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Measure impact and tune

 

  • Use Performance Analytics to find ways to improve your automation. 
  • Use a short list of questions to select the KPIs needed to tune your automation strategy.

Effective automation is not a one‑time project but an ongoing process that looks for new opportunities and identifies where automation is (or isn’t) delivering value. ServiceNow Performance Analytics provides access to several out‑of‑the‑box KPIs that can help you measure opportunities to improve and tune your incident and change management automation strategy. See Tables 3 and 4 for incident and change management KPIs and how you can use them to tune your automation.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

HOW TO TUNE YOUR AUTOMATION STRATEGY

• Average age of the last update of open incidents

• Percentage of open incidents not updated in the last 30 days

• Number of open incidents not updated in the last 5 days

• Number of open incidents not updated in the last 30 days

• Summed age of last update of open incidents

• Percentage of open overdue incidents

• Number of open overdue incidents

Review your business rules (and team KPIs) for incident notification, routing, and escalation.

• Average age of the last update of open incidents

• Percentage of incidents closed by self-service

• Number of incidents closed by self-service

• New/open workloads

• Incident backlog growth

Ensure your knowledge base reflects the most common self-service use cases for end users and provides clear guidance.

• Percentage of open incidents reassigned at least once

• Average reassignment of open incidents

• Summed reassignment of open incidents

• Percentage of incidents resolved without reassignment

• Number of reassigned open incidents

• Number of open incidents unassigned

Review the business rules (and team KPIs) for incident routing and escalation.

• Number of incidents not solved

• Percentage of incidents not solved

Ensure the knowledge base reflects the most current guidance for known errors.

• Average resolution time of resolved incidents

• Average close time of incidents

Identify primary drivers for incident cycle time: A lack of current guidance in the knowledge base may require unnecessary escalation, or your business rules for notification, routing, and escalation may require updating to reflect the fastest path to resolution.

Table 3: Selected incident management KPIs (available in ServiceNow Performance Analytics) and suggested actions to tune incident management automation

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

WHAT TO TUNE IN YOUR AUTOMATION STRATEGY

• Change backlog growth

Build pre-authorized templates to increase the availability of standard changes in the change catalog.

• Number of unsuccessful changes

Reevaluate risk assessment: Determine whether you need to make adjustments to business rules in the Change Risk Calculator or to the risk assessment questions for change requesters.

• Number of reassigned open changes

• Percentage of open changes reassigned at least once

• Average reassignment of open changes

• Summed reassignment of open changes

Review change request assignment rules for validity.

• Average age of open changes

• Summed age of open changes

• Average age of “updated since of” open changes

• Summed age of “updated since of” open changes 

Build pre-authorized templates to increase the availability of standard changes in the change catalog.

 

Identify the change state (see Table 1) where open changes spend the most time. Based on the change state, determine whether you need to make changes to the business rules for change risk assessment, change request assignment, or approvals and scheduling.

Table 4: Selected change management KPIs (available in ServiceNow Performance Analytics) and suggested actions to tune change management automation

You don’t have to use all of the KPIs reflected in Tables 3 and 4—and there are more KPIs that you can use to track the performance of incident and change management. What’s most important is that you select and use KPIs that can provide directional guidance about where you can improve your automation. If a KPI begins to trend negatively, the process owner and team should know how to respond.

Here’s an example: Your organization may decide to monitor change backlog growth as an indicator of the efficiency of your change management process. If the change backlog grows—potentially slowing down necessary maintenance and enhancement activities—the team should determine if the backlog growth is the result of a manual slowdown in the overall process. One potential root cause is an increase in the ratio of normal changes—those requiring CAB approval—from standard changes with pre‑authorized approval. In this case, the team should look to increase the number of standard changes made available in a change catalog, through the development of pre‑authorized templates, for changes with a successful track record.

To identify the right KPIs to guide automation tuning, ask the following questions:

  • What business rules have we put in place to guide our automation? For incident management, this should include how incidents are categorized, as well as the rules for routing, escalation, and notification. For change management, this should include rules governing risk assessment, routing and approvals, and scheduling.
  • What knowledge have we made available as part of our automation plan? This should include your knowledge base (for service desk agents as well as end users) and a change catalog for standard changes.
  • What changes in performance do we expect to see as the result of our automation plan? Teams should ask how a business rule, set of business rules, or publication of knowledge is intended to change performance. This should relate to your overall goals for the process and organization. For example, a team may design business rules for incident management prioritization such that high‑severity incidents are autogenerated based on alerts for business‑critical services. The intent behind this is to speed incident remediation for business‑critical services, meaning that the team should look for reductions in the MTTR for incidents for business‑critical services.
  • If we don’t see the change we want, what do we need to tune? If the team aligns the right KPIs to business rules and publication of knowledge, you then have clarity on where to look first to improve your automation. In the example outlined above, let’s assume that the MTTR for incidents affecting business‑critical services refused to budge—or, worse, got longer. The team should first investigate whether automation is working—was the rule that autogenerates alerts for business‑critical services written correctly? Some business‑critical services may not have been identified correctly in the CMDB, or alert generation may not be triggering the right service desk workflows. No KPI provides an immediate solution, but it can guide the team on where to look first to find one.
Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

More metrics does not equal better metrics. Select a small set of KPIs that your process owners and teams readily understand and that give consistent directional guidance on process improvement. If teams don’t know what to do to move a KPI, then it needs reevaluation.

 

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