ServiceNow a popular tool among departments, making self-service easy

Information Technology Services is helping lead the way as service “portals” managed through the ServiceNow platform are growing in popularity across campus, allowing users to more confidently locate helpful information for self-service and submit service requests. 

In May 2019, the ServiceNow software began as a back-end tool providing IT and service professionals with the means to resolve technical issues, but the software’s public-facing “portal” feature has become invaluable for sharing knowledge, including how-to technology articles and information contained within Workday job aids.

The first public-facing ServiceNow portal – the IT Portal – was launched in spring 2020 as students and employees transitioned to learning and working remotely amid the global COVID-19 health crisis. The IT Portal served as the single location campus users could find instructions for using remote work and learning technology like Zoom and Webex. To help faculty and staff become acquainted with the portal and how it worked, ITS team members conducted several “Welcome to the IT Portal” webinars in May after the launch. 

Since then, the IT Portal has proved to be a successful resource for sharing information, and other campus units considered adopting ServiceNow as well, with particular interest in the knowledge management component.

The knowledge management component of ServiceNow provides extensive benefits such as an automated workflow that separates the “submission” step from the “publishing” step for more accurate review. The automated workflow also helps identify experts who are responsible for ensuring the article information is up-to-date. Additionally, all articles have a “retire by” date as a way to perform accuracy checks on knowledge that is viewed less regularly.

In August, the HR Portal went live, though ServiceNow was previously used by HR Delivery (also called Improved Service Delivery or ISD) teams for behind-the-scenes incident support.

“With the implementation of Improved Service Delivery (ISD), the use of ServiceNow for incident tracking has been a great tool for managers and employees to request their HR Delivery team’s support,” said Kristi Darr, vice president of University Human Resources.

Ultimately, the launch of the HR Portal presented campus customers – not just Delivery teams – with a platform for self-service and made available a range of how-to articles (formerly job aids) for human capital management actions in Workday. In the portal, the articles are searchable and account for digital accessibility more thoroughly than their CyBox counterparts, thanks to the additions of alternative text on images, assigned text styles for enhanced screen-reader compatibility and anchor links to jump directly to pertinent sections of articles.

“This past summer, the many job aids previously found on the WorkCyte website were converted to ServiceNow knowledge base articles,” Darr said. “Moving the job aids to their new location in the HR Portal allows our customers to search by keywords or navigate through the category menu. When answering customer questions, HR service delivery and UHR employees can reference articles to provide additional resources to the customer.”

Shortly after the HR Portal’s launch, an initiative kicked-off to create a Finance & Planning Portal to relocate Workday Finance and Workday Adaptive Planning knowledge. The Finance & Planning Portal went live in October, and now with all job aids reformatted as knowledge articles in ServiceNow, users are encouraged to visit the relevant portals – not necessarily the WorkCyte website – for all Workday-related instructional information. 

“The implementation of the Finance & Planning Portal greatly improves Finance operations by providing an organized and structured home for job aids and training resources,” said Heather Paris, associate vice president of Finance Support Services. “Materials are thoroughly reviewed and updated by content experts. The portal transforms our ability to provide these important educational materials and to continuously develop, review and update content to meet the needs of campus.”

The Finance & Planning Portal team also plans to add functionality for “service requests” in the portal, by which customers can quickly and easily fill out a form to request a service, like the anticipated Travel Reimbursement request. The automated process in ServiceNow adds reliability and accountability to the workflow so requests maintain their urgency and timeliness.

Departments with HCM and Finance job aids linked on their websites are encouraged to relink to articles available on the HR and Finance & Planning Portals using the "Permalink" available within the article.

With a total of three public-facing service portals, IT, HR and Finance teams can also better serve customers, accessing and sharing helpful knowledge directly within the system from which they are receiving service requests and incident reports. This feature saves time and effort for all involved and for ITS specifically, assists the department in “enhancing the customer and employee experience,” an objective outlined in the 2021-2025 departmental strategic plan.

“ITS has been helpful in setting up the HR Portal and giving us tips on how best to leverage ServiceNow. We continue to work together on the best ways to leverage the tools in ServiceNow to better support ISU employees and managers across campus.” said Mindi Balmer, associate director of University Human Resources.

As the usefulness of ServiceNow portals continues to expand on campus, users can be confident that the knowledge and support they need is right at their fingertips, one simple search away in ServiceNow.