We focus a lot of time talking about public cloud and provisioning. Infrastructure as code has changed the way in which we can deploy our workloads and how our teams are structured. We’re even allowing other teams to deploy their own workloads through our cloud management portals. But some things haven’t changed all that much.
When I mention ServiceNow the first things that come to your mind are probably “Change Ticketing”, “CMDB”, or “Asset Management”. While ServiceNow certainly does all of those things, the real purpose of ServiceNow is to streamline operations. Many people who work in the enterprise probably think of ServiceNow as something that just gets in their way. No one wants to stop what they’re doing to enter a change ticket, wait for an approval or update a configuration item once deploying new servers, it’s a pain. But ServiceNow really is meant to speed up the operations process.
Think of it this way. Without a central management point operations just becomes a tangled web of phone calls, emails, instant messages, meetings and relative confusion. In a big company, if you needed to find out how to request a server, a laptop, a phone, or just need to get information sent up the chain, it may be really confusing. How do you know who to call for a request? How do you know that the request is being worked on or didn’t get lost in someone’s email?
ServiceNow allows you to streamline these confusing processes by using automated workflows to push requests to the right place and ensure it’s completed correctly. Think of the ServiceNow platform as your proxy to get work done. Everyone can make requests for services thorough the portal and find out what work they need to do through the same portal. It is the hub for not only ITSM but business needs in general.
ServiceNow presented during Cloud Field Day 2 out in Silicon Valley and explained how they were helping companies with these problems. Their platform allows people who aren’t even coders to build workflows and applications to help drive business goals.
All travel expenses and incidentals were paid for by Gestalt IT to attend Cloud Field Day 2.
While the Information Technology department may commonly be the primary users of ServiceNow, once the platform is put into use, other teams may see great value from the platform. Think of the following scenario. Your IT department has just started using ServiceNow to manage ticketing, assets and the cloud management modules to automate their server provisioning. The IT team has seen great gains in the efficiencies from these workflows and decide that they might want to talk to the human resources department about their needs. They build a simple workflow to manage the on-boarding of new hires where the HR person enters in some information about a new hire and the following routines kick off in the platform:
- New User is added to Active Directory with their contact info and managers updated
- A laptop and/or a virtual desktop are ordered or provisioned
- A company wide email goes out introducing the new hire
- Payroll gets an email about the new hire’s compensation plan
- The benefits package for the new hire is sent to his/her email
Tons of other things might happen in that workflow, but it’s a lot better than the HR person calling IT, opening tickets, emailing payroll, gathering benefit info etc.
The HR team may spread the news about your easy to use process and the efficiencies they’ve achieved. From there, other business groups may be clamoring for some of the automated gains your team has been able to provide. ServiceNow has become much more than an ITSM platform, but rather a one-stop-shop for getting work done.
ServiceNow is more than just an ITSM tool these days. It’s a business tool. When asked during the CFD2 session about who ServiceNow’s competitors really are, the answer wasn’t another company like BMC or IBM. The answer was “unstructured workflows.” If your company is going to embrace automation, then spending money on a platform such as ServiceNow might be well worth the investment.10