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Build insight and integration

 The full value of a digital business service is unlocked through insight. Service owners should collaborate with process owners for service level management and continuous service improvement to develop real‑time performance measures and integration with related systems of insight.

  • Partner with service level management and continuous service improvement process owners.  
  • Define common real‑time metrics and an integration plan with other systems supporting service delivery. 

Digitizing a service transaction delivers only part of the potential value of a digital business service. For most organizations, the real potential of digital business services is in the ability to connect a system of engagement and action to a system of insight. This involves following two key steps. 

Step 1: Pair service‑level management and continuous service improvement with real‑time analytics 

Process owners for service level management and continuous service improvement should define a common set of metrics for the performance of a digital business service and ensure that the right architecture is in place to track these metrics in real time or near real time.  

Metrics selected should deliver insight at three levels of performance: 

  • Outcome – Are services meeting the performance thresholds we set with service owners? At a baseline level, this requires monitoring, event, and incident management tools that can deliver insight into service availability and mean time to resolve an issue or restore service. 

  • Diagnostic – Can we identify the root causes of service performance shortfalls, cost leakage, or customer dissatisfaction? Can we evaluate opportunities for continuous service improvement? This can include a range of tools and measures—start with the development of hypotheses you can validate through data. For example, a service desk can investigate the percentage of problems that are reassigned at least once to determine whether the root cause of problem backlog growth is due to incorrect or unclear workflow assignments across teams. For employee services, you can use quick surveys to find where employees are dissatisfied to ensure your service improvements are targeted appropriately. 

  • Proactive/predictive – Can we detect the “signals” of service performance shortfalls, cost leakage, or customer dissatisfaction before it results in business impact? At a baseline level, teams can use historical data, subject matter experts, and known error databases to build automated incident workflows and remediation measures for alerts signaling performance problems—before the calls start coming in to the service desk. 

Process owners for service level management and continuous service improvement should develop a set of metrics, in consultation with the service owner, starting from a prioritized list of objectives— what matters most—for the digital business service. 

Outcome metrics are the starting point—keep these limited and focused, and change them only when the service owner’s objectives change. Process owners should then select diagnostic metrics to help them test hypotheses around trends in performance, cost, or satisfaction, and to spot opportunities for improvement. 

Because trends change, process owners should look to a variety of diagnostic measures to help them derive the insight most needed for that service. This understanding should then lead to a more permanent set of proactive/predictive metrics that provide early warning of emerging trends or shortfalls. 

Step 2: Build an integration plan aligned with the service use case

For deeper insight, you may need to integrate ServiceNow with additional systems of record (for example, HCM, ERP, or CRM systems). This requires a definition of integration requirements based on:

  • The use case(s) for a digital business service – The service may rely on—or build insight from—data drawn from multiple systems of record. To develop this, you should have a strong partnership with enterprise architecture, to define the integration architecture that best supports the business architecture for digital business services.

  • An evaluation of integration complexity versus adding value – How much insight will the integration of data from another system add to the digital business service? Is the means of integration simple to build and maintain? You should apply this simple cost‑benefit lens with service owners, and ensure you set a high bar for the value that additional integration delivers: As a rule, the number of technologies involved in a digital business service should be kept relatively small to ensure a seamless user experience and reduce performance and cost risks.


The service owner’s approach to insight and integration should be incorporated within an annual (or more frequent) strategic plan for the service and reflect needs based on changes in how the service is consumed or delivered to consumers.

Expert Tip


Don't track more metrics than necessary. Focus KPIs on what matters most.

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