Businesses generate myriads of reports on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and even yearly bases to optimize their workflow, identify trends, detect money-saving opportunities, and more. However, creating reports requires access to high volumes of data and user-friendly tools. Reporting also needs to be managed and controlled to avoid overreporting and ensure that vital actions take place. Another important aspect of reporting is data security. Since this action is connected with data, it needs to be closely monitored and protected.
Generating visual reports that convey crucial information is not an easy undertaking and requires seasoned professionals. However, ServiceNow reporting capabilities allow anyone to create reports and dashboards and track relevant metrics. In this article, we will talk about ServiceNow and its reporting tools and benefits, as well as discover best practices that will help you master this platform.
ServiceNow is a cloud-based platform that facilitates operational efficiency and task automation across organizations. The applications of the platform are vast and include building and testing software applications, automating workflows, implementing advanced analytics, and more. Moreover, ServiceNow mediates digital transformation by enabling the integration of legacy software. The platform is also agile and mobile and offers a native mobile experience and a customer-oriented approach. The solution is suitable for any company as it provides easy-to-use functions for smaller businesses and complex features for enterprises.
ServiceNow capabilities encompass every department such as human resources, sales, customer support, security, legal, finance, marketing, and more. Through a shared database, any employee can access important data, run analytics, and receive valuable outputs. The platform also allows for access management to ensure that only authorized personnel get access to sensitive information to ensure a high level of security. By using these ServiceNow functions, you can automate mundane tasks, establish direct communication among departments, run complex analytics, and create meaningful reports.
While ServiceNow is an excellent platform that offers visibility, flexibility and limitless customization, administrators need to learn how to utilize the software to truly take advantage of its capabilities. ServiceNow reporting offers vast capabilities and allows businesses to generate custom reports at any time.
Let’s begin by touching on the out-of-the-box reporting features of ServiceNow which are quite basic but sufficient for companies and do not require analysis of specific areas of work. These capabilities include incident, change, request, assets, SLAs, KPIs, Service Desk surveys, as well as knowledge base feedback. However, if you are seeking a more complex solution to handle your requests, you may have to utilize the Report Builder or Report Designer. ServiceNow reporting tools allow you to manage and control three pivotal aspects:
The most appealing part of ServiceNow is the data consolidation. In other words, you don’t need to juggle between various applications but can store and monitor data in one location. You can generate different reports such as pie and bar charts, lines, histograms, and more to represent various types of data for different purposes. Additionally, the platform enables the creation of complex reports like drill-downs that encode various reports at the same time. For example, if you are interacting with a bar chart, you can click on a single bar and access a different report that encompasses another aspect of the presented data.
ServiceNow reporting also facilitates real-time data reports that update the information whenever something is created, edited, or removed. You can also schedule reports to any deadline you prefer and the platform will automatically generate the reports you need. Finally, ServiceNow provides an access management tool that allows administrators to assign users that can create, share, or access the reports. This feature allows you to preserve control over sensitive data as well as ensure smooth workflow without interferences or miscommunications.
Creating reports can be quite challenging as the creator needs to be mindful of the data they are including and try to remain as objective as possible. No matter how tempting it is to portray the department as high-performing, you need to stay critical and impartial to deliver a meaningful report. There are a few ServiceNow reporting best practices that help users generate reports that offer valuable insights and help the company grow stronger.
To create a meaningful report, make sure to define goals and objectives that can be measured. It is also important to have a starting point that helps you evaluate the success of your actions. For example, if you would like to shorten the response time to an accident, you can measure the current metric and set the desired goal for a certain period of time. At the end of this period, you will be able to compare the numbers and conclude the success or failure of the activity. Without a clearly measurable goal, you will not be able to objectively assess your strategies, operations, processes, and campaigns.
The platform facilitates goal creation and monitoring with the central Analytics Program Owners tool where you can define the goals for the upcoming period. The tool also allows you to control goal creators, assign roles, alter settings and objectives when required, and draw meaningful conclusions.
When defining goals, it is one of the best practices to apply targets and thresholds to offer more data context. A target is the desired minimum performance, whereas a threshold is a range from upper to lower limits of performance. Using targets allows you to keep the performance rates at or slightly above the target goal. For example, if a certain defined metric goes below the target, this can imply an unattainable goal or a case of underinvestment. But if the metric is above the preset target, this can be indicative of overinvestment.
Thresholds provide warning signs whenever the performance rates are inappropriate. For instance, you define a certain goal and assign a threshold of 85% to 95%. If rates fall below 95%, all your company needs to do is to make sure the performance remains at this level. However, in case performance goes below 85%, the organization needs to instantly respond by recovering performance to achieve its goals. You can also utilize both targets and thresholds for the same objective.
Some reports can come off as convoluted and difficult to comprehend. Due to this, employees might create their own reports which can slightly differ but still convey the same ideas. As a result, you might end up with several similar reports with slightly different outcomes which can cause confusion and misunderstandings. The Analytics Program Owner tool allows the organization to control all master reports and convey the expected actions of reports to company executives. Establishing better control over who can create reports and providing general access to meaningful insights allows you to avoid the overproduction of similar reports.
Another common best practice is content packs which are pre-created reports, widgets, and dashboards that can dramatically accelerate report creation for your company. Instead of generating reports from scratch, in some cases, you can leverage the existing database of helpful tools and align them with your company’s goals. Although you will have to check the relevance of various content packs for your business and objectives, a slight tweak will allow you to run a report. Periodically, you should monitor updates and gaps to ensure the packs are up-to-date.
Too much focus on IT may lead to goal misalignment for other departments. Whenever you are creating reports, keep in mind that these numbers affect the entire company and convey the messages accordingly. Reports need to be able to demonstrate how the company is doing on the business level and in regard to business goals. This requires smooth and clear communication within the organization as well as transparency. Besides generating reports, make sure the results reach every relevant department and complex technical insights are translated into understandable desired actions.
ServiceNow reporting capabilities are endless and allow you to try out different approaches and tactics. You will likely need to work with the platform for some time to be able to identify the processes that work the best for your company and industry. For example, you can activate scheduled reports or utilize dashboards or do both. Scheduled reports are static and may lose their value in just a few days. However, this is also contingent on the industry because, for some companies, the situation will not quickly change. Dashboards are dynamic and offer real-time data but the downside is a lack of details compared to reports. Doing both can be an option but it does require more resources. Depending on your company, you can try out different options and choose whichever works for you.
ServiceNow reporting analytics offer a vast variety of options and features. However, you should resist the urge to try out all of them at the beginning of your journey. Instead, focus on smaller and more meaningful features that will benefit your organization. As you continue working with the platform and discover more functions, you will be able to expand the features and utilize more functionality. Trying to include every single aspect of the platform right away can be overwhelming and confusing for the employees.
ServiceNow reporting capabilities can benefit any organization due to their diversity and customization. In this section, we will focus on the advantages that this platform can deliver to your company.
ServiceNow reporting tools allow you to add data standardization and set a limit to reports, metrics, and dashboards, as well as employ access management. This way, you can allocate the resources to drive more important projects and preserve balanced reporting within your company. This will also save your company money and improve service quality by eliminating the disparity among various reports.
Data interpretation is one of the most difficult parts of analytics as it requires a lot of acumen and experience. ServiceNow advanced reporting tools allow you to quickly visualize data insights and take action before any serious issues occur. Moreover, the platform generates real-time data and reports which helps companies stay up-to-date and detect trends before they can impact the business. The complex capabilities like drill-down charts provide access to any type of data needed and allow you to track the metrics to ensure it’s meeting the requirements and goals.
ServiceNow is a platform that guarantees the safety of your data and ensures no data duplication or exposure via the ServiceNow Enterprise cloud. A data breach is a devastating occurrence that can lead to heavy monetary and reputational repercussions. ServiceNow protects data through its cloud architecture that involves data replication and a database that complies with an array of certifications and protections.
In this part, we will explore success stories from companies that have already implemented ServiceNow reporting tools.
The company adopted ServiceNow to gain more visibility into their incidents as well as other areas of reporting. Unifying data generated elsewhere in a local database allows them to run advanced analytics such as reporting on hierarchies.
CERN started working with ServiceNow to consolidate their data and move it to the Oracle database for advanced analytics and reporting. As a result, they are able to access valuable insights and share them with their non-IT clients.
Accenture leverages ServiceNow features to export data into their data warehouse and provide access to relevant users to see reports and draw meaningful conclusions.
ServiceNow is a platform that can help you make useful reports and run advanced analytics. The solution is highly versatile, flexible, and scalable, and will drive your business further into the digital transformation era. If you believe this solution might be the right choice for you or have additional questions regarding ServiceNow reporting, do not hesitate to get in touch with NIX United. We are a team of experienced developers and data analysts who will accompany you every step of the way. Our collective knowledge and expertise allow us to conduct advanced analytics and gather crucial insights. We are also well-versed in custom software development and can help you build any application that you need to enhance your business.
Eugene has more than 5 years of experience in business development and practice with ServiceNow and Salesforce software. This allows him to provide professional consulting, bringing clients real business value such as helping them integrate digital workforce solutions to improve planning and employee productivity, and redirecting investments into business scaling initiatives.
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