• ValueFlow

ServiceNow Hackathon Success

By Dev Singh, Senior Tech Consultant

Recently Adam Seeber (ValueFlow COO) and I attended the first ServiceNow NSW Government Hackathon. The event sees ServiceNow partners team up with government departments and agencies. Together they explore innovative ways the Now platform can support the NSW Government’s digital transformation.

Adam Seeber and Dev Singh

ValueFlow teamed up with ‘Bang the Table’, a company specialising in creating digital platforms for public engagement. Our Hackathon challenge was to find innovative solutions to improve how the NSW Government gathers and actions community feedback utilising the Now platform.

As an advisory-led ServiceNow partner, with very capable assistance from Bang the Table, we created a proof of concept design which would allow the community to submit to the NSW Government their feedback and ideas, and then track any progress or actions. For the next 8 hours we worked together to identify how the ServiceNow Platform could, as ServiceNow say, ‘make work, work better for people’ in the public domain.

Firstly we explored the typical issues governments face in public engagements e.g. appropriate and effective ways to engage with different community segments, how to receive views on issues in a customer context, cost-effectiveness, accessibility and too much reliance on feedback forms, or worse, emails and with very little data sharing between different areas. As Bang the Table were already managing public engagement portals for various government departments, they had portals setup for the pubic to post their ideas/comments. Adam and I agreed we should take the benefit of their expertise.

We thought of using Bang the Table’s portal as the front end where the community can comment on any topic in the sphere of NSW Gov websites. Even off topic comments on specific areas of interest can be captured this way, without distracting from the open piece of engagement. This data would then be imported in real time into a ServiceNow instance in an organised format e.g. tables and comments for new ideas and the number of people supporting those ideas. We created a custom application and utilised OOB ServiceNow applications to manage this information.

We also integrated with Google’s Natural Language Programming for capturing the entities and sentiments from a comment or idea. This organises the data in different categories e.g. a negative or positive comment.

With the approach for the solution agreed upon, we identified and distributed tasks for each Hackathon team member. I thought I could use my skills and previous experience to create the integration between ServiceNow and Bang the Table portals for importing data, and then another integration with Google NLP, to capture the sentiments on the data. My past experience with recently released ServiceNow features really assisted me in this challenge, we used Flow Designer, Integration Hub, DataStream actions and Application Development Studio.

It was a great experience to work closely with Bang the Table and have the opportunity to fully explore how ServiceNow, which is often thought of as an ITSM tool, could be used in a public domain where communities and the Government can easily communicate.

As the clock count down, there was a real sense of achievement, we accomplished what we set out for in our solution and we presented our working solution to an impressed ServiceNow and NSW Government. I enjoyed the day and the opportunity to come up with solution on the fly, this was also a great opportunity to see what others were doing, and their approach toward finding solutions.