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ServiceNow Workflows: Best Practices for Maximizing Your Investment

Author: Scott Tuck

Many IT teams begin their ServiceNow journey by replacing an aging, outdated service desk solution and investing in a solution that can manage everything from incidents to assets.  Rightfully so. ServiceNow is arguably the leading IT Service Management (ITSM) solution on the market. As evidenced by a longstanding position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant leader and impressive stock value, IT organizations of all sizes find value in the solution, right?

If your IT organization has the suspicion that there’s more value to be derived from ServiceNow, you are probably correct. At its core, ServiceNow is much more than an ITSM solution. To successfully maximize your value, ServiceNow should be viewed as more than an ITSM solution and as end-to-end service management and process automation solution.

The secret to maximizing the value of ServiceNow is to automate workflows.

ServiceNow is a powerful solution for highly-efficient and integrated Service Desk operations. ServiceNow’s streamlined, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)-based ITSM application helps to reduce the time it takes to resolve an incident from start to finish, provide powerful analytics and insights, and integrate other solutions to provide immediate value. While many of these service desk strategies are documented in the eBook “Diagnosing Your Support Desk,” the secret to maximizing value is in defining what else can ServiceNow do.

This is where automating your company’s daily workflows comes into play. ServiceNow features an out-of-box workflow engine to allow you to automate decisions and actions, either completely removing manual intervention, or helping to shift many steps left. Let’s take a look at a simple example:

“Company A” on-boards an average of 100 employees per year. In your current ITSM solution, you may find that each employee needs an account. Creation of that account involves a ticket is submitted, notification of a hiring manager to get an approval, and an administrator for the ITSM system to go through the process of creating the account, and finally contacting the end-user or hiring manager with login credentials. Sound familiar? With some light configuration, ServiceNow could automate these same steps.

How much efficiency could this simple configuration save the organization? Let’s overlay some time estimates on the above “manual” scenario:

Talent Acquisition submits ticket – 5 minutes
Hiring Manager reviews and provides approval – 5 minutes
Platform Administrator creates account: 10 minutes
Platform Administrator contacts new employee to provide login details – 10 minutes
Total Time Spent = 30 minutes – 30 Minutes * 100 employees = 50 hours
Blended Rate Salary – $50/hr
Yearly Cost – $2,500

Utilizing the ServiceNow Workflow engine, we could automate this by utilizing a feed from your HR system of record, even if it is just a spreadsheet, with the following process:

Step 1: A file is submitted to ServiceNow on a daily basis via a request ticket, email, or a more advanced option, via integration, so it is an automatic action.
Step 2: ServiceNow ingests the file and transforms the data into a table
Step 3: Using values from the data new employees automatically have a ticket submitted on their behalf
Step 4: Hiring manager receives a task and/or email to approve via a button or link
Step 5: Account access requirements are used to develop workflows that  are automatically sent to appropriate systems or system administrators for access provisioning
Step 6:
When all access steps are complete an email is sent to the new employee with their login credentials

This example can be accomplished with no additional platform cost with approximately 8 to 10 working hours of configuration. No coding is required! This allows your team to reduce the time required by the hiring manager, and completely remove the platform administrator from the equation.

This workflow function is merely a basic example of what you can do with the ServiceNow workflow engine. The point is that there are many opportunities to drive additional efficiency by identifying manual processes in the business.  Does your business utilize spreadsheets for simple reporting? If ServiceNow contains the data, a report can be built based on a set of criteria and sent on a schedule. How about emails? Does your service desk rely on email communications to and from customers? ServiceNow notifications can be utilized to move communications out of email, and into a single, tracked system of record.

CereCore’s ServiceNow experts specialize in helping organizations drive efficiency and performance improvements throughout the enterprise. For more best practices around IT Service Delivery, download the eBook: Diagnosing Your IT Support Desk.

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