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Make the move from legacy ITSM solutions to ServiceNow best practices

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Change is never easy, particularly within an organization. However, even when it’s hard, change often brings significant rewards.

This is especially true when transitioning your IT Service Management solution from a legacy system to a modern option like the ServiceNow platform. From implementing the system to teaching users how to navigate it, there are plenty of places to trip up even the most seasoned IT veteran.

ServiceNow’s robust platform is perfect for both government and private entities, and changing from a legacy platform to ServiceNow shouldn’t cause large-scale disruption if it’s done the right way and follows simple best practices:

Start with the right methodology

ServiceNow implementations require careful oversight because the ITSM solution will fundamentally change how people work. The ServiceNow methodology provides a framework to understand the unique aspects of each implementation.

Understanding how people work and the information they need is an important first step in the process. Start with simple workshops to gather requirements from stakeholders for each of the applications on the implementation schedule. Workshops are also needed for:

  • Core system setup
  • Integrations requirements
  • Reporting/SLA requirements
  • Data migration requirements
  • Security requirements

Requirements are then refined, prioritized and assigned to a qualified development team. These requirements should again be used to check the functionality of the applications during the implementation testing phase.

An agile methodology for implementation is the best option for many companies, as a “big bang” transition can often be too complex for an organization to absorb all at once. For both private and government entities, iterative, phased implementations provide easier transitions for everyone involved and helps to identify small issues before they become large problems.

Gather critical information

Key information needs to be identified before beginning a ServiceNow development and implementation project, including:

  • Major use case scenarios
  • Required integrations
  • Key stakeholders (internal and external customers)
  • Necessary applications required (e.g., Service Request, Incident, Problem, Change, Knowledge, Service Portal, etc.)
  • Dependencies from both a technical point of view and a process point of view (e.g., the service desk is dependent on another service desk)
  • Reporting standards and requirements
  • Size and performance requirements, and metrics (e.g., number of incidents per day, etc.)

Gathering this information early in the process clearly identifies the stakeholders and processes involved in the implementation and helps identify where more information will be needed. 

Set ITSM goals

Every company has goals for the implementation of a new ITSM solution. Those goals should be clearly stated and documented so everyone on the implementation team (and in the company or federal agency) understands what success looks like.

Limit customization

Stick as closely to an out-of-the-box scenario as possible to minimize customization. No large organization will have a truly generic implementation, but limiting customization to only those items that must be customized will keep the implementation streamlined and easy to document. Maximize application configuration to help limit the amount of customization needed, and be sure to document any customization for future reference.

Involve the stakeholders

A collaborative process between the implementation team and the stakeholders (executive sponsors, process managers and process owners) creates a smooth transition. When stakeholders buy into the implementation, it’s easier to make large-scale changes to avoid migrating current bad processes from legacy systems.

Champion change

A successful implementation requires company-wide acceptance of the new ITSM solution. This cannot be done with just a top-down messaging strategy. Implementation should be accompanied by an organizational change management plan that provides the resources for teams to become confident co-creators and champions of change.

Choose the right implementation team

A qualified implementation team is key to a successful ServiceNow solution rollout. Teams should include:

  • A qualified ServiceNow Solution architect
  • Business process consultants with experience translating ITSM business requirements to align with ServiceNow. BPCs need a deep knowledge of ITIL and ServiceNow ITSM best practices and strong experience documenting these requirements properly in the product backlog. BPCs should constantly challenge the status quo to help drive the company’s adoption of best practices.
  • Technical consultants experienced in implementing ServiceNow
  • Integration consultants experienced in integrating systems with ServiceNow

Build governance

During the implementation process, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of migrating platforms, but it’s important to think about the future and begin creating governance on day one. Companies will refine their governance over time, but a good set of guidelines will include:

  • Structure to standardize future development
  • An enterprise-scalable framework
  • Policies and standards (e.g., best practices for technical, integration, program, and security)
  • Data quality and integrity, including CMDB strategy and planning, CMDB design, a data dictionary, and a review and audit of data

A team you can trust

At Veracity Consulting, we partner with the ServiceNow Customer Outcomes team to provide the best possible implementation experience. Our clients benefit from both Veracity’s extensive experience helping companies transition from legacy systems to the ServiceNow platform and ServiceNow’s experience with more than 6,000 implementations.

While change is never easy, it doesn’t have to be painful. Following ServiceNow best practices and choosing the right partners can make switching from a legacy ITSM system to a ServiceNow solution the right change to reap significant rewards for your organization.

Travis Goodsell is director of solutions delivery and ServiceNow expert at Veracity Consulting, a tech consulting team of trusted advisors, ready to deliver unique solutions to the toughest business challenges of commercial and federal clients across the U.S. Share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter @engageveracity.