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Break Free of Siloed IT: Tool Integration and Automation Using ServiceNow

Reduce cost and drive efficiency by building a gateway to enterprise request management and automation 

Enterprises live and die by efficiency and automation. Digital tools, when used incorrectly, can hold enterprises back from the ability to scale and become efficient and effective organizations. To that end, if the tools within an organization don’t save you time and money, they become cumbersome and hard to manage. 

Too many enterprises still suffer from what I call the “swivel chair approach.” This occurs when tools are not connected and manual intervention is required for the tools to work together as one process. Essentially, users must hop back and forth from one tool to another to accomplish simple tasks and follow processes and policies. There’s no single integration point within their tool stack that connects information and automates processes. And this goes beyond just IT tools—it affects, to name a few, customer service, HR, marketing, and recruiting tools and technologies as well. 

But there is a solution that delivers a single pane of glass view into every digital tool set an enterprise uses—not only from an IT perspective but from a business perspective as well. By implementing an IT service management platform like ServiceNow, enterprises can achieve organization-wide cohesion, increase efficiency, reduce tool sprawl, and save money. 

The Recipe for a Single Integration Point 

ServiceNow’s ability to act as a platform really lends its hand to facilitating tool consolidation and becoming the gateway for an organization’s automation strategy. The Service Portal can serve as the main intake mechanism for all customer requests (infrastructure or end-user related) issues, and information. By utilizing the ServiceNow Integration Hub as the engine that runs automation, you can create an end-to-end process that encompasses work approvals, automation, and compliance governance considerations all in one platform. Using these two very important components along with the Request Fulfillment engine allows enterprises to remove the “swivel chair.” 

This value of the gateway concept is two-fold. It creates an end-to-end process for tasks and data to pass through on their way to their appropriate tools that run essential parts of our customer’s business. Additionally, it opens a path for business to grow by freeing up employee time and resources for more valuable tasks and strategic initiatives. 

The Gateway in Action 

Let’s start with the biggest use case we see out in the ecosystem for this concept: the IT call center or network operations center. Most call center tools are purpose-built and are not designed to address multiple types of problems during one call, let alone run automation at the click of a button. A very common example of this shortfall is when a customer calls in with both an IT problem and a billing problem. There’s often no integration between the application that manages IT issues and the application that manages billing issues in a financial tool. This type of use case is where we see our client suffer the most from the “swivel chair” approach. The representative must go back and forth between multiple tools that don’t talk to one another, taking up more of the caller’s time. By the time the call is over, there’s no traceability between the tools on the issue at hand and the time to resolve the issue has been extended unnecessarily due to the tools not communicating and working together as one. This can lead to a less rewarding customer experience, reduced employee efficiency, and an increased chance of data input mistakes. 

Now let’s look at a different scenario, the building of virtual infrastructure. Many enterprises suffer from elongated virtual infrastructure builds in the private or public cloud. Instead, imagine a scenario where an IT infrastructure engineer can submit a request with specifications mostly auto-populated based on corporate standards, and within 30 minutes, a virtual infrastructure asset can be provisioned and event monitoring set up, ready for IT to use. Utilizing the Service Portal and Integration Hub pieces detailed above, this is a very possible scenario by implementing what AHEAD calls the Automation Hub concept. This concept involves using normal Service Catalog requests and integration hub workflow activities to create a front end gateway. IT infrastructure team members can work in one tool and really become agile enough to use DevOps concepts to round out their IT efficiency and effectiveness objectives. This is the ultimate goal of the Gateway to the Enterprise concept and one of the main reasons why it is so important to eliminate the siloed IT issues that organizations can be plagued with. 

Benefits Breakdown 

Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness: When processes are automated, your workforce can put their time towards more meaningful tasks that deliver bigger results for the business. Creating a gateway that collects and automates information flow delivers greater business growth potential. 

Tool Consolidation:  I often see enterprises spend large sums of money on several different applications, hire admins to manage each tool, and assume the cost of maintenance throughout each tool’s lifespan—those costs add up fast. With a solution as powerful as ServiceNow, the total cost of ownership is often lower because it can perform the function of each of those separate tools in a contained, efficient, platform. 

Cost Savings: The two benefits above point directly to cost savings. Enterprises can save money by adopting technology that works for them by reducing the number of tools they need and performing efficiently. 

Enterprises that build efficiency into their technology create a platform for success. If you’d like to learn more about building a gateway to the enterprise, reach out to the AHEAD team here

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