Carlos Travieso Merino - Service Improvement
CARLOS TRAVIESO MERINO
Chief Product Officer in SilverStorm
Carlos is responsible for the classification and execution of SilverStorm products, an invaluable part of the digital strategy implemented by Silverstorm (SSDX). As a technical consultant, he maintains daily contact with our clients guiding them in their transformation and following the steps defined in the roadmap using The SilverStorm Bridge Adoption Model™.
He has experience leading projects and support teams in ServiceNow and right now he oversees the consolidation of the many years of experience SilverStorm has in a new product called ServiceImprovement™.
In today’s world, there is fierce competition between digital transformation companies in order to get the maintenance contracts of small, medium and large companies. However, Silverstorm offers a different point of view, extending the concept of maintenance to continuous improvement.
To analyze this new concept, Carlos Travieso, who is in charge of the ServiceImprovement™ product, uses this as it allows companies to get the most from the platform and to secure the continuous improvements aligned with business strategies.
What problems do customers face when they start using ServiceNow?
Customers face a series of challenges when they start to experience the power of the platform, they realize the possibilities that they have and quickly they define a list of points to improve. It is something logical and normal when we use a platform with all the possibilities that ServiceNow offers.
How do Clients face these challenges?
I think that the main thing is that clients should not feel alone. I consider it very important that they receive the accompaniment of a partner when they start using ServiceNow. I always observe two types of responses when clients hire a support service. Although more than support, I like to call it continuous improvement, which is essential in the digital world in which we live.
- ‘I can do it’: It is true that ServiceNow is a very intuitive platform, easy to administer. In addition, it allows many configurations in a low/no code mode, but it is also true that without proper experience you can create a monster very quickly if you don’t respect good practices and more so if you do not have a clear line of work that really adds value to processes and, of course, to the business.
- ‘I do not have enough budget’: It is said that a support service can be considered as an avoidable expense, but there is nothing further from the truth. For me and for a lot of clients that are using the platform successfully, this service is more like an investment whose return begins to be noticed almost immediately because it goes beyond just the performance of the platform.
Are you saying that having a maintenance service is essential?
Yes, I would like to emphasize that employing a continuous improvement service with the right partner is, in short, something fundamental.
I see that you insist in continuous improvement. What do you offer from SilverStorm to satisfy this requirement of the clients?
At SilverStorm we are very committed in supporting our clients in their digital transformation. For this reason, we have invested a lot of time in training our consultants to offer an excellent service, organizing continuous improvement in four large blocks that cover all the needs of our customers to get the most out of the platform and, on the other hand, to offer a much greater value to the business part of the business.
Can you explain to me in a little more detailed how you organize this service?
Of course! As I have said, we have created four large blocks to cover all the needs of a continuous improvement service.
To cover all those small details detected in the implemented processes that appear over time, whether they are defects of the implementation or from the product, we have a block called ‘Advanced Platform Support’. In addition, it extends the standard technical support of ServiceNow, supporting our clients in the resolution of any question they may have and assisting them in the interactions with the supplier. In other words, it would be the equivalent of the classic, lifelong maintenance service.
I would like to emphasize that companies should not settle down for this, they have to do something else to get the most out of the platform. Therefore, with the of the blocks included in the service, we provide the necessary proactiveness to squeeze all the possibilities offered by the ServiceNow tool.
I see that you give importance to being proactive and not only reactive to defects. How do the other three blocks work?
That´s it. We provide a continuous improvement service, not just maintenance. That is why we also have two very important blocks, one is ‘Architectural Services’, which is oriented to ensuring good practices and defining the strategic roadmap, and the other is ‘Enhancement Services’, focused on the execution of the previously defined plan. Both blocks guarantee the execution of continuous improvement.
How do you carry out the definition of the roadmap that you mentioned previously?
Our architects, in addition to the good practices that are followed in every moment, they offer a service called ‘Bridge Light’, that includes sessions to align the strategic goals of the company and that assesses the current and desired maturity situation and, based on that, the roadmap to be implemented on the platform is defined, maximizing the value provided to the business area.
Tell me, how do you make sure that a client is following the good practices?
Very good question. In SilverStorm, we have a service called Health Check, where the status of the instance is analyzed and a clear and concise report is obtained of any element of the system that may cause immediate conflicts or in future version rises.
You have commented that ‘Enhancement Services’ is responsible for executing the road map. How do you do this?
Exactly. In this block those previously planned projects are developed, but, in addition, improvements and tasks defined by the client are also implemented which provide an immediate response to the day-to-day needs.
This block is very dynamic because it is based on three-week sprints, where you define which of the stories of the built backlog will be implemented. In this way, the response time to business needs is practically immediate, just what is needed today.
Carlos, you have spoken before of the version rises or upgrades, as is commonly known in slang. How does SilverStorm manage this type of small projects?
From ServiceImprovementTM we respond to this real need of our clients who want to have the most current functionalities. Therefore, upgrades are also included through ‘Enhancement Services’. In other words, they become part of the work backlog of the team. It requires a good planification and estimation on the number of processes implemented by our client. Then, we upload the version of the underproduction instances and intensive testing is done to the client. Any problem that may arise is solved and captured in a way that when the version of the production environment is uploaded later, the corrections packages are applied simultaneously reducing the risk of the service losses. And then, free of charge for the new functionalities that ServiceNow makes available to us every six months.
I understand…And what is the last block that composes the continuous improvement service?
The last block is focused on supporting our clients in the administration of the tool. Its name is ‘Basic Configuration Support’ and it responds to the need detected in some of our clients who don´t have a platform administrator with enough experience, or who find it more economical to outsource this service, partially or totally. From SilverStorm we offer a menu of basic configuration actions, ranging from very simple actions like managing users, groups and permissions, to data uploads or support in more advanced administration actions.
The administration of the platform is an essential activity within the world of ServiceNow.
Therefore, we are from the opinion that the client must have an administrator of their own system, who is training with us, which will be achieved by a very close link between our continuous improvement team and this person, strengthen it, with the training services that we offer. I would like to remind you that we are a training certificated partner for ServiceNow too and with this we achieve that little by little the client assumes more responsibilities and is able to adjust and manage the tool autonomously and is always respecting good practices. In addition, there are studies presented by our partner ServiceNow, which shows that if the client has a person doing the administration tasks of ServiceNow and has the knowledge of the platform, the amount of defects generated within the platform during the time are reduced substantially, which will be savings for the company.
To put the icing on the cake to this interview, and going back to the initial topic of the issues and challenges that companies are facing nowadays, how do you think that you are helping your customers to solve it?
At SilverStorm we have many years of experience providing this type of service, during which we have learned a lot and from there is where this new way of structuring the continuous improvement has come. Only comparing the current situation of our clients and how they started the evolution is remarkable. But we do not rely on subjective sensations, we provide periodic reports to all our clients about the work and the progress made and we also measure the level of satisfaction with the platform and with the IT department in general, as well as the efficiency and agility provided by IT.