About the Customer
The Affinity Water is a water-only supplier in the UK and we are committed to delivering a high-quality water service to all their customers. They provide on average 900 million liters of water each day to a population of more than 3.6 million people in parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, and Enfield. .
The Affinity Water group is ultimately controlled by a consortium of long-term investors comprising the Allianz Group, HICL (managed by InfraRed Capital Partners) and DIF.
Scope and Challenges
Using ServiceNow out of the box, Affinity Water launched a quick-start package for incident, problem and change management in April 2015 and within six months had transferred all responsibility from the incumbent outsourcer.
ESM Challenges include:
“Building our in-house operation from scratch looked to be a massive undertaking. We had a new team and we didn’t have the luxury of time, yet it was an exciting project. ServiceNow enabled us to develop workflows and incident scenarios whilst still being able to meet the day to day challenges of the business, taking an agile approach to service management development.” Said – Ben Wilson, IT services manager, Affinity Water.
Phase two launched in 2017, focused on request fulfillment through the launch of a new service portal, which Ben says “truly opened out the new interface between IT and the internal customer.” According to Ben, his team “went hell for leather” to bring the portal to life, creating 60-70 items in the self-service portal to enable every employee to request anything from kit bundles and hardware to software applications and access rights.
Every piece of information required by the IT service desk to action the request is captured in the portal, ensuring a fast resolution. A focus on the user experience was essential, as Ben explains: “Rather than designing the portal for IT, we focused on creating a customer-focused service, with simple workflows — a business portal to consume anything that is IT-related.” Within four weeks, approximately 40% of requests had already naturally shifted to the self-service portal, at which time Ben took the decision to simply turn off email requests. Today, 85% of requests come through the portal, which means around 20,000 requests per year have been moved off email into the service portal.
Outcome and Implications
A significant market reform from industry regulator Ofwat brought a new opportunity to use the ServiceNow platform, as it led Affinity Water having to split its wholesale and retail operations and run them as completely separate businesses. This brought significant challenges for the wholesale team: “Our wholesale team had to work with several new retail customers and needed a more efficient way to record their interactions. They needed a system which was able to provide visibility of queues, who was calling in and the status of requests or problems.” Said – Ben Wilson, IT services manager, Affinity Water
Affinity Water’s wholesale department approached Ben and his team to find out more on how IT could improve their service to retail customers. Ben’s team worked closely with wholesale to deploy ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM) to deliver a seamless experience to its retail customers. Information on every single Supply Point ID — which identifies the meter that supplies each address — can be accessed on ServiceNow. This allowed the wholesale team to identify exactly which supply point the retailer is calling about and fast-track a resolution. Ben added: “Our wholesale team has used this system to its full advantage. They are now pushing for the top spot on wholesale service delivery in the water industry and our IT department is delighted to have had the opportunity to help them achieve this.”
"ServiceNow has agility built in. We can get our ideas to market before others have even finished scoping them— and that’s incredibly exciting." Said – Ben Wilson, IT services manager, Affinity Water.
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