Managing for value
When setting out on an implementation, your chances of realizing value will be much higher if you actively manage specific value outcomes. This section will provide an overview of value and its management in the context of a ServiceNow implementation so that you can clearly define the value expected in your own implementation.
What is value?
To achieve value, it is first necessary to understand what it is. Simply put, value is the benefit that your organization receives from some activity or investment. The value of a financial investment includes the price you receive when you sell it and the value of a piece of fine art includes the pleasure of owning and displaying it. Similarly, the value of ServiceNow includes all the benefits that result from its implementation. Value can be financial or non-financial, and it can accrue to yourself, your customers, or your shareholders. It is also sometimes referred to as the return on investment (ROI), benefits, or positive outcomes – in all cases, value is the desirable result of an investment of resources in the execution of some activity.
Why is managing ServiceNow’s value important?
This book is predicated on the assumption that the leaders who sponsor and commission implementation projects such as a ServiceNow deployment are doing it because they wish to reap measurable benefits from the outcomes of that implementation. While some small minority of projects may be commissioned for other reasons (that is, political maneuvering), it’s much more likely that someone is investing and hoping to see tangible benefits.
The value of ServiceNow must be clearly understood at the outset of a project to ensure it will be realized. If the planned benefits are not realized, then the implementation will have failed even if there is a go-live where cake is served (it is a tradition in the ServiceNow community that each major go-live is celebrated with a branded cake). While some would hope that simply introducing ServiceNow immediately provides you with a vast array of benefits, it is the careful and considered application of that tool to your company’s business processes that will help you achieve the objectives. Actively managing the value of your implementation will result in a higher ROI, which, depending on your role, will translate to a more satisfied boss, customer, or stakeholder group.
Who is responsible for value?
The leader commissioning and sponsoring the ServiceNow project will ultimately be responsible for the ROI – for this reason, the final responsibility lies with the project sponsor. However, in many cases, this responsibility is delegated to a project leader who will chair the steering committee and serve as the person charged with the success of the project.
This project leader may delegate the responsibility for daily management of project work and outcomes further to a project manager. However, at the end of the day, a team will be charged to deliver the project’s outcomes and the daily work of implementing ServiceNow will fall on their shoulders. What is essential, regardless of the number of levels in your project’s governance structure, is that clear and continuous communication around value occurs from those doing the work to those responsible for the outcomes. The facilitation of this communication is the responsibility of the project leadership team and the project leader.
Alongside the primary responsibility of the project leader, there is the opportunity for every member of the team to take ownership of their contribution to the project’s value. This ownership includes identifying value opportunities, documenting value statements, aligning the project execution with the desired outcomes, and drawing attention to any risks to value realization. In this sense, if you are reading this book, it is likely that you are responsible for value in your role in ServiceNow implementation and that by focusing on bringing success to your implementation rather than the often-stated goal of going live, you can make an outsized impact on the benefits that will be achieved.
How do we define value?
Defining value is difficult and many projects get launched and even completed without this essential step – however, if the value is not defined, there is little chance of it being realized. A useful practice for defining value is the creation of value statements that can precisely anchor the discussion of value:
- You should always describe the mechanism for value generation in your value statement so that it can be used to steer decision-making on your project.
- You should always define a value statement regarding some group or organization – even a brick of gold is only valuable if someone can make use of it and gold ore deep below ground is only potentially valuable.
- You should always strive to quantify value in a value statement, even if it’s a non-financial metric – otherwise, you may not be able to determine whether a particular element of value was realized. At the end of the day, if you can’t tell whether the value was achieved, then it probably wasn’t.
Here’s an example of a value statement - Automate widget request sourcing: The introduction of automation into the widget request process at the sourcing step reduces effort on the part of the widget manager by 15 minutes per request, with a cumulative annual savings of 460 hours, while reducing the time customers wait for their widgets by 1 day.
In almost all cases, value statements should be documented in a location that is accessible to your project teams, except for value statements relating to confidential activities such as unannounced organizational change or a material event such as an acquisition. By making the value statements available to your project team and referencing them throughout your project, you increase the probability of these benefits being realized. In projects being delivered by your own organization, your project charter or project business case may incorporate the value statements. In the case that a consulting or professional services organization is working on your implementation, the documentation on the project scope of the work can serve as a useful place to define these outcomes and to ensure alignment between all parties.
Types of value
While the value proposition of each project in each organization may be slightly different, years of implementing ServiceNow across diverse industries have shown that some common themes re-occur. Each of these provides a significant opportunity that should be explored in the context of your implementations, but it is most common for organizations to choose one or two as a primary focus of their projects. The four general themes are the following:
- Service quality
- Cost optimization
- Customer experience
- Innovation enablement
Each theme deserves independent treatment and the remainder of this chapter will be dedicated to describing these areas of value and the specific considerations that should be applied to the ones you target. In particular, we will review the important information needed to effectively drive value for each area to support you in determining which value opportunities you will target and what activities, features, or modules you will include in your scope to achieve those opportunities.