Many organizations have invested significantly in IT service management (ITSM) people, processes, and tools; some have invested and reinvested in a multitude of different vendor tools over the years.


Sometimes – OK, often – the tool is blamed for the failure to meet the organization’s aspirations for increased ITSM maturity and improved quality of IT service delivery and support. Sometimes the tool has capabilities beyond the maturity of the organization that are never used despite the organization having planned to do so at the time of purchase.


So do we really know whether, and how, organizations are getting the most out of their ITSM investments?


How do organizations really – and I stress “really” – leverage their ITSM tools?


We all see the infrequent ITSM survey results that show how mature, or immature, the average organization is at each of the main ITIL*-espoused ITSM processes – but who works in an average organization? And how good, or honest, are we at gauging the level of our ITSM maturity?


We also see survey results that show which ITSM processes organizations have adopted – but again is this really the truth? I think we all know that far fewer people actually “do” problem management than the 60-70% of organizations these surveys usually report.


IMO there has to be a better way to gauge who is doing what in ITSM – for instance we could look at which tool process-enabling capabilities are used the most. Notwithstanding the fact that organizations might:


  • Might have multiple tools to support different processes; or
  • Operate processes without tool-enablement; or
  • Use the tool’s capability sub-optimally

It has to be a better indication of process adoption than the perceived reality.


Using the ServiceNow IT Service Automation Suite as an ITSM tool petri dish
To take that different view, I took a quick look at ServiceNow application usage statistics of customers whose production instances have been live for > 6 months or have been a customer for > 10 months as of June 2013. This is what I found:


ServiceNow ApplicationPercentage Use
Incident management92%
Problem management40%
Change management68%
Service catalog64%
Knowledge management55%


What stands out?


Incident and change management are probably where you would expect them to be but look at problem management at 40% – I feel this is probably a truer reflection of where process adoption really is based on my enterprise conversations over the last five years or so.


Nearly two-thirds of ServiceNow customers are using the Service Catalog application – proof that service catalog has and continues to be a hot topic. But the real ITSM standout is the 82% CMDB usage. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that four out of every five ServiceNow customers are “doing” configuration management – what it does mean is that they are leveraging the CMDB and the information it holds to support other ITSM processes such as incident, change, asset, and capacity management. Make a CMDB easy to use and people will use it.


Another impressive statistic was 76% of the surveyed customers have built at least 1 custom application on the platform (defined as an application making use of at least one custom table not extended from an ITIL module). When I blogged in July that a KPMG survey had found that 87% of ServiceNow customers leverage the ServiceNow platform for non-ITSM applications it was unclear as to whether this was by using the existing ServiceNow apps or custom apps that may have included extensions of out-of-the box tables. Nonetheless the 76% speaks volumes of the extensibility of the ServiceNow Service Automation Platform.


Want to find out more about how to do more with your ITSM tool?


… Then come to speak with your peers at the ServiceNow European Forums. Based in-part on content from the ServiceNow Knowledge 13 user conference last May, NowForum adds a local twist with regional customer and partner best practice presentations. In the UK, IT executives from large enterprises like Standard Life, Gatwick Airport, BSkyB, and Home Retail are on the event’s speaker list. In France: Saint Gobain, Natixis, and Europcar. In Germany: DHL, CERN, and Zeiss.


NowForum is taking place on October 8, 9, and 10 in Paris, Frankfurt, and London. All events are delivered in local languages, except for the ServiceNow keynotes by ServiceNow CEO Frank Slootman, Founder and Chief Product Officer Fred Luddy, and CTO Arne Josefsberg. Oh, and the events are FREE to attend. To reserve your place, please sign up here.


If you want to personally demonstrate the power of the platform (and that you have “the skills to pay the bills”) then you can also sign up for the CreateNow Custom Application Hackathon – where in just over 5 hours we challenge you and a team to build a bespoke business app on ServiceNow. Not only can you win glory, you can also win prizes.


We look forward to seeing you.


* ITIL is a framework of ITSM best practices, formally known as the IT Infrastructure Library.