A Nontraditional Starting Point
and Exacting Specs
For Akin Gump, an out-of-the-box ServiceNow rollout in the beginning was simply not in the realm of possibility. Although the firm knew it needed to eventually modernize its many IT point solutions—including SharePoint and Excel databases—and create a single, integrated source of action for all of its IT operations, Akin Gump needed to carve out a very specific starting place from which it could hit some early home runs.
"Lawyers bill their time in six-minute increments, so the value of time is very important at Akin Gump. We needed to show very early on that ServiceNow was not going to be a sunk cost— that we could demonstrate value right away by applying the platform to several of the most important business objectives.”
JEFF WESTCOTT | AKIN GUMP
DIRECTOR OF SERVICE MANAGEMENT & STRATEGY
Thus, Akin Gump intentionally launched its ServiceNow journey with asset management and change management; these were modules that Akin Gump decided could provide maximum benefit at minimal disruption to the firm’s existing, well-honed IT workflows.
In developing its initial ServiceNow modules, Akin Gump was looking for creative ways to address its specific needs. The firm wanted to apply the platform in such a way that it would create an effortlessly intuitive interface for its users.
Crossfuze collaborated with Akin Gump to provide the creative approach needed. The teams worked together, carefully architecting exactly how every module should look, feel, and function for the end user. They removed and renamed individual ServiceNow menu items and disabled any features that the firm didn’t intend to make available on day 1. These IT service management customizations provided much-needed automation of critical workflows.
Today, Akin Gump’s IT team gets work done faster, more easily, and with more accuracy and quality
Customized, Value-Add Solutions
No matter what Akin Gump has thrown at Crossfuze, Crossfuze has made everything happen exactly as needed per Akin Gump’s end users’ needs. Working day in and day out with Akin Gump, the Crossfuze professional services delivery manager has quickly become a trusted, strategic resource. In weekly meetings, Akin Gump’s IT team has come to rely on him as a sounding board:
- Bouncing new platform-use ideas off of
- Discussing ways to both improve existing features and add new capabilities
- Enhancing and improving upon Akin Gump’s long-term ServiceNow vision
- Building an end product that is stronger, better articulated, and more aligned to the firm’s strategic business goals
- Validating Akin Gump’s choices, giving IT confidence that their chosen direction is indeed the right way to go
Meeting the Firm’s “Fractional Work” Needs
Because of all the custom work Akin Gump has required, Crossfuze decided very early on to introduce the firm to ManagedNow™, Crossfuze’s on-demand services offering. Akin Gump saw right away that the offering allowed for a high degree of flexibility and unparalleled access to specialized ServiceNow skill sets. Through ManagedNow, Akin Gump has been able to accomplish all of its ServiceNow “fractional work”—the piecemeal work that would have been cost-prohibitive to hire or train an in-house ServiceNow team to do.
"The number of things we can do in a week with ManagedNow is far greater than anything we could get done with our staff. We needed 10 hours of a really good developer’s time, and then two to three hours of basic administrative support. We couldn’t hire that person in house because that person doesn’t exist.”
JEFF WESTCOTT | AKIN GUMP
DIRECTOR OF SERVICE MANAGEMENT & STRATEGY
Helping IT Be Seen as a Partner
What the firm’s IT leaders appreciate most about working with Crossfuze is the way that Crossfuze has helped the 120-person IT team have consistently meaningful, insightful conversations—both internally as a team and with other business units.
Although the IT team has always been perceived favorably by the firm, the team historically was viewed as a support department. In other words, IT’s role was seen as maintaining existing infrastructure and supporting the work of other units— not serving as a true business partner that could innovate, streamline, and automate the work of other areas of the organization on its own.
ServiceNow turned these assumptions on their head.
“We are no longer just managing what is breaking,” Westcott says. “We are able to start conversations around things that aren’t breaking—around how to get more value out of things that already are working.”
Akin Gump credits Crossfuze with helping the firm to conceptualize, implement, and manage a ServiceNow ecosystem that has enabled this wholesale, permanent, transformational change:
- ServiceNow’s polished, insightful dashboard interface has helped Akin Gump present complex IT data in a business format—color-coded graphs, charts, and performance indicators—that resonate with the firm’s leadership.
- The IT team can create visualizations of the linkages and relationships among different types of IT systems and assets so the team can internally strategize how to optimally manage and improve the ecosystem as a whole.
- The firm has dramatically reduced their time spent on low-value administrative work, enabling them to apply their best resources to streamline and automate client casework.
- When the IT team meets with a specific business unit, ServiceNow enables the IT team to pull up customized project portfolios so the other party can visualize in real time exactly what the IT team is discussing and, in turn, provide meaningful insights to the IT team for how the asset is being used in the real world by end users.
- ServiceNow makes it possible for other business units to take ownership of IT infrastructure that they previously didn’t understand and could largely ignore the inner workings of. By using ServiceNow to visually communicate what the IT team has done and/or is proposing to do, the nontechnical party is able to tangibly feel ownership toward these products for the first time.
Looking toward Future ServiceNow Wins
Akin Gump has made remarkable progress on its journey
to ServiceNow maturity in just three years. With Crossfuze
as its trusted ServiceNow partner, the firm has implemented
- Asset management
- Change management
- Incident and problem management
- Project portfolio management
- A modified version of a service catalog that Akin Gump calls its IT systems catalog
- A custom ServiceNow app for tracking outages that replaced thousands of emails
Even with all these ServiceNow success stories under its belt, Akin Gump does not feel that it is anywhere close to ServiceNow maturity. On the contrary, Akin Gump is just getting started.
“We are using the bits of ServiceNow we like,” Westcott says. “That keeps ServiceNow from becoming unmanageable for us. And we’re still really agile.”
Akin Gump’s long-term vision for ServiceNow is to fundamentally change every aspect of how work gets done by attorneys at the firm. Akin Gump wants to modernize and professionalize core processes across the organization so staff can devote fewer hours on time-consuming, routine administrative tasks—and devote more time and attention to optimally serving its legal clients.
If you’d like to see how Crossfuze can help your firm apply ServiceNow in creative ways, contact us today.
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