ServiceNow Review

The tool is SaaS and customization is minimized in the critical early design phase by its "out-of-the-box" approach

What is most valuable?

ServiceNow's out-of-box process configurations and service-based CMDB data model have revolutionized IT Service Management transformations. Leveraging out-of-box configurations and using frequent small-scope improvement releases (DevOps) has proven to be an effective approach for ensuring timely, lasting improvements to the core service management process.

The traditional ITIL "gather all process requirements 1st" approach to tool design never worked well. In fact, organizations attempting this "Define all Process Requirements" approach would frequently customize the tool to be similar to the process/tool that they were replacing rather than adopting the proven ITSM best practices embedded in ServiceNow. This approach extends the time to value by limiting the focus on ensuring the critical process integration points that drive rapid quantifiable process improvements.

With the right expert guidance facilitating the effectiveness of a strong executive sponsor to ensure the successful adoption of a true service-based culture, a SeviceNow implementation can drive quantifiable process improvements in three to six months in core processes, such as Incident, Problem, Change, Release, Knowledge, Asset and CFG management.

With these core processes integrated and effectively automated, an IT organization is able to transform infrastructure monitoring activities into a true service-based and proactive Event Management capability. This in-turn drives rapid and sustained improvements to service Availability, Capacity, and Demand management processes. Quantifiable service levels may then be negotiated and aligned to meet actual business process requirements.

Bottom line: ServiceNow has shattered the "Five years to a successful Service Management transformation" limitation. With the prerequisite guidance and sponsorship, measurable, and sustainable service level improvements, cost efficiencies can be achieved in 12 months or less!


  1. The importance of acquiring qualified an ITSM expert and their guidance can not be overemphasized. This is preferably to someone outside the current organizational culture.
  2. The need for a skilled and charismatic executive sponsor is a proven success-critical requirement for rapid sustained improvements. The right leader will recognize the need for a compelling vision and formal sponsorship strategy for the entire IT leadership team, which they will be accountable for, will ensure the culture change from the traditional siloed infrastructure, and component management focused and heroic effort based culture to a true customer focused and service based culture.

How has it helped my organization?

A three phase IT Service Management transformation project resulted in achieving a first year target of less than 4% sustained monthly improvements in true customer experienced availability (based on Incident MTTR metrics) for three key IT Services (three business process automation solutions with formal SLAs). Results obtained were within six months of the project start date.

  • Phase 1: Formal process 'maturity' assessments and detailed recommendations. Service Mgmt. Org. restructure with dedicated Process Owners and Service Mgrs. aligned with newly defined IT services (business process related Services). Vision and Sponsorship workshops for IT leadership team resulting in formal Sponsorship Strategy and communications plan.
  • Phase 2: Rapid Process Design/Improvement workshops with process owners for Incident, Problem, Change, Release, CFG (ServiceNow PM), and Knowledge Mgmt. designing "to-be" process documents, and integrated, coordinated three month implementation plans. Tool design and implementation plan documented.
  • Phase 3: After three month implementation of Phase 2 processes, Rapid Process Design workshops started for Availability, Service Level, Capacity, Demand, and Event management processes. Process documents with detailed process integrations and tool/CMDB requirements spanning all 11 processes. Formal implementation plan deliverables. Coordinated implementation projects initiated.

What needs improvement?

Primary areas of inefficiencies and delays were related to change resistance and lack of support from the IT Team Lead and IT Manager level staff for involvement in ServiceNow design and training workshops, and lack of support for governing new process policies.

Bottom line issue: Not agreeing in strategy workshops for the recommendation to base performance measures for all IT staff and bonus potential for IT leadership staff on the key process maturity improvement metric targets.

For how long have I used the solution?

This basic three phase, rapid process design workshop methodology, using an out-of-the-box solution, then the weekly ServiceNow release schedule approach to evolve process designs, has proven successful in meeting target maturity improvement metrics in all cases

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment issues were very rare in all projects that had a dedicated ServiceNow Development lead (with a team of Dev and DB skilled staff assigned to the project) involved as a team member with the combined process owners in Rapid Process Design workshops. These workshops involve more than five process owners designing each other's new processes, based on ServiceNow out-of-the-box requirements, guided by the Dev lead and the ITSM expert facilitator (a seasoned facilitator with ITIL Expert certification and ServiceNow bootcamp credentials is recommended).

This approach ensures all process owners and the tool design expert understand the complex integration points between all processes; a key to CMDB relationship requirements insight.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As the tool is SaaS and customization is minimized in the critical early design phase by the Process Workshop's "out-of-the-box" approach, stability and scalability are optimized.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

It is excellent, always. This tool and the ServiceNow organization is a class act.

Technical Support:

It is excellent, in all cases.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Have experience with BMac software, HPE, IBM and other leading ITSM tools.

ServiceNow has nailed the basic ITIL process integration requirements and the CMDB model is service-based out-of-the-box.

This approach using out-of-the-box and frequent small revisions only works with ServiceNow's quality underpinning best practice framework.

What about the implementation team?

Expert vendor facilitator.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Add a Comment
1 Comment

author avatarJeevan Chaukar
Top 20Consultant

Dear David,

I am highly interested in understanding what key advantage you felt in using Service Now compared to BMC Remedy ITSM?
What are the areas that Service Now struggles compared to Remedy?

As per my experience, Service Now is great where a given organization is willing to sacrifice some of their nitty gritty processes that have been built over a long period and have become divergent with standard ITIL model.
But if you want to customize to great level and want to twist the tool whichever way you want, BMC Remedy is far more customizable. Of course, then customizations cause upgrade issues if not handled carefully.
Service Now has recently changed their pricing model and if you are touching their core objects (or tables as they might call) then their fees go on increasing. BMC on the other hand has higher initial cost but they don't increase fees due to customization.
A detailed study of costing (without revealing any key organizational information that can't come to public domain) would be appreciable.

Thanks and Regards,