You’ve implemented ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM). You invested in the tool, configured it, checked all the boxes, and now your business is going to be trending up and to the right. Right?
Fast forward. You haven’t seen the results you were expecting. Maybe your business is a little better off than you were before but the ROI isn’t quite what you had hoped for and now you’re starting to look for options to remedy that.
But where do you start?
Some people are quick to blame their software, saying it’s not working the way they think it should. What they don’t realize is that a ServiceNow ITSM implementation isn’t a silver bullet, capable of magically making things better as soon as the switch is flipped on. This tool is only as good as the data and processes around it. So, if you aren’t seeing the improvements you were expecting, you may need to revisit a few pieces of the puzzle behind the scenes.
Know your KPIs
You can improve something when you don't know what needs improving. Every team and department should have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide guidelines on what they need to do in order to be successful and bring value to the organization. These should be very clear and easy to measure like first call resolution rates, number of service outages, or measuring a service desk response time.
If you or your team aren’t sure what your KPIs are, you should consider the following:
1. Define them
You and your team should know what you are being measured on, how your work impacts the business, and how you should operate to drive improvements at your organization. This helps your team understand what they're being measured against and determine if the organization behaves in a way that supports you.
2. Document them
Once defined, it should be very easy for you and your team to locate and reference your KPIs. When you onboard new people, it will help them orient themselves and understand the role they play in the larger organization.
Starting at the KPI level is important because the rest stacks from there. Knowing what metrics you have to hit lets you define and document your processes and report on your progress in ServiceNow. Your reports are only as good as the data in them so if you are having difficulties with a certain report, make sure you are tracking and pulling the right metrics.
For example, the Virteva Service Desk handles 30,000 calls a month. Without the platform, we would need a big team to track those calls, normalize the data, discover trends, and act upon the findings. But since we have our KPIs defined and in place, we can leverage ServiceNow ITSM to report on all that data in near real-time.
Define your Process
Once you know your KPIs, you need to define processes that support them. Do you need to keep your call queue under 60 seconds? Should 70% of your incidents be resolved on the first contact? Implementing new software won’t necessarily help you hit these metrics or even get close if the processes you and your team follow aren’t designed effectively.
Imagine you are trying to hang a picture and you need to get a nail into a wall. If you don’t have a hammer, it will be difficult to make that happen without a little creativity or repurposing a different tool. Going out and buying a hammer won’t solve the issue outright either since the hammer won’t do the work without a user. And if the user doesn’t know how to properly use that hammer, they could end up smashing their thumb or putting a hole in the wall. But if they have a process (and a little hand-eye coordination) that hammer will make the job quick and easy.
They key to developing the right processes is knowing that ServiceNow is your hammer; it’s ready for the work, but you need to have your processes defined and ready to roll.
Share the “Why”
While KPIs and solid process foundations are required to maximize your use of the platform, you won’t get your users on board without them understanding why these are their KPIs and processes. If you tell an analyst to attach a knowledge base article to every incident “just because” it’s easy to let it slip on occasion because it just feels like another step.
If you tell an analyst to attach a knowledge base article to every incident because it helps you turn incidents into math problems which allows for a repeatable, predictable, and simplified process, your analyst now knows that it’s not just an extra step to take. Adding that knowledge base article will ultimately make his job easier and increase customer satisfaction.
Design your Single Source of Record
Now that you have your KPIs documented, your processes defined, and your employees engaged, you are in a great position to make some changes and modifications to your ServiceNow instance, based on the steps above.
The two most important pieces of advice I can give you are:
1. Don’t customize your software
Let me start with a quick overview of the differences between configuring and customizing. At a high level, configuring is making changes to your software using the tools available in the software. Customizing is making changes to your software with custom coding or implementations not supported by the vendor. While these are closely related and often lead to the same end result, the difference lies in updates and ongoing maintenance. Configurations are resilient to upgrades. Customizations will break.
ServiceNow software has been deployed for thousands of organizations and has configuration tools available to make your instance work for you. By leveraging these and the out of the box functionality, you can make your instance align with your KPIs and your processes.
2. Keep a single source of record
Consolidate records into ServiceNow wherever you can. Having multiple systems of record make it difficult to stay consistent, makes your team less efficient because they have to jump between apps, and can wreak havoc on your data integrity if people have to enter the same information into different solutions. If there is a typo in just one, how do you know which system is truth?
The other reason a single source of record is important is the ability to manage and share knowledge. Centralizing this data is critical for knowledge creation, upkeep, and distribution because it gives your employees one place to access this collective knowledge and they can trust that it’s always the version they need.
While there are many ways to improve the value of your ServiceNow ITSM instance, it’s important to take a step back and understand the work you do, the metrics you track against, and what outcomes you want to achieve with the software before you can successfully affect change at your organization. This list is by no means exhaustive but will help you build a solid foundation on which you can build your ITSM platform.
Get a ServiceNow Health Check!
Some companies offer a health check of your instance for a nominal fee—like the ServiceNow Health Check offered here at Virteva. These health checks can really identify flaws with your instance, including security faults. I think it is good idea to do a complete review of your instances to fix these issues. Often we are stuck looking at the day-to-day operations, and forget to notice the overall issues that can affect an instance.