The CIO's Essential Guide to ServiceNow Adoption

March 18, 2020

A recent survey found that “CIOs who lead organizations with the most workflow digitization are more likely than the ones that are the least digitized to be highly successful at increasing operational efficiency and speed to market (48% versus 32%).” That’s great news! And ServiceNow is at the front lines. But achieving operational efficiency through digital workflows only works if employees adopt the software you’re using.

If you’re a CIO implementing ServiceNow, we recommend shifting your mindset, communicating early and often, enabling ServiceNow champions, planning a metered rollout, being consistent, and budgeting for ongoing training.

Why SaaS Requires a Different Mindset from On-Premises

When switching from on-premises solutions to SaaS, CIOs may be concerned about a number of things—inconveniences caused by data sovereignty, lack of control, and ongoing subscription costs, for example. But business leaders should remember that SaaS solutions offer transparency and the ability to configure, which counteract the potential downsides.

When a SaaS solution is transparent, you know what you’re getting and when. You can see what the humans on the other side of the equation are doing. And when the solution can be configured, you can make sure it fits your specific needs. It just takes a shift in mindset to realize that even though there is no perfect solution, the transparency and customizability offered by SaaS take these solutions to a higher plane than on-premises solutions.

Communicate Early and Often

As with adopting any new software, adoption is most likely when leadership is transparent with workers. Naturally, users will have hesitations about new platforms being added to their workflow. Clear communication about the goals of the software and how it will affect work helps users feel more comfortable adopting.

“It is absolutely essential that companies communicate with employees across the organization of the change and how it will impact their work,” says Chris Bedi, CIO of ServiceNow. “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.”

ServiceNow Champion Enablement

When a company implements ServiceNow, chances are that some employees will adopt it enthusiastically. These early adopters can be great advocates, encouraging other members of their team to get on board. They could mentor other members of their team, offering formal and informal training sessions. Or the team might start a chat group specifically about ServiceNow best practices, where early adopters can offer advice and other users can share their success stories as well. When it’s clear that ServiceNow is making a difference in one department, that department can be a great case study to show to other departments, encouraging them to embrace ServiceNow for their specific needs.

Plan a Metered Rollout

For effective user adoption, we recommend agile-style implementation and a metered rollout. With a metered rollout, you allow your team to learn a few tools or components at a time. This metering helps them feel comfortable with each component so that when the rollout is complete, they are able to take full advantage of the platform.

When you add agile into the mix, you help your team“[work] toward the real needs of the users,” according to Simple Programmer. Simple Programmer further sets the core values of agile development as follows:

●      individuals and interactions over processes and tools

●      working software over comprehensive documentation

●      customer collaboration over contract negotiation

●      responding to change over following a plan

Agile implementation is a proven methodology. It helps achieve user adoption because its frequent iterations are able to meet a company’s dynamic needs. Agile works better than an elongated approach, in which goals and needs are treated as inflexible.

And as a plus, “if your organization is not experienced with Agile implementations, this is a great way to gain exposure and training,” says NPI.

Be Consistent

It’s important to have a clear process in place and ensure the team follows it. For example, make sure ServiceNow resides in a department that is best positioned to see it adopted successfully. Because ServiceNow is both an enterprise service management platform and an IT operations tool, the department should have direct access to both the business and IT teams. When the team overseeing ServiceNow has scripting capabilities and can identify how and which processes can be automated, adoption is much more likely to happen quickly and smoothly. The right answer will vary from company to company, so choose the department and team that make the most sense for your specific business.

With the right department owning ServiceNow, it becomes much easier to assign roles and responsibilities and keep all departments on the same page. As teams become used to using the platform, they will know who to turn to when they need training and resources. Providing consistent support and guidance is key to successful ServiceNow adoption.

Budget for Ongoing Training as the Platform Evolves

Workers are also more likely to adopt if they are trained on relevant ServiceNow functions.

“Your adoption rate will be much higher if you arm your employees with the assets and information they need to immediately take advantage of the platform,” says Donna Naomi Woodruff, enterprise service enablement leader at Cox Automotive, a company that uses ServiceNow.

Once employees can see the advantages of using ServiceNow, they’re more likely to see implementation as a positive change. As they receive continual training as the platform evolves, they are more likely to continue to embrace ServiceNow as an important part of their workflow.

Bonus Tip: Track, Learn, and Adjust

There will always be a learning curve when implementing new tools. From the very beginning of the implementation process, business leaders should take feedback from staff members seriously and even solicit feedback when they aren’t hearing from certain areas of the company. Business leaders need to know what is difficult for their staff and what would help make adoption easier.

“Regular feedback also ensures that business leaders are investing in the tools that their employees need, rather than just deploying the latest and most exciting technology,” according to MELD Coworking.

Implementing ServiceNow is good, but if employees don’t adopt it, implementation won’t be successful. As a CIO implementing ServiceNow, try shifting your mindset, communicating early and often, enabling ServiceNow champions, planning a metered rollout, being consistent, and budgeting for ongoing training. Taking these steps will help ServiceNow be the exact solution your company needs.

To learn more about ServiceNow implementation for CIOs, read the ebook 10 Pillars of ServiceNow Success for CIOs.

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