ServiceNow Smart Essentials IV
At last year’s IT Service Management (ITSM) Leadership Council meeting in the UK, Chris Williams, director of service management at EE, discussed the need for bigger, better Service Management talent. He suggested that progressive businesses looking at ITSM solutions for transformational change, needed solutions integrators and great communicators.
“We need people with a deep understanding of the commercial aspects of the businesses we support, who are highly adaptive and can predict the rapidly evolving environment we work in. This means we need to radically change the way we identify talent, recruit and develop our people,” he stated.*
Williams’ hits the nail on the head. Gartner’s 2016 CIO Insights Report states that 22% of their sample of 2,000+ CIO's said that talent, or lack thereof, was the single biggest issue standing in the way of achieving their objectives.
Progressive businesses looking to transform their Service Management initiatives through first class, best practice tools such as ServiceNow, need to find the right talent. Thankfully, there are teams of ServiceNow experts available at your fingertips through the right partner.
But how do you find the right partner for your project? What should you look for when comparing partner capabilities and experience?
Here are some practical tips to help you get your search off to a very smart start.
1. Tap into PartnerNow, ServiceNow’s global network of qualified partners
Save time on searching. Avoid a wild partner chase. ServiceNow makes it incredibly easy to find proven partners that meet rigorous qualifying requirements.
When you go to servicenow.com/partners, you can search by location, specialty areas like ITSM, PPM or asset management, and other key criteria.
One word for the wise. Look for Gold Level Partners with at least 30 tech team members who have already been certified by ServiceNow. Gold Level Partners typically have more than fifteen years of implementation experience providing you with the support and expertise you need to ensure your phase one implementation is a success.
2. Check out partners’ CSAT scores
ServiceNow has a standard process for surveying clients post-project and calculating combined CSAT scores. Any score below an 8 is a red flag blowing in the breeze.
Here’s something else to keep in mind. When you go to PartnerNow, you can search “Implementation Partners” by CSAT scores. That’s another reason why PartnerNow is such a great resource for Phase One clients.
3. Ask the right questions
How many implementations have your prospective partners completed? How many years of ServiceNow experience do they have on their technical teams? Do they have broad-based service management experience in multiple industries?
Do they have national or international reach? Do they have the in-house ability to support everything from a one-site project to multilingual implementations in multiple time zones?
The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search in a hurry.
4. Get client references... and probe a little deeper
Every qualified partner has references. But are they all glowing, 5-star reviews? Do they come from clients whose companies are similar to yours? Does the scope of work jibe with your project? Are there many references to choose from? Or do you get the standard, off-the-shelf reference package?
No question about it. References can be a valuable source of information. But make sure they are truly relevant to you.
5. Talk to your ServiceNow sales rep and join your local ServiceNow User Group
Ready to check out a partner from other perspectives? Your ServiceNow rep can give you additional insight and connect you to people you can call for references.
And don’t forget to join your local ServiceNow User Group. You’ll find great networking events in major cities across the U.S. and Canada that will help you learn about the implementation experience of peers in your area. You’ll also get to meet local partners and take advantage of valuable ServiceNow learning opportunities, too.
6. Make sure you investigate every prospective partner’s methodology
Ask to see detailed documentation. Make sure their methodology is founded on proven best practices. And find out if the approach is flexible or if it’s a “my way or the highway” approach.
The most effective engagement methodology is really a framework, not a strait jacket. So it should be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances and truly meet your needs.
7. Ask partners if they have proprietary apps and IP
Leading partners invest in R&D so they can offer innovative ways to speed up implementations, expand ServiceNow’s out-of-the-box functionality, and take advantage of other capabilities to help clients transform service management in their companies.
Now remember... when you’re plugging apps into a complex, high-performance engine like ServiceNow, bad code can do more harm than good.
So ask to see documentation on any IP. And make sure the engineering is a precision product designed specifically to mesh with ServiceNow.
8. Investigate your options for post-implementation support
Once the initial implementation is complete, many clients get into trouble because they think their own teams can take it from there. But in the technically complex world of ServiceNow, that can be a risky decision.
After all, business partners quickly become impressed with ServiceNow and want to get even more value from the platform. So they deluge IT with requests for enhancements, reports, dashboards, you name it.
Here’s the caveat. Unless your team includes proven ServiceNow experts, even a seemingly simple change can go sideways, quickly. And those technical mishaps can hurt the image of your project and undermine support for your entire transformation initiative.
That’s why it makes sense to have support from a partner with dedicated resources, certified experts, years of under-the-hood ServiceNow experience, and 24/7 capabilities.
Check out your post-implementation support options before you select a partner. And make sure you can get the support you need—whether it’s short-term or long-term, whether it’s for a single site or multiple locations around the world.
9. Pose the challenging question very few partners want to hear
Want to know the ultimate reality check on any qualified partner? Ask for information about an engagement that didn’t go as planned. See if your candidate will tell you about unexpected challenges that threatened to derail the project. Find out what steps were taken to get everything back on track. And ask for a client reference that validates the facts.
Sharing “perfect” success stories is easy. But case histories that capture the gritty reality of complex IT engagements often tell you a lot more about a partner’s true ability to help you succeed.
Remember, Phase One isn't just the first "thing" you do with ServiceNow. It's the critical foundation for ensuring all Phases go smoothly and deliver quick wins at every turn.
That wraps up Crossfuze's Smart Essentials Blog Series. Thanks for reading!