As Enterprise Apps Today reported a few months ago, companies are finding new uses for their service management software. Traditionally under the purview of the IT organization, it is now being used by business functions throughout the enterprise such as marketing, legal and finance.
With its latest release, service management software provider ServiceNow hopes to make it easier for companies that want to define, structure and automate workflows throughout the enterprise, not just in IT. Doing so makes enterprises less dependent on often inefficient tools like email and spreadsheets, according to Dave Wright, ServiceNow's chief strategy officer.
"Customers can use service management to define, structure and automate any request such as asking for collateral from marketing, contract review from legal or purchase orders from finance," he wrote in a blog post, offering the example of several ServiceNow customers. For instance, the quote-to-invoice team at client NetApp created an automated workflow for tens of thousands of emails, which once arrived at a single shared inbox, to speed its sales process.
"Our customers have been leading the charge to expand the use of ServiceNow across the enterprise to help improve business process for some time," said Wright in a statement. "This release improves the ability to quickly stand up new service domains and put the power of service management into the hands of business leaders across the enterprise."
Service Management Successes
Rob Pickering, vice president of Information Services, AAA Allied Group, said in a statement that eight departments at his company are rolling out automated workflows based on ServiceNow, which is making the company less reliant on email.
And Link Alander, vice chancellor and CIO of ServiceNow client Lone Star Community College, said in a statement that the school uses ServiceNow to streamline requests around student financial aid, project tracking and contract management, among other functions. "Having one platform helps my team drive greater efficiencies to our business users. Now we get visibility into our services so we can measure and improve them. And most importantly, it delivers a vastly improved user experience to our students, staff and educators," he said.
The new release gives customers the ability to provide a dedicated service catalog and knowledge base for every department, with each department able to fully configure its own business processes and workflows and create dedicated analytics and dashboards to provide visibility into the work of each team. Employees can then submit requests for services such as collateral from marketing, contract reviews from legal or purchase orders from finance through the service management system. The system also tracks requests, eliminating the need for employees to send emails to check on progress.
Employees can go directly to a specific department to find information or submit requests, or they can search all departments through a central service portal, according to the company.
To get customers started, ServiceNow introduced three new service management applications geared to specific business functions: marketing, legal and finance. Each app is pre-populated with common service catalog items that can also be customized and augmented, if necessary, to better fit departmental needs.
Roll Your Own Service Management Apps
The release also includes a template that aims to make it easier for customers to develop their own service management applications, using one of three options: basic service management for services that do not require an approval workflow; intermediate service management, which adds workflow-based approvals to the basic service management application; and advanced service management, which allows customers to fully configure the application with support for more robust workflow and tracking capabilities such as managing parts inventories and remote workers.
In addition, it includes a new financial management application that ServiceNow promises will help organizations better understand the connection between the costs associated with delivering services and the value those services deliver. It enables organizations to import actual IT costs sourced from the general ledger including those associated with business services, applications, projects and infrastructure. The application maps the costs to the consumption of these services and also gives CIOs an interactive dashboard to monitor the costs.
Other enhancements include:
- New support for planned maintenance, which makes it easier to execute and manage scheduled work, improving preventive maintenance activities and limiting downtime for physical assets
- A new integration with Workday to improve the automation around employee changes such as onboarding, off-boarding and employee moves
- New social collaboration capabilities that capture and integrate unstructured data such as chat, enhanced LiveFeed and threaded discussions