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ServiceNow Cloud Management Accelerates Time to Market While Saving $5 Million per Year


One of the nation’s leading wireless service providers maintains their commanding position by responding quickly to customer and market needs. Whether launching a new iPhone or opening a new retail store, the company depends on more than 1,100 business services to power its success. These services run on over 21,000 virtual machines (VMs) distributed nationally across dozens of state-of-the-art data centers. These data centers are in a constant state of change. For example, the company provisioned more than 6,000 new VMs in 2015 to support its rapidly growing business needs. Manual VM provisioning couldn’t keep up.


For this wireless carrier, provisioning these VMs manually was a major bottleneck slowing its time to market while driving up costs. For several years, the company had worked to reduce provisioning times by streamlining processes and integrating systems, but it still took 5.5 business days to deliver a single virtual server. The company knew that to truly accelerate delivery, it needed to fully automate the provisioning process. According to the IT manager, “Five days was as fast as we could go–people still had to do work. We needed to use technology to automate that work. This was the only way we would scale effectively across the business.”


Leveraging ServiceNow’s single system of record

ServiceNow was already the wireless carrier’s enterprise CMDB (centralized infrastructure database), with ServiceNow automatically discovering all of their virtualized infrastructure. This made ServiceNow the natural choice for VM delivery. ServiceNow already had all of the information needed to provision additional VMs, including available capacity and connectivity across clusters, storage and networks. By adding ServiceNow Cloud Management, the wireless carrier company could leverage this existing data to automate and accelerate the creation of new VMs.


A fully configured VM in just one hour

Now, the company uses ServiceNow Cloud Management to provision all of their VMs directly from the ServiceNow service catalog. Instead of taking a week to manually create a VM, they can now provision a VM in less than an hour–resulting in OPEX savings of more than $5 million a year. ServiceNow uses its knowledge of the company’s virtualized infrastructure to automatically select the best resources, and then provisions a Windows or Linux VM with an OS that is fully patched to meet the carrier’s standards. ServiceNow also creates the VM’s supporting environment–interfacing with DNS, IPMS, Puppet, SCCM, and other systems to connect and configure the VM.


Snowflakes and t-shirts

Providing standardized VM offerings is a key part of their success. According to the company’s IT manager, “Before, our business services build teams would request similar VMs, but no two were the same. We called these snowflakes, and each one had to be reviewed and built by hand. Now, we provide T-shirts, standardized VM offerings that meet the majority of our build teams’ needs. We can still deliver snowflakes–absolutely but by providing standardized offerings, we’ve dramatically simplified and accelerated the entire VM provisioning process. That’s a win for both IT and the business.”


A virtuous circle

By automating VM provisioning, this wireless carrier has been able to re purpose resources to work on additional high-value automation activities. For example, they are starting to use ServiceNow to automatically provision and configure complete applications stacks and business services–not just the virtual machines they run on. According to the IT Manager, “As we do this, we’re going to free up the time of hundreds of application developers–time that they can now spend driving innovation, rather than wasting their time on repetitive build tasks. That’s the power of automation. It lets you work smarter and focus on what’s really important.”