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Embracing Enterprise Service Management


This major metropolitan medical center is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. With over 500 beds, the hospital admits more than 20,000 patients and counts more than 80,000 visits to its emergency departments each year.

The Challenge

Providing effective and high quality IT service delivery for a medical center that supports thousands of caregivers, patients, and administrative staff is critical to ensuring operational efficiency and, more importantly, overall patient safety. To that end, the IT organization purchased the ServiceNow platform to create the foundation on which to build a subset of its core service operations processes, namely: Incident Management, Problem Management, and Request Fulfillment.

An implementation partner was subsequently engaged to help the IT organization deploy the new service delivery foundation within ServiceNow. The resulting environment enabled the consolidation of a few legacy applications, however; there was little to no improvement in service delivery, as the deployment methodology did not address process maturity or enable alignment to the medical center’s unique operational requirements.

Ultimately, the main objective of the investment in ServiceNow was not realized. To paraphrase one key stakeholder, the result was a solution that was little more than a “spreadsheet in the cloud”. The following key issues remained:

  • The Service Desk continued to manage a shared email box for user emails and was then manually entering them into ServiceNow to initiate service delivery.
  • The solution did not support service delivery process lifecycles and associated integration points which led to inconsistent operations and low-quality data from which to report.
  • IT resources were not uniformly documenting incidents and requests within ServiceNow.
  • The Request fulfillmentt process was not defined as the application was implemented by copying and renaming the incident table to “work orders”, rather than taking advantage of workflow capabilities and a forms-based Service Catalog.

The Solution

The medical center subsequently partnered with AHEAD to reestablish the service management foundation from a process perspective, redesign the underlying architecture within ServiceNow, and redeploy the technology in order to ultimately begin the journey to operational excellence.

The scope of the foundational “reboot” focused on the following key areas:

  • Creating a process and application to enable the Service Desk to automate email intake, assess user needs, and transfer them to the appropriate service management process for resolution
  • Redesigning, building, and integrating the Incident and Problem Management processes and underlying ServiceNow applications and reporting
  • Deprecating the legacy “work order” concept and replacing it with a workflow-driven Request Fulfillment process and supporting Service Catalog
  • Maturing the existing spreadsheet-supported Change Management process, building it in ServiceNow, and integrating it with the new Incident and Problem Management applications

AHEAD conducted a design workshop with key IT stakeholders to review the current state and build consensus on the design of the desired state by leveraging proprietary best practices along with expert-guided discovery to accelerate decision making. Following the workshop, the AHEAD engagement team created a comprehensive set of design deliverables that served as a process and architectural blueprint from which to govern the deployment of the new service management foundation within the medical center’s ServiceNow environment.

AHEAD also created detailed training materials and led a series of live training sessions to enable the successful adoption of the new processes and train the IT staff on the execution of those processes within the redesigned ServiceNow applications.

With the successful release of the foundational “reboot”, the medical center has realized the following measurable improvements:

  • Freed an estimated 69 Service Desk resource hours per month via the automation of 1371 average monthly inbound emails from IT customers
  • 18% increase in incident volume (from 4350 per month to 5132 per month)
  • 43% decrease in mean time to incident resolution (from seven days to four days)
  • 97% increase in request volume (from 1388 per month to 2735 per month)
  • 58% decrease in mean time to request fulfillment(from 19 days to eight days)

Incident and request volumes increased not because there are more break/fix events or customer service needs. Rather, everyone in the IT organization is now following the same, defined process for user interactions and the execution of service delivery. This results in a significant increase in the documentation of incidents and requests, which fosters more effective user communications and a higher level of IT accountability.

Additionally, the process maturity that was introduced has had a clear and overwhelmingly positive impact on overall customer experience. By eliminating the rote transcription of emails with automation, Service Desk agents are now able to spend more time on solving customer issues. The creation of organizationally aligned prioritization along with associated service level agreements is focusing IT resources on the incidents where they are needed most. The introduction of the workflow-driven Request fulfillment process is routing requests directly to the appropriate teams and providing them with the information that is required to fulfill the requests upon receipt.

Expanding Service Management Beyond IT

The success of the new IT service delivery capabilities that were established via AHEAD’s engagement with IT were highly visible throughout the organization and subsequently garnered interest from other areas within the medical center. As a result, the Human Resources and Supply Chain organizations partnered with AHEAD to help them establish and formalize service delivery within the ServiceNow environment.

[testimonials number =”1″ class=”busting-out” title=”In Their Own Words” include_ids=”14727″]

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