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What comes to mind when you hear the title "ServiceNow Champion"?

 

Who/what is a champion?  Can you measure it?

A power user with lots of points on the community

Anyone who likes the platform... or is it more then that?

I didn’t realize that our customers had this title on staff…

Is there a Wheaties box involved?

 

These are a few questions that I get asked when discussing Champion Enablement – well not the Wheaties box reference - but rather what does “champion” mean and what role(s) do they have?  Over the past couple months I have reviewed with customers, partners and ServiceNow employees… each time giving and getting further insight into what it actually means.

 

I have come to the realization that championship is about shared vision, teamwork, and the ability to execute to bring transformation and value to an enterprise.

 

But not all championship is created equal.  In my communications I have used the following language to highlight who key champions are:

 

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A champion is a decision maker or influencer with authority & credibility within the account who evangelizes and supports the expansion of the platform and promotes value across the enterprise.

 

To have effective championship the three roles below are critical to cultivate:

  • Executive sponsor
    • Usually Director level or CIO -1
  • Platform owner
    • Service Owner for ServiceNow
  • Service owner (s) (IT or Business)
    • Someone whose process was successfully implemented on the platform and has had measurable success.  They become the internal reference.

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These three roles comprise the three-legged stool of championship.  If you don’t have adequate representation for each role then it can be very difficult to truly champion the ServiceNow platform. Let me explain.  There are interconnections and dependencies between the three.  Executive sponsor sets the strategic vision, the platform owner is responsible for execution of that vision, and the happy service owners on the platform are now the internal success story.

  • Without adequate strategic vision the platform’s value isn’t elevated to align with solving critical business issues.
  • Without execution on the strategic vision the platform can lay dormant and become irrelevant.
  • Without success stories it’s difficult to communicate the value the platform could bring to other parts of the enterprise.

Therefore, although a champion could have a different role, it is imperative to have champions cultivated within these roles to have championship that results in transformation.

 

Executive Sponsor: The executive sponsor for ServiceNow is key when it comes to establishing the relevance of the platform to the rest of the enterprise.  Through this champion the strategic vision and direction is set.  To be an effective “executive sponsor champion” the following is recommended:

  • Effectively communicates alignment of the business issues and the solution ServiceNow brings to help solve those issues to their peers
    • Accelerate the adoption of the platform to other parts of the enterprise where ServiceNow can solve issues.
    • This includes communication of value already realized
  • Strong partnership and empowers the platform owner & supporting team to execute
  • Understand the capabilities of the platform & the platform team
    • And, in partnership with the platform owner, support changes/additions to that team to improve the ability to execute the vision
  • Leadership role in governance meetings to communicate the executive vision, alignment with the enterprise, and assurance of execution to that vision.

 

The Platform Owner:The platform owner is the day-to-day manager of the ServiceNow platform and the teams that support. It is their responsibility to execute the strategy that is set by the executive sponsor and accurately understand and execute the needs of the service owners utilizing the platform to deliver services.  The platform owner is the glue that bridges the strategic vision and the day-to-day needs of maintaining and improving current capabilities.  To be an effective “platform owner champion” the following is recommended:

  • Execute the strategic vision created with the executive sponsor
    • If the platform owner is not willing or unable then strategic vision can fall flat by delays and inconsistency of execution.
  • Own and manage the roadmap and setting appropriate expectations
  • Consistent communication with current service owners utilizing the platform to provide continuous improvement opportunities
    • If a service owner doesn’t feel that their needs are understood and prioritized appropriately they will be an unhappy customer and could look elsewhere – communication is key
  • Passion to communicate with other areas of the enterprise about the value achieved for current processes on ServiceNow and how ServiceNow can help solve their issues as well
  • Deep understanding of ServiceNow’s capabilities
  • Deep understanding of the teams capabilities
    • And initiate changes/additions to the team to improve the overall ability to execute the vision
  • Establish and maintain governance meetings that include all key stakeholders
    • Key stakeholders include at a minimum: executive sponsor, key platform team members, and service owners providing services on the platform

 

The Service Owner(s):Sure it’s great to hear from the ServiceNow team that they’ve done great things – it’s even better to prove it. The service owner(s) who has successfully implemented their process on the ServiceNow platform plays a key role in championship across the enterprise.  They are the proof that the ServiceNow platform and the team supporting can deliver value.  They are the “gold star” internal reference. Through communicating their success it will open doors to other parts of the enterprise.  To be an effective "service owner champion" the following is recommended:

  • Desire to partner with the ServiceNow platform team to communicate the success of their processes to others in the enterprise
  • Want to be part of the solution
    • Assist with adoption campaigns
    • Continual improvement activities
  • An active participant in governance meetings

 

Other roles can also become champions:With the three roles above actively engaged and supporting the promotion of the ServiceNow platform it creates an environment where other roles can also become champions.  This is when a culture of championship takes flight:

  • Executive leaders with services operating successfully on the platform will be more encouraged to partner with the executive sponsor for ServiceNow and speak with others
  • The ServiceNow platform team:  With program success comes opportunity.  Being in an environment that recognizes their contributions and value will energize their efforts.
  • Management and team leads within services provided on the platform will advocate adoption by their staff knowing that the ServiceNow team appropriately supports them and their needs
  • Business relationship managers will catch wind of the successes and discuss with the departments they support to see if ServiceNow could be a fit for solving their issues
  • End Users will respond to surveys and talk about the great services they are receiving – and others will listen

 

What are your thoughts?

Are there other key roles, responsibilities and activities that you have implemented to cultivate championship in your organization?  Do the descriptions above fall true or have you had a different experience?