Founded in 1863, Swiss Re is one of the largest reinsurance companies on the globe, an achievement backed by the company’s commitment to customer service and leveraging the latest technologies to fuel digital transformation throughout the company.
GigaOM had the opportunity to discuss Swiss Re’s latest initiatives with the company’s Director of Information Technology, Ashish Agarwal, at ServiceNow’s NowForum this fall in New York City.
The forum proved to be the perfect opportunity to discuss how Swiss Re was looking to leverage unified service capabilities across its suite of offerings for its internal customers.
As a user of ServiceNow’s IT solutions, Swiss Re applied that enterprise-wide strategy to manage its broader global services, resulting in the creation of ContactOne, the company’s multi-channel approach to customer engagement. Agarwal said, “We are a longtime user of ServiceNow’s products in our IT department. With that experience in mind, we sought ways to improve our service offerings across the company.”
The company has 12,598 employees who generate around 815,000 service requests each year, such as needing to book travel, secure new IT equipment, and onboard a new employee.
Agarwal said, “Swiss Re’s new Group Operations strategy was the starting point for ContactOne. Prior to ContactOne, Swiss Re’s Group Operation divisions had four different channels that customers could use to access our services. Simply put, we were managing the 16 different ways that customers could reach Group Operations. That meant there was no easy way to provide consistent services to our internal clients.”
That situation led to a rethinking of how services are provided to the internal customers, culminating in a decision to completely rework how Group Operations interacted with its internal customers. However, digital transformation proves to be one of the most complex undertakings that an organization can take, especially when it comes to something as important as customer facing services.
Swiss Re took a customer-centric approach and defined a new vision for customer service. Agarwal said, “That new vision required a review of the operating model, including processes, roles and responsibilities, deliverables, and governance. Then adjusting the current ways of working and implementing or leveraging new and existing technologies where possible.”
To that end, Swiss Re built its ContactOne system on the ServiceNow platform, since the company was already using ServiceNow for core service management. Agarwal said, “We started our journey with ServiceNow more than seven years ago. Over the years, we replaced more than 25 home grown and commercial software solutions with ServiceNow.”
Simply put, Agarwal and his team had already deployed a platform that would support reusability for the ContactOne ideology, and implementation of ContactOne became a process of reengineering existing processes to fit into what ServiceNow could offer.
Agarwal said, “With ContactOne, our internal customers now have a single portal that offers consistent and easy to understand services. All of the complex orchestration is hidden from the customers, and the portal delivers over 150 services from across Group Operations.”
For Swiss Re, the lesson learned here is that one should look inward at the solutions that are already in place, before spending on new solutions that will incur additional costs. For others, the lesson here is that digital transformation of services is a worthwhile endeavor and choosing the right tools to make it happen is just one of the first steps of a rewarding journey.