ServiceNow Strategy

How to Build Your ServiceNow Business Case: Strategies for Proving ROI [Downloadable Template]

Digital Transformation – a term you’ve probably been reading a lot lately since it has been difficult to pick up a business publication and not see it scattered throughout the copy. And to be honest, we’re also guilty of talking about it – as far back as November, our CEO gave her thoughts about it.

But it’s for a good reason. In the last five years, there has been a change in how businesses are viewed end-to-end, and more specifically, how technology can enable business processes, customer touch points, employee productivity, product transformation, and more!

Digital transformation, rather than focusing on one, single IT product, describes how, holistically, these “corners” of an enterprise can be integrated together, resulting in a fundamental change in how the business operates and how it drives value. The main goal of digital transformation is for larger processes and people to intrinsically link together, which requires visibility across the functional silos of a company.

So why does this matter to you?

If you’re thinking about ServiceNow (and trying to build a killer business case), it’s important to understand it’s role within digital transformation – and how it is fast becoming the Enterprise Service Management (ESM) tool of today.

This blog will walk you through how ServiceNow is becoming the go-to ESM tool, along with real-world stories of organizations embracing ServiceNow as their ESM platform, and function-specific and product-specific business pitches to help you build your business case. Plus, we’re giving away a free “pitch deck” powerpoint template you can use to help build your business case for ServiceNow.

Where are firms today in their Digital Transformation process?

In a 2017 Digital Business Report, Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review found we’re still in the early days of digital transformation:

  • 42% of businesses are developing
  • 26% are past developing and are maturing
  • 32% are in the “early phases


Findings from Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review’s 2017 digital business global executive study and research project.

The study also states, 47% of CEOs are challenged by their board to make progress, yet only less than half have started their digital transformation.

And even as ServiceNow consultants, we continue to hear from CIOs, whether or not there is a digital transformation initiative within their organization, that the way to start addressing it is to embrace enterprise service management (ESM).

Successful digital transformations, we see, are based on a strong foundation of enterprise service management… And that ESM is becoming the new EOS, ensuring processes and technologies are linked from the back all the way to customer-facing systems. And ServiceNow is fast becoming that tool.

ServiceNow as the ESM tool

Many firms are now looking at ServiceNow to be the EOS. It no longer is residing in just one area like ITSM but ServiceNow is providing solutions and a comprehensive architecture, stitching together many functions such as IT Operations Management, Software Asset Management, Business Apps, Security Operations, HR Service Delivery, Customer Service Management, and Governance, Risk & Compliance.

To put it simply, it’s a system of work where everyone can be connected – from the outside (your customer) to the inside (your employees).

To help you conceptualize ServiceNow as an ESM tool, these are just a few examples of how we’ve seen our customers use ServiceNow, allowing it to grow holistically across the enterprise.

ServiceNow Customers

  • A Fortune 500 Manufacturing Firm has purchase ServiceNow to be the technology to fuel HR Transformation and the formation of a Global Business Service Function to host global shared services efficiently, ultimately improving customer and supplier service.
  • A fast-growing HealthCare organization, rapidly expanding via acquisition, under the guidance of the COO, is deploying enterprise-wide Shared service to speed up time-to-serve, as well as grow relationships with organizations referring service to them.
  • One of the largest home mortgage companies, growing rapidly, recognize the need to standardize on a way to manage employee requests and overall work through many parts of their business to remain competitive – like Marketing, HR, Legal, and IT services.

While these might be larger projects, it doesn’t need to be. At Acorio, we are seeing clients from all different verticals including manufacturing, retail, entertainment, healthcare, higher ed, government entities, etc., all of which had a strategic approach with the platform, finding ServiceNow to fit a business need.

The unifying factor? All these projects had a strong business case behind it, with a focused objective.

Building your ServiceNow Business Case

Don’t get overwhelmed by building the business case. It’s important to think of it as a tool, which ensures you have executed a thorough thought process so that any effort you and your organization will spend will get results.

Why Building the business case matters:

  • Aligns stakeholders
  • Clarifies the “why?”
  • Promises ROI
  • Helps you decide if it’s something worth pursuing

Enterprise-wide business pitch 

Define who needs the help

It’s likely your sponsor or stakeholder is a C-Level executive, but they still are representatives of products of the business (see image below).


The most important question decision-makers ask (and want the answer to) is, “what are the specific outcomes you can get with this?” For example, you can grab the interest of the COO’s if you can inform them that the customer retention rate dipped 10% over the last year. If you want your CPO to raise their hand, show them how employee satisfaction rates and attrition rates are declining in HR, and how it’s affecting every facet of the business. The main goal: identify a problem, and be the voice of the functions that are having the problem.

Align Executive Goals & Strategy

The first thing to acknowledge: it only matters what the other person hears and how well it aligns to their goals.

So, find out. What are the goals? Is it to save money? More time for innovation? Increase customers? What are the core business levers you are trying to address? You want your stakeholders to shake their head, agreeing, “yes, that’s what I need.”

Winning the Business Case

1. Succinctly define the business problem(s) being addressed.

Be specific. If it’s something you can calculate, calculate it! Check out the ServiceNow ROI calculators for assistance. If it’s not something you can easily estimate percentages of savings, etc., what is something that can be gained? Perhaps it’s the productivity of your HR generalist, who, with ServiceNow, spend less time on transactional, repetitive tasks and more time training to enable the business more.

Connect with people who own those functions, including their voices. And never pick more than 5 (preferably 3) business problems.

2. Define the Vision.

Everyone wants to be inspired; they want passion. We all, admittedly or not, buy into a little confidence. Defining a vision will enable this.

So what can you do by leveraging ServiceNow? It doesn’t have to be perfect, or a utopian business trope. It can just be a set of modest improvement built upon what you defined in step number one.

Hint from our CEO: Make sure it’s a graphic.

3. Promise a small pilot to begin with (or one project).

We recommend three months. In three months, show a quick win – and always make sure it’s something you can realistically achieve.

By showing you are willing to start, prove as you go, manage expectations, and show results with some licensing, you will get that 6 months to focus on a bigger project.

4. Do your homework

So how do you get to this point, anyhow? You need to collect the data and do your homework.

Go out and interview people (but not so many that you get carried away). Find out their pain points. Validate with the leader of that team, getting an implicit, if not explicit, buy-in, who will be an advocate for you as you build your business case.

Our one consultant request? Make sure to analyze your time commitment internally, as your organization will need to be involved in your ServiceNow journey, too! 

5. Build the business case (ROI)

Define the problem and find out what is necessary to achieve your goals. If it’s hard to pinpoint a percentage point or a value on something, add an asterisk! Tell your stakeholders and executive team it’s based on your personal research.

Function-specific business pitch

In comparison to an enterprise business pitch, the people you are serving in a function-specific business pitch are less C-level. More so, they support function-specific leads, such as IT, Security, Customer Service, HR, and Business Apps (see image below).


As for building out the business case, you’ll build it as the same as the enterprise-wide business case, but include information about the specific application. We recommend checking out Forrester Consulting’s Total Economic Impact of ServiceNow’s function-specific reviews:

What are some things you should be careful of when you’re building the business case? 

  • Don’t over promise, it’s always better to over-deliver than not deliver at all.
  • Be “real” about the cost to support the solution.
  • Don’t assume what is good for one application will be good for another.
  • Be clear on the value.

Now, it’s your turn!

By now, you should feel equipped to create a jaw-dropping pitch deck for your organization to leverage ServiceNow. Whether it’s enterprise-wide or business specific, you have an understanding of digital transformation and ServiceNow’s role within it. And you can prove it’s fast becoming the enterprise service management tool of today.

So use this information, including case studies and strategies for proving ROI, to build your business case! To help you start, download this template, which includes the vision, roadmap to success, and ServiceNow ROI.

ServiceNow PitchDeck Download

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