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Tale Of 2 ServiceNow Users: Problem Solvers

ServiceNow users share their experience with the SaaS offering. One uses IT service management for compliance and IT automation; the other has moved beyond IT into business services.

A more typical ServiceNow customer is Carolyn Hollingsworth, senior manager of IT service delivery, and her team at Lennox, a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning company based in Richardson, Texas.

Lennox was a user of on-premises BMC Remedy for IT service management, but it needed to customize Remedy to suit its organization. Each successive Remedy upgrade became more painful for Lennox, as the customizations had to be incorporated into the newest BMC version.

J.D. Tucker, former Remedy administrator at Lennox, now a ServiceNow manager, said IT staffers could tell Remedy support was coming out of India, with the help-desk technician proceeding through a basic script. Frequently, they wished to advise the help desk tech to start on line 19 of the script, for example. In addition, seeking technical support on their customizations during upgrades frequently lead to a scolding that they had done the customization in the first place, said Tucker.

The prospect of another upgrade prompted Lennox to look at ServiceNow, which it adopted in 2009. ServiceNow IT automation processes are controlled by a change management database and meet ITIL v3 standards, another important consideration at Lennox, which wished to become ITIL-compliant.

It implemented ServiceNow's Incident service, which captures the details of a user interaction and issues a trouble ticket to a group of problem solvers rather than an individual technician. The incident is either resolved or escalated into the Problem Management service, where it is identified and researched as a repeated, ongoing problem that must be resolved on a more fundamental basis.

Lennox implemented the Change Management service as well, which captures all system configurations and establishes an approval process before system configurations can be changed. If a patch results in a system outage, Change Management can roll back the change to a version of the system that works.

Tucker said ServiceNow doesn't allow modifications of its core application, but customers may write JavaScript additions to work with the services. SaaS is based on annual subscription fees, and Tucker estimated that Lennox IT service management costs have declined by two-thirds with the changeover. Some of that savings, of course, stems from preventing problems due to customizations that wouldn't be compatible with future ServiceNow upgrades. "When we have a problem with ServiceNow, we talk to someone high up in the engineering chain," not a distant, middle-of-the-night support person, he said. "If we have to, we can go all the way up to the guy who developed the code."

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