Tennessee Cuts IT Procurement Processing Time by 92 Percent With Digital Platform

The State of Tennessee cut IT procurement processing time down by 92 percent with an asset management overhaul and a new digital procurement process. Andy Kidd, Tennessee’s director of business operations, shared lessons learned at ServiceNow’s Knowledge 2019 conference in May.

After the state CIO requested an assessment of the procurement function, Tennessee challenged Kidd to improve employee (customer) experiences across the procurement process. It was too slow and relied on manual, paper-based processes. “It was taking somewhere between four and six months just to receive a basic workstation device,” Kidd explained.

New hires needed these tools on day one. And, staff had to juggle fulfilling orders and manually reporting metrics.

In August 2017, the State went live with ServiceNow’s procurement module. Kidd said the platform provided a cloud-based tool to manage inventory “from the time the order comes in to when it was actually executed.”

Kidd explained, historically, customers had to look through thousands of contract line items. There were no images. “Now [employees] can actually look at an online picture. . .They can fill [the request] out themselves,” he explained, “[the platform] auto-populates information based on the customer that is filling it out.”

The State also added a feature that shows the estimated quantity in stock as a part of their workstation decode. With these changes, Kidd explained, the time from “request to actual deployment is five business days.”

Kidd and team reduced order processing time by 92 percent—from six months to just five days. And, they brought customer satisfaction to an impressive 91 percent.

Before implementation, the department received complaints on a weekly basis. Now, Kidd said they received just one complaint in a year-long period.

Kidd explained the State’s approach to digitizing procurement started with eliminating manual reporting. “ServiceNow does that for us,” he said. The platform gathers customer metrics and recommendations.

In March 2018, the State implemented a Performance Analytics dashboard. This feature gave department commissioners an overview of devices ordered, and time to fulfill requests.

The new system also helps manage the hardware refresh cycle. Once procured, an asset “has a flag that every four years it needs to be refreshed,” Kidd said.

As of August 2018, the department is implementing software management using ServiceNow’s SAM Pro and Discovery. These tools manage repository license data, which formerly resided in a financial system. SAM Pro integrates with the established hardware asset and procurement module.

The goal is to provide the visibility needed to understand license status and manage against a predictable roadmap. And, ultimately – help Tennessee provide employees with modern technology as cost-effectively as possible. Kidd shared that the procurement process starts with a planning and initiation stage. Then comes building and configuration. And finally, deployment and finalization.

By sticking with this asset management life cycle, agencies are accountable, Kidd explained.

And, the State can install and deploy those devices more efficiently. “If we know [how many we need to install], we can plan on it,” says Kidd.

The State is now able to monitor asset health and understand usage. The State has more than 38,000 different devices, 80,000 different types of software, and 38,000+ employees. They can now can easily see which ones can be decommissioned or reused.

Tennessee’s biggest lesson learned? Kidd shared it is critical to communicate business needs and make sure the technical requirements support them. “It’s important to get everybody in the room to map it out,” he said.

Throughout the process, the team coordinated with the State’s agencies. Kidd explained they used a phased approach and deployed experts to work with each agency. “We had five hardware asset folks that actually went to different agencies,” Kidd said. He said the experts worked very closely with the agencies.

Tennessee successfully integrated 23 cabinet agencies into a central IT support system.

As with any implementation, Kidd explained, “it’s taken a lot of clean-up work.” However, he noted, “it hasn’t been that hard to justify.” On-prem solutions are becoming more expensive, Kidd said. And, cloud-based systems are more viable for their agencies. The move towards a digitized platform was natural, he explained. And they will continue to innovate.

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