How SPOC is working with Customers to Create Custom ServiceNow Applications.
The image shows the ‘Raw Materials’ from clients being processed into specific solutions.
Some of these solutions are available to other clients, like traditional applications and products. However, many of them were created as custom ServiceNow Applications, tailored specifically for the client and completed as a one-off.
Can be considered as – excel spreadsheets, e-mail, manual reporting, paper documents, high touch requests – Overall Manual Processes.
ServiceNow supports the transformation of these process by offering a solution to drive work between departments, throughout an organisation or enterprise.
The NowPlatform uses tools such as; Workflow or Flow Designer, Notifications, Reporting, Collaboration and Integrations to drive work from the trigger to conclusion.
All of the related tasks and sub-processes are easily linked. This means it’s possible to create functions for single processes or frameworks as you see with ITSM or Customer Service Management for example.
End-to-end ServiceNow Application Process
ServiceNow’s ‘single system of action’ means that a request or a process can run from trigger to execution.
Consider a standard example such as – A new hire for a company.
- The record of the new hire is entered into ServiceNow.
- A set of tasks are created. E.G – Issue new computer, give access to certain computer programmes, create an account in the Active Directory…
- Facilities can assign a desk to the new employee
- Security can create and issue a new ID card
- Finance can add them to the payroll register
- HR can assign the correct holiday balance
- The employee gets access to all relevant paperwork
Custom ServiceNow Applications are Fully Integrable
What’s really impressive with the NowPlatform is that we’re able to link with other systems and programmes that can extend the value further.
Therefore, using integrations as well as algorithms, it’s possible to improve a process rather than just replicate it, ideal for custom ServiceNow applications.
Taking Automation Further
Referring to a possible Use Case as an example, we can see how this would work.
Consider a chain-brand stocking and supporting their local outlets.
Using a series of sensors and monitoring tools, they could track stock levels, review the run time of machinery to gauge maintenance requirements etc…
With the inputs from these sensors, the company could gauge the best time to make deliveries, understand equipment lifecycles, initiate maintenance activities; the possibilities are vast.
By monitoring this information they could then use the values to trigger events in ServiceNow.
A Specific Instance
Let’s say the client maintains a high volume of refrigerated stock. The temperature of one refrigerated storage warehouse has exceeded its safe limit and has triggered a case to be created in the NowPlatform.
Using GPS and a Skills Matrix connected to the Engineering team, one of the employees is automatically dispatched to look at the issue.
While the employee is travelling to the site, they receive the case which can be accessed on their phone, tablet or laptop.
The previous related cases, useful knowledge articles and a maintenance schedule for the equipment on site is also contained within this is case record.
With the information, the Engineer will be far more prepared and ready to deal with the issue they encounter.
Different Issues, Same Difference
This is a specific example, relevant to a certain industry but the principles are always consistent.
By monitoring and having one system to record data and by harnessing a plethora of standard tools – each company using ServiceNow is able to really leverage the value it brings.The Standard Platform is the Foundation
The Out-of-the-box (OOTB) applications can help in 4 main business streams but there is a much wider spectrum of other smaller applications for – Legal, Sales, Marketing, Facilities etc…
In addition, the ability to build custom ServiceNow applications, (Top right of pic) means that any process that follows a particular path or variations of it can be implemented.
The two tiers in the diagram show the platform functions that are leveraged in the process of developing applications. This all sits on a fantastic cloud infrastructure with market-leading availability. (Read about the platform architecture here)
SPOC’s Application Development Process
When creating custom ServiceNow applications, SPOC works with clients from an initial concept to delivery of the finished product.
At a very high-level, this cycle can be seen in three chunks:
Defining – Through discovery workshops, SPOC will help a client to define the main objectives of the project and what’s required to achieve these. The Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and associated information will help us create a project scope.
Designing – The requirements elicited during the definition phase allow SPOC to scope the project. Using the MoSCoW prioritisation technique, functionality is usually split into ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ and a Project Backlog containing ‘Epics’ is produced. (An Epic is a specific part of the project, later broken into Stories)
When required, SPOC will use certain tools to help present ideas and concepts back to the customer. These may include
- A prototype provided through a ‘proof of concept’ / ‘proof of value’
- Design mock-ups. Visual representation of the project. Useful for forms or User Interfaces
- Scenarios or process models
Delivery – Once the project or application has been defined and designed, SPOC can look to implement the functionality.
For this, SPOC favour an ‘Agile’ project management approach. Ideally working with a time and materials perspective to implement the functionality. An agile setup provides the flexibility that can help mould the product as the project plan develops.
The model/process that the SPOC project team follows can be seen below. It’s also possible to download a PDF Poster version of this document here: 8 Steps to Successful Project Delivery. Note the different stages of the backlog preparation.
Why the Factory?
The Factory represents a repeatable process with reliable quality. The raw materials and the actual product can change but the process and delivery model stays fairly consistent.
Considering a production line example with a car manufacturer, the type of metal and materials may differ. The cars that are produced all look different, however, the preparation, assembly line and testing all look very similar.
In addition, SPOC works from a central location. The development team work together while consultants travel to customers to create the project specification and delivery requirements.
This hybrid model helps preserve a united team sharing the same working approach and best practices; while maintaining the flexibility to meet a customer face to face when necessary. This is usually at specific project milestones such as workshops and progress reviews etc.
Typically, customers work with SPOC to migrate legacy applications, streamline existing processes or revolutionise business offerings with upgraded procedures.
If you’re thinking of using ServiceNow to extract more value within your organisation and you think SPOC’s approach would be suitable for you it would be great to cover your requirements.