Three CIO Strategies for Ensuring ServiceNow Adoption

July 14, 2020

Seventy-two percent of CIOs are leading digitization efforts in their organizations, but they’re facing obstacles. With insufficient data quality, outdated processes, and a lack of human skills, it’s no wonder 75 percent of business and IT executives believe that “their IT projects are always or usually doomed from the start.’” 

CIOs may feel the same sense of dread when it relates to ServiceNow adoption, but with specific strategies for success, they can be successful. By communicating, following best practices, and becoming a “first mover,” CIOs can lead a successful ServiceNow adoption. Here’s how to do it.

Make Communication an Essential Part of the Process

One challenging part of ServiceNow adoption for employees is adjusting to new workflows. With the addition of things like the service catalog and perhaps a change in the order of operations, employees are going to have to approach work differently. CIOs can make the transition easier by communicating and providing support for their IT teams.

“IT teams must understand how the implementation will change their day-to-day work, and they must feel comfortable with the technology and empowered to work autonomously,” says Chris Bedi, CIO of ServiceNow.

In every stage of implementation, keep employees in the loop. Let them know what changes are coming with the next stage, how the changes will affect them, and what resources are available to help. And listen to them, because communication goes both ways. Make it an embedded part of your process to learn and adjust based on employee feedback. 

Follow Implementation Best Practices

You never get a second chance to make a first impression in life, and that’s often the case with ServiceNow, too. You’re more likely to get people on board when the initial implementation process goes smoothly. It makes you—and the ServiceNow platform—look good, helping your team feel comfortable and confident with your decision to implement the tool in your business. 

There are lots of resources to support you through the process. Check out these best practices, including ServiceNow’s Success Playbook, and take advantage of Crossfuze’s experts. Some of these experts’ tips include the following:

  • Build a plan that considers the future

  • Be ready to grow

  • Explicitly define and document governance rules

  • Engage certified and experienced partners

All these resources can help you implement ServiceNow in a way that works best for your business now and in the future. 

On top of consulting these resources, be sure to plan for sustained organizational change management. The journey to adopting ServiceNow is a multi-year process involving evangelizing, gathering ambassadors, getting executive buy-in, and providing ongoing training. Keep in mind that “ServiceNow requires a kind of corporate stoicism and big thinking that can be in short supply; thus, organizations must draw strength and determination from everyone as they work to manage organizational change.”

Timing is another factor to consider. Steve Driscoll, a ServiceNow developer at OCLC, Inc., suggested that employees should receive training and learn new procedures before ServiceNow is implemented.

“ServiceNow is easy. Changing the way you do business is hard.” 

- Steve Driscoll, ServiceNow developer, OCLC, Inc.

“ServiceNow is easy. Changing the way you do business is hard,” he said. “If you merely implement the platform, people will find a way to use it in support of the ‘old process.’ When this happens, the problems of the old process will persist. And these may have been the issues that prompted the adoption of ServiceNow in the first place.”

Act like a “First Mover”

According to a ServiceNow survey of 500 CIOs, “First movers” are an elite group of CIOs who are “ahead of their peers in leading transformative change in their organizations.”

These CIOs comprise 10 percent of those surveyed, and they’re making decisions that prioritize machine learning and automation. Here are some of the things they’re doing or planning and how these strategic moves can help CIOs find success with ServiceNow adoption:

  • While 50 percent of first movers “Say automating routine processes will be important to the success of the organization over [the] next three years,” only 33 percent of other CIOs say the same. To go forward with a successful ServiceNow adoption, understand that employees want to be using their skills and talents, not wasting time on manual tasks. Focus on that benefit when introducing the platform to employees. 

  • A significant 76 percent of first movers had “redefined job descriptions to focus on work with machines,” while only 35 percent of others had done the same. Transparency is key to gaining support from employees, so be up-front in job descriptions and formal expectations of employees. Write ServiceNow into these documents and make employees aware of the direction you’re heading.

  • Only 28 percent of first movers had developed policies for ensuring data accuracy, but an even smaller 17 percent of other CIOs had done the same. With 51 percent of CIOs saying that “insufficient data quality interferes with the adoption and maturation of machine learning,” improving data accuracy will be key to adopting ServiceNow in particular but also making successful innovation choices in general.

When CIOs implement ServiceNow, they may face some obstacles to adoption. But by communicating clearly and often, following best practices, and joining a group of elite CIOs as a first mover, they can have a ServiceNow adoption that lasts for the long haul.

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