• Luke Sorensen

Conquering your ServiceNow Data - KPI Composer

So by now you've learnt how to improve efficiency with Agent Workspace, establish a stable ServiceNow Platform with the Automated Test Framework and have people actively using the Platform thanks to Guided Tours.

Congratulations, you now have operational data

Standard ServiceNow reports get you started...

The standard ServiceNow Reports and dashboards are definitely a great start, but they are limited. They can only report on the data for the current point in time. Some examples include:

  • Total number of incidents open grouped by priority

  • Which teams or individuals are currently working on incidents

I like to think of them this way. Suppose your child / pet (or even a friend) is covered in mud, to find out how they got muddy you need more detail. You're left with 2 options:

  • Explore further: Find evidence of mud

  • Ask questions: But be prepared for justification - "It's not my fault it rained!"

Translating back to business, both approaches can be expensive (time and resources) and potentially inaccurate (context, justification, available data). At best you have spent time to draw a reasonable conclusion, and at worst, you're number crunching in Excel, topped off by weekly meetings to discuss the results (I've been there).

Getting more from your data with Performance Analytics

To get the most out of the ServiceNow Platform you need to get the most out of your data. This is where Performance Analytics (PA) comes in - it takes snapshots (usually daily) of your data so you can unlock the value of your data with trending, forecasting, interactive filtering and dare I say insight (buzzword alert).

We will explore PA further in part 2, but for now here's a quick rundown.

Interactive dashboards straight out of the box

The PA dashboards allow you to present the information you need in one place across multiple tabs. ServiceNow have invested a lot into PA content packs to provide industry standard reporting right off the bat. In this example, for Incident Management you not only have trending data but the context of incidents across their lifecycle - New, Open & Resolved.

Drill down with the Analytics Hub

The Analytics Hub is your drill-down view, in this case there is a wealth of data supporting the number of open incidents. Getting here was easy - one click on the top left report in the example dashboard above.

This is where the real power (buzzword alert) of PA lies. Some of the best features include:

  • Comparing data to other time periods

  • Adding comments for context (goodbye the "ask questions" approach)

  • Automatic trending of data with snapshots (goodbye "number crunching")

  • Forecasting of data based on previous information

  • Setting of thresholds and the ability to track data against KPIs

Getting started - planning with the KPI Composer

The KPI Composer is a really easy and non-technical way to plan out your reporting needs in line with business strategy. To visually represent goals and associated measurements without spending lots of development effort building the reports.

Using the KPI Composer is a simple four step process.

Step One: Define your business goals

Having focused reports measuring success will be more valuable than infinite volumes of data. Outside of the pre-canned reports ServiceNow provide with PA content packs, the Balanced Scorecard is a good blueprint to inspire ways to link strategy to performance. Understanding your business goals is vital to the planning process.

Linking strategy to performance - less is more

To plan for part 2 of this blog series we can work with an example - integrating PA to LinkedIn.

In the KPI Composer I have represented this visually with:

  • One business goal to raise awareness of PA

  • Two critical success factors to increase traffic and engagement

  • Four measurements (KPIs) to quantify success to real data (metrics)

  • Three C-Level personas to tie outcomes to stakeholders (owners)

  • Two group by options to allow filtering of objectives into content and social

Step Two: Design your dashboards

With the KPI Tree in place the next step is to design what you would like to see on your PA dashboards. In less than 10 minutes I was able to design:

  • Two dashboard mockups (Website Performance pictured below)

  • One tab for each dashboard

  • Two reports for each tab and the associated metrics and visualisation type

Important: The design is simply a mockup - they are not PA dashboards themselves. The graphs are not representative of real data - they visually represent the expected look and feel.

Step Three: Design your indicators (measurements)

To tie the goals to performance you need to measure data. To keep the example simple, the screenshot below shows that an indicator needs to be developed to track website visits and trend monthly.

What's important to recognise here is this is a description of what needs to be built. If a PA indicator already exists you can also simply select it and tie it a measure - indicators are reusable.

Step Four: Review (and implement)

The final stage is to review your plan. On the review tab there are four key components:

  • A summary of the goals, success factors, measurements and personas

  • A breakdown of the PA elements required to achieve the plan

  • A validation check to identify any issues with the plan

  • An automatically generated set of tasks to track the implementation of the plan

Note: This screenshot shows validation errors as the example only has one indicator defined.

Part 2: Coming Soon

In part 2 of this "Conquering your data" series we will take the plan from above and dive into the results with Performance Analytics. Just like on the Deadliest Catch, we just need to give the data (crab pots) some time to soak...

We're here to help

Getting the most out of the IT workflow, data and the ServiceNow Platform is in our DNA. There is a lot of thought behind why the word value exists in the ValueFlow name. We deliver value daily through our ServiceNow projects and Managed Platform Service. We pride ourselves in the success of outcomes - having the right metrics and reporting is critical to measuring success.

Please reach out to us if you would like a deeper dive into how the KPI Composer and Performance Analytics can get the most out of your organisation's data.

Try it for yourself

As always, you can find more information on NowLearning, the KPI Composer Overview is well worth the 30 minutes.