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Data Talks: Designing ServiceNow Success with a Strategic Roadmap

Welcome back to Data Talks.

For this month’s plunge into all things ServiceNow, not only will I be joined by Meghan Lockwood, our VP of Strategic Marketing, but by John Huckle, our VP of Advisory Services, as well. John joined Acorio last May when Acorio announced our acquisition of Strategic Consulting Firm BusinessForward. With a long history of leading companies throughout their entire transformation journey, it only made sense that John join us for today’s discussion on Roadmaps.

That’s right, Roadmaps. Since we talked about the depth and horizontal expansion across the entire ServiceNow platform last month, today, we’re tackling the natural next question: How do companies actually approach and manage widespread ServiceNow adoption in their organizations? You’ll see below that 41 percent of companies don’t have a strategic roadmap for their ServiceNow implementation. And, perhaps worse than that, 15 percent of responders don’t know if their Company has a strategic roadmap.

Quick note: For the purposes of this discussion, the term ‘roadmap’ means a comprehensive strategy that is thorough, well-planned, and offers a vision for overall ServiceNow platform use.

ServiceNow roadmaps 2018 survey graph

Do you have a ServiceNow Strategic Roadmap (a comprehensive strategy that is thorough, well-planned, and offers a vision for your overall ServiceNow Platform use) or a governance process? From Acorio’s 2018 ServiceNow Insight and Vision Survey

Identifying Keys to ServiceNow Success: Comprehensive Roadmaps 

Meghan Lockwood: I am so glad that we’re talking about roadmaps right now. Many businesses are underway with their 2020 planning, which is the perfect time to workshop what your businesses 2020 goals are going to look like… including your ServiceNow or Service Management roadmap.

Juliet Acuff: Oh absolutely, and we’ll talk about how your business goals are driving forces in your technology roadmaps.

Starting off with the data. When it comes to technology transformation, our original research from last year’s ServiceNow Insight and Vision Report, we see just 44 percent of organizations say they currently have a strategic roadmap.

Lockwood: I don’t know about you both, but to me, that’s a major problem, and a barrier to a business achieving their strategic goals in 2020.

Further, we’re also seeing that a full 15 percent saying that they don’t know if a plan exists. If that’s happening, then the organization is not doing a good job of communicating change. What do you think John?

John Huckle: Unfortunately, these numbers are not surprising to me. So much of the challenges we see in projects begin at the inception of the strategy, and generally when there is a lack of vision from the very beginning. We often get pulled into a stalled project and see that a client just doesn’t have a clear answer, either qualitatively or quantitatively, around why they are undergoing this massive effort, what their objectives are and what they are striving to achieve.

It’s perhaps logically surprising, but I see a lot of even very smart people getting stuck there. They don’t even know all of the possibilities with the platform, so even if they know where they want to start, say with ITSM or ITOM, they don’t know where they are going.

But, the good news is, once they find just one outcome that they want to achieve as a business, then they can start to plan okay, how are we going to get there. Then, more and more milestones get filled in.

Lockwood: Right, so the business discussion doesn’t have to be what is our roadmap? right off that bat, but instead, there should be discussions around what business outcomes do we want? What do we want this year? Next year? Many businesses don’t even have these discussions before they choose ServiceNow as their business platform, so there is a disjoint between the executive buy-in, purchasing decision, and the business outcomes.

Acuff: Having a roadmap is really having everyone, from the purchasers to the executives to the technical staff and the fulfillers, understand the business outcomes that are possible and that you’re looking for. It’s not (just) saying here are the technical implementation steps.

A roadmap is not a project plan.

Instead, it’s all about taking the final result, putting it up on a pedestal and figuring out what’s needed and what’s best to get there. This is always a combination of technical best-practices, governance and organizational change management strategy and planning to make room to add to the plan as business initiatives and needs change.

In some ways, I like to think of a ServiceNow roadmap as one of those architectural billboards you pass near new construction sites. They have the title, the big goal of what the building will be used for, then an inspirational rendering of the final product. That’s what most people see, and you see it and know about it for months. But on the side of that image, there is all of this small text, detailing the project plan, the people it will be affecting, the timelines, etc. Just like your ServiceNow roadmap – you should be socializing it long before it goes live, with varying amounts of information for different sets of people.

Lockwood: As an advisory consultancy for ServiceNow, our advice is to always undergo the process of creating a roadmap, for the sake of long-term success at your organization.

It’s worth pointing out that ServiceNow formed a new global Customer Outcomes team to make sure their customers are thinking about, and talking about, their business outcomes within the context of this near tectonic shift in platform expansion. So, some of our clients reading this may find themselves engaged in these strategic conversations at a host of levels right now – and, should also recognize that’s not an accident.

Having said that, we also know that not all roadmaps are created equal. But, I imagine some of the elements are relatively universal. Are there common components that a baseline roadmap should always include?

Huckle: As Juliet said, it’s not a project plan, and there are no “one-size fits all” when it comes to roadmaps. The first “must” for roadmaps is just acknowledging and agreeing that you need to have a roadmap. That opens so many doors for discussions that wouldn’t otherwise take place.

Acuff: And we’ve talked before about the enterprise transformation, and why the platform is expanding to go across these functions. But what we haven’t talked about is how companies are going about implementing three, four, or five parts of the platform. It underscores the need for a roadmap even more.

Huckle: Yes, exactly, that is a great point to bring up. We’ve seen our own clients using their roadmaps as not only a guide for their enterprise transformations but as a crucial part of their communication plans. It’s so important to be communicating outside of the IT realm, now that the platform can be embedded everywhere from HR to Customer Service.

Free Roadmap Checklist

To help you evaluate the roadmap you are creating (or might already have) we’ve created an easy, 10 Question Checklist and scorecard for you. Download the full document here.

ServiceNow roadmap checklist on tablet

If you’re looking for even more ServiceNow roadmap resources, check out our recent webinar, Future-Proof Your ServiceNow Strategy: How to Build a Strategic Roadmap, where our experts talk about how roadmaps are changing, roadmap examples from clients with varying levels of maturity, the keys to success like governance and organizational change management, and what you can still accomplish before the end of the year.