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Updated:October 14, 2013
Cisco IT's eStore replaces multiple service request systems with a unified service catalog for ordering any type of IT service
The journey to implement the Cisco IT eStore was initiated due to many factors. In particular, employees were frustrated with having to navigate many different online sites and internal systems for requesting workplace and data center services from IT. This divided approach was unproductive for employees and inefficient for IT to manage.
In addition, this approach was not future-ready and could not easily support mobility and collaboration through emerging enterprise practices such as a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. An effective BYOD model requires a unified way to support those devices with the necessary access to request the applications and software that employees need.
The existing model was too compartmentalized. Several different internal sites, online forms, and service request systems were dedicated to different IT services and managed by those IT teams. For example, distinct and very different ways were available to request mobile apps, software, and account provisioning. Not only did users have to initiate and track their requests in multiple places, each of these systems had its own distinct user interface, which employees had to navigate and learn.
"The situation is not unusual for a large organization, but having all of these different systems with different interfaces often meant that people could not find what they needed," says Adel Du Toit, IT manager for the eStore program. "This hampered their ability to get their work done and also increased end-user dependence on IT.
Therefore, the company realized that it would have to fundamentally change the way that all IT services are requested and delivered by moving to an easier-to-use unified service catalog with a simplified and streamlined ordering process.
"We wanted to create a unified self-service solution that focused on the employee experience, rather than the type of technology being ordered," says Du Toit.
With that objective, IT created a Cisco® eStore team to come up with a vision and roadmap for this new service catalog initiative. The program goals included:
• Increasing employee satisfaction by providing an intuitive shopping experience for IT services
• Increasing adoption of online self-service to reduce reliance on IT for technology procurement
• Lowering training costs and reducing IT support costs
• Increasing employee productivity with support for new BYOD and mobility requirements
Beyond that, the company wanted to modernize the employee experience. "We also wanted to create experiences that surprise and delight users, and contribute to their feeling that Cisco is a great place to work," says Du Toit.
Several technical requirements were outlined for Cisco IT's eStore, including:
• Access: Ability to access this new IT storefront from any device and operating system
• Security and Compliance: Helping ensure rigorous enterprise security and governance, including management of versions, policy enforcement, and access by trusted devices
• Intuitive User Experience: Enabling a personalized experience for finding and ordering desktop software, mobile apps, collaboration tools; networking solutions such as Home VPN or Cisco Virtual Office; a new phone or phone service or new laptop; and data center infrastructure resources
• Scale: Ability to support a global enterprise organization, which has more than 70,000 employees and 80 offices, with hundreds of different IT services options
• Easier Management: Integrating Cisco eStore with enterprise service management tools, including service desk and monitoring systems
• Increased Automation: Building the eStore on top of an automated, back-end service provisioning engine
The Cisco eStore team recognized that its vision for a more cohesive, efficient self-service environment was essential and also possible using Cisco solutions. The team realized that by using the Cisco Prime™ Service Catalog, it could deploy a unified approach across Cisco IT that would allow users to order any type of workplace IT or data center and cloud computing services from a catalog of standard options accessible through a single user portal.
Cisco Prime Service Catalog provides a unified self-service IT portal for end users to order any type of IT service from a catalog of standard options. Furthermore, the catalog can help to streamline and automate provisioning through its integration with Cisco Process Orchestrator. With this IT process automation system in place, requests for IT services, applications, and infrastructure can be processed in minutes instead of hours or days with greater transparency and control for end users as well as for IT.
Cisco IT deployed the eStore interface using the Cisco Prime Service Catalog and implemented automation workflows using the Cisco Process Orchestrator.
The Cisco eStore solution is designed to provide broad coverage for any type of IT service across the enterprise as shown in Figure 1. It makes it easier to place and track orders, manage service delivery, and optimize resources, which increases productivity for employees and IT alike.
Figure 1. Cisco IT's eStore: Unified, Transparent Way to Order and Deliver Enterprise IT Services
In early 2013, the Cisco IT eStore team successfully launched the eStore through a controlled release and made only a few services orderable from the store. Services orderable through the eStore were for virtual desktops, Cisco OfficeExtend for remote workers, and data center infrastructure services from our private cloud (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services-CITEIS). The team has since added Cisco Jabber™ for instant messaging, and Cisco Webex® for web conferencing, as well as additional IaaS and PaaS capabilities.
With the success of the initial phase, the eStore program is moving into its next phase. Over time, all IT services within Cisco will be ordered through the eStore. For example, in the coming months, the Cisco IT eStore will offer ordering and provisioning for mobile apps, which will aggregate all existing Cisco mobile apps in one location.
Cisco IT has successfully converged multiple service request systems into one unified service catalog and self-service IT storefront. As a result, Cisco IT is starting to see preliminary improvements in efficiency and user-friendliness, and expects those benefits to increase as more services are offered to more employees through the eStore.
"The first milestones we've reached are validating our decision to move to a unified model for service ordering and delivery," says Du Toit.
The solution is simpler than the previous approach. The company is now standardizing services, simplifying ordering, enforcing entitlements, and increasing adherence to policies. Not only are order placement, tracking, and fulfillment easier, but the company is saving many man-hours of IT time each week and expects to become more efficient as this solution is more fully deployed and adopted broadly in the weeks and months ahead.
Cisco Prime Service Catalog is enabling Cisco IT's eStore to manage service requests across five different categories today. In the initial phase, 34 distinct service offerings were available through the eStore. In the first six months, more than 6000 self-service requests from end users were processed through the eStore. The solution is already reducing reliance on IT as expected, and those benefits are expected to grow as the program moves out of this preliminary phase into a broader deployment.
Table 1. Cisco Prime Service Catalog Offers Simple Approach to Managing IT Services Across Five Major Categories for Cisco IT
Private cloud, data center computing (virtual and physical), data center networking, application hosting, infrastructure-related project requests
Personal computers, smartphones and tablets, IP phones/voice, printers
Software and Apps
Mobile apps, desktop software, Cisco WebEx Social apps, web applications and accounts
Corporate network, home and remote access, partner connection services
The Cisco eStore team sends out periodic email blasts about enhancements, new services added to the catalog, and upcoming capabilities. "We want to create great excitement within the end-user community," says Du Toit. "Ongoing communication is an important part of promoting adoption."
Cisco IT will be introducing a new mobile app store that will let employees place orders on the eStore via their own smartphones and tablets. This innovative approach to standardizing and modernizing the ordering and fullfillment process has been well received by employees in an initial pilot. As the deployment expands, it will support multiple devices through a secure, mobile storefront that lets employees get the apps they need. This will be a major step forward to support the BYOD culture shift.
Figure 2. Users Will Soon Order Mobile Apps Through the eStore for Mobile Interface
As the number of IT services available on Cisco IT's eStore expands and devices proliferate, the solution is designed to help ensure that end users will be able to order only those products and services that they are authorized to order, which enhances adherence to corporate standards and policy enforcement.
The Cisco eStore team, working together with the Cisco Prime Service Catalog software team, will continue to design enhancements to Cisco IT's eStore that are intended to make the service catalog experience more intuitive and popular.
Over time, the Cisco eStore program will also add new IT service offerings to the store. In 2014, the eStore team will continue to add new mobile apps as well as additional services such as desktop software, smartphones, tablets, Cisco TelePresence, and communications services. The service catalog will also continue to grow with standard IT service offerings being added, updated, and modified on an ongoing basis.
As employees use increasing numbers and types of devices, this solution will support the BYOD model by allowing employees to order from their own devices and order apps specific for their devices, so they can be productive, wherever they are and whenever they need. Cisco IT is committed to ensuring a modern and intuitive approach to support the next-generation workplace of the future, and the eStore will be a foundation of this new model.
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