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Use analytics to deliver improved service

Build snapshots of your performance to measure progress towards goals.

  • Deliver great service using the right visuals and key features of Performance Analytics.

Everything you’ve done so far is pretty impressive, right? But it’s really just the tip of the Performance Analytics iceberg. Now it’s time to deliver unprecedented levels of service by using the right visuals for your story and key features of Performance Analytics. Some of the features covered here—workbench process widgets, in‑form analytics, and Spotlights—are considered more of a next step or advanced capability, but we’re planting the seed here because you’ll want to explore those features after completing this best practice.

Step 1: Communicate effectively with the right visualization type

You can use indicator scores with almost any visualization or widget type, but you’ll find it easier to communicate a story clearly when you select the most appropriate visualization type. This best practice includes guidance about how to use a few visuals, but you can also use the cheat sheet below for general advice. Before you select any visualization, you must understand the question you need to answer for your stakeholders—the “story” you want to convey to your audience.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

I WANT TO SHOW MY AUDIENCE

VISUAL TO USE

Directionality or aggregate intervals

Single score

Seasonality or correlation

Time series

Segmentation or proportion

Breakdown

Table 3: Visualizations to use for specific stories

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Single score widget

You can use the single score widget to immediately communicate the value of a KPI (leading or lagging) because it packs a lot of information into a small space.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 15: Single score widget

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Use this widget to communicate these insights:

  • Directionality  KPIs need to have targets and direction if they’re going to work for your organization’s goals. You can use the single score widget to show whether a KPI is showing an increase or decrease in performance compared to the previous period. In some cases, such as with MTTR, a decreasing value indicates positive change. You can set your indicator properties to show whether higher values represent a positive or negative change.
  • Aggregate intervals  You can configure a single indicator to calculate the different aggregation periods that are tailored to separate audiences. One consumer might want to see a 28‑day running average while another wants a monthly average. With the single score widget, you can select any aggregation and automatically smooth out the curve.

Time series widget

The time series widget is a classic Performance Analytics widget that shows the trend of a KPI over time.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 16: Time series widget

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Use this widget to communicate or highlight these insights:

  • Seasonality  Time series widgets are based on indicators that measure volume on a single day to assess frequency and distribution over time. These widgets help you expose recurring trends so you can plan ahead. For example, if Fridays historically have the heaviest intake of new requests, you might want to have additional staff on hand to process the increase in volume.
  • Correlation  You can also use a time series widget to plot related KPIs on the same chart to drive visual correlations of trends.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

Be careful displaying two KPIs on the same chart! You only see potential interactions. If you display two KPIs together on the same chart, you must understand the underlying process and desired outcomes before you draw any conclusions about the interactions.

Breakdown widget

The breakdown widget adds a dimension of analysis to any visualization because it highlights the individual components of a value over a monolithic measurement.

Use the breakdown widget to communicate these insights:

  • Segmentation  Using a breakdown widget provides insight into the specific elements that contribute to the KPI score. Breakdowns can be used to segment the data into different buckets or groups, so you can uncover bottlenecks or areas for improvement. 
  • Proportion  The breakdown widget is critical to showing proportional scores. You can compare how the different breakdown elements affect the overall indicator score over time by stacking or grouping the results.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 17: Breakdown widget

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Step 2: Monitor a process with a workbench widget

The workbench widget helps your dashboards tell a story or monitor an end‑to‑end process through a collection of related indicators. Instead of using filters, breakdowns, and multiple tabs for a complex dashboard, a workbench widget shows leading and lagging indicator scores across different stages of a workflow with a single view.

You can build a workbench widget for indicators that have multiple states or that follow a discrete flow. These widgets will help you pinpoint where bottlenecks appear or where the performance begins to differ from the rest of the process.

 

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 18: Workbench widget

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

A workbench widget contains the main, lagging indicator at the top with the supporting or leading indicators immediately below that score. The breakdowns in a scorecard or chart view also appear within the same view, giving you a detailed view of an indicator over time. Each piece of the workbench widget dynamically updates as you explore the data, so you can scrub through a timeline and analyze the results. These features make your workbench widget an interactive tool that lets you proactively manage a process.

A common use case is to see how indicator scores for MTTR vary by Tier 1, 2, or 3 groups. While you could look at single score breakdown by tier, a workbench widget lets you view all the indicator trends and breakdowns by stepping through each tier. It packs a lot of functionality into a single screen!

You can create a workbench process widget by following the instructions in this product documentation.

Step 3: Enhance decision‑making with in‑form analytics

In‑form analytics provide at‑a‑glance dashboard views within the context of an existing form. These analytics display contextual dashboards as users select options within a field, providing the best possible information for decision‑making.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 19: Text analytics embedded in an incident form

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Think about the areas within a process that often require research or feedback, and consider whether an indicator might be able to assist with that decision. Workers can use these insights to set customer expectations or route requests through the most efficient path without consulting another resource. 

For example, it can be helpful to understand the backlog and MTTR for various teams to ensure that a new ticket is resolved as quickly as possible. Assigning an incident to a team with a significant backlog might negatively impact an SLA. In‑form analytics allow someone to visualize that backlog in advance and route the request to a different team. An agent can also provide a real‑time estimate on the expected resolution time of a particular ticket by simply clicking the in‑form analytics button and seeing the resolution time trend for that type of incident. 

You can create an in‑form analytics control by following the instructions available in the Add in‑form analytics to a form product documentation.

Step 4: Use Spotlight to focus on high‑impact work

Spotlight lets you prioritize work based on weighted or indexed criteria, so users can focus on tasks that have the most impact on an indicator. Most organizations prioritize cases with the highest severity level. For some situations, though, it makes sense to prioritize incidents differently. Incidents that have been open for many days or that have been reassigned multiple times might cause an SLA breach. Spotlight lets you highlight those considerations when prioritizing work.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 20: Using Spotlight to focus on high‑impact issues

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

You can place Spotlight data on any dashboard, but a common use case is to provide front‑line workers with a view that combines Spotlight metrics and a list of affected records. Front‑line workers can use this dashboard to see records in real time and understand exactly where to focus their efforts for the biggest impact on service levels. Instead of clicking through multiple records and making a subjective guess at which record is most important to work on next, Spotlight clearly provides that information. 

You can begin using Spotlight by following the detailed instructions available in the Activate Spotlight and Spotlight solutions product documentation.

Step 5: Build targets and set thresholds

Once you’ve identified the KPIs to monitor, you can define service targets and begin setting alert thresholds. If you don’t have a goal or target value for an indicator, it’s probably not worth following.

  • Targets – Targets let you monitor your progress toward a specific score for an indicator. As an organization or process owner, you can set a goal for an indicator and view that target on your scorecard.
  • Thresholds – Thresholds alert you when indicator scores fall above or below a specific value. You can also configure an alert for an all‑time high or low score.

Use targets to stay focused on a goal and thresholds to minimize surprises. A threshold alert set on leading indicators can bring your attention to an abnormal value and give you time to address the issue before it negatively impacts a lagging indicator.

To create a target:

  1. Navigate to the scorecard for an indicator.
  2. Click a data point on the visual to set an initial start date for monitoring progress toward the target.
  3. Click the Add/Change a Target icon the upper right corner.
  4. Enter a target value in the Target starting from… field and select whether to make it a Global or Personal target.
  5. Click Save.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 21: Creating a target for your KPIs

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

Anyone can view global targets, but you must configure their notifications separately. When you create a personal target, only you can see it, and notifications are automatic.

To add a threshold: 

  1. Navigate to the scorecard for an indicator.
  2. In the upper right corner, click the Add/Change a Threshold icon.
  3. Select the condition that triggers the threshold notification, such as when the score reaches an all‑time high, or when the score falls lower than a specific value.
  4. Click Save.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 22: Adding a threshold

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Step 6: Customize as needed

Out‑of‑the‑box content can get you up and running with amazing efficiency, but there is no one‑stop shop for every business and process. That’s why the Now Platform lets you customize Performance Analytics to meet your specific needs. If you’d like additional assistance with planning, implementing, or managing Performance Analytics, please contact your ServiceNow account representative.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Before you continue, make sure you:

  • Understand when to use the basic widget types
  • Identified a multi‑stage process to monitor with a workbench widget
  • Selected an existing form that would benefit from contextual in‑form analytics
  • Recognize how to use Spotlight to prioritize your work
  • Set thresholds and targets for your key indicators

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