ServiceNow CMA, Jono Koster Shares His Fundamentals for a Successful Technology Strategy and Governance

For 2022, we’re back with the latest segment of Acorio’s EXPAND executive insights series. For those who are new to EXPAND, we sit down every month to interview a digital transformation expert about business trends, key takeaways from clients, and other relevant ServiceNow insights.

We’re kicking off this new year by interviewing Certified Master Architect, Jono Koster. Keep reading to learn his three pillars for a successful technology strategy, the most common issues that arise in client projects, and his predictions for oncoming platform updates in 2022. 

Not enough time to read the full blog? Check out the summary video below or this slide deck on LinkedIn for a quick overview.

Introducing Jono Koster

Meet our resident Aussie and Certified Master Architect, Jono Koster. Based in Sydney, Australia, Jono has been with Acorio since 2013 and boasts 14 years of experience within the ServiceNow ecosystem.

Before joining the A-team, Jono served as a Senior Manager of IT Service Management, as well as a Service Management specialist at Lloyds International. As a Certified Master Architect, Jono now uses his ample ServiceNow experience to guide clients through the necessary strategic and technical touchpoints to achieve meaningful digital transformation.

As a Certified Master Architect, customers trust you to guide their digital transformation journeys with ServiceNow. What three components are most fundamental to a successful technology strategy and governance?

  1. The people. To have a successful technology strategy, you have to get buy-in from your team. There’s no point in putting a fancy tool in place if people find it difficult to learn or don’t know how to use it. The first step to solving for that is training, which brings us to my second point.
  1. The processes. Organizational Change Management is the foundation of building strong processes for your team to do their best work. It’s also the key to ensuring solid adoption rates for any new tools. When thinking of processes, it’s important to get early buy-in from business leaders. This is essential to making necessary changes to the org down the line and enacting a clearly defined governance strategy. You can have the best team and tools in the world, but if you’re missing the processes to bridge the two together then success is nearly impossible.
  1. The technology. When it comes to the ServiceNow platform, a strong technical foundation is essential to your strategy and governance success. With nearly all processes relying on the CMDB and CSDM structures, these ServiceNow components serve as the heart of your tool. Pay close attention to these two pieces and you’ll be sure to unlock technical success for your digital transformation journey.
What is the most common issue that you see arise in client projects? How can customers avoid this pitfall?

The most common issue I see arise in client projects is an incorrect balance of customization versus out of the box.

On one hand, we have clients who want everything exactly as it comes out of the box, which may result in processes that are not a good fit for the company. On the other hand, some clients come into a project wanting their new ServiceNow solution to work exactly like their previous tool, requiring extensive customizations. In turn, they may miss out on future platform features which inhibits them from realizing the platform’s full value.

Striking the delicate balance between thoughtful customizations and out of the box is crucial. ServiceNow is designed to be customized and configured, so don’t be afraid to make changes, just make sure to do so with a trusted expert who understands the effects for each tweak.

ServiceNow has expanded its platform capabilities extensively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. What solutions or capabilities do you expect to see from them in 2022?

ServiceNow as a platform is incredibly rich, as demonstrated by its outstanding growth over the years. With that level of growth, the platform has progressively moved towards improving its user interface with solutions like flow designer and workspaces.

Next, I expect the platform to focus on providing a friendlier and more intuitive user experience for ServiceNow’s more foundational components, like basic forms and lists, to align with the new workspaces and portals.

What is your favorite part of the ServiceNow platform and what sets it apart from other digital transformation solutions?

My favorite part of the ServiceNow platform is its immense capabilities. I’m still blown away by the vast possibilities and deep power of the platform. I’ve worked with ServiceNow for over a decade and I’m still constantly learning new things.

Personally, what sets the platform apart is that ServiceNow offers all of its incredible capabilities onto one single platform. Unlike the majority of other digital transformation solutions, ServiceNow’s unified tool makes it easy to shape solutions that fit customers’ needs onto a single system of record by linking processes together. This ultimately results in strong process maturity.

Can you talk more about how you became a Certified Master Architect, what was the training process like and what are your biggest takeaways from the Program?

From its application process to the actual training, the Certified Master Architect program has been an incredible opportunity for my professional development.

The program is quite involved even from the beginning. The application process alone took me a couple of weeks to gather all of the requested materials.

Our actual training lasted about 10 months. With new sessions every week, we got to meet a wide array of experts across various subject matter areas. Beyond the training content, the program serves as a great place to network and build community within the ServiceNow ecosystem.

**One thing to note is that ServiceNow offers multiple architect programs, so if you’re interested in pursuing a program, make sure to do your research and find the best fit for you. 

With 14 years of professional ServiceNow experience, what’s one piece of advice you would offer to organizations that are new to the platform?

My most important advice is this: Remember that the process itself is a journey. Just like any journey, transformation with ServiceNow is a process that takes time, requires a thoughtful roadmap, and is most successful when you identify clear goals then enlist the help of an experienced guide to get you there.

My wife’s pregnancy with our first child reminded me very much of the ServiceNow journey. Similar to a project rollout, it’s easy to think of the baby’s birth as the end goal, but then you realize it’s actually the start of a whole new beginning. Many clients approach their first ServiceNow implementation as their main focus and end goal, but there’s far more to it than that.

Like I mentioned previously, ServiceNow is a continuous journey of self-improvement to digital transformation. Just like raising a child, ServiceNow requires constant attention, to stay up-to-date with new features and platform versions. Not everything will happen on day one, but you’ll do well to continually look for added benefits along the way.

Looking for more insights on how to achieve platform success with ServiceNow? Download this eBook from our Advisory team.