Event Recording

Addressing the challenges of the pandemic with ServiceNow platform capabilities


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The last 14 month with the pandemic have been extremely challenging for all kind of organisations, but especially for the IT departments. They had and will continue to make the impossible possible, enabling a remote workforce without any significant interruption and often with a reduced manpower. This talk will focus on how this was made possible with ServiceNow and how organisations can prepare and embrace the new normal with standard features of the ServiceNow platform.

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As you mentioned without a doubt, the past 14 months have been a real challenge for any business. Regardless the industry, regardless, the type of customers they're dealing with being in business to business or business to consumer COVID 19 and its pandemic course resulted in a complete change of the way business was conducted. And everybody had to accommodate to these new realities, working from home reduced onsite staff, limited opening hours, limitations and infrastructure processes and technologies were impacting heavily and are still impacting today. On the other hand, the speed in which the previously impossible situations became the new normal was also unprecedented, both from a technology point of view, but also process wise and work organization wise, things that were previously unheard of are now commodity and normal, especially surprising in a rather traditional work culture like Germany, where home office work was frowned upon working from home is now widely accepted and most surprising to a lot of managers work still got done and operations did not come to complete hold.
The recent studies do not yet show a conclusive picture. If the impact on things like productivity is now positive or, or negative, and clearly a hundred percent work from home is not for everybody, but now having the choice to decide how, and from where an employee can conduct their work, will my eyes be a real game changer for any organization? One thing is clearly regardless of what the future work models will be. The effects on the way of working that were produced by the pandemic will certainly stay on and would not have been possible in such a short timeframe without the severity of the pandemic as dramatic and drastic as it, as it was. So let's have a closer look at what these changes meant for the it departments and what they were facing at the start of the pandemic and will continue to see as many companies will truly continue working in a more decentralized fashion.
Well, first of all, there was a lot of uncertainty within all organizations, how operations can be sustained given that staff had to be sent to work from home as much as possible. This resulted into a real life stress test of the technology and infrastructure with different degrees of impact, depending on the setup of the organization. If, for example, cloud-based systems were used, that would scale with demand, or if on-premise infrastructure was used that suddenly needed to accommodate a large amount of traffic from VPN or remote users, processes like hardware or software orders that were previously executed once a month were now real life tested by a high number of users. And more generally people needed to work remotely from their couches or dining tables, often supporting their children with their homeschooling and parallel all in all, almost every aspect of work was affected.
So let's step little deeper on the impacts on the technology side. This meant, for example, in some companies where there was traditionally little remote work, suddenly there were mass rollouts of new mobile workplaces home office equipment to enable mobile workforce. Even if this only meant to roll out extra keyboards or video cameras, it was still a challenge, both from a procurement, but also logistics point of view. In addition, high number of requests from end user community regarding hardware and software needed to be fulfilled as the existing software might not be fit for purpose. As mentioned earlier, depending on the service model of the company, internet, bandwidth, and compute power needed to be expanded to cater for the growing demands from the remote workforce often going in line with enabling mass VPN capabilities where suddenly the complete user behavior changed from turning the exception to the norm. And finally this new remote working demanded for more robust tools and technologies to facilitate a better communication and collaboration between employees. So new collaboration tools need to be established or existing tools extended
From a process perspective, a number of challenges had to be addressed for one, the support of the complete infrastructure needed to be conducted from remote workplaces, with all the challenges that this brings. As we heard earlier, secondly, with all the extra requests and activities going on this of course did not mean that there were more people involved or even available. So ultimately more work was done with less people. Of course not everything could be done from remote. So a limited onsite presence often needed to be organized and finally inefficient processes that were, that are already bad in an everyday situation needed to be compensated in now in a high pressure situation, which is not really helping either.
So what can we learn from these past month and above all? How can we do it better in the future? Not only during a pandemic like situation, but also in normal times to exceed our customs expectations and during increased custom satisfaction, as we've learned, one of the key challenges along the pure technical topics was the high amount of requests that needed to be handled. If this is paired with non-standardized fulfillment flows, this can become a serious issue. One very straightforward, but nevertheless, often neglected best practice to counter. This is to establish and maintain a comprehensive service catalog. Often this fails because there is little interest in it to create a large number of catalog items as this can become cumbersome in Ted's work, but in order to support a distributed workforce who potentially need to request everything from scratch, as they're working with new equipment, having a well structured service catalog can be a real game changer with a good service catalog and appropriate fulfillment floors underneath work can be routed to the correct team without involvement of any service desk or other routing function and can be executed in a structured and well documented fashion.
So in order to achieve this and take the owners away from the it department, the ServiceNow platform has released a new platform feature with their latest Quebec release the catalog builder with this new UI driven application, the creation of catalog items can be delegated to business users or other functions that's helping to scale and expand catalog significantly by using templates. More of the same catalog items can be created with ease and to show you how easy that really is. I'd quickly like to move over to like live demo, to show you how this is actually working and just to pick up also on, on points. Paul made earlier on the identity management part, requesting identity access for applications is, is really critical and can be very easily accommodated within service now. And the server is now catalog functionality, but creating different items would be for example, one of the use cases that we can clearly see here by creating or using the catalog builder in ServiceNow to create those catalog items with ease from, from, without any code or well actually with no code at all from a business user that could be then creating the catalog for his application portfolio, for example.
So what needs to be done is basically to create a catalog item template. And in this catalog item template, I've prepared one here for hardware ordering with an approval in here. It basically outlines a couple of standards that that can be used or should be used in, in the catalog items that are, are using this template. And I'll just quickly go in here and show the, the key areas. It's very simple and can be done as set without any programming or developer background. It's laying out some basic info for, for example, with the, the details of the catalog item, with a description with a, with a potentially an image that can be attached where this can be found in the catalog item and the service catalog with the different categories underneath what questions should be asked to to the employee when this catalog item is then requested some other settings around service.
Now that can also be adjusted how the flow will be looking like at the end. So this is all based on the standard flow in this case, the service catalog item request flow so that nothing needs to be programmed here and last but not least what can be edited by the one who is creating the catalog item now from this template, as you can see, he can edit a few things in here to make it specific for his, for his own catalog item. So this is basically what an administrator or a more advanced person can do with more privileges to create the template. And then once the, a user wants to create a new catalog item, he, he just enters in here create a new catalog item and he's guided through this whole process within the UI. So he's now selecting the template that he wants to use and then can can from there create the tech, the, the catalog item by changing the fields that he's allowed for. So now he wants to create a new MacBook pro 14 inch instead of 13 inch. You can change a few things here, edit file, and at a motor, a better description he can add to under which location this should be placed in terms of the service catalog.
He can edit the category here and go through all the settings and so on and then review it and then finally submit it. And with, with no extra effort, this new catalog item is then submitted into the catalog and can be ordered with the, within the catalog with no extra effort from, from any developer or administrator. So with this very simple example, you can see, you can create your own service catalog with no problems at all, create as many catalog items as you need. You can be very specific with the, with the, with the items that you created and everything is, is working from beautifully. So this is one area that is of course, worth looking at another critical area. Originating from the pandemic era is around supporting onsite requirements with a potentially reduced workforce, despite all the advancement in cloud technology and software as a service, they will always be the requirement to have an onsite personnel available, to fix a hardware or software problem to hand out hardware or any other issue that can't be solved remotely in order to avoid long queues or large crowds in front of the doors of the it department.
You can use a fantastic application on the service now platform, which is hardly known, I guess, but yet, yet very powerful. And it's called the walkup experience. The walkup experience, you can provide a user friendly contact channel for end users to either do an online check in or an onsite check in to an onsite service center or tech lounge. So what's the use case here? Well, first of all, as part of the setup of the walkup experience, you are defining a pool of resources and associate time slots that an end user can book with this. You can ensure that there will always be enough resources to support the end user requests. And especially under pandemic conditions, you can ensure that there will be no large crowds requesting support as there will only show up if, and when they have an appointment, but that's not all by using the service now, mobile app or an onsite terminal, an end user can do a talk visits as well to the service center and would see directly his queue position and estimated wait time so that he can plan his visit accordingly.
So this is of course an it example, but could be also ex extended into other service departments like HR facility management, or any other well end user facing entities to make sure that there's only people available that that can serve the, the request of the user, if there's really like CAPA capacity available. So again, let's have a look how this looks in, in real life quickly switching over again. So as you can see, this is the end user Porwal within service now can be customized as well, but next to request catalog or the incident part, there is this, this item, which is called walkup check-in the system is trying to figure out for which location is the closest to your current, your own location. In this case, the Frankfort tech lounge would be appropriate and you can see right away there is now the, the join, the queue item here where I can join an onsite queue right away.
I can see already who's, who's currently being served. How much wait time there is until I can, I can sort of check in and I can also specify what I, what I'm looking for or what my, what my reason is for why I'm visiting. So for example, something is not working. What I want to refresh my laptop. I can then just simply check in and join the queue. I'll be notified that position is number four. And my estimated wait, time is now three minutes from now. So I, if I can see that this is taking a bit longer, I might be planning my, my visit accordingly. If I have, if I'm working from home and I want to create an appointment for maybe the next time I'm in the office, I can do that as well in here I can create, I can also select the reason why I'm I'm visiting, and then I can, I'm presented with the available time slots on for, for visits.
So in this case, I can't join. I can't pick a meeting today, cause the queues already closed for today, but there's time slots available in the coming days. And I can own then select one that fits my needs best. And I'm next time in the office. I select this meeting this point in here and schedule it. And with that, I I'm booked into the appointment. I can edit to my calendar and now the, the service desk agent or the agent in the, in the office will know that I'll be coming. And I have a, I have a, my reason specified what, what I want, and this can be also expended for, for many other use case, as you, as you can imagine by simply adding different reasons for, for the appointment.
So to summarize the pandemic has been both a challenge, but also an opportunity for business. And especially it departments, it put the it infrastructure, the processes and the people under real life, stress test, unfolding, weaknesses and areas to improve. Although the pandemic seems to slow down in large parts of the world, some of the positive, new ways of working will most likely stay in places and place and help organizations to improve their it service delivery. And there ABAG German football player and manager one set after the game is before the game. So why not prepare and embrace the new possibilities that intelligent platforms like ServiceNow in combination with the new ways of working can bring to your organization with that I'd like to close for now. Thank you very much for your interest and participation and leaving it open for any last questions.

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