Aggregate Purchasing Improved Efficiency
“It’s bureaucratic, it’s friction and it doesn’t allow my customers to do things. So, I just thought, why don’t we just do an enterprise license agreement, and put everything in one, and manage it once and have it available?” he said.
As a cloud platform, the solution conceptually requires a single build, which is then scaled to meet customer needs. But the State Department has 45 production environments, which have proposed 45 different builds. That massive deployment also posed security challenges.
“Instead of having the ability to really use that platform the way it was designed to be used, now I’m treating this cloud service as kind of a brick-and-mortar data center. I mean, how absurd is that?” Rogers said.
The CIO’s office began working with bureaus to reduce the number of solution opportunities and eventually narrowed them down to seven or eight environments. “Now, my customers can really use these cloud environments in a frictionless way. And the best part about it is that they can use their resources to build capacity for their specific mission. They don’t host, they don’t make acquisitions, they don’t bother with everything that makes modernization effective behind the scenes.
Rogers then “spent the better part of the last two years” reviewing and tweaking the unspecified platform to gain visibility into State Department spending. With tech spend sorting improvements, he gained insight into duplicate investments as well as purchases that could make more.
READ MORE: State Department launches new cyber bureau.
Early Conversations with Vendors Can Eliminate Pain Points
Addressing the same Imagine Nation panel, Christopher Hayes, ServiceNow’s client director for the State Department, emphasized the importance of communication in his company’s engagement with the department. ServiceNow helps demystify procurement, he said.
ServiceNow is careful to ask the State Department about customer needs, especially when sensing requirements in a request for information or other procurement activity, Hayes said.
“Sometimes, it’s not going to be a peaceful conversation, but we need it,” he said. “From the vendor side, I urge all my counterparts, you have to keep showing up even though those conversations are the best sometimes. If you’re going through it and you get approval from your mate, you better come out the other side.”
EXPLORE: How to use ServiceNow to drive digital transformation.
Business license agreements, such as the initiative Rogers has taken, bring significant value to customers, Hayes said. Once such an agreement is identified, vendors can begin assessing what related services may benefit the customer, such as adding training courses.
ServiceNow’s customer engagement team is working with potential customers to figure out the shape of such acquisitions, Hayes said.
“Different offices have needs from a platform offering, whether it’s ServiceNow, whether it’s Microsoft. You go with your outcomes, which is what you’re looking to do with the platform that it. And they give some feedback: ‘You can try it with us and see how it works for you,'” says Hayes. Technical experts can enter the conversation even before the acquisition is made. and shorten the start-up period.
Rogers later added: “I know my team gets frustrated with me all the time because I’m trying to bring them back to the standards of what we’re trying to do. Don’t customize it. Use it out of the box. Bring value to customers. And if you’re not sure, take a step or two back and make sure you architect it the right way.”
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