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A group of young, casually dressed students pose in a semi-circle facing the camera
Cal Poly Pomona logo

Cal Poly Pomona transforms the student experience with ServiceNow


Stop-shop for admin support requests


Reduction in change-related incidents


Staff to focus on complex student issues

Cal Poly Pomona’s mission is to be an inclusive polytechnic university that inspires creativity and innovation, embraces local and global challenges, and transforms lives. The institution needed to streamline administrative services to boost efficiency and deliver a better student experience. It began by modernizing its IT service desk with ServiceNow.

Delivering a better student experience

Cal Poly Pomona kicks off digital transformation by streamlining and unifying administrative services
Cal Poly Pomona takes pride in being a student-centered institution that is committed to delivering student success. That’s why the university launched an ambitious and comprehensive digital initiative to unify and streamline administrative services for students.

By giving students one place to go for support services ranging from registration to financial aid and housing, Cal Poly Pomona is focused on enhancing the student experience and freeing students to focus on learning.

An automated, single access point for all services will give students the answers they need quickly, allowing administrators to focus on complex issues
Cal Poly Pomona CIO John McGuthry explains why it is important to improve its administrative processes. “In a traditional university administration environment, there’s no knowledge sharing between offices, so students have to repeat the same information again and again. That creates a miserable student experience. Students dream of coming to university to learn, not to spend time navigating administration.”

The old model also strains university resources. Administrative staff spend most of their time answering simple questions and duplicating tasks across redundant systems, rather than devoting attention to students with more complex issues.

According to John, “Our goal is to create a flow-through administrative support model where each student gets the level of support they need. The starting point is a single portal for all administrative services, where students can find answers to simple questions from an online knowledge base, submit a question, or chat online with a university representative. For more complex issues, they can book an in-person appointment online. We want to keep that personal contact so that administrative staff continue to build relationships with students.” 

Student-centric administrative support began when Cal Poly Pomona modernized its IT service desk.

A 70% reduction in change-related incidents convinced Cal Poly Pomona to expand its use of ServiceNow
The journey to student-centric administrative support began when Cal Poly Pomona modernized its IT service desk. John says, “We were moving to a centralized IT support model and needed to replace our old ticketing system, which was on its last legs. We chose ServiceNow because it was a platform that allowed us to grow our capabilities. For example, we used ServiceNow to put in place structured change management processes that reduced change-related incidents by more than 70%.”

“Along with these ITIL processes, self-service was also a big driver. We now offer a huge catalog of IT services through the ServiceNow portal–everything from PC replacement to booking video conferences and setting up equipment in classrooms,” says John.

Cal Poly Pomona logo
Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona University
Pomona, California, USA
5,001 to 50,000
A modern building at the university with students milling about

Originally, we just bought ServiceNow for IT. However, as we used it, we realized it was solving the same problems we needed to address in other student-centered administrative services.

John McGuthry



“Originally, we just bought ServiceNow for IT. However, as we used it, we realized it was solving the same problems we needed to address in other student-centered administrative services,” says John. “It automatically routed incidents to the right teams, so we could automatically route student requests to the right administrative office. It provided self-service, which allowed us to move to a flow-through support model. And it was a single system of record. With ServiceNow, we can share student information between offices, rather than asking students the same questions again and again.”

With ServiceNow, Cal Poly Pomona’s administrators are building relationships with students
Cal Poly Pomona set out to migrate all student-centered administrative offices onto ServiceNow. Financial aid was next, part of a roadmap to unify services across all administrative offices in the next few years. John says, “We’re deliberately taking the time to get this right. We want to create a great experience for our students, and that means understanding their expectations. That’s why we’re continually running focus groups and validating our designs with our students.”

Ultimately, the goal for Cal Poly Pomona is to create a single student record, capturing a full history of each student’s interactions with its administrative offices. “We’re committed to our students’ success. That starts with delivering a great support experience, but it goes beyond that,” says John. “By understanding how each student is interacting with our administrative offices, we can see if they need help. For instance, if a student misses a payment or fails to register for classes, we’ll be able to see that and reach out to them. That level of care sets us apart, as we continue to give our students what they need to achieve their career aspirations.”

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