Thinking about resource management in ServiceNow

By - February 3, 2023

Resource management is a Journey

It is best to recognize early that resource management (RM) is not a destination. Just because you build it, does not mean they will come. In fact, RM is probably one of the most difficult disciplines to instill in an organization. Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, you can expect 3-6 months until the data in the system is directionally accurate and reliable. Plan for organizational change as part of the journey. Who are your resisters? How will you manage resistance?

Define the Process

This may seem an obvious point, but it is important to remember that RM is a tool and not a replacement for well-defined responsibilities and processes.

Some key questions that should be addressed as part of your RM journey:

  • Who will do resource request fulfillment? Some organizations have a centralized function to fulfill all requests for resources. While other organizations decentralize fulfillment to the functional managers who are responsible for managing the individuals being requested. Still, other organizations allow project managers to fulfill their own requests for resources. The ‘right’ approach depends on your organization’s size and culture.
  • What is the mechanism for resolving resourcing conflicts?  Few organizations have the luxury of redundant resources, a reality that is unlikely to change in today’s economic climate. The best practice is to allocate resources according to the priority of the work, coincidentally, the next key process question.
  • How is priority determined and who makes the call on which activities get resourced first? The best practice is that resources should be allocated to the ‘best’ investments: lowest risk/cost activities with the highest organizational value.  Some organizations apply ‘objective’ measures to drive priority. Others have an individual or groups of individuals set priority.  However priority is determined, and it is critical that priority is understood and well communicated. Finally, there cannot be multiple Number 1 priorities. Leaders that cannot (or will not) articulate clear priorities are setting the fulfillment organization(s) up for unclear expectations.
  • Who will be monitoring resource overload? Ideally, this should fall to the same folks who do fulfillment.
  • How will operational ‘reserves’ be determined? I had a boss who said that nobody wakes up in the morning and flips on the coffee machine and says, “Wow! The electric company is doing a great job today! My coffee machine has power!” In fact, nobody even thinks about the electric company until the power goes out. The reality is that all departments – not just IT – have a ‘day job’ to keep things moving operationally. How much is needed to do that and accounting for that before you begin layering in projects is critical. Revisiting and validating those reserves periodically is key as well.
  • What will be the allocation limit? Will resources be allocated to the full 40-hour work week?  Will overallocations be allowed? If so, how much over?

What to know about resource management in ServiceNow

  • RM in ServiceNow is a resource management tool, not a booking tool. ServiceNow will help your organization understand what resources are needed on which projects. It does not lend itself to location-specific booking by day and hour. For example, ServiceNow cannot easily help fulfillers find an individual that can be in London on Wednesday to do a 3-hour install.
  • Aim for directionally correct, not precise. ServiceNow does not allocate to the hour or day. Most organizations do not need this level of precision and resource fulfillers cannot predict the ebbs and flows of operational needs on any given day. Don’t expect or try to be 100% accurate. For most organizations, directionally correct is leaps and bounds more information than is known currently.
  • Use ServiceNow’s operational resource plans to reserve a portion of resources’ capacity to do operational work to get a clear picture of teams’/individuals’ availability for discretionary work.
  • Make sure your resource groups and roles are mutually exclusive. Resources that exist in more than one resource group can lead to an overstatement of their individual capacity and result in overallocation.
  • Make sure your processes include how resource group memberships will be managed. What happens when someone leaves the organization, joins the organization or moves to a new team? Keeping resource groups and roles up to date and ‘clean’ will ensure an accurate representation of capacity and availability.
  • ServiceNow is an effective tool for managing resources, however, it will not entirely replace the need for requestors and fulfillers to talk to one another.
  • Know that ServiceNow will not overbook a resource. Fulfillers, however, can manually overbook resources up to 24 hours a day.

Will ServiceNow work for your company?

ServiceNow isn’t always a fit for middle-market companies with limited budgets. ServiceNow’s platform can be overwhelming due to its size and experts can be hard to find and costly to hire. Fortunately, we have developed a cost-effective, easy way to get started on the ServiceNow platform.

RSM WorkHub is a best practice, off-the-shelf solution, developed by RSM specifically designed for middle-market companies. We own, manage, and support WorkHub. It’s powered by our own instance of ServiceNow which clients lease access to. With WorkHub, clients receive RSM’s dedicated advisors who have established best practices over the last 10+ years. These best practices allow for fast implementation resulting in fast ROI at a fraction of the cost to have an individual license with ServiceNow.

To see a real example of how a client implemented WorkHub and realized an ROI click here.

To learn how ServiceNow can help you, contact our team.

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