Sky IQ Builds Service Support Around ServiceNow

Company Background

Sky IQ, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BSkyB, specialises in analysing and interpreting consumer behaviour, and numbers major organisations such as Virgin Money, Debenhams and the Top Right Group amongst its client base. Combining its own data with that of its clients, Sky IQ enhances its clients’ understanding of their customers and the habits of consumers across the UK. It uses this data-driven insight to predict consumer behaviour to inform future marketing campaigns, strategy and investment, and helps its clients to engage more effectively with consumers through targeted marketing that improves customer retention and increases market share.

Advanced IT is Core to the Sky IQ Business Model

Sky IQ’s offer is highly dependent on advanced IT and it provides a range of products and applications to its clients to help them analyse their data. These applications are often customised and clients can be highly demanding in terms of system availability and requests for changes, such as the ability to view or analyse data in a different way. Consequently, delivering high levels of IT resilience and flexibility is core to Sky IQ’s successful business model.

Fruition Partners has been working with Sky IQ for several years to provide an IT Service Management (ITSM) solution, based on ServiceNow, which helps deliver those goals. And now the benefits of greater transparency, faster change, more streamlined processes and improved efficiency have been extended beyond IT into the HR function.

Fast-growth Creates Challenges

Sky IQ was set up in 2010 with only 70 employees. Since then it has grown to 580 staff in response to trends in multi-channel marketing and the advent of ‘big data’, which has driven demand for capability to analyse and interpret trends in consumer behaviour. The company takes data from a wide range of sources, including Sky viewing data, third party sources and consumers’ own data, and combines it to provide powerful insights.

To support its rapid growth, the company’s IT set-up has had to grow fast too, along with the services to support its infrastructure and applications. Lee McMahon, Technical Support Manager at Sky IQ, joined in September 2010 when he says “there were no processes, we were building from the ground up”.

The team took a decision fairly quickly to build their ITSM around ServiceNow, and selected Fruition Partners as their implementation partners. Lee McMahon says “We knew we’d build the business around ServiceNow so it was vital to have a strategic long-term partner to help us implement and develop it, and Fruition Partners had the skills and experience we needed.”

Software-as-a-Service solution ServiceNow was selected because it was ITIL compliant, flexible and able to cope with level of change within Sky IQ, while providing end-to-end support for the business.

The flexibility of the platform has been critical from the early stages, and Fruition Partners have supported Sky IQ with high levels of bespoke development of Service Now to support Sky IQ’s own products. The Fruition Partners consultants consequently brought to bear their experience of process design as well as their experience in customising ServiceNow. From Lee McMahon’s perspective it has been a true team effort: “We have never had any full time resource for ServiceNow, so we’ve been very dependent on Fruition Partners. And because we trust them, they have great people and we know they can deliver, that’s not a problem.”

Over time Fruition Partners have taken on increasing responsibility for maintaining and developing the ServiceNow platform, allowing Sky IQ’s own development team to focus on developing new client-facing products and services. And when these are rolled out, Fruition Partners then ensure that ServiceNow maps the processes and support requirements for each new product.

In addition to standard functionality such as incident management, problem handling and change requests, Fruition Partners have helped Sky IQ to create a single platform for administering a wide variety of products and services. This platform, known as the Insight Anytime Portal, allows Sky IQ’s clients to log in to a ServiceNow interface, customised with their logo, where they can log incidents or change requests, view Service Level Agreements (SLAs), track the progress of incidents and register for email progress updates. They can also post requests for new reports from Sky IQ’s various products, and ServiceNow will process them and assign them to analysts to respond.

Automation Ends Need for Night-shift Support

The benefits of the chosen approach to ITSM were apparent from the start, even though Lee McMahon says that in the early days they were probably only using five per cent of ServiceNow’s functionality. For example, one of the first changes the support team were able to make was to end the need for a permanent night shift of support staff. “We were able to link our Nimbus tool, which tracks problems, to ServiceNow which then automatically triages the issue and raises the appropriate alert.

If it’s serious, it will trigger an immediate call-out but otherwise it’s scheduled for the team to handle when they arrive in the morning.” This has meant that Sky IQ has ended the need for a night shift, transferring staff to a double day shift, which has led to greater efficiencies and cost-savings.

Now that Sky IQ is using ServiceNow far more extensively, some of the key benefits come from transparency and improved communication with the company’s customers. “Because we have the portal for a single point of contact, nothing gets missed and we can ensure we meet customers’ expectations,” says Lee McMahon. “In fact our IT support is so good that it’s become part of the company’s sales pitch, in particular the fact that customers can determine their own SLAs, and have access to completely transparent information on their incidents and requests.”

Nothing Gets Missed

It has also given Lee and his team peace of mind: “We’ve got certainty that things aren’t getting missed. In the past, support requests might have been sent through by email, or have resulted from a chat in the corridor, and so were hard to track and occasionally easy to forget. Now, with everything channelled through ServiceNow, we’ve got more certainty and confidence.”

HR Now and Ambitious Plans for the Future

The most recent part of the business to benefit from this structured approach to service delivery is the HR team. In a fast-growing business which is constantly recruiting it’s been extremely valuable to automate some of the processes associated with hiring new staff, or when they leave. Fruition Partners helped HR identify 17 steps in bringing on a new team member, from making the job offer, to providing them with a laptop and phone, and a key fob for the office entry system. Previously this was handled by a series of emails; now, all the steps are managed via ServiceNow which makes it much more streamlined and easier for the HR team to handle high levels of recruitment without additional resources.

For the future, Lee McMahon says there is still plenty to do. They are looking at how they further integrate and simplify client access to support via ServiceNow, as well as plans for supporting the increasing range of products that Sky IQ will offer to clients as the demand for improved understanding of customer behaviour continues to grow.

And, he adds, Fruition Partners will play an integral role in their plans: “We know that they are in it for the long term with us; we trust them and know they are there to back us up. They are a great team and they always deliver on their promise.”

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