  6. Centralization: Centralize all relevant information, including verified approvals, within a unified system for transparency and auditability.

Solution

In collaboration with Align, The University implemented a comprehensive solution leveraging ServiceNow’s best practices for a Common Service Data Model (CSDM). Key components of the solution included:

  1. Real-time Inventory Tracking: Manual inventory spreadsheets were replaced with real-time data from the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB), ensuring up-to-date information for journal entries.

  2. Automated Approval Workflow: Invoice approval requests were generated, tracked, and completed within the ServiceNow platform, streamlining the approval process.

  3. Finance's Support: The Finance team was impressed with the implemented solution and not only urged IT to migrate all processes to ServiceNow but also provided incremental funding to accelerate the transition.

Results

The transformation of their IT Billing processes yielded significant and tangible results:

  1. Operational Efficiency: Processes that once required the equivalent of two full-time employees could now be completed in a matter of hours, greatly increasing efficiency.

  2. Cost Savings: The elimination of DocuSign licensing costs resulted in substantial savings, contributing to the university's financial sustainability.

  3. Seamless Integration: Hundreds of journal entries are now seamlessly transferred from ServiceNow into the ERP, ensuring accuracy and reducing manual effort.

  4. Automation Benefits: Tasks that previously took days, such as approval tracking and journal entry creation, are now automated, reducing errors and delays.

  5. Simplified Audits: The audit processing has been significantly streamlined, enhancing overall compliance and reducing the burden on IT and Finance teams.

  6. Enhanced User Experience: The experience for IT, consumers, and Finance teams has greatly improved, resulting in higher satisfaction levels.

  7. Strategic Impact: The perception of ServiceNow has shifted to a more strategic and valuable asset across the entire organization.

Conclusion

The transformation their Billing processes in ServiceNow was a remarkable success story. By addressing the challenges of manual processes, lack of transparency, and compliance complexities, they achieved a more efficient, faster, and cost-effective system. The substantial cost savings from the elimination of DocuSign licensing costs underscore the financial benefits of the implemented solution. Moreover, the enhanced user experience and improved perception of ServiceNow as a strategic asset signify the broader positive impact of this transformation initiative. This ACC University is now better equipped to meet the demands of a modern IT environment while maintaining fiscal responsibility and operational excellence.

 

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