What do you think about when someone mentions, “new enterprise software?”
How about “new phone?”
My guess is that they conjure different reactions. The thought of enterprise software to many, even the most seasoned of IT pros, tends to verge on cringe-worthy. At the same time, people are constantly being delighted by their personal devices.
What if someone mentions ServiceNow: the company who helps NASA with their IT, who is tackling the problem that American companies spend $575 billion a year on busy work? Reactions for the IT platform range from positive to ecstatic, which might be the biggest deal in SaaS since Java. We’re at the dawn of the enterprise experience, and ServiceNow is leading the charge.
As a company, ServiceNow posed a bold, albeit essential question: What if we can deliver a similar experience to IT framework that one finds with top consumer-facing applications? As part of the company’s three areas of IT transformation, you’ll find them say, “More like Amazon, less like the DMV.”
Photo credit: ServiceNow ShowMeNow YouTube Channel
A consumer-like enterprise experience was inevitable. Our world is being taken over by more intuitive user experiences and faster, simpler ways to create. Pick up your phone and download any wireframing tool. Within the tool, you can create an app or website mockup in a few hours. You can learn anything; do anything.
What about the enterprise? How can a cloud service lead to major gains in efficiency, and enable users the freedom to create like we can with our phones?
To explain just how powerful ServiceNow has been for 4th Source, I spoke with Susan Britt, ServiceNow Tech Lead.
How has the platform benefited your team and organization?
ServiceNow has reduced our email, phone calls and IM interruptions, along with all the spreadsheets and checklists floating around, making us a more efficient company. This leads to happier employees and customers. That’s the short answer, but there’s a lot of substance.
We can also set up custom portals. We have one for a health and wellness customer right now where, if their users were to log in, they would see specific dashboards set up for their service catalog and knowledge base. The benefit is that, as a ServiceNow consultant, 4th Source can implement or enhance aspects of ITSM according to the specific needs of external customers.
Let’s talk about customers. What kind of issues do they face, and how have you helped them leverage ServiceNow?
When we implement ServiceNow, it reduces a lot of duplication of effort. A customer of ours in healthcare, a large research hospital, was facing an issue with system integration. Each department had a different system they were using to maintain tickets. Now there’s one system accessible to all departments. It combines everything they were already using into one place, reduces the need for different ticketing systems, and has a self-service portal for the thousands of doctors, nurses, interns, and staff.
Our customers are also getting rid of some of their third party asset software. Each department had a different application that they were using to monitor assets, and we’re now getting that all pulled into the asset management application within ServiceNow and their CMDB.
As a ServiceNow partner, we are saving customers a lot of money in other industries, such as retail, because they’re not having to buy the license agreements for a self-service SDE, or even a CRM solution. Instead, there’s one license that everyone can use.
ServiceNow seems like a natural extension for an IT organization like 4th Source. How about a healthcare IT department? What’s in it for them?
Asset management and configuration management databases are important for healthcare organizations so they know exactly where their assets are at all times.
To know where a particular microscope is, where a laptop is, the work station that’s used by the x-ray tech; for a hospital campus, with thousands of laptops containing sensitive information, it’s a big deal. We’ve helped our customers implement ServiceNow so that they’ll know, and can trace, exactly what building their equipment is in, its location within the building, and who’s using it.
I get that hospitals need to know where their equipment is. Why is asset-tracking important from a financial standpoint?
It’s more efficient to know where everything is, and what’s available to use, but also for auditing. The hospital we work with has semi-annual audits where they have to physically go touch every piece of inventory. So, from a financial aspect, they can say, “yes, we really do still have that laptop. It wasn’t stolen or lost.”
You can connect everything. We have a lot of experience in managed services, and help our health and wellness customers leverage ServiceNow for their change management processes. It’s important to know, "if I reboot a server tonight to install a patch, what else will it affect?" When an application depends on a certain database and server, it’s good to know that all your maintenance is tied together.
ServiceNow has received praise for being customizable. How has 4th Source leveraged this for its customers?
We have initiated a program called jump-start™, where, within ServiceNow, we develop out-of-box preconfigurations for incident applications. It involves everything related to incidents or issues, change management, or service requests. We customize them specifically for customers so they can pick up and immediately use the tool.
You wouldn’t always need to have an assigned-to person for a change request to be approved. The jump-start preconfigurations make the IT user’s life a little easier to enter certain requests, to get all the pertinent information, and to be more efficient.
One of the jump-starts we run enables every user who logs into ServiceNow the ability to set up a profile, and then delegate. If I was responsible for approving change requests, I can say, “I’m going to be out of the office, but I want Karen or Bill to take over on my behalf.” We make it easier to delegate.
Little things are important. We don’t want a user to be able to complete the change request until all the tasks are completed, so whoever owned it couldn’t go close it out if there was something still open and left to do. We have a jump-start in place for this.
How to push your ServiceNow agenda forward, faster
Faster, more consumer-driven experiences are a reality for hospitals using ServiceNow. It's difficult to go alone, however, as resources need to keep up with development and request fulfillment while determining best practices, and molding the platform to your specific needs.
If you're just getting started, finding the right partner to help you implement and run the program is essential. Here's a free guide on how to minimize implementation and run-time mistakes.
Or, if your department is already up-and-running, but are facing bottlenecks to meet request demand,check out this post about how to dig yourself out of trouble.
Given its ease of use, development potential, and cloud-based hosting, ServiceNow will help any hospital reduce manual work and boost customer experiences across all facilities.
Susan Britt is the ServiceNow Tech Lead at 4th Source with three years of ServiceNow Administration and Development experience. Prior to working with ServiceNow, Susan was a Lawson developer and consultant for sixteen years. She has two teenage sons and enjoys bowling, remodeling projects, and volunteering at charities around Nashville.
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