10 Pillars of ServiceNow Success for CIOs – Pillar 4: Assembling a winning implementation team

March 7, 2017

servicenow partner

Let’s start with a story about the universal challenge of building an effective implementation team: Lucas is a new CIO who recently took over for his retiring boss. This boss got C-suite buy-in to migrate from BMC to ServiceNow, but never quite got the project off the ground. Now the job has fallen to Lucas, and he’s ready to abandon BMC and migrate to ServiceNow—but he recognizes he can’t do it alone. Before his boss retired, he had assembled an informal, ad-hoc team to help with the transition. Lucas isn’t convinced this is the best team to do the job, but he’s consumed with so many other priorities that he hasn’t given it much thought. Should he worry about the quality of his team?

At Crossfuze, we see this issue pop up all the time—and yes, Lucas should worry. In a survey about the consequences of poor staffing decisions, 95% of respondents said it adversely impacted morale, and 35% said it greatly harmed morale. For a project as important as ServiceNow, your company’s future success rests on your ability to have the right team in place—and not just as a morale booster. Your team likely will be made up of project managers, developers, solution architects who can help with long-term strategy, support personnel, and business analysts who can help with reporting, training, and documentation.

You have three main options for assembling a ServiceNow implementation team: You can buy your team, you can build it in-house, or you can do some combination of buying and building. When you buy a team, you’re outsourcing your team to a ServiceNow partner, which, in turn, becomes the determining factor in whether your project is a success. This “instant” team comes with all of the bells and whistles to jumpstart your implementation journey and keep you on track. By contrast, when you build an in-house team, the responsibility—and the credit—for a successful implementation fall squarely on your shoulders. Finally, with a hybrid approach, you and your implementation partner share responsibility for ServiceNow implementation.

Regardless of whether you build or buy your implementation team, or choose some combination of the two, there are four main considerations you want to keep in mind:

  1. You want strategic thinkers, not just doers: A winning implementation team is made up of more than just ServiceNow developers and the people who manage and support them. You also want the thinkers and strategists who are not immersed in the trenches; these are the folks who can focus on the bigger picture and assess overall progress on your implementation journey. Strategists take responsibility for laying out a viable implementation roadmap that provides early wins and delivers on time and on budget. Consequently, the most effective strategists are going to be the ones who have direct experience with ServiceNow implementation, as success rides on the shoulders of the successes that came before it.
  2. You want to recruit for speed and agility: To infuse your implementation with both speed and agility, you want to assemble a team with proper certifications and, ideally, deep experience in the features and functionalities of ServiceNow. A well-versed team will know when to adjust course, when to pursue new opportunities, and when it’s feasible to speed up the timeline. Although most organizations are under constant pressure to hire quickly and get ServiceNow implementation off the ground, the best ServiceNow-certified developers and project managers are worth the wait. Recruiting in an area as specialized as ServiceNow implementation takes time, and talented employees tend to be snapped up quickly. If, however, you decide to buy your team through outsourcing, you’ll find the energy you expend on recruiting will be significantly eased. An outsourced team also reduces the need for trial-and-error approaches at the beginning of the implementation journey and streamlines your path toward critical implementation victories.
  3. You want your team’s skill set to keep evolving: Your implementation team’s knowledge base is not static. As your organization evolves and adapts in response to your early ServiceNow implementation wins, you want your team to evolve and adapt along with these wins. A progressive skill set involves providing ongoing training and knowledge-sharing opportunities for your team, enabling the team to stay one step ahead of what’s to come—and on top of what team members need to know to support upgrades and enhancements in the future.
  4. You want to create accountability for desired outcomes: As you’re assembling your implementation team, you want to create a structure that not only keeps your implementation rolling but also ensures proper accountability for desired outcomes. A properly structured team will lay the groundwork to regularly and automatically report on what is happening, why it’s happening, and the impact it has on project goals and the overarching roadmap. These insightful, relevant assessments will keep you informed at every stage and ultimately ensure you remain on track to achieve your ServiceNow implementation vision.

As you focus on building a strategic, agile, experienced, progressive, and accountable team, it’s important to keep in mind that a winning team isn’t one that parachutes in implementation and then jumps out to simultaneously tackle other projects. ServiceNow implementation is an involved, highly specialized arena that requires a dedicated set of experienced specialists who will take ownership of their work over the long term. If your implementation team isn’t given the opportunity and resources to focus solely on ServiceNow, it significantly increases the risks of problems and failures. In other words, instead of having project wins to tout, you could be spending precious time doing damage control on failed implementations.

At Crossfuze, we are intimately familiar with the buy vs. build decision surrounding assembly of an implementation team. That’s why we are proud to offer the iPOWER Flex service, which enables clients to use Crossfuze’s expertise to whatever extent they decide is optimal for them. With this hybrid approach, some clients use iPOWER Flex to provide additional capacity when in-house resources are stretched thin, while others use iPOWER for specialized projects that add depth of expertise to their in-house talent pool. The combinations of services available via this hybrid approach are truly unlimited and well worth exploring to identify a combination that may be right for you.

Thank you for reading. If you found this post informative, please consider sharing it with others. Also, if you’re interested in finding out more about assembling a winning ServiceNow team, send us an email at letstalk@crossfuze.com.

Enjoyed this Pillar? Download the entire eBook here.

Additional References:

SHRM: Morale, Productivity Suffer from Bad Hires

Cross Country Consulting: 4 Things to consider when planning a system implementation project

Project Management.com: Project Manager: Strategist or Implementer?

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