May 26 2022

Knowledge22: Better Software Implementation Through Trust

How a trusted partner helped Global Atlantic get the most out of its ServiceNow implementation.

A strong partnership can help any company navigate challenges. That’s the lesson that Global Atlantic Financial Group, a life insurance and annuities provider, learned on its business transformation journey with ServiceNow.

At the Knowledge22 trade show in Las Vegas this week, Josh Sutton, manager of research and development for CDW ServiceNow Solutions, teamed with Danielle Thomson, Global Atlantic’s vice president of IT service management and identity, to discuss the build-out of Global Atlantic’s ServiceNow implementation. Sutton explained that CDW ServiceNow Solutions has played a central role in helping Global Atlantic manage its initiatives.

“We really are their only ServiceNow team,” he said. “They don’t have an internal ServiceNow team, they just have one person, and that’s Danielle. She owns four different areas of that organization.”

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Global Atlantic has evolved through a number of stages over nearly two decades. Originally formed in 2004 as a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, the company separated as a privately held entity in 2013, then went public after its acquisition by global investment firm KKR in early 2021.

In recent years, ServiceNow has helped drive some of the most important elements of Global Atlantic’s growth. The company’s original implementation of ServiceNow began in 2016; Sutton’s team at Aeritae Consulting came on board to assist in 2017 (Aeritae was acquired by CDW in 2021). Over that time, there have a number of shifts in the ServiceNow implementation, including compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which the company met ahead of going public.

“It’s just making sure that not only are they implementing appropriately, but they have the time to roll it out and gain adoption and really run their business on it,” Sutton said. “Every step of the way, that’s kind of what we've been doing.”

Additional complexities helped set the stage for Global Atlantic’s ServiceNow journey. An important part of the process, according to Sutton, was the decision to implement software asset management. But after working with Global Atlantic’s CIO, the CDW team decided to set up application portfolio management first, followed by the SAM implementation.

“Without that trusted partnership and collaboration, they would have just implemented SAM and probably not seen the value they were hoping to get out of it,” he said.

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Other factors complicated the implementation, but the two teams worked through them. For example, the company is built around a virtual nonpersistent desktop infrastructure environment.

“That created a lot of challenges when we were looking at SAM,” Sutton said. “We were able to work through them and design the solution in a way that would actually support, not hinder, the business.”

The partnership is ongoing, with initiatives such as a migration from a service portal to an employee center and upgrades to a SAM workspace to accommodate for future versions of ServiceNow. Ultimately, Sutton said, Global Atlantic has been able to maximize its ServiceNow implementation through a deep relationship with a trusted partner.

“It allowed us to get deep into their business and understand where they are going, where they want to go and how to get there, consistent with their business — not just the way it is typically done,” he said.

Getty Images/ anyaberkut

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