With its legacy system no longer fit for purpose, Fujitsu needed a modern, adaptable system. It selected ServiceNow to meet its current requirements and scale to future needs. Taking a Design Thinking approach, the new system provides a user-friendly experience for 120,000 Fujitsu employees globally.
Fujitsu needed to overhaul its aging in-house approvals system. Workflow changes meant the company was relying on manual shadow processes. It also lacked global standardization.
Taking a Design Thinking approach, all users’ perspectives were heard and six axis points were identified. Fujitsu successfully built a new user-friendly global approvals system on the ServiceNow platform.
- Reduced approval times by 30%
- Cut lost time for 120,000 Fujitsu personnel worldwide
- Opened the door to overseas outsourcing at lower-cost locations
We intend to move all Fujitsu business systems and processes onto ServiceNow. We are determined to supply everyone in our business operations with more positive and satisfying experiences.
Tsutomu Takahashi, Senior Director of the Enterprise Services Department of the Digital System Platform Unit, Fujitsu
faster approval times
About the customer
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese global information and communication technology company, offering a wide range of technology products, solutions and services. It builds new possibilities by connecting people, technology and ideas, creating a more sustainable world where anyone can advance their dreams.
Modernizing critical systems
It is more than 20 years since Fujitsu Limited (Fujitsu) introduced its then-state-of-the-art internal approvals system for employees in its head office and domestic group companies in Japan. Adopted across a large number of departments, the system was utilized by many Fujitsu employees and processed several thousand requests annually.
But it was starting to age, and Fujitsu was finding addressing on-site demands challenging. Moreover, changes to the approval workflow meant the company often needed to turn to manual processes external to the system. And major revisions to approval rules demanded a uniform approval system to support all Fujitsu Group companies worldwide.
“Gaps developed between the workflow and the operations covered by the system,” explains Takeshi Horikawa, Director of the Corporate Governance Legal Division under the Legal, IP and Internal Control Unit at Fujitsu. “In addition, the system didn’t cover our global operations. We realized it would be extremely difficult to bridge these gaps with upgrades.”
With the server and middleware supporting the system also due for renewal, Fujitsu decided to take a new, modern and scalable approach. Against this backdrop, it launched the KESSAI (approval) project to create a globally unified approval system to support the global Fujitsu Group. In the words of Mr. Horikawa: “Our goal was to deliver a system capable of realizing greater business efficiency, improved UX and maintaining appropriate governance. A system, in other words, equipped with expandability keyed to our future needs.”
Adopting a Design Thinking approach
Fujitsu was keen to ensure the new system was user-friendly for all employees involved in processing approval requests to ensure the new platform would be adopted. With that in mind, it adopted a Design Thinking approach to keep the user experience at the heart of the project. Hiroki Uchida, General Manager of the Design Center and Head of the Front Design Department at Fujitsu, explains: “Design Thinking was key to the success of this project.”
The project team interviewed employees from various departments and gathered opinions via online workshops and consultations. Mr. Horikawa notes that emphasis was placed on “grasping and zeroing in on the opinions and requests of employees requesting approvals and managers granting consent. We wanted to benefit from their direct input.”
Considering the diverse views of individual project members was critical. Ayuko Hirata of the Corporate Governance Legal Division under the Legal, IP and Internal Control Unit at Fujitsu explains: “We had a vague understanding of complaints about the existing system but needed to define the issues from a user perspective to determine our direction.”
Fujitsu defined six axis points as key elements required for the new system: greater speed, enhanced UX, appropriate governance, global sharing, data use and application, and integration with other systems. Direct requests from managers were mapped against these six axis points to unite all 80 project stakeholders against a shared goal of the ‘ToBe’ model.
Leveraging a global tool
The new approval system uses ServiceNow to integrate the management of people, commodities, money and information to provide true enterprise-wide visibility. To rise to the challenge of initiating the significant new system, Fujitsu digitalized relevant assets and defined business processes using Japanese quality, distinctive Fujitsu know-how, and ServiceNow global best practices.
Tsutomu Takahashi, Senior Director of the Enterprise Services Department of the Digital System Platform Unit at Fujitsu, explains how “Fujitsu’s ServiceNow Center of Excellence oversees platform operation, agreements, change controls and ServiceNow upgrade management. It is also in charge of roadmap creation, promoting DX using ServiceNow, creating new solutions, generating use cases and human resource development.”
The new approval system enhances the approval request process alongside various other processes that come both before and after the actual approval. Integrating ServiceNow with other business critical systems eliminates unnecessary manual, repetitive work and the potential for human error.
Building on success
The new approval system built on ServiceNow has reduced approval times by 30%. Making relevant parts of the process accessible via smart devices, the global standardization and simplification of workflows, and reducing workflow backtracking by including user operation and input assistance functions have all contributed to the time-saving. “The new approval system reduces lost time for 120,000 Fujitsu personnel worldwide; it is extremely significant,” reveals Kanna Kimura, Manager of the Enterprise Services Department under the Digital System Platform Unit Enhancing at Fujitsu. “Compatibility with other systems for seamless approvals has raised productivity.”
Users can intuitively operate the system without the need for significant training or support, further eliminating lost time. In addition, work can be completed by employees globally, including from Fujitsu’s Global Delivery Centers. Mr. Takahashi adds: “The global consignment of maintenance work will open up time and resources for the next stage of progress.”
Looking ahead, Fujitsu plans to include the strategic expansion of the Now Platform to support a vast range of other business services, to further benefit from cost and time savings while enhancing experiences for both employees and customers.
For example, the company is planning to place its in-house help desk on the ServiceNow platform. “We intend to load all Fujitsu business systems and processes onto ServiceNow. We are even targeting so-called ‘shadow IT’ in this push. We are determined to supply everyone in our business operations with more positive and satisfying experiences,” concludes Mr. Takahashi.