As a member of the 5th Academy class here at Acorio, I learned (perhaps an overwhelming amount) about ServiceNow, ITIL practices, ITSM and consulting communication skills. But when it comes to true mastery of the platform, sometimes the best way to learn is on the job. And nothing is a better example of this than with IT Asset Management.
During the Asset portion of my instruction, I learned about improving efficiency and why it can be valuable to automate Asset licensing and renewal processes. I learned the nitty-gritty of Audit Management, Inventory Management, and the different pieces of Contract Management that could be configured to interact with all of a user’s Asset Management, like how contracts can be associated with software entitlements or how ServiceNow can be used as a hub to store rental agreements for cloud servers.
But then I got put on my first “pure” Asset project, with the largest healthcare system in Oregon and Northern California. The entire project was revolving around Contract Management, which is just a tiny sliver of the whole Asset product. In the beginning, I questioned how we could help a client drive true business results with (what I thought) was such a small part of the Asset Management.
Well, it turns out that Contract Management can not only be a strong and vital part of Asset but also extend throughout an entire business landscape. Configured correctly, ServiceNow is a prominent tool to manage the Contract lifecycle and make a real difference in a business.
Let’s start by understanding how vital contracts are to this particular client.
Understanding the Need for Contract Management
As a healthcare company that provides comprehensive medical care to nearly a million people throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California, with multiple medical centers throughout the west coast, contracts are an everyday aspect of their business. Each one deals with physicians, medical devices, healthcare insurance, real estate or one of the other 110+ categories of contracts identified as “critical” by the healthcare provider.
For the client, contracts are managed by a Contract Triage Team, whom we worked closely with in order to implement the solution. Since Contracts permeate across the entire business, this implementation was important not only to the Contract Triage and ServiceNow administration teams but also to the numerous employees that require contracts to be sorted in a timely manner in order to do their work with patients and providers.
While the organization had already been using ServiceNow to manage contracts, the previous incarnation was built on older functionality using legacy features instead of Asset Management’s dedicated Contract Management functionality.
Their contract process involved requests for the different actions of the contract lifecycle, like generating a new contract, renewing an expiring contract or terminating an active contract so they needed something with more automation, communication options, and flexibility in order to manage the contracts as a permanent record.
Solving for Custom Task Paths, Table Maintenance, and Technical “Debt”
Working with both the ServiceNow team and the internal Contract Management team, we created a task extended table in order to handle these requests. This Contract Request table was then connected to both the out of the box Contract table and the Managed Documents functionality in ServiceNow.
Handling Contract Requests as a custom task and not as part of Request Management presented a few key advantages. We were able to avoid the overhead involved with Request. This method also provided a pathway to lock down Contract data so it was only accessible to their Contract Triage Team and the key individuals involved in each contract, without adding a lot of technical debt to other applications in ServiceNow.
Using a custom task also allows for more flexibility during future development of the Contract Request as the process and needs of the Contract Triage Team evolve. A drawback of the custom task path is the initial creation and subsequent maintenance of the new table. However, both the team at Acorio and the client agreed that the benefits and flexibility far outweighed the costs.
We built different launching points to submit a Contract request, including a record producer in the Service Catalog and the ability to generate a contract based on a Demand in IT Business Management (ITBM). After submission of a Contract Request, the Contract Triage Team is then able to facilitate the contract lifecycle of the new Contract Request entries. We leveraged assessments in ServiceNow to allow the Contract Triage Team to garner needed input from individuals at the company not involved with contracts on a day to day basis.
By leveraging automation tools in ServiceNow, the platform now assists with automated closure of contracts, automated transitions between the different stages of the contract lifecycle, and automated notifications related to contracts and contract requests.
Ultimately, the healthcare provider will be able to control their contracts with ease using ServiceNow and iterate on the Contract Management process without effecting or adding technical debt to other areas of their ServiceNow instance. The next phase with the client is going to include even more automation and data gathering so that they can further report on, analyze and refine Contract Management.
Want to learn more about Asset Management? Check out our on-demand webinar The Software Asset Management Landscape Has Changed: What You Need to Know with our IT Asset Management Practice Lead, Wally Waltner, and our Director of Technical Initiatives, Carleen Carter.