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Top tips for a successful ServiceNow deployment

We’ve now been involved in the management of countless ServiceNow implementations and would like to share our top tips with you.

Choose a reputable partner

A quick Google search will uncover literally thousands of potential ServiceNow partners who can configure the toolset and manage your implementation. Head over to the ServiceNow Partner Finder portal to narrow down your search.  Remember, ServiceNow measure their partner’s performance regularly, and they publish these on the partner portal page for each partner.  Use this resource to establish your “long-list” of potential partners.

Don’t underestimate cultural fit

ServiceNow has a proprietary implementation approach called the ServiceNow Implementation Methodology. This attempts to apply a consistent approach to implementing ServiceNow, across all of its partners and largely, it achieves this.  However, your partners will be influenced not only by the SIM (or “what to do”), but also by their own organisational culture (or “how to do it”).
I’ve come across partners with various approaches over the years, and when introducing a partner to a client, their potential cultural fit is at the forefront of my mind.  You need to choose a partner who matches your own working style as an organisation, be this laid-back, highly regulated, friendly, formal, flexible or whatever best fits your needs.

I’d suggest writing down the 5 qualities you’d expect from a partner and ensuring that when selecting them, you assess them against these qualities, either formally or informally.

Develop a selection approach

The wide array of potential partners can be daunting. I’d strongly suggest developing a formal selection approach.  In some organisations, this will be mandatory in any case.

As described above, start with the qualities you’d expect from the partner.  In addition you’ll also need to consider:

    1. Price
    2. Implementation Experience
    3. License costs
    4. Depth and breadth of experience of their consultants
    5. Are consultants UK or off-shore based? This can have a huge impact on ways of working, particularly if you’re in a completely different time zone
    6. Are consultants employees or contractors. This can affect the quality of the work done, particularly if the partner is just sub-contracting the work to a pool of contractors
    7. The lead time to start work
    8. The ability of the supplier to potentially offer ongoing support in the form of a managed service​​

Define your requirements in detail

Before your partner is onboarded, you’ll need to devote some serious effort to defining your functional requirements. You may have already done this to some extent when selecting ServiceNow, but it pays to refresh this content to ensure you’re clear on the scope of the ServiceNow implementation (e.g. which processes will be included) and how you want the tool to operate once live.

Prepare base data and integration approach

ServiceNow will rely largely on existing data sources for data such as users, locations, log-in details etc. It will be necessary to give some consideration to which data sources will be “master” source, and whether the data flow will be one-way or bidirectional.  You’ll also need to start thinking about some basic design principles, for example whether you want to connect ServiceNow to Active Directory for user access rights management, or whether you want to adopt a Single Sign On (SSO) approach to ServiceNow login.

Devote time to configuration

All ServiceNow partners will want to work closely with you to develop their technical requirements for configuration. This is normally achieved through a series of workshops, and agile development sprints.  Make sure you make the right people available to support these workshops, preferably the process owners and a selection of those who will be using the tool once it is live.

Own the testing strategy and approach

You will also need to define the approach and requirements for testing. The ServiceNow Implementation Methodology mentioned above provides a basis for this, but you may have specific requirements around security testing, for example, which will need to be considered.

Consider a managed service

Organisations have traditionally retained the ServiceNow administrator role themselves, but more recently, adopting a managed service approach from your ServiceNow partner can be worthwhile, particularly if your ServiceNow implementation is complex, or spans a lot of ServiceNow modules.

Implement change governance and establish a backlog of enhancements

ServiceNow really is the Swiss knife of process workflow. It can be configured to meet most requirements, but this itself carries a risk.  The tool can quickly become overly complex to manage and for this reason it is vital to establish a governance model which manages enhancement requests and bug reports, and assesses each one with the aim of prioritising implementation.

Appoint an owner

In addition to change governance mentioned above, it’s also worthwhile establishing a Service/Product/Owner role, who will manage the strategic roadmap for ServiceNow within your organisation, following best practice principles as you would for any other complex, business critical enterprise application.

So there you have it, our top ten tips for successful implementation. Syniad IT are experts in helping IT leaders improve their organisations through the deployment of highly effective operating models.  If you think we can help with your ServiceNow tool implementation journey, please get in touch.

ServiceNow is a vast tool, as well as some of the tips in this article you can read Are you maximising your ServiceNow Investment? to find out if you are using it to its full potential.

To find out how we help organisations like yours, read our ultimate guide to Tool Selection.

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Case Studies

Here’s a selection of where we’ve helped clients with their Service Management challenges.