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Adapting in ServiceNow: Supporting Your People Plan, Contingency Plan, and Communications

As client teams adjust to working from home, firms have had to quickly shift their business models to sustain more of their processes through virtual means. Earlier this month we shared the first part of a three-part IT Business Management blog series, with the goal of providing an overview of how our ITBM practice is assisting clients whose businesses have been affected by these changes.

Today, we dive into the second part of our recent ITBM series: Adapt in the Now. If you haven’t yet gotten the chance to read the first part of this series, Situational Adaptation Planning, we recommend pausing here to take a few minutes and catch up before moving ahead.

We last left off after walking through how to establish a working plan. Today, we expand upon that plan to address how the Now platform can help.

Support Your People Plan

It can be difficult to predict all of the effects on your business and staff in times of uncertainty. Given that your roles and processes may change quite a bit, it’s important to consider how your platform licensing and support might be affected under new business circumstances. To prepare for the next steps, we recommend you start by confirming the following:

  • Platform Licensing
    • Modules
    • License Counts
    • User Access
    • ITBM/PPM or APM Role Assignments
  • Platform Support
    • System Administration, for example, New User Access Requests
    • Development, for example, Plugin Activation, form configuration
    • PPM Administration, for example, PPM Preferences and Settings

Identify and Manage the Highest Priorities

If Demand Management wasn’t already a favorite PPM capability, it will be now. Under normal circumstances, operational and strategic work is managed and prioritized separately, but for the time being, this may no longer be the case. Follow the steps below to make the best use of your available resources:

1. Identify and centralize all work.

Make sure your bases are fully covered. Is 100% of your required work currently identified in the system?  If not, get this done first and foremost. Next, capture any new requirements. Once you capture all your existing work on the platform, take the time to document any new demands that have arisen to address the current situation. Establish a clear and uniform process for recording these requirements to ensure they are captured in a consistent manner.

2. Identify your current resource capacity.

Both active resources and their available capacity may have changed significantly in recent days. To understand your operational and strategic bandwidth, start by reviewing the current status of your resource capacity. This information is invaluable for decision-making.

3. Talk with your Finance point of contact to review your funding.

The next priority on our list is your budget. In times like today, finances can shift unpredictably, so it’s important to maintain communication with your Finance point of contact to understand if and how your funding has been impacted. You’ll need this information to help drive decision-making, so reach out early and maintain communication as the situation develops.

4. Revisit your Strategies and Goals.

It is highly possible that these have temporarily shifted to meet your firm’s most immediate short-term needs. An organization’s response can sometimes be just as unexpected as the situations to which they’re responding, whether it be a natural disaster or an unplanned acquisition or divestiture. This is why it’s necessary to confer amongst your leadership team and establish a list of goals and a clear strategy in response to any unforeseen issues that arise: this information is key to developing criteria for demand prioritization.

  • Identify a strategy for assessing work.
    • Ex: Operational work is a top priority – have SLAs changed in a way that will affect resource capacity?
    • Ex: Strategic work is a second priority with limited remaining bandwidth, based on resource re-allocation and available skills
  • Set criteria for scoring work demands.
    • Compliance requirements may have shifted, so it’s best practice to confirm these details up front rather than later down the line.

5. Establish your ‘waterlines’.

Determine, between an assessment of resource capacity and funding sources, what can be ‘spent’ on all work demands.

6. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

Based on the redefined RACI, define a form of governance to make decisions on how you are prioritizing business items.

7. Host a Governance Planning Session.

Using the new scoring means, known resource list, and funding waterlines:

  • Set the ‘new’ work priorities.
  • Review all other active work to determine ownership and a course of action. For example, an existing project may be temporarily halted, an existing approved demand may be deferred, and an existing enhancement may be placed on hold or cancelled entirely.
  • Assign and reassign resources, as needed.
  • Define how these changes will be communicated to key stakeholders and team members.
  • Define who will own the task of making system updates.

8. Hold weekly meetings.

Use this time to review and discuss your current model to ensure that you’re producing the firm’s defined level of delivery.

Monitor Your Contingency Plan

Using the OOTB Key Performance Indicators within ServiceNow for both ITSM and ITBM, monitor the delivery of work, across both operational and strategic areas.

Standard Operational KPI’s:


  • % of incidents resolved
  • % of incidents resolved on first assignment
  • % of reopened incidents
  • Average time to resolve a high priority incident
  • Average time to resolve an incident
  • Number of incidents created per user


  • Average time to first respond to problems by priority
  • % of problems with a root cause identified for the failure
  • % of problems with a workaround defined
  • % of incidents resolved by fixing unknown errors


  • % of standard changes
  • % of failed changes
  • Average time from submission to Scheduled state
  • % of changes that cause Incidents


  • Number and % of service requests completed within agreed target times
  • Number of requests created per catalog item

Standard Strategic KPI’s:


  • Active Ideas
  • Average Age Open Ideas
  • Ideas Converted to Demands


  • Active Demands
  • Average Age Open Demands
  • Demands Converted to Projects
  • Demands Converted to Other Work
  • Demands by State


  • Average Age Demands to Projects
  • Average Age Open Projects
  • Active Projects
  • Projects with red Status
  • Projects Overdue
  • Projects with missed milestones
  • Projects Over Budget
  • Project with High Risks
  • Projects by Phase
  • Planned vs Actual
  • Baseline

Data Quality

  • No Business Case
  • No Planned Cost
  • No manager
  • No Budget
  • No Actuals
  • No Portfolio
  • No Program
  • No Description
  • No ROI
  • No Investment Type
  • No Investment Class
  • No Task/s

Provide this information by sharing the standard reports to leadership, which in turn can be used for decision making, adjustments, and agile adaptation.

These reports will be strong indicators for how well your current plan is working, as well as how you can adjust your current approach to optimize results.

Communicate and Enable

Knowledge capabilities on the ServiceNow platform are an ideal choice to store centralized information in a situation when remote access is required, even when an organization’s network is down.  Knowledge offers the flexibility to store articles, information, documentation, and links, across a collection of unique knowledge bases, each with its own access security structure.

From an end user experience, customers or employees can search, browse, and view articles from their desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

Full version control is also available – this means that end user links can remain the same while the source information is updated to meet the timeliest requirements.

Facilitating a (New) Normal

One of the largest benefits of storing your information within ServiceNow is that the platform holds all current and historical information in a single location, providing a comprehensive and detailed view of the before, during and after of any unexpected event.

By storing data in one place, ServiceNow makes it easy for organizations to respond quickly during emergency events to:

  • Add or change strategies and goals.
  • Identify all work demand and their current statuses.
  • Raise new demands – and resurrect deferred demands for review.
  • Update available funding.
  • Adjust demand scores based on alignment with an evolving direction.
  • Update resource capacity and assignments.

ServiceNow grants full transparency through its reporting capabilities, allowing for real-time decision support, throughout an organization’s journey, as well as the option for detailed notes to record historical happenings.

When it comes to managing the evolving business of IT, in good times or bad, there is no more comprehensive option than the Now platform.  If a system can meet the needs of a company in distress, think of what it can do in steady-state.

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