Magazine / ServiceNow
Jun 29, 2021 9:10:17 AM

ServiceNow: what it is, how it works and why companies need it

What is ServiceNow? Put simply, it is a digitalization and workflow management platform. This solution was born in 2004 with the idea of simplifying the management of IT services for companies by offering an Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) solution. Today it is much more and has expanded its cloud based platform, the Now Platform, to manage workflows related to IT, human resources and customers through various modules such as IT Operations Management (ITOM), IT Business Management (ITBM), Customer Service Management (CSM), HR Service Delivery and Security Operations (SecOps), to name just the main ones.

What can ServiceNow do?

The strength of ServiceNow is the single system of record, that is a set of information at the base of all the services offered. This is what allows you to correlate applications and services available in the company.

ServiceNow provides the infrastructure needed to perform data collection, archiving and application development on a single platform. The Now Platform CMDB (Configuration Management Database) together with the service mapping shows the dependencies between the organization's resources, giving complete visibility of the corporate environment.

ServiceNow simplifies and facilitates communications, avoiding often confusing email exchanges or telephone calls which, by their nature, exclude other company figures who must remain informed about the status of the activity. All thanks to the implementation of a single portal, which gives access to a single flow of information, clear and free of potential errors resulting from manual operations such as transcriptions, spreadsheets or presentations.

 

Why is ServiceNow successful?

By virtue of the operational benefits of a single solution, ServiceNow has become a benchmanrk for many businesses, from banks to telephone providers, hospitals and insurance companies, and has been the market leader for years. In 2019 ServiceNow, for example, was included, for the sixth consecutive year, in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for ITSM Service Manufacturers, as the best execution skill company in the Leader category.

The basis of the ServiceNow solution is the use of automation systems aimed at increasing the efficiency of the workflow in multiple business areas by reducing the need for manual intervention and enabling specific workflows.

 

How ServiceNow works

The operation of ServiceNow aims not only to simplify daily work through customizable digital workflows for each company, but to make employees more productive. Through machine learning algorithms and the flexibility of the cloud platform, ServiceNow grants staff the tools necessary to control the most frequent and most relevant operations by leveraging all data generated by the company's activities. The ease of access to the most innovative and advanced digital tools makes ServiceNow the ideal platform for simplifying the daily workflow, enabling new operational mechanics and introducing intelligent digital systems.

The automation routines also guarantee the fundamental technological support to elevate daily activity. Following the effective implementation of ServiceNow in the enterprise infrastructure, employees can access a portal offering tons of functions, simple to use for different business activities (such as consulting detailed reports on an incident), for a data-driven approach to decisions and to communicate effectively with other staff members. All from a clear interface that can be customized while always referring to a single data (Single System of Record, mentioned above).

 

What are ServiceNow modules

The main modules of ServiceNow are:

  • IT Service Management (ITSM)
  • IT Business Management (ITBM)
  • IT Operations Management (ITOM)
  • Customer Service Management (CSM)
  • Security Operations (SecOps)
  • Governance, Risk e Compliance (GRC)
  • HR Delivery Service

ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM): the most used

Since ITSM was the first service offered by ServiceNow, it is also the one most used by its customers around the world. For many companies, enabling the ServiceNow IT Service Management module is also the starting point for the digital transformation of the enterprise, with the aim of making the IT department more productive by automating routine tasks.

How? One of the most popular tools is Now Mobile, a mobile application designed to quickly get assistance, coordinate in real time with other business areas and independently manage searches and access information. For IT Service Management, Service Now leverages best practices to bundle inefficient tools in the cloud and offers integrated dashboards and analytics updated in real time.

 

IT Business Management (ITBM): the financial optimization you need

From the financial sector to the financial services sector, IT Business Management guarantees the best results in managing your portfolio. Losing sight of the expenses associated with the IT application portfolio can be costly to the enterprise, particularly due to the remaining weight of so-called legacy applications. For this reason, ServiceNow simplifies the analysis of expenses and revenues by allowing companies to take advantage of clear graphs updated in real time in order to understand exactly which areas need to be optimized and which, instead, need to be supported more.

Decision-making operations are strengthened thanks to five specific ServiceNow IT Business Management tools: identification of existing applications; measurement of applications in terms of operating costs, use and risks; evaluation of individual applications; the decision-making process (keep or replace an application, for example) and, finally, the final action. Specifically, ServiceNow includes Agile Development, Financial Management, Application Portfolio Management and Project Portfolio Management applications. Thanks to these digital tools, data from IT Operations Management and IT Service Management can be integrated into the IT Business Management tool, allowing companies to manage the IT department like any other business.

 

IT Operations Management (ITOM): ServiceNow and optimization

Power is nothing without control. This is why ServiceNow IT Operations Management services have been highly successful with actual results in reducing service outages (up to 95% compared to pre-ServiceNow) and reducing the amount of incidents. By exploiting AIOps - a machine learning and analytics system - companies can more easily fulfill the Service Level Agreements agreed with customers and manage complex IT operations in the best possible way.

ServiceNow IT Operations Management features are aimed at automating operations that take a long time, but are also repetitive and do not bring real added value to the company. Among the tools involved are Discovery, Event Management, Operational Intelligence, Orchestration, Service Mapping and Cloud Management. Each of them enables a specific form of automation, which reduces the workload on employees by automatically producing maps for configuring objects according to the service objective or automating the operation of the IT department in the round, involving printers, servers, applications and even remote services.

 

Customer Service Management (CSM): the customer is at the center

Building customer loyalty is one of the most important levers to improve the company's profitability. With ServiceNow's Customer Service Management services and thanks to the integration between the various departments of the company, workflows are automated to solve customer problems in a connected and fluid way. While legacy systems allow only one customer to be dealt with at a time, collaboration between IT, finance, quality assurance and other business areas ensures that companies implementing ServiceNow enjoy a set of digital tools to tackle the problem reported by the customer at the root, in order to prevent accidents from happening again. The end customer will thus be able to feel effectively cared for, and recognize the added value of an advanced solution such as ServiceNow.

 

Security Operations (SecOps): how ServiceNow monitors cyber threats

ServiceNow is so confident in its Security Operations services that it has implemented them in its organization itself. And with clear results: $400,000 in annual savings; a 50% increase in the number of incidents that each analyst was able to manage and, finally, 8,700 hours saved in the security operations centers. To achieve this, ServiceNow implements Vulnerability Response, Security Incident Response, Threat Intelligence, Trusted Security Circles, Configuration Compliance and Performance Analytics for SpecOps functions. Instead of going to replace the software already existing in the company for cybersecurity, the role of ServiceNow is that of orchestrator, making all software work properly (such as protection systems against Digital Denial of Service or DDoS). Thanks to an innovative approach and leveraging machine learning and automation, ServiceNow allows to identify and manage the most dangerous cyber threats with absolute priority and reduces the time required to respond to a cyber incident and improve the efficiency of the response. In addition, the ServiceNow platform reduces the impact of attacks on the corporate infrastructure and helps to increase employee knowledge of cyber security.

 

Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC): lower costs and risks

By cutting costs and reducing risks, ServiceNow Governance, Risk and Compliance services guarantee, on average, an 80% cut in cost auditing. The cloud-based platform and the adoption of a single database make it possible to easily connect IT Risk Management with information on existing IT assets and processes. The monitoring means act as a defense against possible compliance violations, taking advantage of the automation of test controls. For its services in Governance, Risk and Compliance, ServiceNow was named a Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant 209 in the Integrated Risk Management category for the second consecutive year.

 

HR Service Delivery: human resources work better

Another popular ServiceNow module concerns HR Service Delivery, which automates the interactions of the Human Resources department and improves the service offered to the company's employees themselves. The HR Service Delivery module enables advanced tools and automations that improve employee satisfaction and efficiency. For example, by centralizing access to the most common forms for HR, automating incoming HR requests and employee onboarding.

Operations that in a less advanced mechanism are managed by e-mail or over the phone can be tracked, thanks to the ServiceNow HR Service Delivery module, and reported with tangible improvements in the performance of HR teams and their responsiveness. Particularly appreciated is the Employee Service Center feature, which offers a unique portal to which all employees can refer to get the information, services and help they need.

The benefits of the HR Service Delivery module are extended by the Now Mobile applications (for managing HR requests) and Mobile Onboarding (for new employees).

 

The benefits ServiceNow brings to businesses

Companies that adopt ServiceNow can see a number of cross-cutting benefits, ranging from the efficiency of the work environment to the benefits on operating expenses.

 

An ideal work environment for talents

ServiceNow is an enabler that brings significant all-round benefits. Allowing employees to reduce the time spent on repetitive activities guarantees them the ability to be more productive by offering high levels of satisfaction within the company itself. But there’s more: improving the digitalization of processes represents a significant factor of attractiveness for new talents, especially in the younger generations, who find fertile ground in automation and digitalization to express their potential.

 

With ServiceNow, information systems "talk" to each other

Operations are also improved within the company itself as ServiceNow can be easily integrated with software (such as Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management) already in use. ServiceNow reduces the time required to solve problems and also eliminates possible technical errors caused by the lack of integration between the different information systems used by employees every day. In addition, natural language support greatly lowers the entry barrier to ServiceNow, allowing the platform to immediately enter everyday business from Go Live.

 

Less third-party services, more efficiency

As a cloud platform for creating workflows, ServiceNow enables enterprises to save on operational and infrastructure costs and avoid unexpected expenses, thanks to a simple cost forecasting model. It is easy to integrate and, above all, it is scalable to parallel the growth of the company. Enterprises that have adopted ServiceNow have reported that they have minimized their dependence on IT services provided by third parties, leveraging cost-saving benefits and helping them prioritize in-house IT services that could help them grow their business.

 

ServiceNow accelerates problem-solving

Of particular interest is the clean, high-quality data that is enabled by ServiceNow. These data allow top management to have detailed information on the progress of the business and to have a clear picture of everything that passes through the platform. For example, the company can quickly identify if a customer has contacted the company more frequently than usual in the last period. This situation will be highlighted and the manager will be notified. This way, they can learn about it quickly and contact the customer to better understand the reasons behind the problem.

Tangible benefits are also found in customer satisfaction. Some large companies that have implemented ServiceNow have quickly reported a 25% improvement in customer satisfaction. 

 

ServiceNow and Workflow: from IT to HR

ServiceNow workflows enable a new way of working. The company becomes a single body and the departments (from IT to Human Resources) no longer work in silos. The latter is a counterproductive practice in the current commercial context. The advantage of ServiceNow is to combine the various business areas by offering tangible benefits.

 

IT Service Desk: the chat evolves

How does the IT Service Desk benefit from ServiceNow? By introducing digital mechanisms into the workplace that are the standard of everyday life today, such as messaging applications. Employees have at their disposal ConnectChat, an internal messaging system which, however, is also much more: it allows them to contact other departments in real time, create group areas and exchange documents and files in an instant. For example, an employee can send an incident report to another department via chat, allowing a technician to consult the document and continue active service.

 

Cybersecurity and ServiceNow: priority to critical vulnerabilities

ServiceNow's structured workflows offer significant benefits to cybersecurity applications. The platform, in fact, includes automatic priority mechanisms for the various operations to be followed to remedy an IT security problem, such as a data breach. How? Minimizing the need for manual data entry in spreadsheets and offering employees automatic tools to have all the necessary information.

 

ServiceNow for HR: more advanced decision-making processes

The HR department spends much of its time on routine low-value operations. ServiceNow takes care of automating this type of task. The unified platform allows HR to easily connect with other divisions of the company (from the legal department to the administrative and IT department) enabling intuitive decision-making processes. In fact, HR managers can leverage trending and tracking tools to tackle tasks and operations in a more agile way. Freeing up the resources of the HR department allows this business area to focus on activities that favor the growth of the company, such as hiring staff.

Additionally, because ServiceNow's advanced technology tools are easy to use, HR managers can be more independent and thus less refer to the IT department, which in turn can work on other situations. ServiceNow's HR Management service can, for example, create email accounts and automatically update HR systems. Furthermore, ServiceNow integrates well with existing Human Content Management (HCM) in the company.

 

 Customer problems resolved upstream

Customer Service is not just about solving a specific customer ticket, but about preventing that problem from recurring. Even better, ServiceNow tools ensure that the company can warn the customer of a malfunction before the customer is aware of it. ServiceNow's Service Mapping function collects information to allow the employee to discover the point of origin of a problem, in order to reduce, in the long term, the number of tickets sent by customers to the company.

 

How to choose a ServiceNow partner

Buying a ServiceNow license is the first step, but it's not enough on its own. Without a quality partner who can guide the path to implement the platform in the IT infrastructure of the company, ServiceNow is an engine without the right fuel: it cannot operate at its best.

The ServiceNow partner therefore acts as a bridge between technology and people who must then be able to exploit the potential of the platform, thanks to years of experience and competence. Partner support includes implementation, testing, support, quality control and more. In fact, during the ServiceNow implementation process, various obstacles must be faced, including integration customizations (specific to each company); the replacement of legacy systems and the improvement of processes to achieve optimal efficiency.

The choice of partner must be based on the choice of a partner with proven experience in the field of ServiceNow. Another element to consider is the type of Service Level Agreement (SLA) that the partner proposes: is it willing to accept penalties in case it does not respect the programmed conditions? Is the growth of the company one of the partner's goals? ServiceNow Go Live is just the starting point.

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