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Connect vision and strategy to implementation


  • Start your journey by defining your vision, drivers, desired outcomes, and measures of success.
  • Run a gap analysis between current and needed IT business capabilities.
  • Build a plan that includes your baseline, future‑state requirements, and actions to reach your goals.

From vision to value definition

Start your Now PlatformTM implementation by clearly defining its role and value as an enterprise service management application with the potential to extend service management concepts beyond IT. We recommend a visioning exercise with key IT and business stakeholders who can identify and articulate opportunities for business value.

Ideally, the visioning exercise should articulate a clear view of your:

  • Service vision What’s the ideal future state for our customers and team?
  • Strategic drivers What actions are necessary to achieve this vision?
  • Desired business outcomes What business value will we realize?
  • Key measures of success – How will we know when we’ve realized our targeted value?

Frame the answers on a single page to ensure focus and clear connective logic between your vision and your measures of success.

Figure 1: Sample vision‑to‑measures of success definition

Not all organizations start with this view. Organizations that approach the Now Platform as a “rip‑and‑replace, lift‑and‑shift” alternative to their current ticketing system limit a full view of their ServiceNow potential. Even in these cases, you can still define your vision‑to‑value path and identify opportunities to gain additional value from the Now Platform.

Get with your key business stakeholders and go over the interview sequence below to generate a clear, measurable definition of business objectives—and to identify potential challenges to realizing those objectives.

Question

Example

What business outcome(s) do we want to achieve?

We want to reduce IT support costs.

What’s the current condition associated with this outcome?

Our costs are 10% above industry benchmarks.

What problems or obstacles are keeping us from realizing this outcome?

We are maintaining multiple service desks and tools (more than industry average). This creates challenges caused by depending on expert knowledge to resolve incidents.

What future state can we envision to realize our outcome?

We will have rationalized our toolsets to a single source of truth and reduced our dependency on L2/L3 staffing.

What success criteria define whether we’ve accomplished our business outcome?

Our IT support costs will be at or below the industry median benchmark.

Table 1: Sample business objectives definition questions 1

These questions should be used as the starting point for interviews to arrive at a measurable definition of business objectives. Responses to these questions may require more detailed analysis. However, the root causes behind problems or obstacles may be complex, and discussion of the future state will likely require consensus building among stakeholders.

From desired business outcomes to a capabilities and implementation roadmap

Even your when vision, desired business outcomes, known obstacles, and success criteria are clear, do not move directly to implementation. Instead, define your next step on the ServiceNow journey based on:

  • An explicit analysis of business and IT capabilities to determine where ServiceNow can deliver the earliest, greatest value to the organization
  • A clear, phased understanding of the steps required to implement or optimize those capabilities

Even in the absence of a mature capabilities framework, a capability map can provide a baseline gap analysis between your desired business outcomes and the capabilities in place to achieve those outcomes. Take a look at the capability map in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Capability map using Now Platform capabilities

You can score the capabilities defined in your map using simple heat‑mapping techniques (high, medium, and low). You can use these prioritizations to drive a discussion around the most critical IT and business‑level gaps to realize the value you’re looking for.

Here’s an example. Company A wants to reduce—and ideally eliminate—service outages on critical systems. Your capability gap analysis should first assess the health of capabilities that are essential for effective outage management and resolution:

  • IT Service Management – Problem, change, and configuration (CMDB) management
  • IT Operations Management – Discovery, service mapping
  • Analytics – Reporting
  • Team – Knowledge, collaboration, notification, on‑call, and workflow management
  • Integrations and Systems of Record – MID Server

Use simple scoring for each of these capabilities to determine the gap between their current and envisioned future conditions.

Figure 3 shows the Now Platform capabilities that can improve any of these capabilities. This is not meant to suggest that all of these capabilities must be deployed at once. Instead, the first phase of implementation should resolve capability gaps in these areas. Deployment of individual capabilities will need to follow a logical sequence—for example, service mapping should follow discovery and CMDB if these capabilities are not already mature.

Figure 3: Essential Now Platform capabilities to eliminate major service outages 2

ServiceNow also refers to these as capabilities essential to modernize the organization’s approach to outage management.

As capabilities in these areas improve, begin a second phase of assessment that focuses on capabilities that speed resolution and reduce the impact of outages. You’ll want to assess:

  • IT operations management – Event management
  • Analytics – Performance analytics
  • User engagement and experience – Mobile, service portal

Figure 4: Recommended ServiceNow capabilities to improve and transform outage resolution

You may also need to map a third phase of capabilities to further improve and innovate on the organization’s ability to eliminate service outages.

A capability‑based approach helps you define a baseline roadmap for implementing the Now Platform capabilities. Actual sequencing may have substantial overlaps, be limited by resource availability, or be dependent on organizational readiness (such as the extent to which mature process frameworks and data modeling and management capabilities are in place).

Before you automatically apply a sequence, be sure you’ve had an ongoing discussion and have reviewed the factors that impact implementation. Complete a capability mapping exercise to help you define the right implementation phases. This ensures that your sequencing decisions are guided by desired business outcomes. Capability mapping and gap analysis identify the path to realize value over time and can assist in framing an enterprise‑wide service strategy.

Refining the roadmap – From the capabilities map to the implementation plan

Your capability gap analysis should provide the starting point for a logical implementation sequence of your Now Platform modules. The capabilities rollout needs to come with a disciplined, step‑by‑step plan that:

  • Establishes baseline definitions, standards, and inventories (as needed)
  • Defines specific and clear requirements for the future state (such as critical applications to be prioritized in service mapping)
  • Spells out a specific list of the build activities required to stand up a new capability

The next table provides additional phase paths that cascade from specific business outcomes to Now Platform capabilities.

Example business outcome and value metrics

Implementation plan actions to realize value

ServiceNow capabilities by phase of implementation

Modernize IT service management

Metrics

  • Reduction in incidents caused by changes
  • Reduction in number of touch points to manage incidents or requests
  • Improved delivery of requests

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Simplify your current approach:
    • Define your current baseline and expected outcomes for IT service management.
    • Roadmap your migration strategy from your current process and toolset(s) to the Now Platform.
    • Assess the quality and scope of your current configuration data.
    • Determine your operational reporting requirements.
    • Identify your highest-value and most common ITSM requests.
    • Identify the “most needed” knowledge articles.

  2. Standardize your approach:
    • (Re)design your CMDB, including scope of data, and populate.
    • Consolidate processes and implement.
    • Build initial report library.
    • Build initial request catalog.
    • Define minimum viable set of integrations.
    • Build knowledge base for fulfillers.

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • Incident management
  • Change management
  • Configuration (CMDB) management
  • SLA management
  • Reporting
  • Knowledge management
  • Notification management
  • Business rule management
  • Workflow management
  • Request fulfillment
  • Service catalog

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Build self-service:
    • Identify steps needed to promote self-service adoption.
    • Expand service catalog to reflect customer needs.
    • Build self-service knowledge.
    • Identify requirements for management analytics.
    • Build management and executive dashboards.

  2. Improve automation:
    • Map current release management processes and touch points with development and/or PMO teams.
    • Identify automation opportunities, and (re)design an integrated release management process with development and/or PMO teams.
    • Extend the existing CMDB to support asset management.
    • Deploy Orchestration and Discovery tools.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • Problem management
  • Release management
  • Asset management
  • Discovery
  • Orchestration
  • Collaboration

Take control of applications, projects, and financials

Metrics

  • Reduction/ rationalization of applications under management
  • Reduction in demand cycle time
  • Reduced cycle time for budget/project portfolio planning
  • Reduced project cycle time

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Collect and inventory all applications, demand, and projects:
    • Define attributes related to cost, ROI, and relevance to business capabilities and/or objectives.
    • Categorize inventories in business-relevant terms.

  2. Align with the voice of the customer through ideation and price models:
    • Use price models to determine cost/value breakeven across applications and projects.
    • Use voice of customer exercises to understand demand in terms of “natural units of consumption.”

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • Incident management
  • Change management
  • Configuration (CMDB) management
  • SLA management
  • Reporting
  • Performance analytics
  • Request fulfillment
  • Service portal
  • Demand management
  • Financial management
  • Application portfolio management
  • Project and portfolio management

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Execute with agility:
    • Use the Now Platform to manage delivery of projects from end to end.
    • Create meaningful application categories (e.g., by value delivered, or associated service).
    • Start using the Now Platform to make service-aware planning decisions.

  2. Deliver business-driven value:
    • Align application and project portfolios and budgets with enterprise and line-of-business strategy.
    • Deliver and measure value-focused IT services.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • Problem management
  • Release management
  • Asset management
  • Resource management
  • Agile development
  • Test management
  • Knowledge management
  • Notification management
  • Business rules management
  • Workflow management
  • Collaboration
  • Time tracking
  • On-call management
  • Service catalog

Eliminate service outages

Metrics

  • Reduction in incidents related to changes
  • Reduction in change planning time
  • Decrease in incidents
  • Decrease in outage MTTR
  • Decrease in major outages

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Define critical services:
    • Define your current service portfolio/taxonomy.
    • Define SLA commitments for top applications.
    • Define the current scope of your CMDB.
    • Prioritize critical applications for service mapping.

  2. Discover data availability:
    • Populate CMDB as needed to include reconciliation and normalization of configuration items.
    • Map critical services in the CMDB

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • Problem management
  • Change management
  • Configuration (CMDB) management
  • Discovery
  • Service mapping
  • Reporting
  • Knowledge management
  • Collaboration
  • Notification management
  • On-call management
  • Workflow management

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Consume service monitoring data:
    • Create connections to third-party monitoring tools.
    • Ingest metrics and events and map them to configuration items and services.

  2. Measure service health and react:
    • Build service health dashboards, using “out of the box” health dashboards and reports where feasible.
    • Define KPIs and thresholds for health monitoring.
    • Define alerts and notification groups.
    • Define standard remediation actions, triggers, and workflows.
    • Create automated process scripts to orchestrate remediation.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • Event management
  • Service portal
  • Mobile
  • Performance analytics

Resolve real security threats fast

Metrics

  • Decrease in time to prioritize and resolve incidents 
  • Reduction in backlog of security incidents and vulnerabilities
  • Reduction of business risk through visibility into critical services
  • Reduced time spent on enrichment tasks through automation and threat intelligence

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Build the inventory:
    • Inventory authorized devices and software.
    • Identify services needing protection.
    • Inventory security controls, enforcement technologies, response playbooks, and orchestration endpoints.

  2. Connect security workflows:
    • Connect security alert sources.
    • Connect vulnerability scanner information.
    • Connect asset discovery mechanisms.
    • Connect email distributions and notifications.
    • Connect additional threat information sources, scanners, and feeds.
    • Connect orchestration endpoints.

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • SLA management
  • Configuration (CMDB) management
  • Event management
  • Knowledge management
  • Workflow management
  • Business rules management
  • Security incident response
  • Vulnerability response
  • Service portal
  • Request management

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Configure security operations:
    • Define role-based access.
    • Configure security incident and vulnerability workflows.
    • Configure threat intelligence sources.
    • Develop business criticality and risk calculators.
    • Build SLAs, dashboards, and reports.

  2. Launch new security workflows:
    • Publish security request catalog.
    • Develop standard post-incident assessments.
    • Standardize threat intelligence collection.
    • Establish automated security incident and vulnerability responses.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • Incident management
  • Problem management
  • Change management
  • Performance analytics
  • Threat intelligence
  • Discovery
  • Service mapping
  • Collaboration
  • Notification management

Consumerize the employee service experience

Metrics

  • Decrease in case resolution times
  • Improvements in employee satisfaction
  • Decreased cycle time in request process
  • Increased adoption of self-service

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Develop and design the service to be provided:
    • Identify the new service to be provided.
    • Identify the manager and consumer personas involved in the process to administer the service.
    • Identify required approvals.
    • Identify desired user experience.

  2. Identify HR services:
    • Identify relevant existing HR services.
    • Develop supporting HR life event services as needed.
    • Assign user criteria to services.
    • Develop appropriate security models.

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • HR management
  • Reporting
  • Knowledge management
  • Workflow management
  • Service portal
  • Request management

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Identify Other Services Outside of HR:
    • Identify IT, facilities, legal, finance, and other services needed to make the new service work.
    • Define cross-departmental SLAs.
    • Assign a knowledge base manager and content subject matter experts.

  2. Create lifecycle service
    • Create your new HR service, pulling in relevant HR and other services as needed.
    • Assign tasks and cases as appropriate.
    • Define escalations.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • Collaboration
  • Notification management
  • Performance analytics
  • Service catalog
  • Mobile

Resolve customer issues fast

Metrics

  • Increase in cases deflected through knowledge 
  • Reduced time spent resolving cases
  • Improved first call resolution
  • Reduced average case handling time
  • Improved customer and agent satisfaction
  • Improved NPS
  • Improved customer retention
  • Reduction in customer effort

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Engage customers:
    • Define expected customer outcomes and your current baseline.
    • Offer customers self-service via service portal.
    • Build a customer knowledge base.
    • Develop a migration strategy for your current tools and process.
    • Design a case management process flow.

  2. Streamline customer interactions:
    • Consolidate systems.
    • Develop a master data management and integration strategy.
    • Develop case management workflow/skill-based routing to customer service agents.
    • Build an agent knowledge base.
    • Develop survey capabilities for customer feedback and/or NPS.
    • Migrate or integrate case history.

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • Service management
  • Customer service management
  • SLA management
  • Knowledge management
  • Workflow management
  • Collaboration
  • Service portal
  • Reporting

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Connect Customer Service Capabilities.
    • Deploy additional support channels.
    • Expand the service catalog.
    • Understand management analytics requirements, and build management/executive dashboards.
    • Review and develop health checks for your system configuration.

  2. Build collaboration across customer service:
    • Identify process touch points with IT and other parts of the enterprise.
    • Extend customer support through field service.
    • Use incident, problem, and change management to resolve customer issues permanently.
    • Optimize knowledge bases and expand to communities.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • Incident management
  • Change management
  • Problem management
  • Configuration (CMDB) management
  • Field services management
  • Performance analytics
  • Service catalog
  • Mobile
  • Request management
  • Notification management
  • Open frame

Optimize performance with real-time analytics

Metrics

  • Reduction in number of reporting tools
  • Improvements in data accuracy
  • Improvements in employee productivity
  • Improvements in operational efficiency for services

Phase 1 – Modernize

  1. Define the analytics roadmap:
    • Define data quality standards.
    • Assess reporting process integrity.
    • Assess stakeholder confidence in current reporting.
    • Assess stakeholder cultural acceptance of analytics-driven decision-making.

  2. Establish a baseline for analytics-driven improvement:
    • Define current state of service performance.
    • Visualize metrics.
    • Incorporate and run meetings around performance analytics.
    • Prioritize work based on analytics.

Phase 1 – Essential ServiceNow capabilities

  • Incident management
  • Problem management
  • Change management
  • Configuration (CMDB) management
  • Release management
  • Asset management
  • SLA management
  • Service portal
  • Request management
  • Reporting
  • Performance analytics
  • Knowledge management
  • Workflow management
  • Business Rules Management
  • Collaboration
  • Notification management
  • On-call management
  • Time tracking management
  • Open frame

Phase 2 – Transform

  1. Improve performance with analytics:
    • Review service performance and set optimization targets.
    • Define plans to address performance gaps.
    • Use analytics to align stakeholders and report on progress towards optimization targets.

  2. Refine analytics:
    • Assess effectiveness of KPIs in guiding optimization.
    • Adjust metrics and visualizations.
    • Calibrate optimization targets based on assessment.

Phase 2 – Recommended ServiceNow capabilities

  • HR management
  • Facilities management
  • Customer service management
  • Discovery
  • Event management
  • Service mapping
  • Orchestration
  • Cloud management
  • Vendor management
  • Security incident response
  • Vulnerability response
  • Threat intelligence
  • Service catalog

Table 2: Example business outcomes, essential/recommended Now Platform capabilities, and implementation plan outcomes

Keep your options open—don’t focus your initial Now Platform implementation on a single outcome.

Instead of focusing your implementation on a single outcome, deploy your initial capabilities with the flexibility to extend the Now Platform to different use cases or functions over time. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the data model we’ve established limit flexibility, or does it support extension beyond our original use case?
  • Do the security protocols we’ve established support other potential use cases with more stringent security requirements?
  • Do the standards we’ve put in place for group access, naming, or metadata limit our ability to extend the platform to other use cases or functions?
  • Are we deploying the architecture in a way that can support delegated development outside the original function?

Sequencing deployment within the initial implementation phase

Once you’ve determined a phased deployment of capabilities and aligned it with your desired business outcomes, base your deployment sequencing within the initial implementation phase on a small set of decision rules:

  1. Have we developed process or workflow maps to help guide implementation of the capability (such as incident management)?
  2. Prioritize the capabilities you have process or workflow maps for. Avoid prioritizing capabilities not supported by process mapping. See Stage 2 for more information.

  3. Do we have the necessary data model(s) in place to support the capability?
  4. Many capabilities are dependent on the CMDB for effective implementation. Prioritize early CMDB development to resolve this dependency. See Stage 3 for more information.

  5. How long will it take us to realize value from this capability?
  6. The value of some capabilities is more dependent on your ability to mature associated management activities and skills. Capabilities such as orchestration may have less initial impact on consumers than others, such as a service catalog. Prioritize capabilities with fewer dependencies and broader impact. See Steps 4 and 5 for more information.

Explore additional phases

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