Building a ServiceNow Center of Excellence at your organization

How to connect, create and operate a lean CoE to maximize your ServiceNow investment

Mack Peace

Mack Peace

Director, Digital Lighthouse, KPMG LLP

+1 704-335-5518

Mark Bower

Mark Bower

Advisory Managing Director, Platforms, KPMG US

+1 720-573-7012

A Center of Excellence (CoE) is a concept familiar to many industries and organizations but is not one that has been widely adopted by business technology professionals. When you establish a ServiceNow CoE, your technology efforts across your business are consistently aligned with your strategic goals for digitizing workflows and enterprise service management – and show a demonstrable return. A ServiceNow CoE can become a long-term, low-cost asset that helps you maximize your ServiceNow investment. It might just be the most valuable concept you’ve never considered.

What can a ServiceNow CoE do for me?

A ServiceNow CoE can help your business stakeholders create and maintain a comprehensive set of strategic and architectural checks and balances you can use to plan, develop, deliver and support your ServiceNow capabilities.

A business-focused, ServiceNow CoE is designed to:

  • Establish and maintain an Enterprise Service Management roadmap that defines processes and capabilities that will be supported by the ServiceNow platform.
  • Clearly define service and process ownership, accountability, roles and responsibilities over the entire lifecycle of the ServiceNow platform. This includes ideation, architecture, prioritization, requirements, design, build, deploy and ongoing support.
  • Create ServiceNow platform governance and standards that incorporate your organization’s architectural design and the product roadmap.
  • Prioritize and align process and service improvement initiatives to achieve the maximum benefits across your organization while promoting adoption of ServiceNow.
  • Meet growing business demand via a flexible, scalable and Agile model for application design, development and configuration on the ServiceNow platform.
  • Improve customer relationships and business unit service experience among those who leverage the ServiceNow platform for your organization’s digital transformation.

Organizations are trying to evolve and "lean left" by adopting modern agile delivery coupled with automating workflows. The right ServiceNow COE can accelerate this shift and drive your pipeline.

Agile and "shift left" operating model

Adopting agile, lean, and product methods to drive speed and quality
  • Agile
  • Product management
  • Modern agile/product operating models
  • Design thinking
  • Full stack teams and organizational structure
  • Value stream mapping

Modern delivery and architecture

Adopting the best of ServiceNow native innovation to drive speed and quality
  • DevOps
  • Continuous testing
  • Product and customer centricity
  • OKRs

How do we set it up?

Start building your ServiceNow CoE by focusing on the basics and answering these questions:

  • Charter – what are the characteristics of the business challenges that should be solved with a capability enabled by ServiceNow?
  • Governance – who is responsible for the work of the COE and have authority over its scope, organization, actions and maintenance?
  • Strategy and Architecture – what is the strategic plan and how does our ServiceNow architecture express it?
  • Innovations and Experience – what experiences are most important and where do we focus our innovation muscle?
  • Delivery and Transition – how do we get high-value capabilities to our users that are simple to adopt and support?
  • Cadence and Metrics – can we measure success and provide consumable dashboards to track effectiveness and cut down on meetings?

After you have a handle on the basics, you’ll want to identify and align the right resources and members for your ServiceNow CoE. Consider including a core CoE team of strategy, business line, architecture/support and innovation specialists, plus representatives from functional areas such as PMO/continuous improvement, strategy/program advisory, technical architecture and solution design. You should also include leaders from you User Experience and Organizational Change teams – these roles are key to “balance the ticket” and maintain a focus on your people and adoption of technology.

How will the CoE operate?

Your CoE will serve as strategic advisor to your business for all workflows (across the back, middle and front office) that fall into their remit, defined by your charter. Your CoE will work to:

  • Identify improvements across business areas
  • Focus on innovation and user experience
  • Deliver new capabilities to the organization
  • Establish roadmaps and maintains plans
  • Establish clear roles, responsibilities and means of engagement
  • Enable decision-making and streamline process/platform decisions

How can we get started and how long until we see value?

You can establish a ServiceNow CoE in about three months, including a few weeks to set it up and about two months to fine tune its operation. Immediately, the CoE will establish enhanced ServiceNow platform governance that can assess and moderate demand for new capabilities while improving the scale and speed of development. The CoE will begin to anticipate and meet demand in a thoughtful manner aligned with the business strategy - taking into account the perspectives of CoE members who manage functions outside of technology and want to improve efficiency, innovation and user experience.

Like the idea of a ServiceNow CoE but don’t want to go it alone? KPMG can help you build a best practice ServiceNow CoE that’s fine-tuned to support your unique business needs. A CoE can be scaled in proportion to the size of your organization, so you can enjoy its benefits no matter how large or small your business. It’s never too early to establish your ServiceNow CoE – as more people become aware of the platform’s capabilities, the more you risk inefficiency and loss of control.