Why I Joined The Anti

I decided to make the jump from Target to The Anti because I know our world is changing. The organizations that realize we need more than human thinking will have a competitive advantage in the market.

July 18, 2019

In 2011, Target transitioned from HP Service Manager as their primary ITIL ticketing system to ServiceNow. Shortly after the implementation, all maintenance and development were outsourced to a consulting firm with a handful of on-site leaders and about 30 software engineers working 24/7 in India. Because they were contracted, they built whatever was asked. They didn’t consider the long-term maintenance of the platform. Upgrades took anywhere from three to six months because of the complex customization. The engineering talent varied; new engineers were cycled through projects to prepare them for use at other client sites. As a result, there was very little tribal knowledge of the platform.

In late 2015, the highest level of leadership decided that the ServiceNow platform was broken beyond repair. The user base despised it and employees stopped using it. Teams wouldn’t bother making change records because it took too long. New employees couldn’t figure out how to order base equipment (computers, accessories, etc.) in the catalog. The problem was that it was hardly being used, and the people trying to use incident did nothing but complain about how slow the form loaded. It was a disaster. The platform owner and the director proposed I join their team to completely rebuild a new ServiceNow platform alongside their existing broken one. A local colleague and I started the project in July 2015.

After two months of planning, figuring out how the current platform worked and building out stories to develop the new platform, we started. Our team of about 60 people was divided into four scrum teams. Each had funny clever names, but mine was the system team (required for the SAFe framework). My team was tasked with helping the other teams make architectural decisions and removing roadblocks. Additionally, we were responsible for SSO, LDAP, integrations and Platform Security. The other teams had objectives like Catalog, Incident, CMDB, Problem, Knowledge, and Change. Each sprint the teams became better at keeping the new platform out-of-box. When people got stuck on something, we would swarm the issue until it was resolved. After six months, we were ready to go live! On March 13, 2016, we did it. We pointed all the integrations at the new instance and everything went perfectly. We decreased HI incidents from an average of 35 per month to four. In the following six months we further reduced incidents to two per month. As the team became more familiar with the system, we were able to identify a surplus of licenses, allowing us to renegotiate our contract. We reduced the annual platform cost to the company by 70% with the combination of maintenance, support and solving issues internally. After one year, the only HI incidents were to help ServiceNow with their scoped apps. We even scoped an entire portal ourselves. The two upgrades after go-live took four weeks each. The cost savings alone are reason enough to ensure customers stay in the box.

In January 2017, leadership began challenging the IT teams to automate as much as possible in the system. Teams would roll automated change records into their deployment, leveraging ServiceNow’s change API. During our research of machine learning, we determined that machine learning and AI were definitely a possibility at the company. Through the use of  APIs, we were able to extend the scope of automation in the platform. Our platform owner was offered the opportunity to be a beta tester of ServiceNow’s latest iteration of machine learning. We cloned over an instance provided and enabled machine learning. I was beginning to explore and tinker with the new features and began researching the various versions of AI in the market when I was approached by The Anti.

I decided to join The Anti because I know our world is changing. The organizations that realize we need more than human thinking will have a competitive advantage in the market. The Anti understands this and is paving the way for technology to meet these increased demands. I believe the future of computing is here, now. We are in the dawn of a new age where we can use all the information we’ve gathered to work for us. The Anti will help get us there. Imagine a world where your coworkers are updated automatically because you stray from your normal daily commute? Or not having to email anyone to find out how much you're paying for your dental benefits? All the various websites you have accounts with will be able to combine that information and present it to you in intelligent ways. Give you advice about things before you even ask. There’s no limit to what AI and machine learning can do.

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