Implementing ServiceNow successfully in 2022

Start Strong and plan for success

ServiceNow is a powerful platform. A successful implementation will both generate confidence in the tool capabilities and ensure that expected value to the business is realised.

Despite ever more relevant templates, methodologies and documentation, these outcomes are not guaranteed and projects can still go off track. This can still result in only some of the benefits being realised and further investment required to achieve the expected outcomes.

In this blog we look at some of the key focus areas that can be addressed in order to improve the chances of realising the expected benefits and keeping the implementation focussed and driven.

This blog will be the first in a series of blog posts that looks at establishing the foundations for a project and ensuring that there is sufficient clarity around vision, scope, engagement and outcomes.

1.Strong Sponsorship

Whilst this seems like a common-sense requirement, there is often a disconnect between the expectations of the Senior Sponsor and the delivery teams who are charged with configuration and implementation. For example, whilst the Sponsor may have planned and budgeted on an ‘out of the box’ implementation, the delivery teams may plan on ensuring that current ways of working are not disrupted and seek to customise ServiceNow to meet those requirements.

A strong sponsor can provide clear direction on the guiding principles expected for the project. They are the ultimate authority to guide and mediate between internal teams, suppliers and business stakeholders and ensure that the vision is maintained.

Without this figurehead, it is easy for individuals to try and further their own ambitions or to protect their current ways of working, delaying decision making and potentially making the implementation (and operation) much more complex, with subsequent impact on time, cost and scope.

Ultimately the benefit of having a strong sponsor is that the project stays focussed, design principles are upheld and decisions can be made quickly to ensure the business outcome is realised.

2. Clearly Communicate the vision and outline the end goals

This should focus on the elements that the organisation is hoping to transform and develop as a result of this implementation. This could be a better user experience for employees, migration to more self-service modes of operation, greater control to meet compliance requirements or removal of manual processes.

Reiteration of the vision and end goal should take place throughout the life of the ServiceNow implementation. This could be through progress reports and internal Media posts as to updates and progress. Frequent statements from the Sponsor can also help the business to focus on maintaining design principles and upholding the vision, as well as the importance keeping to plan.

Together, this communication and vision will help to build an understanding of the project and build enthusiasm to adopt both ServiceNow and make the most of the finished product.

3. Build the Concept and do your design thinking in advance

Having had the demos and discussed the expected value during the sales cycle, the critical thinking required to define the architecture, data model and operating models using ServiceNow can get overtaken by contracts, procurement and planning dates.

The reality is that Delivery Teams and the business need to prepare for something that is potentially very different in look, structure and operation than they use today. If you wait until the first design workshops to start this thinking, then there is a risk that either the requirements definition will stall in order for the business to gather their thoughts, or there will be too much temptation to customise ServiceNow in order to replicate the current ways of working.

Therefore, bring together your architects, business leads and SMEs early on in the process to review the out of the box configuration and available client preparation materials. Use their expertise to generate a high-level design that considers the overall architecture, data model and design principles set out by the sponsor.

Additionally, review or document existing delivery processes and see how they align with the out of the box configuration. Finally, consider any pain points that need to be addressed so that these can be considered as part of implementation.

4. Set out a clear Governance Model

The objective of implementation governance is to ensure sufficient control, guidance and direction on behalf of the Sponsor in order to ensure that the expected outcomes are delivered. Any framework should be scaled to the size and complexity of the project but at a minimum consideration should be given to the following:

  • A project board with representatives from various stakeholder groups (which should also include user groups) who can make decisions on direction, solutions (Configuration vs Customisation) and priorities throughout the project. Quick decision making is key to prevent project and scope drift.
  • Adoption of an agreed project management methodology (most likely a hybrid of Waterfall and Agile). The chosen approach should leverage a ServiceNow PPM or similar to provide a single system of record that tracks and reports across the project delivery criteria for scope, quality, time, and cost.
  • Strong Project level governance which isn’t just updating a project plan, reporting risks and producing a status report. Using ServiceNow NowCreate as a basis, consider adoption of Agile ceremonies, such as daily Stand Ups, Sprint Planning and Retrospectives and to manage and guide the project team through challenges, issues and their mitigations.

 In Summary 

Project initiation can often be lost in the frantic efforts to close the sale with a Partner, establishing an agreement for licences and just getting on with the day job. By giving this phase of the Project more focus and structure, it should allow the project to start on a firm foundation where there are clear design principles that seek to avoid customisation, there is a clear goal for the transformation project, clear direction for the stakeholders and a good understanding of the business outcomes to be achieved.

This planning and the formation of a clear governance and solution framework should allow early interception and mitigation of issues, as well as enabling prompt decision making and direction. Without them, there is a high of analysis paralysis that will only generate delays and confusion and dilute the benefits realisation.
In the next blog post, I’ll look at the next phases of the project around implementation and configuration.

To find out how NWT can help support you on your ServiceNow implementation journey, or if you would like to hear more about our practice. Please email info@newworldtech.io we would love to hear from you.