In the ever-evolving world of technology, companies constantly seek ways to streamline their processes and improve efficiency. One such company that has been making waves in the industry is xtype. xtype offers products that address environment inconsistencies which in turn boosts productivity, improves efficiency, and helps ServiceNow customers gain a competitive edge in the market by reducing their backlog. In this blog post, we will discuss xtype's products' benefits to ServiceNow customers, using Zurich Insurance as a case study.
The Zurich Case Study
Zurich, a leading multinational insurance company, turned to xtype to address several challenges, including frequent and lengthy cloning and an inability to scale code pushes due to environment inconsistencies. Like many ServiceNow customers, Zurich tried to apply the industry trends of DevOps and Agile methodologies. However, they quickly found that the cloning process was taking up more and more time. This increasing time requirement meant that clones had to be done over weekends, requiring admins to work on weekends too. The pre-clone and post-clone work was time-consuming and required a lot of person-hours to complete.
Moreover, the volume of work produced by developers made it difficult to accurately account for changes across ServiceNow instances, which made preparing for code pushes laborious, time-consuming, and error-prone. As a result, a significant portion of developer and admin time was spent reviewing and preparing for deployments instead of writing code.
Lead Time to Developing
It's one thing to account for the 20+ hours it takes for the ServiceNow cloning process to complete. It's another to account for the time a developer or admin will require to perform all the pre-clone and post-clone work. All developers' work in process or WIP must be exported because a newly cloned instance will not contain all those changes. When the new clone is available, an admin must import all exported WIP. The process follows typical deployment processes where a spreadsheet is built listing all of the assets (update sets, apps, XML, records, plugins, etc.) and steps (script executions, plugin activations, etc.) needed to be imported and executed in a prescribed order.
In Zurich's case, this effort can take three work days or 24 hours or more to complete. This time requirement means that a weekend isn't enough time to have a new clone ready for new development. Developer downtime is expensive, so Zurich needed a way to shorten the cloning lead time. Zurich utilized xtype's controlled synchronization capability to address this challenge. Controlled synchronization reconciles the differences between two instances. Allowing xtype to synchronize a new clone to its predecessor shrunk the 24-hour lead time to 3 hours.
ServiceNow professionals spend a lot of time building spreadsheets in preparation for production deployments. These spreadsheets contain a list of the changes that will be pushed forward in the precise order they need to be imported or executed. Layered on top of this is a great deal of formality that includes higher-level environments requiring approval and quality gates to advance the payload forward.
Zurich, like all ServiceNow customers, finds itself constantly addressing errors, collisions, and conflicts with each successive migration to the following higher environment. These errors occur because of inconsistencies between instances. Environment inconsistencies take time to find and address. xtype provides a muti-environemnt view of your ServiceNow landscape, automatically highlighting the differences between instances. These differences can be addressed by controlled synchronization or organizing them into release packages for forward propagation following established promotion policies and practices.
The Zurich case study provides a valuable example of how xtype can deliver significant benefits to ServiceNow customers in any industry. By addressing environment inconsistency and post-cloning lead times, ServiceNow customers can address their growing backlog faster with xtype than without and more quickly gain the competitive advantage they sought by buying ServiceNow.