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Fairview Health Services guards against disruptions in patient care with ServiceNow
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Fairview Health Services guards against disruptions in patient care with ServiceNow

Automated testing framework

Automates disaster recovery processes


Achieves accurate, timely single source of truth


Months saved using ServiceNow Business Continuity Management

With help from ServiceNow, this nonprofit, integrated healthcare provider automated disaster recovery processes, extending its use of ServiceNow IT Service Management. By using ServiceNow Business Continuity Management (BCM), Fairview Health Services gained a cloud‑based solution, delivering complete platform visibility and control.

At Fairview Health Services, hospital systems map to IT, forming the lifeline for key patient services
Fairview Health Services is an award-winning nonprofit healthcare system. For more than 100 years, it has had an exemplary record of helping to make life better by meeting community healthcare needs in Minnesota, the upper Midwest, and beyond. In partnership with the University of Minnesota, the healthcare provider is also committed to world-class medical research and education, and has an enviable reputation for breakthrough medical advances.

As a leading healthcare organization, Fairview Health Services depends heavily on its IT infrastructure to connect patient systems, helping to enhance patient care experiences. With more than 1,500 live applications, many of which are mission critical, these applications must be highly available, including in the event of a disaster. The most important applications have a stringent recovery time objective (RTO) designed to support the timely recovery of key business processes.

Using the Now Platform, Fairview Health Services automates DR planning, saving time and improving accuracy
Like many organizations, Fairview Health Services managed its IT disaster recovery (DR) processes manually. While committed to having robust DR protocols, the organization struggled to keep word-based disaster recovery plans up to date and accurate–and to verify that RTOs could be met. According to Maria Rothstein, DR Analyst & ITSM Office Manager at Fairview Health Services, “We were faced with an enormous amount of work. Automation was the only way forward.”

Fairview Health Services already used ServiceNow® IT Service Management to manage its IT infrastructure. This made ServiceNow a natural choice for managing DR. The ServiceNow® CMDB had a comprehensive inventory of Fairview’s IT network, along with other key data such as vendor and facility information.

“We were constantly taking information out of ServiceNow and pasting it into our disaster recovery plans. That made no sense,” says Maria. 

Fairview Health Services
Fairview Health Services
Fairview Health Services
Minneapolis, Minnesota

By managing DR within ServiceNow, we could save huge amounts of time—and know that we had an accurate, up-to-date, single source of truth.

Maria Rothstein

DR Analyst and ITSM Office Manager

ServiceNow Business Continuity Management sets Fairview Health Services up for further success
Fairview Health Services considered building its own DR application on ServiceNow. However, freeing internal resources to do this was an issue. Instead, the organization decided to use ServiceNow Business Continuity Management (BCM) to unify disaster recovery, business continuity, and IT service management into a complete business resiliency solution.

“ServiceNow gave us an enormous head start—at least nine months compared to developing something ourselves,” says Maria. "From the outset, we were impressed with its capabilities, and by the ServiceNow team’s deep disaster recovery knowledge. Since then, adoption across the business has been phenomenal and our close working relationship has ensured the application was configured to meet our exact needs.”

Fairview Health Services also emphasizes the importance of having a cloud- based platform for managing disaster recovery. “If a disaster happens, we need to know that our disaster recovery platform will survive. If the platform is running in our datacenter, it’s vulnerable,” says Maria. “With ServiceNow’s highly available and redundant cloud architecture, we don’t have to worry about that.”

Going forward, Fairview Health Services can build complete DR plans in a fraction of the time—and the plans will be automatically updated when changes are made to the Now Platform. Using ServiceNow, the organization can also exercise these plans and record the results directly in the platform. “ServiceNow BCM will allow us to have complete visibility of the RTO of each of our key applications, and we will be able to easily see the gap between our planned RTOs and what we can actually achieve,” says Maria. “ServiceNow BCM will give us complete visibility and control of our IT disaster recovery processes.”

Fairview Health Services looks beyond IT to strengthen broader business continuity capabilities
In addition, Fairview Health Services is evaluating  broader business continuity capabilities. By extending business continuity management beyond IT, the organization sees the potential to automate and strengthen its entire business continuity framework. This will also couple IT disaster recovery and business continuity even more closely—for example, by connecting each application’s RTO directly to the RTOs of the business processes it supports.

Maria is also enthusiastic about using other applications from the ServiceNow Store. “Our experience with ServiceNow BCM has been tremendous,” she says. “And because the application was built on ServiceNow, it received the golden pass—successfully completing a defined set of architecture, integration, security, and performance tests, along with having the capabilities we needed for success.”

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