A Single Storage Billing Process That's Scalable and Automated

IT currently has two different recharge models for the same Storage service offered through Data Center Services (DCS) and IT Field Services (ITFS). The MyResearch service also offers storage (using the same infrastructure) and needs to roll out a new recharge model as well. Any new recharge model requires an extensive review process. Instead of developing yet a third storage recharge model, our Finance Director Michelle Fanner asked the IT Service Management Office (ITSMO) to facilitate a Kaizen event to review the current processes and come up with recommendations for a single recharge model for all IT storage services.

We brought four units together (Data Center Services, IT Field Services, IT Recharge Services, and Finance) to Value Stream Map the current processes and held a series of 2-hour Kaizen events within a 2-month period. Not only did the team achieve the goal of developing a single recharge model, we discovered several other opportunities for improvement. We discovered (1) the same exact storage usage were being billed twice –DCS bills ITFS and then ITFS then bills the customer; (2) customers were not aware that service providers (ITFS, MyResearch) were covering a portion of their storage usage (3) Storage is over allocated, i.e., 34TB is allocated to MyResearch, when only 19TB is used; and finally, (4) the recharge calculations are done manually, taking more than 20 hours and requiring three different hand-offs before a monthly bill can be generated.

The team came up with following the recommendations:

  • All storage billing will come from DCS. Since DCS already has an approved recharge model, a recharge review process for MyAccess or any future storage service would not be necessary.
  • The bill will include a credit for the portion the service provider is covering for the customer.
  • Storage management software will be configured to auto-grow to prevent over allocation.
  • Since ITFS customer base is managed in ServiceNow and the MyResearch request process is also in ServiceNow, we will leverage ServiceNow and build an integration with the Storage Management Software (NetApp) and the IT Recharge System (ITRS) to automate the billing process.

Leadership reviewed our recommendations and have given us the green light to move forward. Now it’s time to drill down on the technical details! We are aiming for a summer implementation.

Thanks very much for leading this project to completion with little to no direction. The recommendations were perfect. -Michelle Fanner, Finance Director