ServiceNow Knowledge14 CreateNow Hackathon Winners – Linium

At Knowledge14
At Knowledge14

I recently attended Knowledge14, ServiceNow’s enormous conference held this year in San Francisco, gathering thousands of IT professionals from all over the world.

The scale of this conference knocked me for six.  The town I live in only has three times as many inhabitants (give or take) as there were attendees at Knowledge14 and we are spread over a much larger area.  The Moscone Center coped admirably with the numbers, but if attendee figures continue to grow at the rate they have, I suspect that in the future ServiceNow are going to struggle to find venues big enough.

The conference was a great success.  The scale to which it ran held the potential for the mother of all cock-ups and yet the smoothness with which it ran was phenomenal and was a massive credit to all involved in the planning and coordination.

I’ve attended a few conferences now and can honestly say that the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced and even with the blowing of the ServiceNow horn and the frequent whooping by the audience during keynotes (which have been known to aggrieve my stoic English sensibilities) I enjoyed myself very much and found it to be a very worthwhile experience.

The CreateNow Hackathon

The CreateNow Hackathon has been taking place at Knowledge since 2013.  The objective is for a team of no more than 5 to create a unique, useful and creative app using the ServiceNow platform in a race against the clock.  Over 700 individuals entered the competition with ServiceNow judges identifying the final teams who then have the opportunity to demonstrate their creations to all attendees.

This years winning app was created by Linium and Xerox and this week I had the pleasure of speaking with team member Sean Caron, Principle Solution Architect at Linium, and Linium’s Chief Technology Officer and Practice Lead, Steve Horvath.

Who are Linium?

Linium is a transformational delivery manager.  We align our customers’ objectives with their wider business through enterprise and IT performance, operations strategy and emerging technologies.

Why did Linium attend Knowledge14? 

As a Preferred Partner of ServiceNow it is hugely important to us have a presence at Knowledge.  Along with our booth we were part of a breakout session (Designing an Automated Enterprise Service Portal) and a panel session (MSP Implementations of ServiceNow) to share our expertise and experience with delegates.

This was Linium’s second year at Knowledge but individually we have been attending for many years and as delegates we have always found it to be an extremely valuable experience.

…and the Hackathon?

There were several reasons that we took part in the Hackathon:

  1. Further awareness of Linium to the public
  2. To demonstrate that we have the “nuts and bolts” abilities that our customers and potential customers require
  3. To show how well ServiceNow lends itself to expanding into the further business

How did you come up with your idea for SchoolHub?

We had a couple of ideas that we discussed one evening over dinner, but decided on Schoolhub because we wanted to create an app that was useful to the largest percentage of people.  As the majority of people out there either are children, have children, have nieces and nephews and/or grandchildren we thought that an app that provides parents and students with important news and information from their school was our best shot.

So what is SchoolHub? 

SchoolHub provides a unique portal for schools to be proactive in providing parents and students with important news and information. We wanted SchoolHub to be a more useful version of a school website with the ability to bring services to users rather than them having to go out and look for information.  For example if a child uses a bus service to get to and from school then GPS can be used to track the progress of the vehicle and a parent could receive a notification when their child is say 5 minutes from home.  The idea for bus tracking actually came from looking at how we can use ServiceNow to track assets within the IT environment.

Another area that we wanted to improve upon was the ability for faculty and staff to be able to define assignments for students without the need for a degree in computer science.

What are your plans for SchoolHub in the future?

The feedback we had from attendees at Knowledge was hugely positive with the common statement being “Wow, I wish my child’s school had that!”.  As a result for the next twelve months we will be looking to use SchoolHub as a basis to build an app to sell as SaaS, with possible developments in using QR codes in areas such as book and hardware lending, as well as operating lunch money schemes and notifications to parents and carers in cases of emergency.

…And for Linium? 

Our next target is to achieve ServiceNow Master Partner status.

My thoughts

First of all, thanks to Sean and Steve for taking the time to talk with me. Secondly, as a parent of a primary school aged child I can see how SchoolHub could be very useful in the education arena.  The ability to fill in an online form when your child is sick rather than trying to hit that 20 minute period between when the office opens and school starts, pay for school trips online and retrieve homework assignments rather than be deluged with half a rainforest of paperwork each term would make this particular Mum very happy.

You can take a look at SchoolHub here.

ITSM: Going beyond IT – thoughts from Stephen Mann (Video)

This interview was filmed at the Pink Elephant Conference and features Stephen Mann, Senior Manager, Product Marketing at ServiceNow discussing the current hot topics he is seeing in ITSM, such as service catalogue, SIAM, and the consumerization of IT.

In Summary

In addition, Stephen also talks about:

  • Witnessing an increased use of ITSM tools outside IT
  • The differentiators needed by vendors to disrupt the ITSM market
  • ServiceNow’s focus on the customer

Please note that owing to this interview being filmed live at the Pink Elephant event, there may be some minor volume issues and background noises throughout this video.

About ServiceNow

ServiceNow is the enterprise IT cloud company. “We transform IT by automating and managing IT service relationships across the global enterprise. Organizations deploy our service to create a single system of record for IT and automate manual tasks, standardize processes, and consolidate legacy systems. Using our extensible platform, our customers create custom applications and evolve the IT service model to service domains inside and outside the enterprise”. Visit www.servicenow.com for for more information.

About Pink Elephant

A global company with a proud and pioneering 30 year history – the world’s #1 supplier of IT Service Management and ITIL® education, conferences and consulting.Visit www.pinkelephant.com for more information about the company, services and products. This video was filmed at the 2014 Pink Elephant Conference. The 19th Annual Pink Elephant International IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition will take place at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, February 15-18 2015. Registration is now open.

Knowledge14, steal like an artist

In this article, I hope to capture my thoughts and experiences from Knowledge14, the ServiceNow annual conference. See an early preview from the first day here [Live from Knowledge14 – ServiceNow preview Kanban visual tasks boards]

Steal like an artist

Fred Luddy, CPO and Founder of ServiceNow, quoted Steve Jobs during his keynote:

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” ~ Steve Jobs

Fred was referring to the creative process and innovation. He stated that in the last decade 70% of the Fortune 1,000 consisted of new companies. The life span of companies at the top is getting shorter, the churn is getting faster.

Big ‘ole corporates don’t stick around like they used to. To survive companies must innovate or die. A key part of the innovative process is to be inspired by, mash-up, and build upon previous work.

Creative Destruction - 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.
Creative Destruction – 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.

The Penny Drops

I attended the ServiceNow London forum last year when Frank Slootman urged us to “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”. For a company whose market valuation and pitch to investors is based on expanding outside IT, the company demonstrated precious little leadership on how a company might actually get there.  It was clearly the customers doing the leading.

In the short time since those forums the penny seems to have dropped. Knowledge included a number of initiatives to empower customers and encourage them to borrow (steal) the best ideas from each other and build solutions outside the IT department:

  • Pointing customers in the right direction with a Service Taxonomy
  • ServiceNow Share – “an online exchange where customers and partners can upload and download applications and development content.”
  • Special interest groups (Human Resources, Portfolio Project Management, Higher Education, US Public Sector and Life Sciences Cloud Initiative)

Freddy Luddy launching 'Share' the ServiceNow App exchange
Freddy Luddy launching ‘Share’ the ServiceNow App exchange 

The Business Engagement Managers Playbook

In terms of new features announced at Knowledge14, my personal highlights were the Kanban visual tasks boards and new features to assist Demand Management.

I can see the Demand Management features being a great toolbox and playbook for Business Engagement Managers or those tasked with direct interaction and responsiveness to business requirements. In theory – you could collect all suggestions and develop them right through to delivered services. But also include the reality check of business impact, risk and resource constraints.

Showcasing demand management - assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk
Business Engagement Managers Playbook: Showcasing demand management – assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk

ServiceNow Partner News

  • Cloud Sherpas delivers cloud services around Salesforce, Google and ServiceNow. ServiceNow is said to be the fastest growing of the three business units (1,000th project completed). The company also announced a further $12M investment in the business.
  • Fruition Partners were showcasing the launch of their App Factory with some specialist solutions for the Healthcare market. The ‘Healthcare Management Suite’ is a set of apps built on the ServiceNow platform with Healthcare standards and compliance in mind. More info here.
  • KPMG stated that they had historically worked with alternative service management software providers but were now a 100% ServiceNow business. To support their growing function the firm announced a ServiceNow centre of excellence in Denver, Colorado.
  • Platf4Mation picked up the ServiceNow 2014 Innovation of the year award for their Facility Management App, as voted for by the Keynote attendees.
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed duded from Plat4mation
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed dudes from Plat4mation

Was it worth it?

As an analyst, it’s all too easy to become cynical of events, marketing hype and stock price hysteria in the technology space. With your nose pressed close to the industry effluent pipe, an observer can become jaded from the sheer volume of bilge.

Whilst Knowledge14 had it’s fair share of chest beating and hyperbole, I found the energy and enthusiasm from the event infectious. Cranky Frank the CEO gave us the company perspective and spoon-fed cute lines to journalists, the main man Fred Luddy entertained us and painted a vision of the future – but for me the main event was the attendees.

There was a genuine energy about the place as IT departments were beginning to realize they could perhaps become an enabler again and take a seat at the table of the business. The realization that ITIL and other frameworks are important, but they should be the wiring under the board – not what the customer experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, the streets of San Francisco were not paved with ITSM gold, organizations attending were still facing the same old incident-problem-change daily grind and curve balls as the rest of us – but there is a light at the end of tunnel.

Was it worth it? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thanks for the ServiceNow team for looking after us at a very well organized event.

Knowledge 15 is April 19 – 23, 2015

PS – I recommend a good book on creative stealing: “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon.)

Steal

Live from Knowledge14 – ServiceNow preview Kanban visual task boards

Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, home of Knowledge14

I’m in sunny San Francisco, California for ServiceNow’s annual user conference; Knowledge14.

ServiceNow are expecting a mind boggling 6,000 attendees over the next few days – making it arguably the largest worldwide event in the ITSM field. Knowledge14 also includes 300 specialist breakout seminars and lab sessions and includes an expo hall of 108 ServiceNow ecosystem partners.

The gorilla in the market continues to demonstrate impressive growth with c. $650m+ goal for this year.

5 year growth trajectory
5 year growth trajectory

Eureka Preview

ServiceNow customers can expect a truckload of new products and features in Eureka, the next major release of the platform.

High Level Summary

  • Service Creator
  • Catalog Item Designer
  • Multiple Catalogs
  • Form Designer
  • Demand Management
  • Visualizations
  • Performance Analytics
  • Facilities Service Automation
  • Visual Task Boards
  • On-Call Scheduling
  • Event Management
  • Business Service Map
  • Configuration Automation

My Highlights:

Clearly lots here for customers to dig into for the next release, from my brief preview my two key highlights were:

  • Kanban tasks boards: Visual Task Boards (Think Trello or LeanKitKanban for Enterprise) Anyone benefiting from the kanban style visualisation and scrum team boards will just love this. See a screenshot and brief demo on an iPad below.
  • Germ of an idea to delivered projects: Demand Management Scorecards – Looks very cool at first glance. Good ideas can be captured, services discussed and built by non-IT users, then the business case and resources to build it can be visualized and scheduled.

Visual-Task-Boards

Knowledge14 continues until May 1st, stay tuned for further updates.

Orange, green, blue, purple – what colour is ITSM?

photo (2)PINK. The answer is still PINK.

PINK14 seem a long time ago now, and I have to confess that I am already secretly (although I guess it’s not a secret when I publish it in an article right?) planning my trip for PINK15.

There has already been a stream of blogs from people providing their thoughts on the conference:

So I guess I’m a little late to the ‘event review party’ (sheesh my legs are still tired from the theme park that was Vegas) but better late than never. So here goes my review.

My favourite sessions

The calibre of the sessions varied depending on the topic and the speaker, but two sessions in particular stood out for me:

  • Slow IT: Meet in the Middle (MITM) – Rob England
  • How to Create & Manage a Successful Service Catalog – Jack Probst

What I loved most about these two sessions was the audience. No offence to either presenter but there were times when I wasn’t giving them 100% of my attention, because I was too busy watching and listening to the delegates in the room.

Rob England

Rob discussed the need to slow down the pace of business demands on IT to focus better on what matters, and to reduce the risk to what already exists (you can view Rob’s presentation as part of TFT here). His session was laden with common sense, and his message clearly resonated with the audience.

There were lots of nodding heads and signs of agreements. There were ‘oohs and ahh’s’ every 5 minutes (to the point that if any one entered the session late they probably wondered what the heck was going on). There were cries from the audience of ‘how?’ and ‘yes!’ It was very entertaining and enlightening to watch, and I think it’s fair to say that Rob had a few new groupies by the time his presentation was over.

Jack Probst

Then there was Jack’s session on service catalog (let’s not have the argument about the spelling). And before I attended the conference a few people had recommended to me “if you only see one session make sure it’s one of Jack’s”, and I’m pleased to say that this will probably be the same advice I give to any new timers next year.

Jack is a very enthusiastic and passionate presenter. I confess that when I entered the room I thought I understood service catalog and when I left I wasn’t so convinced (it was a tad high level for little ol’ me), but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was question after question literally every five minutes from the audience (ok so maybe it wasn’t just me who found it high level) and once again the audience was very engaged. By the way if anyone saw my tweet about ITSM Review and service catalog, it was from this session.

What I loved most about this particular presentation though was not the actual session or topic, it was what happened after. I wanted to introduce myself to Jack given that the previous week he had written an article for us, and I had to wait a considerable amount of time to be able to do so. There was a very long line of people with questions.  All too often I see similar scenarios at events, and all too often I see very short responses given as answers, or occasionally no answers at all, but not with Jack. He gave clear answers and took contact details to provide even further information after the conference.

It’s interesting because many people raised the question of whether the PINK conference provided enough value to warrant the hefty conference price tag. My thoughts? If all the delegates did was attend these two sessions, then I would say they certainly got their money’s worth.

All the other sessions

A lot of people raised the suggestion that next year there should be less tracks and that presentations should be shorter, which I think is a fair comment.  There were many occasions when it felt a bit like Sophie’s Choice deciding which presentation to go to, not least when I had to make a decision between James Finister and Karen Ferris. James won solely on the fact that it was less distance for me to walk (the Bellagio is HUGE and I only have little legs … although not as little as Gobby Midget).

The keynotes on day one were incredible, and I think that PINK has quite a challenge on its hands finding anyone to match them next year. The keynotes on day two were sadly not as impressive, and along with many women I found the session by Josh Klein particularly poor. It was stereotypical and offensive. I appreciate that all of said stereotypical/offensive comments that he made were meant in good humour, but this is 2014 and jokes about women knowing nothing about tech and only being interested in shoes are not acceptable. There again I’d question whether there was ever actually a time when they were acceptable (although I wasn’t alive in the 1970s).

Anyway, enough of my thoughts for a second, let’s hear from a practitioner:

Currently our main aim at South African Reserve Bank is to be more service focused as well as looking at managing change and so my aim coming to PINK14 was to go to these types of sessions.

I was especially looking forward to Expanding ITSM Beyond IT: Providing Real Value to the Business by Joshua Smith – IT Service Management Team Lead at Mohawk Industries and I think I have taken away some useful points from the session.

We are currently moving to a new Service Desk tool provider and so I am looking forward to visiting the stand and getting to know the people there.

My favourite keynote has definitely been Caroline Casey, she was fantastic and very inspirational [unlike the keynote of Joshua Klein which I walked out of].

On the whole I would say that I have not had the “WOW that’s amazing I will definitely take this back with me” moment I was hoping for but I still think that the conference has been worthwhile.

– Siphiwe Mkwanazi – Head: Service Management Centre, South African Reserve Bank

Final thoughts

The theme was superheroes and I was suitably impressed with how PINK managed to ensure that the theme was present throughout the conference. The dressing up as superheroes and dancing through the ballroom wasn’t really my cup of tea, but that was simply a mismatch between American and British humour. It certainly drew plenty of laughs from the audience.

I won’t mention too much about the awards as you’ll be able to read articles from the winners here at ITSM Review over the coming weeks. However, what I will say is that at itSMF UK many of us complained that the award ceremony was too long and ‘went on a bit’, and yet at PINK we were complaining that the awards were a bit of a letdown (in terms of presentation not the actual winners) and too short. Safe to say that we (the ITSM critics) always have something to moan about and we’ll probably never be happy.

Finally, before I leave you with some photos of the exhibitors along with their views on the conference, there is one piece of feedback that I personally want to give to PINK for the 2015 conference. What I have to say is this:

 

“MORE GEORGE!!!!”

 

Seriously, the man is an absolute breath of fresh air and there was a never a dull moment when he was on stage. Pretty please work even more George Spalding into the agenda for 2015.

The exhibitors

I really shouldn’t miss out the vendors, given that without them PINK wouldn’t be able to run their conference. I personally felt that there was a nice atmosphere in the exhibition hall at this particular event. I’m not sure whether it was layout, the attendees or the fact that the vendors just generally seemed to be a lot more laid back and friendlier than I’ve seen them at other events – whatever the reason it was nice.

I particularly enjoyed assessing each vendors marketing efforts. From “spot me in a t-shirt” competitions to barbeque giveaways (yes you did read that correctly) there was certainly something for everyone. Anyone who knows me will know I get annoyed by vendors on booths very easily, but bar one minor incident that involved a finger (don’t ask) I never had a reason to complain!

Although talking of annoying, seriously, it’s time to stop tweeting about your PINK booth now people!

Before I finish up, here are some photos of a few* exhibitors looking all ‘dapper’ on their booths:

BMC Software
BMC Software
CA Technologies
CA Technologies
Cherwell
Cherwell Software
EasyVista
EasyVista
LANDESK
LANDESK
ManageEngine
ManageEngine
Navvia
Navvia
ServiceNow
ServiceNow
SysAid
SysAid
TeamQuest
TeamQuest

*Please note that no favouritism was involved in selecting which exhibitors to display here. I simply used all of the the professionals photographs provided to us by PINK.

The final finally

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Pink Elephant on behalf of everyone at ITSM Review for having us involved as media partner this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and all of the amazing networking opportunities that the event presented us with.

So who else is going to PINK15?

Assessment Criteria: Outside IT Product Review

In March of this year, we will be kicking off our product review dedicated to “Outside IT”, which will take a look at the use of ITSM technology outside the IT department.

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Overview

The aim of this review is to showcase best of breed ITSM software in use outside the IT department, highlight key competitive differentiators and provide readers of The ITSM Review with impartial market intelligence to enable informed purchasing decisions.

Previously published product reviews include:

Also coming soon: Proactive Problem Management.

Assessment Criteria 

The aim of the review is to support prospective buyers with their selection process by providing features to consider when selecting ITSM systems and highlighting key competitive differentiators between suppliers.

Outside IT – How can service management software, traditionally used to underpin the IT service desk, be applied to other area of the business to streamline operations and deliver more efficient services?

Main topics areas

  • How can new systems be built outside IT?
  • What expertise is required, what templates or processes are required?
  • How do end users / customers interact with the system?
  • How can engagement / interaction with customers be customized?
  • How are systems maintained – especially for non-IT users?

Solutions that do not include all of the criteria above will not necessarily score badly – the criteria simply define the scope of areas will be covered. The goal is to highlight strengths and identify differences, whilst placing every vendor in the best light possible. 

Please note: The assessment criteria are just a starting point; they tend to flux and evolve as we delve into solutions and discover unique features and leading edge innovation. Identifying key competitive differentiators is a higher priority than the assessment criteria.

Confirmed participants

Vendors who wish to participate in this Outside IT product review should contact us directly. We also welcome feedback from readers on their experience with their use of ITSM tools outside IT (although this feedback will not directly impact this review).

Image Credit

Review: ServiceNow for Integrations

This independent review is part of our Integrations 2013 Group Test.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch With a solid base of ITSM processes and an extensive range of partnerships – ServiceNow covers all the bases as to drive organisations towards a single source of truth
Strengths
  •  They recognise that pre-deployment is a project and provide a comprehensive workbook to focus on the data to bring across
  • Very extensive range of integration points through an ever growing partner base
Weaknesses
  • A reliance on information imparted through their admittedly extensive wiki – although it has been tidied up and the Books function is a lot more comprehensive, it does create a “hands-off” impression when it comes to actually helping people find out more information.
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, ServiceNow are typically active in the Mid-Large market.They are classified for this review as:Specialised Service Management Suite – Offering ITIL processes and proprietary discovery tooling and Data Integration Points

Commercial Summary

Vendor ServiceNow
Product ServiceNow IT Service Automation Suite
Version reviewed Calgary
Date of version release Calgary release was: May 2013
Year founded 2004
Customers 1778 customers at the end of June 2013. (Importantly these are enterprise or upper mid-market level customers with a minimum of 35 process user subscriptions.)
Pricing Structure Pricing is user based. There are additional costs for certain enhanced capabilities such as discovery, orchestration and the ServiceNow Service Application Platform.
Competitive Differentiators
  1. ServiceNow offers not just an extensive range of ITSM capabilities but also some non-ITSM and complementary areas (Project & Portfolio Management, IT Governance Risk Compliance).
  2. They are able to call upon a wide range of customers as reference customers, and they have a wide partner base for implementations and integrations
  3. They have scored highly in the Gartner ITSSM MQ (20th August 2013) for the previous Berlin Release.

Independent Review

ServiceNowlogo_STANDARD_RGB_226px_122012

ServiceNow take the approach of supplying a large base of integration points to keep up with an ever-growing partner-base, but what impressed was their pre-deployment approach as a project in its own right. They take a comprehensive approach and cover all bases, recognising that many tools make up part of an overall solution.

Integration and specific recognised criteria

ServiceNow integrates with a wide range of third party applications and data sources. As you would expect the most common integrations are with CMDB, Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, User Administration, and Single Sign-on.

They adhere to a number of best practice techniques and standards including Web Services, JDBC, LDAP, CSV, RSS Feeds and email and use industry standard technologies (SOAP, REST and WSDL).

Security Controls

  • A ServiceNow implementation connects from a single machine using a fixed IP address and through a specific port on your firewall. This allows firewalls to limit all traffic to a particular IP address and communications port.
  • Many integrations communicate over the HTTPS protocol. This ensures that all communications are encrypted, providing a reasonable guarantee that one is communicating with precisely the web site that one intended to communicate with (as opposed to an imposter), as well as ensuring that the content between the user and site cannot be read or forged by any third party.
  • Mutual Authentication (Single sign-on (SSO)) and other login techniques provide user verification and role assignment.
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs) provide protection of assets that do not need to be exposed in integration processing.
  • The High Security Plugin provides additional security controls.

Pre-Deployment Integration

ServiceNow recognise that deployment in itself is a project and have a plan to collect and load specific information – and provide a workbook for the information to be collected.

Core Data – Users, groups, categories, priorities, locations and other organisational data – a data collection workbook allows organisations to gather the information, and ensure it is clean before bringing it across.

CMDB/Asset Data – this can also be imported in through the spreadsheet or via integration with third party discovery or inventory tools (see section below)

Knowledge – data from existing systems may be imported if it is useful and current

Ticket Information – generally not “live” tickets but sometimes it is necessary to import historical records across – again mostly for knowledge, audit or compliance purposes.

AD/LDAP – Access through LDAP and advice of setting it up is available on their wiki.

Asset and Configuration Information

The spreadsheet can be used, and integration points include:

  • Microsoft SCCM
  • Altiris
  • LANDesk

CMDB Integration exists with BMC, HP and IBM CMDBs.

Support Services Integration

  • Remote Control

ServiceNow partner with Bomgar, who incorporate a specific button either within the End-User view to get support, or for the Service Desk to initiate a session that is recorded and all details are captured within the record.

  • Support Chats/Social Media

The Bomgar integration also includes a chat function which can be recorded into a record, even if a remote control session is not initiated.

Resource Management Integration

ServiceNow provide a visual timeline and project function within the tool, which handles tasks, documentation attachments and lends itself to Change Management and projects around large transitions.

It can use Outlook and any actions are managed as part of the ServiceNow Task Engine.

Additional Areas of Integration

  • Monitoring/Event Management

This area is one of the most common integration requirements and ServiceNow have a large range of integration points for areas including:

  • Incident Ticketing Integration
  • Event Management Integration
  • Integration with other Service Management Tools (e.g. Remedy, HP Openview, Microsoft SCOM, CA, NetCool

This is just a small selection of the integration points, with links to any number of their integrations within their Wiki.

ServiceNow Customers

From the ServiceNow Brochure

  • Create a single system of record that replaces redundant systems and eliminates the dependency on regional installations of client server software – Enable globalisation through standardisation.
  • Give employees an online storefront experience when interacting with IT. Benefit from a structured support process to drive higher levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • Replace manual and time-consuming tasks with automation. Capture expertise in a repeatable and consistent automation workflow.

In Their Own Words:

“ServiceNow is the enterprise IT cloud company.  We transform IT by automating and managing IT service relationships across the global enterprise.  Organizations deploy our service to create a single system of record for IT and automate manual tasks, standardize processes and consolidate legacy systems.  Using our extensible platform, our customers create custom applications and evolve the IT service model to service domains inside and outside the enterprise.  ServiceNow transforms IT from the department of no to the department of now.”

Screenshots

Further Information

This independent review is part of our Integrations 2013 Group Test.

The 2014 ITSM Tools Universe

Runners, riders, market share and market focus for the ITSM Tools market
2014 ITSM Tools Universe: Runners, riders, market share and market focus for the whole ITSM Tools market

Please note that we are no longer accepting entries to be part of this report.

Today we kick off our 2014 ITSM Tools Universe research in which we will be looking at the multitude of tools out there that claim to help with the management of Information Technology Services; from one function tools through to the ‘all-singing-all-dancing’ suites.

Why invest in ITSM tools?

Organizations typically invest in ITSM technology to help them:

  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Improve service availability and response times
  • Integrate or improve integration between processes
  • Improve root cause analysis
  • Automate or improve business workflows
  • Improve business visibility of IT services

We are looking to talk with ANY supplier who has technology in these areas.

The Assessment Process

There is no cost to participate in our ITSM Universe research.

Steps:

  1. Complete this online questionnaire
  2. Upon completion, schedule an online briefing and arrange customer references

We have tried to automate our assessment process as much as possible given the number of tools we plan to assess, so we have used an online submission form to initiate the process. I have posted a PDF version for participants for reference. If you have any questions please contact me.

ITSM Universe Objectives

Rather than reviewing just the major competitors, this review hopes to shed light on the emerging players and, over time, the changes in the position of the companies involved and moves in market share.

Consideration will also be given to where vendors focus their efforts and to which customer type their products are suitable.

Results will be published in Spring 2014 using our ‘Universe Methodology‘.

The criteria we will be focusing on is as follows:

  • Competitive differentiators
  • ITSM processes included out of the box
  • The level of in-house customization possible and by whom
  • Possible configurations available out of the box
  • Self-Service options
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Process linkage
  • Interaction with business outcomes
  • Alignment with industry frameworks

The last tool showcase I attended offered very little in the way of USP promotion so I am especially interested to see what vendors believe are their competitive differentiators …please don’t let it be ‘The Cloud’!

Participating Vendors

Other Vendors

The following vendors will not be part of this report:

These vendors either declined, were unable to commit to the report schedule or were unable to provide customer references.

Day 2 Review: itSMF UK Conference

reg

Following on from my review of Day 1 of the itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition, it’s time to take a look at what happened on Day 2.

As the second day started I couldn’t help but look around slightly relieved that I wasn’t feeling as bad as the majority of the other conference goers looked. By all accounts the wine on the table had been completely obliterated and some people (mentioning no names) didn’t even managed to make it down for breakfast!

Talking of breakfast the fare at the Hyatt Regency was a decent spread and didn’t taste too much like it had been standing for hours.  My experience of the waiting staff was that they were efficient and courteous, something you’d think would be a given but it never ceases to amaze me how hotels can charge such an extortionate amount for breakfast and then get it so very wrong.

In the Exhibition Hall more revellers surfaced and headed straight for the coffee in an attempt to freshen up somewhat before another full day of sessions. Anyway, less talk of breakfast and hangovers and more talk about the actual conference content…

Service Integration and Management (SIAM) – ITSM’s New Discipline by Kevin Holland, IT Service Management Consultant Specialist 

My first session of the day was Kevin Holland’s Practical Tips for Effective Service Integration.

After threatening all the hungover attendees to stay awake or he’d do another Harmonica solo Kevin warned that System Integration is not Service Integration and that there is no need for an expensive supplier…you can do it yourself!

10 Steps to Problem Management – A Real Life Journey by Amanda Kirby, Virgin Media

It took me a little while to concentrate on Amanda’s session as I was mesmerized by her fantastic shiny red shoes! Getting Problem Management right is one of those elusive things that is so important and yet difficult to put into practice so I was interested to see Virgin’s experiences.

Amanda ran a visual exercise to show how difficult it can be keeping all the balls in the air…literally!

She also shared Virgins mantra “Screw it…let’s do it!” which appealed to the part of me that gets frustrated with the bureaucratic nonsense we’ve all experienced.

Amanda’s bubbly enthusiasm was totally infectious and by the end of it I was ready to go back and tackle implementing Problem Management…you know… if we needed such a thing at The ITSM Review.

Impromptu SM Congress Talk – Patrick Bolger, Barclay Rae, Paul Wilkinson and Mark Smalley

Over the course of the conference I had heard a few people commenting on how there wasn’t a lot of mention of SM Congress and so I was pleased to find that an impromptu talk by a few of the members who attended the original sessions at Fusion were going to answer some of the questions that had been raised since.

The session was particularly useful to those who were hesitant about SM Congress, as it helped clear the air and display the facts about the initiative.

For those of you that have been on the moon for the last couple of weeks and missed all the SM Congress talk you can find out more about it here.  I also recommend taking a look at #SMCongress on Twitter for general discussions about the initiative.  If you have great ideas to help shape the IT community and the future of ITSM then please consider getting involved.

DevOps – Shattering the Barriers by Kaimar Karu, itSMF Estonia

My final session of the day was a relatively new subject for me.  Kaimar explained the methodology and benefits of DevOps and why Beer is such an important part of forging relationships, although judging by what I saw over the course of the conference any old alcohol will do!

In summary

At the end of day two I was thoroughly shattered but hugely buzzed by everything I’d learnt, and I had list as long as my arm of further reading and cool stuff to investigate.

Despite some of the comments that there was a smaller attendance than in previous years, all of the sessions that I went to were very well attended and all of the staff at ICC I encountered were welcoming and helpful.

Some of the vendors I spoke to were concerned that due to the layout there was less opportunity for delegates to pass through the exhibition area on their way from one session to the next.  However vendors such as Gaming Works that invested significantly in self promotion via social media and other avenues leading up to the conference hardly saw time where their stand wasn’t attended.

We managed to sneak a few photos with some of the exhibitors:

Wherever there is an ITSM event there is Barclay Rae and his ITSM Goodness
Wherever there is an ITSM event there is Barclay Rae and his ITSM Goodness
APMG International exhibited to help raise awareness of their exams
APMG International exhibited to help raise awareness of their exams
Cherwell Software said that it's pivitol for them to exhibiti at the conference because itSMF UK is such a core foundation of the ITSM industry
Cherwell Software said that it’s pivitol for them to exhibit at the conference because itSMF UK is such a core foundation of the ITSM industry
Hornbill Systems attend the event because it gives them great insight into what is really happening within the ITSM industry
Hornbill Systems attend the event because it gives them great insight into what is really happening within the ITSM industry
Focus Group Europe were attending to promote ServiceNow and get updates on the ITSM market
Focus Group Europe were attending to promote ServiceNow and get updates on the ITSM market
3Gamma
3Gamma enjoying the event
Bomgar said that brand recognition at events like itSMF UK is important and is also good for lead generation
Bomgar said that brand recognition at events like itSMF UK is important and is also good for lead generation
HP wanted to reconnect with customers, showcase products and see what their customers are doing in ITSM
HP wanted to reconnect with customers, showcase products and see what their customers are doing in ITSM
Nexthink enjoying the event
Nexthink attended to showcase their unique solution giving Service Desk and Help Desk teams a real-time view of the end-user experiences across the complete enterprise
OpenText attended to increase its visibility and awareness of its acquisition of ICCM
OpenText attended to increase its visibility and awareness of its acquisition of ICCM
TopDesk regards itSMF UK as a high profile event
TopDesk regards itSMF UK as a high profile event
AlfaPeople attended itSMF UK conference to increase brand awareness and showcase Microsoft solutions as 'no one does what we do'.
AlfaPeople attended itSMF UK conference to increase brand awareness and showcase Microsoft solutions as ‘no one does what we do’.

All in all an enormously enjoyable event that I will not hesitate to revisit.

In closing we would just like to take the opportunity to wish Ben Clacy all the very best in his future endeavours.  Thank you Ben for everything you have done for ITSM.

What makes for a compelling metrics story?

reading1In my first article “Do your metrics tell a story?” I discussed the “traditional” approach to reporting metrics, and why that approach is ineffective at driving action or decisions.

Personal observations are far more effective. Personal observations appearing to conflict with the data presented can actually strengthen opposition to whatever decision or action the data suggests. Presenting data as part of a story reboots the way we receive data. Done well, it creates an experience very similar to personal observation.

So how can we do this well? What makes a compelling metrics story?

Every element must lead to a singular goal

This cannot be stressed enough. Any metrics story we tell must have a singular purpose, and every element of the package must exist only to achieve that purpose. Look at any report package you produce or consume. Is there a single purpose for the report? Does every piece of information support that single purpose? Does the audience for the report know the singular purpose? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then there is no good reason to invest time in reading it.

ITSM legend Malcolm Fry provides an excellent example of the singular goal approach with his “Power of Metrics” workshops. If you haven’t been able to attend one of his metrics workshops, you are truly missing out. I had the honor when Fry’s metrics tour came through Minneapolis in August 2012. The most powerful takeaway (of many) was the importance of having a singular focus in metrics reporting.

In the workshop, Fry uses a “Good day / Bad day” determination as the singular focus of metrics reporting. ThoughtRock recorded an interview with him that provides a good background of his perspective and the “Good day / Bad day” concept for metrics. The metrics he proposed all roll up into the determination of whether IT had a good day, or a bad day. You can’t get clearer and more singular than that. The theme is understood by everyone: IT staff, business leaders … all the stakeholders.

There are mountains of CSF/KPI information on the Internet and organizations become easily overwhelmed by all the data, trying to decide which CSFs and KPIs to use. Fry takes the existing CSF and KPI concepts and adds a layer on top of CSFs. He calls the new layer “Service Focal Point”.

The Service Focal Point (SFP) provides a single measurement, based on data collected through KPIs. Good day, bad day is just one example of using SFPs. We only need to capture the KPIs relevant to determining the SFP.

(Fry also recently recorded a webinar: Service Desk Metrics — Are We Having a Good Day or a Bad Day? Sign up, or review the recording if you are reading this after the live date).

Create a shared experience

A good metrics story creates a new experience. Earlier I wrote about how personal histories – personal experiences – are stronger than statistics, logic, and objective data in forming opinions and perspectives. Stories act as proxies for personal experiences. Where personal experiences don’t exist, stories can affect opinions and perspectives. Where personal experience does exist, stories can create additional “experiences” to help others see things in a new way.

If the CIO walks by the service desk, and sometimes observes them chatting socially, her experience may lead to a conclusion that the service desk isn’t working hard enough (overstaffed, poorly engaged, etc.) Giving her data demonstrating high first contact resolution and short caller hold times won’t do much to change the negative perception. Instead, make the metrics a story about reduced costs and improved customer engagement.

A great story creates a shared experience by allowing us to experience similarities between ourselves and others. One of the most powerful ways to create a shared experience is by being consistent in what we report and how we report it. At one point in my practitioner career I changed metrics constantly. My logic was that I just needed to find the right measurement to connect with my stakeholders. It created the exact opposite outcome: My reports became less and less relevant.

The singular goal must remain consistent from reporting period to reporting period. For example, you may tweak the calculations that lead to a Good day / Bad day outcome, but the “storyline” (was it a good day or a bad day?) remains the same. We now have a shared experience and storyline. Everyone knows what to look for each day.

Use whatever storyline(s) works for your organization. Fry’s Good day / Bad day example is just one way to look at it. The point is making a consistent story.

Make the stakeholders care

A story contains an implied promise that the story will lead me somewhere worth my time. To put it simply, the punch line – the outcome – must be compelling to the stakeholders. There are few experiences worse than listening to a rambling story that ends up going nowhere. How quickly does the storyteller lose credibility as a storyteller? Immediately! The same thing happens with metrics. If I have to wade through a report only to find that there is ultimately nothing compelling to me, I’ll never pay attention to it again. You’ll need to work pretty hard to get my attention in the future.

This goes back to the dreaded Intro to Public Speaking class most US college students are required to take. When I taught that class, the two things I stressed more than anything was:

  • Know your audience
  • Make your topic relevant to them

If the CIO is your primary audience, she’s not going to care about average call wait times unless someone from the C-suite complained. Chances are good, however, that she will care about how much money is spent per incident, or the savings due to risk mitigation.

Know your ending before figuring out the middle of the story

This doesn’t mean you need to pre-determine your desired outcome and make the metrics fit. It means you need to know what decisions should be made as a result of the metrics presentation before diving into the measurement.

Here are just a few examples of “knowing the ending” in the ITSM context:

  • Do we need more service desk staff?
  • How should we utilize any new headcount?
  • Will the proposed process changes enable greater margins?
  • Are we on track to meet annual goals?
  • Did something happen yesterday that we need to address?
  • How will we know whether initiative XYZ is successful?

A practical example

Where should we focus Continual Service Improvement (CSI) efforts? The problem with many CSI efforts is that they end up being about process improvement, not service improvement. We spend far too much time on siloed process improvement, calling it service improvement.

For example, how often do you see measurement efforts around incident resolution time? How does that indicate service improvement by itself? Does the business care about the timeliness of incident resolution? Yes, but only in the context of productivity, and thereby cost, loss or savings.

A better approach is to look at the kind of incidents that cause the greatest productivity loss. This can tell us where to spend our service improvement time.

The story we want to tell is, “Are we providing business value?”

The metric could be a rating of each service, based on multiple factors, including: productivity lost due to incidents; the cost of incidents escalated to level 2 & 3 support; number of change requests opened for the service; and the overall business value of the service.

Don’t get hung up on the actual formula. The point is how we move the focus of ITSM metrics away from siloed numbers that mean nothing on their own, to information that tells a compelling story.

If you would like guidance on coming up with valid calculations for your stories, I highly recommend “How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business” by Douglas Hubbard.

… and a few more excellent resources:

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