Key considerations When Implementing ServiceNow CSM For Mature & Evolving Organizations

Posted by Anu Bulusu under Customer Service on March 16, 2017

This whitepaper highlights the key considerations for different organizations to implement ServiceNow Customer ServiceNow Management (CSM).

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Organizations that are considering implementing ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM) solution tend to fall into one of two buckets:

A. Mature Organizations

These are organizations that already have a network of systems and processes that have been refined over time to support their CSM initiatives. These organizations are typically considering ServiceNow CSM to assist them in either replacing end of life systems, or to develop customer self-service capabilities and assist with getting to the next step in their maturity model.

B. Evolving organizations

These are organizations that have a relatively newer CSM department and are considering ServiceNow to help them migrate from using manual processes managed through antiquated systems like Excel or homegrown applications.

This paper explores challenges and considerations that are unique to either category. While some of the considerations discussed here may apply to both types of organizations, you must evaluate which of these two types of organization you are.

For the purposes of this article, we are defining Mature Organizations as entities that have mature processes, have been collecting customer feedback and are aware of the capability gaps in their organization and ServiceNow forms a part of their strategy to overcome them. It is entirely possible for large enterprise level companies to have evolving CSM organizations; just as it is possible for Startups to be Mature.

A. Mature Organizations

If you have determined that you are an organization that is looking to move from mature systems, it is highly likely that your CSM systems started out as ticketing tools and their core strength is in opening, routing, managing and closing service tickets. It is highly likely that you have evolved from having call centers built around taking phone calls, and progressed over time to integrate emails and web chat sessions.

Typically in organizations like these, there is a huge “system” culture and inertia built around tracking customer responses. These systems are usually pretty good at customer communication and the next step, and probably the reason for considering ServiceNow, is for them to evolve into an integrated world. For example, enabling Customer Self-Service; or integrating their Customer Service ticketing to their Field Service Management or Problem Management systems. It is likely that their incident categorization and everything in their CSM organization is tailored towards staffing and managing a call center, but there is a realization that it is more valuable to evolve towards resolving root cause.

Top considerations for these organizations are as follows:

1. Change Management

Due to the deep rooted “system” culture, and potentially decades of doing things a certain way, following certain processes, and plugging capability gaps through manpower rather than application enhancements, they have built silos of knowledge and are reliant on a few key people to “keep things going”. End user and customer adoption are key success criteria for CSM implementations, and these organizations will need to be prepared to expend effort on change management.

2. Key Drivers:

Another consideration is that you need a compelling event or driver that will energize the organization to make a change to a new platform like ServiceNow. It is highly possible that your leadership is considering ServiceNow CSM because its already being used for other parts of the organization like IT Service Management or HR Service Management. This might lead to a common end-user theme, “why fix something that isn’t broken.”
It is key to understand and communicate that if these organizations don’t evolve from ticketing to a more integrated world, your customer service will continue to be a “complain management” organization. This has the potential to lead to strategic challenges such as –

a) becoming outpaced by competition, particularly with all the current emphasis in the marketplace on self-service and “consumerized” service organizations

b) losing the opportunity to use insights from customer service management to address root causes of problems

c) perhaps the biggest consideration for a mature organization: the inability to generate efficiencies by automating workflows and coordinating activities between various departments

3. Selecting the right implementation partner:

Mature organizations usually require an implementation partner who has skills in a broad spectrum of things from ServiceNow to Integrations to Data management etc. The partner needs to be able to understand the challenges and considerations that are unique to your organizations; and have the capability to balance these considerations with best practices. Your implementation partner will need to understand that you know a lot about your internal systems and already have deep-rooted processes – and that the focus is not just on platform enablement, but on configuring the platform in such a way that your existing processes can be supported.

4. Customer Portal:

Mature organizations have a wealth of knowledge amassed over time and this can result in a tendency to overengineer the self-service portal. Biggest requirement here – your organization has lots of people who know lots of things but you need a partner who can “pull” knowledge from different people in different silos and assist with developing a portal that is comprehensive but not complicated.

Requirements gathered in silos and platforms configured without taking the time to consolidate these use cases will result in a portal that detracts from User experience: Redundancies, Repetitions, Complexity and Confusion.

5. Stakeholder Commitment:

This might almost appear to be a cliché – isn’t this important for any initiative? Also, isn’t this a combination of 1 and 2 in this list? True. But that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant here.

It is key for Mature organizations to appropriately plan for people’s time for various phases of the implementation, including design, Integrations development, system testing and user acceptance testing. From the first consideration in this list – we know that there may already be a resistance to the platform. On top of that your key SMEs have day jobs. If their time is not planned effectively and their input incorporated in a timely fashion, you may end up with a system that won’t adequately support their needs and further their resistance to the platform.

Executive sponsorship and commitment from your leadership team, particularly with a compelling driver as discussed in (2) above; and a well-considered benefits case will help remove obstacles and result in a successful implementation.

B. Evolving Organizations

Typically these organizations are planning on using ServiceNow to drive overall improvements and to “elevate their game”. They recognize ServiceNow is built on ITIL and are recognizing that applying the same platform capabilities to Customer Service Management can help them accelerate their programs. These organizations have a focus and drive towards Customer Service Management, and already recognize the need for change.

Top considerations for Evolving Organizations looking to implement ServiceNow CSM are:

1. Selecting the right implementation partner:

Evolving organizations need to be aware of a tendency to over engineer. Building too many assignment rules, workflows, processes etc. can complicate the system. They should begin by recognizing that they are trying to solve a Customer Service problem. To begin with, it is important for these organizations to use the application as much out of the box as possible and start off with building foundational capabilities.

This includes activating ServiceNow instances; setting up core elements like users, roles and groups; setting up customer information; and configuring a Service Catalog – which defines the types of services your customers are likely to request. At first glance, this might look like a lot of effort. However, ServiceNow’s robust and highly configurable platform capabilities make the foundational step relatively easy.


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