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NIST keeps focus on advancing science with Performance Analytics
NIST  logo

NIST keeps focus on advancing science with Performance Analytics


Reduction in manual report customization and developer intervention


Report homepages consolidated into one interactive dashboard

More efficient and effective Recruitment process

More efficient and effective Recruitment process

NIST scientists rely on IT to help support them by providing research computing. To that end, IT wanted to gain visibility into how its services were performing. ServiceNow Performance Analytics empowers researchers to get the information they need instantly, while streamlining interactions among researchers and IT.

NIST promotes innovation through advancing measurement of science, standards, and technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce charged with creating critical measurement solutions and promoting equitable standards to stimulate innovation and foster industrial competitiveness. Since 1901, NIST has worked with industry and science to improve our quality of life: pioneering blind landing systems for aircraft pilots, developing the first programmable computer in U.S. history, and conducting engineering studies of fires and structural failures in buildings to help protect the public.

NIST maintains a physical sciences laboratory to create standards and measurements that facilitate continued innovation. For scientists to do their jobs properly, they need to be able to concentrate on science and get the equipment, IT resources, and staff they need in a timely manner.

“Good science requires efficient administration,” says Kellie Beall, Business Analyst at NIST. “If a scientist is waiting on a microscope or can’t fill an important research assistant position, that gets in the way of our mission.”

With ServiceNow, NIST gains efficiencies that extend beyond IT to HR, interagency operations, invoicing
To help scientists, academic associates, and administrative employees get the IT resources they need, NIST deployed ServiceNow® IT Service Management. The resulting improvements in IT staff productivity and help desk efficiency transformed the IT experience at NIST, helping scientists fulfill their IT needs for research computing, statistical software, and data modeling. ServiceNow® Performance Analytics lets them extend and optimize IT service management with visibility into how services are performing and unveiling opportunities for improvement. This quick success led NIST to wonder how it could use the Now Platform to make other employees’ lives easier as well.

“There are many processes at NIST that need improvement and tracking,” says Kellie. “So, we started using ServiceNow to address them, one by one.”

To this end, NIST began creating custom applications in ServiceNow, developing a recruitment application and automating the review process for interagency agreements. After implementing recruitment in 2017, the average recruitment processing time dropped from 76.8 days to less than 54.5 days for non-direct hires. Invoicing and purchasing processes were likewise streamlined, as NIST used ServiceNow to build invoice notification workflows to avoid late payments and introduced a more user-friendly interface for awarding vendor contracts.

Strong acceptance of ServiceNow increases demand for report customization
With departments within NIST enthusiastically embracing ServiceNow, a new set of challenges arose. Although NIST was able to create specific homepages with tailored data, developers quickly became overwhelmed with customization requests.

“People liked ServiceNow so much that I was getting bombarded by requests for new homepages, modifications, and changes to roles and user permissions so employees could see various reports,” says Stef Britton, ServiceNow Developer at NIST.

Performance Analytics reduce developer intervention by 50% with consistent and easy customization
NIST solved the problem by introducing ServiceNow Performance Analytics interactive dashboards to display multiple reports, analytics, and other widgets on a single screen with tab-based navigation. Tabulated functionality means that NIST can combine multiple service areas into a single dashboard and display multiple topics, as well as self-help and feedback tabs. Employees can customize views with interactive filters, allowing them to view reports by user, organizational unit, date range, and more.

Gaithersburg, Maryland

ServiceNow Performance Analytics simplifies how we deliver information and insights to management, administrators, and staff.

Kellie Beall

Business Analyst

“Users are getting what they need faster, and we’ve reduced the time our developers spend on report customization by 50%,” Kellie says.

1,000+ reports are consolidated onto a single dashboard with ServiceNow
A single interactive dashboard made available through the NIST Service Portal can now fulfill the needs of many different user personas. Upper management often uses the dashboard to display a bird’s-eye view of the entire NIST organization to identify items that may need their attention.

For example, Del Brockett, Associate Director for Management Resources at NIST, has a read-only view of pending requests and alerts from all institutional support and administrative offices. Tabs for Agreements, Recruitments, Procurement Acquisitions, Invoices, and Help allow him to drill down on multiple service areas without leaving the dashboard to quickly identify items on which to take action.

Anita Vanek, Director of the Business Operations Office at NIST, needs to view reports that pertain to her OU, so she uses the interactive filter to display business operations requests in process and status. Because the interactive filters are persistent and personalized, Anita doesn’t have to reconfigure the filter every time she views her dashboard, but she can change the filter at any time.

Administrative staff benefit as well. Administrative Officers at NIST routinely set their filters to show only their own submitted requests. Having visibility into where and how requests might be getting held up helps them keep those processes moving. “My dashboard keeps me on track by allowing me to quickly see what actions are awaiting my attention,” comments Evelyn Johnson, Administrative Specialist, Quantum Electromagnetics Division at NIST.

Karen Yavetz, Interagency Agreement Program Analyst at NIST, uses her dashboards to quickly gather information for reports or to answer questions from management or colleagues instantly. “ServiceNow has been an incredible asset for us. We love how ServiceNow allows us to deliver excellent results for our customers. The dashboards and reports provide us and our customers with instant information on status. It’s transformed our operation,” says Karen.

“It’s amazing that we built one ServiceNow dashboard that can satisfy so many different use cases for so many users,” says Kellie. “Over 1,000 reports that were originally created for multiple user groups are now consolidated.”

ServiceNow streamlines processes giving NIST more time to focus on science
By improving productivity for its business users, NIST is empowering them to better support the scientific community. Since introducing the use of ServiceNow to automate and track services beyond the IT arena, NIST has accelerated recruitment and hiring processes, giving scientists the assistance they need to complete their research.

Mutually beneficial agreements with other agencies and research partners can be put in place more efficiently. Accounts payable staff can determine the status of outstanding invoices without additional follow-up, track bottlenecks, and address core issues, thus positioning NIST to address root causes and minimize interest payments. All of these operations improvements enable scientists to focus on the development of new standards that can help the U.S. be more competitive.

“The amount of time we save across NIST with ServiceNow is tremendous, and there’s potential for so much more,” says Stef. “Government agencies sometimes have a reputation for lengthy processes, but that’s not how we’re doing things at NIST.”

Expanding to HR Service Delivery will help NIST improve efficiency even further
NIST is continuing to complement its ServiceNow custom applications with Performance Analytics, which it will use to deliver even more information through dynamic dashboards to monitor and improve performance organization-wide. It’s also deploying ServiceNow® HR Service Delivery with Performance Analytics to give the HR department its own portal and automate all personnel-related activity.

“As the preeminent federal science and technology standards organization, people expect NIST to lead the way,” says Kellie. “With ServiceNow, we’re continually improving our operating efficiency to give taxpayers more for their dollar.”

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