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ServiceNow for Architects and Project Leaders

By Roy Justus , David Zhao
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  1. Free Chapter
    Chapter 1: Understanding the Value of ServiceNow
About this book
ServiceNow is the leading enterprise service management platform that enables the effective management of services in a modern enterprise. In this book, you’ll learn how to avoid pitfalls that can challenge value realization, where to focus, how to balance tradeoffs, and how to get buy-in for complex decisions. You’ll understand the key drivers of value in ServiceNow implementation and how to structure your program for successful delivery. Moving ahead, you’ll get practical guidance on the methods and considerations in securely using ServiceNow. You’ll also learn how to set up a multi-instance environment including best practices, patterns and alternatives in the use and maintenance of a multi-instance pipeline. Later chapters cover methods and approaches to design processes that deliver optimal ROI. Further, you’ll receive tips for designing technical standards, designing for scale, ensuring maintainability, and building a supportable instance. Finally, you’ll focus on the innovative possibilities that can be unlocked in a ServiceNow journey which will help you to manage uncertainty and claim the value of being an early adopter. By the end of this book, you’ll be prepared to lead or support a ServiceNow implementation with confidence that you’re bringing not only a solution but also making an impact in your organization.
Publication date:
December 2022
Publisher
Packt
Pages
252
ISBN
9781803245294

 

Understanding the Value of ServiceNow

We will start this book by discussing the value that can be enabled by the deployment of ServiceNow. All too often, the ServiceNow platform (and other tools) is deployed to fill a particular role within the technology landscape without focusing on the value it generates for the organization. When an organization sets out to implement a ticketing tool or an HR portal, it can be an indication that they’re on this path. If you’re reading this book, you have likely been given a key role in bringing ServiceNow to an organization and you would like to help make that implementation as valuable as possible. This book is going to give you concrete and actionable advice on how to achieve that goal.

This chapter will provide specific guidance on how to discover and shape the value proposition of your organization’s investment in ServiceNow.

In this chapter, we’re going to cover the following topics related to Managing Value:

  • What is Value?
  • Why is managing ServiceNow’s value important?
  • Who is responsible for value?
  • How do we define value?

Then, we will dive deeper into four categories of ServiceNow implementation value:

  • Service quality
  • Cost optimization
  • Customer experience
  • Innovation enablement
 

Managing for value

When setting out on an implementation, your chances of realizing value will be much higher if you actively manage specific value outcomes. This section will provide an overview of value and its management in the context of a ServiceNow implementation so that you can clearly define the value expected in your own implementation.

What is value?

To achieve value, it is first necessary to understand what it is. Simply put, value is the benefit that your organization receives from some activity or investment. The value of a financial investment includes the price you receive when you sell it and the value of a piece of fine art includes the pleasure of owning and displaying it. Similarly, the value of ServiceNow includes all the benefits that result from its implementation. Value can be financial or non-financial, and it can accrue to yourself, your customers, or your shareholders. It is also sometimes referred to as the return on investment (ROI), benefits, or positive outcomes – in all cases, value is the desirable result of an investment of resources in the execution of some activity.

Why is managing ServiceNow’s value important?

This book is predicated on the assumption that the leaders who sponsor and commission implementation projects such as a ServiceNow deployment are doing it because they wish to reap measurable benefits from the outcomes of that implementation. While some small minority of projects may be commissioned for other reasons (that is, political maneuvering), it’s much more likely that someone is investing and hoping to see tangible benefits.

The value of ServiceNow must be clearly understood at the outset of a project to ensure it will be realized. If the planned benefits are not realized, then the implementation will have failed even if there is a go-live where cake is served (it is a tradition in the ServiceNow community that each major go-live is celebrated with a branded cake). While some would hope that simply introducing ServiceNow immediately provides you with a vast array of benefits, it is the careful and considered application of that tool to your company’s business processes that will help you achieve the objectives. Actively managing the value of your implementation will result in a higher ROI, which, depending on your role, will translate to a more satisfied boss, customer, or stakeholder group.

Who is responsible for value?

The leader commissioning and sponsoring the ServiceNow project will ultimately be responsible for the ROI – for this reason, the final responsibility lies with the project sponsor. However, in many cases, this responsibility is delegated to a project leader who will chair the steering committee and serve as the person charged with the success of the project.

This project leader may delegate the responsibility for daily management of project work and outcomes further to a project manager. However, at the end of the day, a team will be charged to deliver the project’s outcomes and the daily work of implementing ServiceNow will fall on their shoulders. What is essential, regardless of the number of levels in your project’s governance structure, is that clear and continuous communication around value occurs from those doing the work to those responsible for the outcomes. The facilitation of this communication is the responsibility of the project leadership team and the project leader.

Alongside the primary responsibility of the project leader, there is the opportunity for every member of the team to take ownership of their contribution to the project’s value. This ownership includes identifying value opportunities, documenting value statements, aligning the project execution with the desired outcomes, and drawing attention to any risks to value realization. In this sense, if you are reading this book, it is likely that you are responsible for value in your role in ServiceNow implementation and that by focusing on bringing success to your implementation rather than the often-stated goal of going live, you can make an outsized impact on the benefits that will be achieved.

How do we define value?

Defining value is difficult and many projects get launched and even completed without this essential step – however, if the value is not defined, there is little chance of it being realized. A useful practice for defining value is the creation of value statements that can precisely anchor the discussion of value:

  • You should always describe the mechanism for value generation in your value statement so that it can be used to steer decision-making on your project.
  • You should always define a value statement regarding some group or organization – even a brick of gold is only valuable if someone can make use of it and gold ore deep below ground is only potentially valuable.
  • You should always strive to quantify value in a value statement, even if it’s a non-financial metric – otherwise, you may not be able to determine whether a particular element of value was realized. At the end of the day, if you can’t tell whether the value was achieved, then it probably wasn’t.

Here’s an example of a value statement - Automate widget request sourcing: The introduction of automation into the widget request process at the sourcing step reduces effort on the part of the widget manager by 15 minutes per request, with a cumulative annual savings of 460 hours, while reducing the time customers wait for their widgets by 1 day.

In almost all cases, value statements should be documented in a location that is accessible to your project teams, except for value statements relating to confidential activities such as unannounced organizational change or a material event such as an acquisition. By making the value statements available to your project team and referencing them throughout your project, you increase the probability of these benefits being realized. In projects being delivered by your own organization, your project charter or project business case may incorporate the value statements. In the case that a consulting or professional services organization is working on your implementation, the documentation on the project scope of the work can serve as a useful place to define these outcomes and to ensure alignment between all parties.

Types of value

While the value proposition of each project in each organization may be slightly different, years of implementing ServiceNow across diverse industries have shown that some common themes re-occur. Each of these provides a significant opportunity that should be explored in the context of your implementations, but it is most common for organizations to choose one or two as a primary focus of their projects. The four general themes are the following:

  • Service quality
  • Cost optimization
  • Customer experience
  • Innovation enablement

Each theme deserves independent treatment and the remainder of this chapter will be dedicated to describing these areas of value and the specific considerations that should be applied to the ones you target. In particular, we will review the important information needed to effectively drive value for each area to support you in determining which value opportunities you will target and what activities, features, or modules you will include in your scope to achieve those opportunities.

 

Service quality

Perhaps the most classic ServiceNow use case, the theme of service quality relates to an organization’s ability to deliver what they have committed to. The nature of services may vary but the underlying principles are quite similar and even the terminology used to manage them is often aligned. In an IT organization, service quality is the availability and smooth operation of the enterprise software and hardware, from laptops to Wi-Fi and from email to accounting systems. In a telecommunications company, service quality is about the stability and speed of communications services such as the internet and cable TV, while for an internet company, the availability of their website might be the primary consideration.

Defining a service scope

When striving toward service quality improvements, it is critical to define a service scope consisting of the services whose stability we aim to improve or maintain. This is easiest in an IT organization where the service scope might be “all systems managed by IT” or more commonly, “All production systems managed by IT,” but again, the same principles can be applied to other domains.

ServiceNow supports service quality primarily within the IT Service Management (ITSM), IT Operations Management (ITOM), and Customer Service Management (CSM) product areas, although other products are involved for particular use cases as well. The starting point for most organizations focused on service quality improvement is usually the establishment of ITSM processes for in-scope services. In these cases, it’s common to see scopes targeting all data center devices, or everything on the network – the underlying assumption being that if all the individual components are running smoothly, then the collective service is also performing as expected.

In defining a service scope, you may include components such as servers, switches, or storage arrays, and you will also need the list of business or application services that you are targeting. With ServiceNow implementation in particular, it is essential to at least define the applications that these components support, as these form one of the cornerstones of the ServiceNow Common Services Data Model (CSDM) as Application Services (more detail on the CSDM can be found in the current version of the ServiceNow published "CSDM Whitepaper" available from ServiceNow).

Some guidance on service scope is warranted, as companies often try to tackle all systems and services for service quality optimization simultaneously – while that is possible, it also requires an expert level of coordination and is subject to significant risk. A more targeted approach can remove risk and decouple these objectives, allowing you to move rapidly in a small domain to deliver value quickly. It also allows an implementation team to build confidence by tackling a smaller problem with a clear end in sight, rather than a single goal that is difficult to envision reaching and even more difficult to execute.

Service quality metrics

It is common for projects to be commissioned with high-level value objectives tied to a value theme such as service quality. Organizations may know that there is work to be done to keep things running smoothly but have not yet translated that into actionable metrics. In these cases, the project team will now need to collaborate with stakeholders such as business and IT leaders and service owners to create clear value statements for service quality tied to specific service quality metrics. Some examples of value metrics related to service quality include the following:

  • The number and severity of SLA or SLA breaches
  • The number of critical incidents
  • Unplanned downtime of mission-critical systems
  • Failed customer interactions with your mobile application

Note that while these are quantitative metrics that undeniably matter to your organization, they may or may not be financial metrics. An SLA with your customer may incur penalties for being violated but an internal OLA isn’t likely to have a hard dollar cost associated. This will be a common trend in your ServiceNow journey and will be repeated for other value-related themes. Recall that a value statement should be measurable in terms of the impact on a specific group of individuals. This requirement should be easy to meet when formulating service quality metrics and value statements, as you generally know what the user demographic of a service is. Examples of user communities can include employees in the accounting department, your customers, or your suppliers.

A value statement for service quality might read as follows - Reduce the impact of database anomalies during the month-end close: Monitoring and responding to anomalous database performance during peak periods around the month-end close reduces overtime worked by the financial accounting team by 50%.

This value statement is clear in scope and delivers value to a clear audience, although whether the accountants are working long hours or the budget holder is footing the bill for the overtime pay may depend on the organization. By targeting specific systems or services that have a measurable impact on the organization, you avoid a peanut butter approach where a diluted version of the value is spread across a large surface area of applications. This is important because a very small impact on a large number of teams can be difficult to measure and it therefore becomes difficult to show that an improvement is related to the efforts of your project team.

Planning for service quality

With the metrics established, the next task for your team will be to develop and execute a sequence of activities that lead to the realization of value. A critical step will be to confirm that you have the appropriate ServiceNow licensing in place to support the service quality value objectives and that your project work plan includes the activities required to deliver on those value objectives.

If there are any gaps, you must work with your project management and governance structure to either modify the plan or the objectives. This is an essential point, as all too often, the connection between objectives and the plan is ignored. If you as an insider within the project, a dedicated member of the team, or a seasoned leader overseeing the project can’t tell how a particular objective will be achieved, then there is a good chance that it will not be.

Identifying opportunities in the current state

If service quality is a target outcome for your project, then you should understand the current state of the in-scope services first. This is a common challenge where organizations believe that the current state is not relevant to their future state. They are re-imagining their IT operations and implementing an entirely new ServiceNow instance after all. Experience shows that a good map is substantially more valuable if you know where you are starting and for that reason, it is worth your while to get a sense of how the processes are currently performing.

Questions to ask include the following:

  • How stable are the services?
  • When something goes wrong, how quickly is the issue detected?
  • When investigated, what are the common root causes?
  • How often are issues resolved at the service desk versus being resolved only after escalation?

Answering these questions will help you map specific ServiceNow capabilities to the problems most relevant to these services. This, in turn, allows you to focus your resources on the key levers to drive improvements in your objectives.

Aligning the implementation scope with the opportunity

If you find that the in-scope services often fail due to changes being made to those services, then that suggests it’s necessary to focus on the change management process to better assess and manage risk. ServiceNow has specific capabilities in ITSM for change risk calculation to help you navigate that scenario. However, if an unreliable software solution, perhaps one prone to memory leaks, is spontaneously failing after some time in stable operation, then the instrumentation of that infrastructure and application using the ITOM monitoring capabilities should be considered to identify leading indicators and even execute automated remediation steps as a stopgap until the software is updated.

The essential process of discovering the problems or opportunities that exist in the service quality requires you to speak to those who are knowledgeable about the services, analyze the data, and think critically about how the capabilities you will implement can bring about a positive change for their teams. During this time, keep an eye out for teams who have substantially better service performance or who have established and proven solutions for managing their systems.

If you are operating from a templated plan or even one devised at the outset of the project when you had very little information, now is a good time to revisit your planned activities and to critically assess whether changes are required to remain on track to deliver value.

 

Cost optimization

When constructing a business case for any project, a common activity is to identify how the implementation will provide returns on your initial investment. If you have consulted this business case when preparing your value targets for cost optimization, you will have a head start in terms of the direction of your project’s documented objectives. Some of these objectives may not become part of the final value proposition for your project but they do set a direction for focus and a baseline for comparison.

Cost optimization opportunities in ServiceNow implementations often target one or both of the following major drivers of economic value:

  • Process efficiency: Reduction of the time spent executing and waiting for common tasks to complete
  • Asset optimization: Efficiency utilization and stewardship of company assets

We’ll address the opportunities in these drivers of value so that you can better understand the options to realize the financial ROI of your implementation.

Process efficiency

This is the classic ServiceNow business case metric, the reasoning being that if we spend thousands of hours handling thousands of tickets every month, then even a small improvement quickly pays for the cost of the implementation. Usually, some percentage ranging from 3 to 15% is selected as the target efficiency gain, but at the planning stage, it is rarely clear which specific activities are the targets of these gains. At the same time, some areas of value that are often overlooked in this analysis include the benefits that accrue to those customers whose wait time for a service is reduced or where reducing escalation and follow-ups can avoid taking time away from their daily work.

Understanding the current state

When embarking on a process optimization journey, you will be more well equipped if you can observe as many of the relevant processes as possible in their current form. A week of shadowing ServiceDesk or customer support agents, analyzing current ticketing data or inboxes, or other views into the current state will be time well spent, as you will gain insight into the way work is currently happening and both the benefits and drawbacks of the current processes. In many cases, even where tooling is not in place to support processes, the teams responsible for getting the work done will implement ingenious workarounds to make their daily lives more efficient but might not think to mention them in a formal requirements workshop. Even if the current processes are in no way better than the target state, you can still learn much about the degree of organizational change that will be required to shift to new ways of working.

Sequencing investment in processes

If there are specific processes that have been targeted for optimization in the charter of your project, then you can begin with those processes until clear reasons emerge to modify that scope. In most implementations, however, there is a general desire to introduce process efficiency and it falls to the project team and process owners to determine the sequence of implementation.

Again, in this domain, we risk spreading a thin layer of value rather than concentrating efforts to make an impact that justifies the further investment, so it is important to be intentional in your distribution of efforts. It is likely that simply by deploying a modern, fully integrated service management capability, your ability to serve customers will increase slightly across the board, but the opportunity for optimization doesn’t stop there. The highest returns come when you tackle specific high-value requests or workflows to automate delivery and minimize cycle times to the tune of days rather than minutes. We will now investigate how to identify those opportunities.

Opportunities to optimize processes can be identified using the following sequence of steps:

  1. Start by generating or collecting a list of request types across the teams and services in the scope of your implementation. These may be requests for goods or services, inquiries, or any other interactions that consume the time of the operational teams.
  2. Next, score each of these opportunities by the monthly effort invested (the count of requests multiplied by the effort per request) as well as the potential savings from automation. In this context, automation not only includes fully scripted process executions but also the routing and batching of work to ensure that tasks are distributed efficiently and do not get lost mid-workflow.
  3. Now, assign priority to tasks that score highly in both categories. In this way, a focused effort on optimizing even a small number of high-impact processes can translate to an outsized impact on your organization’s total efficiency.
  4. Finally, create value statements for the top priority items in order to ensure that there is a clear objective for each opportunity.

Again, processes specifically mandated in the charter of your project should be included on this list by default unless a strong argument is made to and accepted by your steering committee. In general, the approach we advocate is to preserve and meet commitments that have been made by the project when doing so does not risk loss of value. This establishes credibility that is useful down the road when a significant change is required in order to preserve value.

Leaving a process off the priority value list at this stage could mean that the process is no longer required and can be left out entirely – however, it is also possible that a basic form of that process can be implemented rapidly, allowing the team to focus efforts on the items that generate the most value. In the latter case, in the meantime, the basic implementations can capture volumetric data that will inform the next prioritization cycle.

Identifying improvement opportunities

A common approach in projects targeting process optimization is for a member of the team to sit down with a process SME and essentially generate a flowchart of the steps that must be executed in the delivery of that process or service. This activity is a useful information-gathering exercise, but an opportunity is missed if this flowchart is then handed to a development team who are instructed to build it into a workflow without engaging in process re-design. This is an intensive exercise that should be completed only for the processes identified on your prioritized list, specifically the processes your project has committed to improving and those that will generate the greatest savings for your organization.

When optimizing a process there are several tools ServiceNow provides:

  • The ability to require information at earlier stages and present it later in a workflow: This is very important when you observe processes that frequently revert to earlier stages due to incomplete information.
  • The ability to validate the information in real time in order to correct errors before they impact the process: This can be as simple as using a lookup to the CMDB to ensure an entered serial number corresponds to an actual device, or it can involve more complex validations referencing customer entitlements.
  • The ability to look up related information for the user rather than requiring manual entry: This saves the user time when filling out the forms and prevents gaps in the user’s knowledge from impacting the process.
  • Automation of routine actions: Activities that can be completed automatically, such as the provisioning of cloud resources according to a template or the allocation of an unused software license from a pool. Automation is particularly valuable in conjunction with automated lookups – this combination reduces effort of fulfillment and allows for reduced customer wait time, even allowing for near-instant fulfillment of some requests.
  • Parallel execution of workflow: The ability to route parallel execution of activities while managing prerequisites is one of the useful features of SerivceNow’s Flow Designer and legacy Workflow tooling. This can prevent unnecessary wait times for the end customer, as parallelization allows processes to complete much earlier.
  • Process monitoring controls: ServiceNow allows for due dates and SLAs to be configured so that overdue or stalled tasks can be identified quickly and attention can be given to completing them. Stalled or unattended tasks can often be identified in current state ticket data and are easy opportunities for optimization.

Taken together, a combination of these methods will help you drive down the effort and time taken to complete the high-volume processes identified earlier, which can represent a substantial saving in time and effort.

Here’s an example of a value statement for process optimization - Automate license allocation and software provisioning: A catalog of department-specific pre-approved software that is requested for immediate deployment using existing software licenses enables users to get right to work with the tools they need by reducing provisioning from 24 hours to 5 to 30 minutes depending on the application.

Note how this re-imagined process references a user’s department and looks up approved software to cut out unnecessary approvals by allowing managers to simply pre-approve certain software for all their employees. It also avoids inconvenient delegation processes when a manager is out of the office or effort for every new employee. It also refers to the automation of license checks, a key opportunity that is discussed in an upcoming section on asset optimization.

Process efficiency metrics

Process efficiency metrics are one of the areas ServiceNow is most optimized to collect data for due to the years of work in monitoring the execution of ITSM processes. Specifically, the Performance Analytics capability will allow you to collect detailed breakdowns of your process according to key dimensions and will allow you to monitor process performance to ensure it remains within specific bounds.

Common process efficiency metrics will include the following:

  • Process cycle time: The end-to-end delivery time for a process
  • Time to live: How long it takes from the request of equipment until that equipment is actively up and running
  • Stale task counts: How many tasks have remained in a particular state without updating for longer than expected
  • Process throughput: How many requests are being processed
  • Effort per request: How many hours of hands-on work are required in order to serve a single request

Ideally, all these metrics would improve immediately at go-live, but it is often the case that the implementation of new processes and systems introduces a learning curve that initially offsets gains in efficiency. The effect of this is that things temporarily get more difficult as staff familiarize themselves with the new system before the benefits of the new processes start to provide a net benefit.

Figure 1.1 – An example of a process learning curve

Figure 1.1 – An example of a process learning curve

Figure 1.1 shows a small but noticeable increase in the process cycle time at go-live, followed by a steady decrease that settles below the baseline cycle time as process participants become accustomed to the improved process.

Asset optimization

One of the most overlooked areas of value in ServiceNow is the ability to create a central register of company technology assets and define the processes and controls for their use. This can reduce the number of expensive compute devices purchased, extend the useful life of assets, and help you manage risks when decommissioning these assets.

Prerequisites

Asset optimization in ServiceNow is primarily achieved through the Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) modules, although supporting ITOM and ITSM capabilities often come into play. These are some of the modules with the greatest potential to optimize technology expenditure but are generally under-used in the ecosystem.

If your organization is focused on asset optimization as an outcome of your project, then ensuring you’re planning for the implementation of these capabilities is essential. Asset optimization processes are also very dependent on data quality and availability – often, interfaces with vendors, procurement systems, and financial systems are required, so you should be sure to include these in your project scope. SAM is also dependent on the collection of data from your in-scope devices in order to determine where various software is installed.

The definition of an asset

A common question during implementation in terms of an asset optimization component is the definition of an asset and while there may be any number of theoretically correct answers, rather than asking what an asset is, you may instead consider the more applicable question, “when should we create an asset record in ServiceNow?” The former question is theoretical – the latter is a question of system behavior and what capabilities you’ll have, so it’s more immediately useful.

An asset record should generally be created if any of the following three conditions are met:

  • The item holds financial value or financial liability is associated with it
  • The stock levels of the item must be maintained, either as an individual item or in bulk
  • The process of procuring, deploying, and decommissioning the asset should be tracked across its life cycle

The focus of the asset record is to identify, classify, locate, and value the item it refers to while the associated CI record will address its operational characteristics.

Hardware Asset Management

When organizations purchase hardware, it can quickly become difficult to keep track of it. In fact, in many cases, items worth less than a couple of hundred dollars are considered consumables and distributed as needed but without a formal process to manage their whereabouts or life cycle. An extreme example of this would be printer paper. It’s not important to know who has which pages but it is important that we know when we’re running low and need to re-order. ServiceNow provides distinct processes and options for managing consumables relative to individual serialized assets such as servers and laptops.

Determining what assets should fall into each type requires you to consider the value of the assets, the rate at which they are used, and any relevant accounting or compliance requirements; furthermore, some organizations lease their assets and as a result, individual tracking is essential in order to ensure that assets are returned at the end of the lease period.

Software Asset Management

Software licenses come in many different types and ServiceNow has an extensive capability to manage these considerations. The basic operation of SAM is to ensure compliance by determining whether the company has enough licenses purchased or subscribed to for the actual usage. This is a pre-emptive self-audit and helps companies avoid expensive true-ups and penalties, which vendors can apply if their customers are found to violate their licenses.

When considering ServiceNow for SAM, you should also determine whether an existing SAM process or tool is in place and consider the incremental value ServiceNow brings. If another tool is deployed, is it efficiently handling the interfaces to service management (for example, reclaiming desktop software licenses when a laptop is returned)? If a manual process is involved, can time be saved in the execution of those processes that can be redeployed to support contract negotiations?

Scope for asset optimization

As with service quality, the starting point for asset-based cost optimization is understanding your scope. The broadest useful questions for scope are the following:

  • Does your scope include both software license and hardware assets?
  • Will you manage both serialized (individually numbered and tracked) as well as consumable assets?
  • Are you targeting both data center and end user assets?

These questions determine your high-level scope and narrow down the discussions to follow. Once the high-level scope is defined, you will need to establish boundaries for the process, asset types, and organizational scope in order to focus your implementation. Naturally, you will want to consider an objective when setting the scope and prioritizing the scope that offers the greatest potential for cost optimization.

Useful scope groups include the following:

  • Process: Are you trying to implement an end-to-end life cycle, just the procurement and provisioning, or just the assignment and tracking? ServiceNow provides tools to do any or all of these but it’s up to the customer to decide which of the processes should be prioritized.
  • Asset types: The specific types of assets that should be included should be defined at a level more granular than the data center or end user. You should determine specific categories to target, such as rack-mounted switches, servers, laptops, printers, and wireless access points.
  • Organizational scope: Will you just target your corporate offices, your field staff, or every employee across certain geographies? Another common question is whether to include new acquisitions either as a pilot group or for later rollout.

There are no wrong answers when it comes to the scope of assets to include, but if you choose to attempt everything at once, you are increasing the complexity of and therefore the risks associated with your implementation. We recommend choosing at most one of the aforementioned scope areas to cover broadly in your first release. The greater the skill and expertise of your implementation team, the larger the scope can be for a given release.

Sample of a focused asset scope

To establish procurement and provisioning processes for all desktops, laptops, and laptop docking stations in corporate offices worldwide.

Asset optimization metrics

Measuring asset optimization metrics can be more challenging than process optimization but is still well supported by ServiceNow.

Key metrics of asset optimization include the following:

  • Spend per headcount on end user devices
  • The annual asset loss rate
  • Asset utilization rates
  • Any software asset license penalties paid
  • Software assets re-allocated
  • An inventory of critical spares
  • Embodied carbon of corporate devices
  • Asset energy utilization and emissions

In addition to the actual value metrics, you should also consider data quality metrics such as the following:

  • Stale asset records
  • Duplicate asset counts
  • Assets with invalid location, financial, or assignment data
  • Missing asset aging

These metrics are just as important as your optimization objectives because they will inform the trust you can place in your other metrics. In many cases, organizations will require periodic audits of assets for operational or accounting reasons, which can give you an excellent opportunity to sample these metrics.

 

Customer experience

ServiceNow may have grown from humble beginnings as a platform to support IT processes but today, it offers a substantial capability to improve the experience of customers, whether those are internal or external to the organization. In our modern lives, we often take the consumer-grade experiences we encounter with apps such as Uber, Amazon, and Netflix for granted. ServiceNow can enable a version of this consumerized experience to our stakeholders, whether those are end customers, employees, supply chain partners, or job candidates.

The HR Service Delivery (HRSD) application provides the ability to onboard new employees seamlessly, meaning that their first experience in your organization is far less overwhelming and confusing than it might otherwise be.

The CSM application allows you to provide contextual, entitlement-driven support at scale to your customer base while supporting the integration of omnichannel engagement with those same customers.

In ITSM and enterprise portals, in general, end users can shop online for the services and equipment required to get their jobs done and take advantage of published knowledge bases that provide relevant information at their fingertips. This is useful to employees in major offices, but you could also consider retail or branch locations as well as field employees and their needs.

Customer experience is a value proposition that is usually either scoped directly into your project in the case of a CSM or HRSD implementation or it may be a primary or secondary consideration in the deployment of other ServiceNow modules such as Legal Service Management or ITSM. This means that for many implementations, the scope of customer experience is clearer than some of the other value drivers, but what can be particularly difficult is how to measure it. The tools remain the same regardless and, in this section, we will focus on the things you can do in your project in order to maximize the customer experience.

Tools for customer experience

The most important part of customer experience is whether your customers are consistently and efficiently receiving a service that meets their needs. For this reason, many of the elements covered earlier in this chapter apply, particularly process efficiency and service quality. In addition to stable services and quick turnaround times, your customers and stakeholders have grown used to the experience of being able to digitally interact with services on their terms and in their own time. This can mean self-service portals that put knowledge and structured workflows at the customer’s fingertips, as well as Virtual Agent chatbot conversations that can automatically handle complex interactions and hand them over to a human when necessary.

There are two major items that both drive customer experience value and quickly expand the scope of your projects: portals and Virtual Agent conversations.

Scoping customer experience value – portals

The portal scope is often defined at the outset of the project as simply being out of the box with the assumption that this will meet the organization’s needs. This may be the appropriate course of action but if you are planning to use an out-of-the-box ServiceNow portal for your deployment, you should be certain to conduct a detailed walkthrough with representative users in order to determine whether it will meet their needs.

Fortunately, branding a ServiceNow portal is a straightforward process and aligning it with your company’s image is essential if the portal will serve as an interface outside your organization. For more extensive customization, you will need to ensure there is a clear value statement tied to each departure from the ServiceNow default in order to ensure that the changes are being made for the right reasons; but if justified, ServiceNow portal technology is flexible enough to accommodate just about any set of requirements.

Scoping customer experience value – Virtual Agent

One of the innovative capabilities of the ServiceNow platform is the conversational Virtual Agent system that allows you to combine natural language processing and an automated workflow to generate self-service options that can be as good as a live agent but at the disposal of your users on their schedule and without your support staff’s involvement. Virtual Agent conversations can be prioritized and scoped in a similar way to investments in process efficiency workflows from earlier in this chapter. By creating a combined view of interaction frequency and then assessing the degree to which the interaction can be fully scripted, you will be able to identify the best opportunities for Virtual Agent topic delivery.

A useful exercise with Virtual Agent conversations is to analyze logs of any existing chat-based tooling for support and use this as a basis to prioritize automated conversations. It is also important to realize that if your virtual agent is not able to address a large fraction of incoming requests acceptably (even if it means transferring to a live chat agent), then the agent is more likely to frustrate users and lower the overall customer experience. Consider designing your flows so that if a clear actionable intention is not quickly established and confirmed, then the virtual agent gets out of the way and lets a human take over.

Measuring customer experience

Measuring customer satisfaction with the experience you provide is a challenge because traditional methods such as surveys can have low response rates. For this reason, it is important to engage early and often with representative customers in order to get direct feedback and make good use of the collected data and feedback.

ServiceNow provides survey and rating capabilities that can be used to receive feedback from customers. You must resist the temptation to create surveys that are time-consuming or that contain many required fields. Often a simple happy, neutral, or sad face with an optional text box for explanation can capture more useful data than a five-item survey because you’ll get substantially higher response rates.

 

Innovation enablement

The final area of value we will cover in this chapter is the enablement of your organization’s ability to innovate and execute new opportunities. This is typically not something tackled as a primary objective in an initial implementation of ServiceNow but there is a lot of value to be unlocked here and so we will cover the opportunities and approaches to enable innovation in an organization.

In this section, we’ll cover a diverse set of innovation enablement capabilities that are worth discussing for their ability to either support the formulation or prioritization of ideas within your organization as far as they strengthen the ability to execute projects and products.

Ideation

Included in the ITBM product family is the Idea Portal. This is a tool that helps you efficiently source content from your organization and assess the potential of executing those projects. Even if the Idea Portal is not a good fit, the concept of centralizing the intake of helpful suggestions or ideas through demand management is something that can be incorporated into almost any service catalog. It also prevents the contamination of incident and service request data with a very different type of interaction where service stakeholders are suggesting ways to make a change to the service rather than interact with it operationally.

The value of implementing the Idea Portal or a demand management intake channel early in your implementation journey is that you can use it to help gather information relevant to your implementation as well. Similarly, the introduction of the demand process early in your implementation journey enables you to tie into the project management capabilities, which can help drive the execution of your ServiceNow implementation and other enterprise projects.

The management of ideas and demands therefore provides both direct benefits in the aggregation of knowledge within your organization and improvements to data quality in other processes that might otherwise serve as a channel for demand intake in the absence of a more suitable path.

Project management

Another significant challenge in modern organizations is a lack of standardization in the execution of projects, in large part due to the lack of widely adopted collaborative project delivery tooling. If your organization is still tracking risks and issues in Excel or PowerPoint, then you might consider the introduction of ServiceNow’s project management capability. One very effective way to pilot this is by adopting it for your own ServiceNow implementation, which has the added benefit of getting project participants more familiar with the tool and its features from an end user’s point of view.

Specific areas of value that can be piloted on your implementation before releasing it to the broader organization include the following:

  • Online fully collaborative project planning and execution: Rather than a single project file on a manager’s computer, you can grant project participants a real-time capability to update their parts of the plan and review the progress of those they are dependent on.
  • Transparency in risks, issues, decisions, actions, and changes: The online Risk, Issue, Decision, Action, Change (RIDAC) capabilities within ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management (PPM) help surface key project management risks and issues and provide a standard workflow for addressing them. They also serve to enable greater accountability, as all actions can be tracked and their status can be reported.
  • Project status reporting: ServiceNow allows you to generate in-system status reports and share them with the right stakeholders. Relevant data on project progress and cost can be included to present a clear picture of progress.

In addition to facilitating project delivery, ServiceNow also offers a significant opportunity to accelerate technical execution through the inclusion of agile and test management capabilities directly on the platform. These features integrate into project planning as well, which facilitates even greater transparency and reduces the potential for missed communication.

 

Summary

This chapter has covered a lot of ground, from addressing the foundational concepts in a value-driven implementation to walking through four broad categories of value in ServiceNow implementations with specific examples. Using the information in this chapter, you can now articulate the need for active management of project value in order to maximize the ROI in ServiceNow. Additionally, you should understand the broad categories of value within a ServiceNow implementation and be able to use this to frame and document specific value objectives for your project. Finally, you should be able to connect the value that you are targeting to specific features and capabilities that will form your project scope and specify metrics that will track the success of your value objectives.

In the next chapter, we will look at some of the common ways in which projects fail to deliver the anticipated value.

About the Authors
  • Roy Justus

    Roy has spent his career automating and optimizing enterprise processes with a primary focus on the ServiceNow Ecosystem. His experience spans regional, national, and multinational firms across a broad array of industries where he has served in technical architecture and strategic advisory roles. Having spent years as the architect of large and complex deployments Roy now leads teams working on the cutting edge of the ServiceNow ecosystem to drive innovation and value from the best of the platform. Roy holds the Certified Master Architect designation as well as numerous other ServiceNow Certifications.

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  • David Zhao

    David is a ServiceNow Certified Master Architect and leads the ideation, and creation of Enterprise Service Management best practices and thought leadership for Deloitte Canada’s ServiceNow practice. He has led transformation programs all over the globe in the telecom, financial services, technology, and agriculture industries and has been involved in many ‘firsts’, including one of the first and largest ServiceNow Customer Service Management implementations. David is highly passionate and knowledgeable about how organizations can effectively change their operations to better take advantage of new technologies (such as automation and AI). He lives with his family in Calgary and spends his spare time debating strangers on the internet.

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