Organizations that go all-in on ServiceNow, such as the success journey outlined below, have an overarching business goal to transform their internal services into flexible, automated, and maintainable digital solutions. Those solutions can only be put in place with careful thought and guidance from a wide cast of individuals contributing to the success of the platform, which will often include a strategic implementation partner, like Pathways Consulting Group.
A major global banking and finance firm has leveraged the ServiceNow platform for 11 years to help manage many critical business functions across 26 NOW applications. Early on in their ServiceNow journey, when the platform and resource pool was still in its infancy, there were design and implementation choices that caused workflow gaps, inconsistent data and unoptimized business outcomes. The firm was engaged with a ServiceNow partner who was undertrained and unable to deliver positive business outcomes, which led to the firm’s platform piling up with technical debt.
Click on the years below for a timeline of the project.
After the firm had owned the platform for two years, Pathways Support Services came to the rescue in 2013 and immediately completed a series of technical debt analysis and ServiceNow best practice code remediations on the firm’s platform. Applying Pathways’ core principles of being collaborative and being exceptional, our team began helping improve the outcomes of the firm’s business users. Beyond simply diving in and beginning to fix ServiceNow code, a significant portion of Pathways time was spent learning the client’s business and their people.
We began to remediate the environment and achieve tangible results for the firm. Our team engaged heavily in road mapping and platform assessment planning to course correct and establish targeted efforts for the firm to undergo to continue to develop on the platform.
As the next few years elapsed Pathways helped the firm to build a repeatable and measurable production support delivery process to continuously improve the workflows and processes for their end users. Through Pathways’ Support Services offering, we established testing, administration and upgrade best practices and incorporated strategic roles, such as Platform Architects and Business Analysts. Essentially, we helped install proper checks and balances at the enterprise level for a firm that was implementing new application suites, with our project team help and expanding platform capabilities and total ServiceNow usage.
We strongly feel a hybrid approach to platform ownership works best for ServiceNow customers. By this we mean that our clients own some roles such as Platform owner, and Lead Application/Product owner. We also encourage our clients to hire some operational and administrative staff.
In 2016, the firm’s team had grown, and some key people moved on to different roles within the organization. Pathways was there every step of the way as strategic partners, including assisting with guidance and training for each new client team member. This included pertinent information on all the firm’s historical processes and procedures, helping them quickly assume responsibility for their role.
In 2017, the firm was in the process of restructuring and combining business entities. The firm underwent a large-scale project to create a domain separated environment that allowed the prime entity to share and extend its business processes with the other entities. This project included resources from Pathways, the firm and ServiceNow. At this point, Pathways was already a longstanding partner of the firm, with more than 20 consultants having hands-on experience across their implemented business applications, fulfilling various architectural and development roles. With so much historical experience as well as so much in-house experience being a long-time focused ServiceNow partner, we were able to quickly help the customer re-establish new business processes and practices that could support all entities within the split domain. ServiceNow and the firm commented on how well the combined efforts went of the project and support teams of Pathways for a project of this size.
The firm and team Pathways spent the next year iterating and improving our mutual processes, even E-bonding our ServiceNow instances to quickly allow us to perform our SCRUM and AGILE development processes in support of continuous process improvement. We held strategic meetings every week to review resourcing, targeted deliverables, and plan upcoming activities such as project-go-live hand off to support and upgrades. By this time our upgrade process was repeatable and a simple formality due to all the hard work cleaning up technical debt and refining existing processes.
2019 was a big year for both the firm and Pathways. The firm continued to grow, and the strategic focus shifted to fully combining their instances into a Shared Services platform. Pathways provided strategic guidance and help to the firm every step of the way, helping to build out a plan to fully revisit and refine each business process into a shared process that all entities could use, while also keeping system functionality as close to baseline as possible.
As all this work towards a rebuilt shared platform transpired, there was a change of the leadership on the firm’s ServiceNow team. Pathways immediately engaged this new team and expanded our credibility among team members that had firm to the client from a competing financial organization. As long-time partners, Pathways seamlessly combined forces with the new members of the team and together we moved full steam towards the rebuild.
Due to the complexity and size of this effort, it was decided to bring in additional help from a secondary ServiceNow consulting firm. The firm assisted in pulling in more Business Process and management experts, and Pathways repurposed our long-time support team members to run architecture, development, testing, automation and UAT portions of the project.
As the three teams forces combined and were making great progress towards project milestones, COVID hit. With the changes and challenges of remote work and teleconferencing present, the team was able to lean on and leverage Pathways’ flexibility, ServiceNow expertise and long-time familiarity with the business to get into a steady state of performing and executing the rebuild. During the rebuild, our normal monthly support release cadence was paused. As we continued working, members of the firm’s team departed. Through our support agreement, we were able to bring in strategic resources to help plug any holes in the project team as they arose.
In mid-2022, the project went live – successfully, and on its originally planned end date. It was the firm’s only large-scale project affected by COVID that was on-time and on budget, by a wide margin. Once the go-live occurred, and the other consulting firm dropped off, Pathways went right back to work resuming our support process and providing post-go-live transition and data migration.
Presently, Pathways is still heavily engaged and supporting this firm. After go-live, there was reorganization in support of the company-wide Shared Services initiative and, because of the work we performed and the support we have been able to provide, the firm has gained more confidence in their ability to self-manage the platform. Pathways still assists with general administration, development, and architecture, as well as overall strategic platform guidance. The firm is happily supporting the other functions as we continue to grow the platform together. At this point, we’re not contracted with the firm to just do development work because they had a gap in their team. Instead, we’ve taught them to fish and are still engaged with the firm as a trusted strategic partner for the foreseeable future.
Throughout every step of the customer success journey, Pathways has been there for this firm as a confidant, ServiceNow expert, and voice of guidance. As every business change and challenge has presented itself through the almost-10-year journey, we have listened, modified, and applied our best approach to each situation. Never in this journey was the firm or Pathways perfect, but we always remained flexible, fair, and kept the big picture goals in front of us. The amount of team wins we have together is truly what makes this success journey special.