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7 key principles that make your ServiceNow implementation a success

8 mins
Group of colleagues high-fiving, celebrating successful ServiceNow implementation

Over the years, I’ve seen many a ServiceNow implementation project fail. Either the organization itself messed up or a partner did. In both situations, the customer was stuck. And that’s when we get a phone call. Although it’s an honor customers call us to make things right, I’d rather prevent failure altogether. The reason so many ServiceNow implementation projects fail is because they lack the ingredients for a successful ServiceNow implementation and because people are still stuck in what I call ‘thinking in processes and efficiency’. This traditional way of thinking has been around for 40 years and has never changed.

New mindset required

The world we live in today is more dynamic than ever, so the starting point should focus on the people and outcomes instead of processes and efficiency. Technology should be used as an enabler to get to the end result and not as a goal itself.

So, no more process-only viewpoints and no more questioning of the processes that are already available out-of-the-box in ServiceNow. What we do need to do? Focus on creating flow and leaving room for adoption.

To explain what I mean, I made a comparison between the traditional way of thinking versus our making work flow mindset:

Traditional thinking vs. Make work flow

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The following 7 key principles are based on this new mindset. If you follow these, we guarantee your ServiceNow implementation will be a success!

1. Start with the end in mind

The Now Platform is vast, so it is good to clearly define the boundaries of your project. Define a North Star, so to speak, and question yourself what the end result should look like. That way, you know where you’re going.

2. Make sure your governance is right

Governance is about having the right people in the right places and involving stakeholders at the right time. Senior management, business sponsors, process owners, architects, and many other people need to be involved at the right time and in the right structure to ensure future-proof outcomes and success. Often, people underestimate the importance of governance, whilst this can really make or break a ServiceNow implementation!

3. Stay out-of-the-box

We can’t stress how important staying out-of-the-box is. The more you embrace the power of a SaaS platform along with proven best practice processes, the quicker you will be able to reap the benefits of a platform and become a high-performing organization. Proven technology is a key enabler for rapid success and future adaptability.

So, use the ServiceNow platform like it was designed. Don’t start customizing it because it will get you in trouble with upgrading. Also follow technical and functional guidelines set by ServiceNow. And lastly, don’t just look at your processes, people and technology but your DATA too.

4. Work agile and inspire

When you implement a platform or platform module, you need to inspire the organization. This means you have to show results. Designing an entire solution on paper does not work. That is why working agile is crucial, as it will help you include stakeholders and show results early and often.

5. It's all about the people

Not the technology but the people are at the heart of a ServiceNow implementation. They have to work with the technology. Show them how the technology will make their lives easier and more fun. Bring in the energy and inspire them. Take a positive viewpoint in your adoption plans (instead of a defensive one) and stress how it will make THEIR lives easier. It’s about making people part of the solution, not the problem.

6. Be ambitious

The platform has a wealth of capabilities allowing you to set ambitious goals, so do that! Don’t hold back. But make sure you achieve at least these two fundamental goals:

  • Automate all repetitive work and administration tasks. This will help your people focus on what really matters
  • Use the platform’s reporting and analytics features, as they will free your managers of daily operational management to focus on taking that helicopter view and steer their teams.

7. ServiceNow = platform of platforms

With ServiceNow being the ‘platform of platforms’, bringing information scattered across an organization together in a single place, means you need to carefully look at your master data and data management. We advise to use the ServiceNow CSDM standards. If done right, you’ll only have to adjust data once. Having data accessible at the right time and place is crucial for a successful implementation.

I truly hope that, by sharing this list of key principles and required change in mindset, we will get less phone calls because of failed ServiceNow implementations. Because nobody likes to do the same thing twice…

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Stef Knaepkens

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Stef Knaepkens
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) / Director BeLux
+32 15 27 27 34

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