Demonstrating the power of the platform - how to build a digital workflow that could manage an efficient & safe return to business travel

  • Camilla Hamp
  • Solutions
  • 2022
  • Now Platform
02 February 2022

Demonstrating the power of the platform - how to build a digital workflow that could manage an efficient & safe return to business travel

Many of our customers deploy the NOW platform to support very typical organisational use-cases, such as IT service management or employee service delivery. However, the power of the platform is much broader than just that. With the right knowledge and support, many other business specific needs can be addressed with low-code digital workflow builds.

In this blog, we’ll explore how our Solutions Consulting teams work with clients to address their business priorities, and the approach they take together to design and build real-world solutions.

Example use case: managing an efficient & safe return to business travel

Back in 2020, the spread of COVID-19 across the globe brought business travel to an abrupt halt. Nearly two years on, travel is slowly becoming more commonplace once again. But with the effects of the pandemic still being felt, there are many new, and continually changing, regulations, and safety concerns to consider when planning a trip. As such, both organisations and individuals now invest much more time, and budget, in planning business travel, with reduced productivity becoming the major knock-on effect.

Here's our step-by-step approach of how we took on the challenge of addressing this business problem, designing a potential solution, from concept to prototype application in a single day, at our Now-at-Work Manchester event in November.

Watch the summary overview of what was presented back to the audience on the day here.

Setting a vision in motion

Our development process starts with framing the challenge.

To guide thinking, we use the divergent and convergent ‘double diamond’ method to contextualise the problem and move us from Vision to Value. Firstly, we go broad, getting perspective from a diverse group of people, to get under the skin of all the issues and clearly define what we want to accomplish, a vision and outcome.

We then use creative thinking techniques to drill down on the key areas of concern (converge) that need addressing, brainstorming solutions so we solve the right problem in the right way. This forms the foundation of our design thinking, starting from a challenge, developing into a shared understanding and finally, working to achieve an actionable outcome.

For our safe return to travel application, we started by focusing on travel policies and safety information, and then looked into how we could integrate workflows to highlight risks and provide an interactive way of determining whether it’s actually safe to travel.

Journey-mapping was key here. We created a detailed view of the user journey from across three key stages: pre-travel, during travel, and post-travel. This gave us a high-level view of what employees would experience, and would like as an experience, while travelling.

This provided the insight we needed to, again, create a broad range of ideas and then converge back into the best ideas to drive us toward the ideal solution to meet the challenge. From there we were able to create a wireframe and prototype for our application.

Building the app

With local travel restrictions changing regularly, and often unpredictably, keeping up to date with new advice is a time-consuming process. With this in mind, we wanted to ensure our application interface was as easy to use as possible.

The result? An intuitive interface that lets users input business travel requests, see announcements, receive automated notifications, access a knowledge base with the latest advice, and more, all in just a few clicks.

To assist employees before travelling, we added a live API that continually monitors restrictions in the area and provides a pop-up warning if any are added or altered. If advice does change, our solution generates travel alerts and notifications that are emailed, or instant messaged out to the relevant people automatically. This kind of proactive functionality was essential, as it allows employees and managers to plan with confidence should anything affect their trip, they’ll be the first to know.

If something happens during a trip - like an employee catching COVID-19 - they can interact with a virtual assistant that can quickly provide local information and generate requests that feed directly back to their supervisor, for ongoing support. We also built a resiliency tracker that maps individual employees and their dependencies, so it’s easier to plan for things like absences, which could have ramifications across the whole organisation.

Business travel is complex, so we ensured our application provides various touchpoints where users can interact throughout their journey. Naturally, everything is mobile accessed for ease.

Quantifying success

At the final stage of the development process, we return to the outcomes and values, working with our client to qualify the measure of success of the result.

For our travel application, success was measured in a few ways by reduced employee time to organise travel, reduced impact to productivity, and higher employee satisfaction.

Let the platform address your business challenges

The prototype app was a demonstration of what is possible with the NOW platform in addressing more than just IT issues. With the right knowledge, supporting team and mindset, almost any business use-case could be considered a candidate for a digital workflow.

If this has set you thinking of your organisation's needs, then challenge us at ServiceNow to help you address them, and we will work with you to ensure success.

Learn more about the power of ServiceNow Creator Workflows and building workflow applications quickly on a low code platform

Catch up on all of the great sessions from Now at Work 2021 on the content hub.

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