Today, most service management tools are performing OK, but how about the people using them? Often, the bulk of change requirements come from the process perspective rather than the users, leading to solutions which work well for process management and reporting, but tend to forget the real purpose: user productivity.

Good news is, the main difference between providing a tool that supports processes compared to delivering a solution that enables people, is your mindset.

In 2020, ServiceNow is named Leader by Gartner in ITSM Magic Quadrant for the 7th year. The Gartner report mentions, among other things, the focus on providing a single platform for many types of workflows and extending it with integration capabilities to other platforms.

And, as made clear by the key message during their Knowledge20 event earlier this year, ServiceNow view their product not as a customizable ITSM ticketing system but a as a ‘platform of platforms’.

A platform with omnichannel capabilities to allow interaction with your customers regardless of who they are; built to run efficient workflows regardless of business domain; and with the capability of integrating to your existing systems of records.

Meaning, the since long existing vision of ServiceNow has become reality. Consequently, it also means that we must not miss out on the chance to take advantage of all that innovation, and to make the best use of the enabling technology they offer.

ServiceNow is not primarily a development platform. ServiceNow is a mature toolset with lots of capabilities just waiting to be used.

For any organization to actually reach the point where you can benefit from all that ServiceNow is, and aims to be, it obviously means hard work. It will not just happen, as we all know.
So, the question is where to focus your efforts?

This article highlights these areas to begin with:

  • Make user experience your main driver
  • Avoid the process
  • Integrate sensibly
  • Measure satisfaction

Make user experience your main driver

Traditionally, tools have been created or bought, and then extensively modified by request from process people to “fit our very unique organization, because standard processes won’t work here”.
Sounds familiar?

It is time to adopt a different approach.

The approach of using standard features and building user experience, rather than building custom features and experience usage.

Ask yourself where you would rather spend your money; developing and maintaining a customized tool for what is essentially branded versions of standard processes used by support staff, or facilitating the productivity and success of your business users and customers?

Make your improvement efforts target the users and customers directly. The process people will benefit indirectly. Doing it the other way around rarely has the same effect on productivity, and usually has quite the opposite effect on user experience.

Shift your primary efforts to enabling ServiceNow features, touching up usability, and providing a great user experience, which is the foundation of user satisfaction and productivity.

Clean and simple interfaces for the end users and customers in Service Portal, with support for mobile devices, chat, Virtual Agent. A simple-to-navigate Request Catalog, relevant knowledge available at their fingertips. Just like they are used to interact with the rest of the world.

Workspaces, intuitive dashboards, stripped down forms for the delivery and support teams. Relevant information in a pretty package, facilitating and resulting in desired process behavior.

In terms of administration and management, there are built-in functionalities supporting data driven configurations of more than you might be aware of. Functionality you already paid for, but often end up paying for again by unknowingly developing something similar from scratch rather than using what is already there.

In summary

  • Drive improvements from the user experience perspective, rather than process reports
  • Enable and use the features available

Avoid the process

Whenever possible, the goal is to provide the user with what they need even before triggering the traditional support process to avoid unnecessary consumption of support resources, to minimize waiting and lead times, etc.

In many cases, an appealing scenario to users and support functions alike. Hence, focus your efforts on trying to avoid the process.

Provide all relevant information and knowledge you can get your hands on through your self-service solution and automate as much of it as possible.

Utilize the workflow concept to coordinate and orchestrate cross-function collaboration when self-service is not enough. Consider domain specific processes simply as sub-flows in any arbitrary flow of fulfilment and provide simple ways of connecting teams and people in the support and delivery organization. ServiceNow offers several means of doing this, in many cases with little or no coding.

In summary

  • Shift from producing process and report data to producing helpful user information, and make it available
  • Identify and drive improvements from the holistic and collaborative workflow perspective, rather than in each individual process

Integrate sensibly

Consider this statement:

The primary goal of integrations is to minimize the number of user interfaces and places to go, for any given user.

Within a workflow, several people or roles in different teams and organizations might be required to each fulfil their part in order to deliver the desired result.
That’s fine, and it’s our job to facilitate and coordinate this – not the end user’s or customer’s.
Because; They. Don’t. Know. They obviously shouldn’t have to, either.

We integrate systems to share and consolidate data and information. Prioritize and build those integrations based, again, on the benefit to your users.

Use existing connectors, plugins, spokes whenever available and state clear requirements on those master sources for data quality.

Again, apply user experience as the driver for having correct information available in the right place at the right time to the right people.

In summary

  • Drive integrations from a user experience perspective and with Single Point of Interaction as the goal
  • State clear requirements on the master sources
  • Use pre-built methods

Measure satisfaction

Last, but not least.

Measure what you do, dont try to do what you measure.

Having adopted user experience as primary driver and focus, that’s also what you should measure in terms of user satisfaction and productivity. It can be a bit tricky to find the relevant metrics and the methods to use, but when done right it provides a much more relevant view on how you are doing than the ‘number-of-tickets’ type of metrics.

Of course, those standard process KPI’s are not useless and shouldn’t be completely ignored – in this context however, they are not the primary source of improvement indicators.

Treat process adherence, KPI’s and traditional process reports as results, and as biproducts of what people do.

Address any shortcomings in this area with feedback, coaching, and training. When a tool or process modification could help, think usability first – will this make it easier for people to do the correct thing? A complex process should still be simple to perform.

With every improvement, find the thing that would increase user satisfaction. Measure continually to find where to improve next.

Asking the users what to improve in their daily work-life also gives them the sense of being seen and listened to, a key component in people satisfaction and engagement.

Whatever service or tool you might be providing, how do your users feel about it? Are they happy? Do they feel safe and secure? Do they feel seen, heard and confirmed? Do they get the support and enablement they need to be business productive?

Whether you are a service manager, platform owner, architect/developer, or process owner, your main area of interest should be to understand all of that, and work to remove usability obstacles and minimize manual steps.

In summary

  • Identify improvement indicators by measuring productivity and satisfaction, rather than just ticket trends and resolution times
  • Understand your users, their types of work, and how you currently enable – or obstruct – them to perform
  • Consult experienced soft-skilled people to define the methods of measurement

Summary

Keep in mind, the technology is there and ready to be utilized. ServiceNow has evolved and is no longer primarily a development/customization platform but a collection of almost ready-to-use application suites.

We must evolve, too.

Focus your ServiceNow improvement efforts on what really matters.

  • Prioritize to improve user experience and increase productivity
  • Enable, configure, and start using existing features as they were designed
  • Provide and promote relevant information and knowledge to help and enable users
  • Integrate with the intention to minimize user intervention and enable true workflows across domains, functions, and processes
  • Find out what your users and customers really think and feel about your ServiceNow delivery and work with them to improve

How can Sofigate help?

At Sofigate, we have always had the mindset and approach to understand the essence of your business needs, to question historic requirements and ways of working to ensure they still make sense, and to suggest different and less complex solutions focused on value realization.

With the extensive collection of features available in tools like ServiceNow, you might find it difficult to choose the right path to quickly gain leverage. Using our knowledge and experience of the features, we assess your needs and maturity levels to help you define your path. Success often relies on meeting the right demand at the right time, and therefore being able to quickly identify and understand those demands and implement the best matching solutions is key.

With us having the experience of knowing how to identify, implement, and gain adoption – including agile coaching and organizational change management – you achieve quick results and benefit from simplicity, efficiency, and happiness.

So, how do I get started?

Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn to find out more about what and how ServiceNow and Sofigate can do for you on your journey to even greater success.

You will find further inspiration here, and if you are registered participant at ServiceNow Knowlegde20, these select sessions can provide more context and perspectives:
Is your workforce experience system inhuman? The critical role of people in HR technology process design.
Calculate the value of upgrading consistently

About the author

Marcus Hagermark is a Senior Manager and Solution Architect at Sofigate. He is ITILv3 Expert and PROSCI certified, with extensive experience in designing and implementing successful solutions.

Read these next