Building a ServiceNow® Roadmap: Top 10 FAQs

By Chris O’Neill

Less than half of ServiceNow customers report having a strategic roadmap. They are not sure where to begin. Problem is, without one, you are not doing your company justice, because you will have nothing to measure against for success. I hosted a “roadmapping” webinar last week, and here are some of the top questions and answers to help you get started.  

  1. How do you define a roadmap?

A roadmap is a journey not a destination. It is an understanding of where your organization could go and an understanding of what you could get out of it, including a set of directions on how to get there. Use the 3 Es: Efficiency, Effectiveness, Experience to get your started. 

  1. Why does my company need a roadmap?

The point of creating a roadmap is to understand where you are going with clear outcomes and measurements. To strategize on where you could go and keep track of where you ARE going. If you want to improve your IT and enterprise service management with a powerful range of capabilities, you need to have a plan of action to execute against. 

  1. How do we learn the route?

Know the release cycle, optimally you want to take everything automatically so you can take advantage of the most updated securities and features. Learn the new modules and features.  Your roadmap can change periodically! Trying to keep up to date can be difficult. Ask for help –calling in an experienced advisory who understands your needs, had knowledge of what is coming in the new release and how it can benefit your current environment. 

  1. What do you think are the biggest challenges to building roadmaps for small organizations?

In a small organization, everyone is asked to wear multiple “hats”, so roadmapping becomes even more important so you can track the value of your current ServiceNow instance and build a business case to obtain additional resources for the future. If you can’t add resources but need to increase efficiency because you have a small team, having a roadmap that includes building in automation and self-serve forms will help you work smarter. 

  1. Where does organizational change management (OCM) fit in on Roadmaps?

OCM is one of the core pieces when it comes to defining your stakeholders and knowing how your org handles change management internally.  Do you have a formal process? If you do, it needs to be built into your feedback process. At the end of the day, changes to your roadmap will have to be implemented into your OCM process. At the same time, the output of roadmapping activities is project - with resulting OCM activity, so you must understand what the repercussions are. When CAI does an implementation, a section of our statement of work asks about how we will interact with your Organizational Change Management and if you have a formalized process. If you don’t, we have some add-ons that we can perform to help control that. Many mid-sized organizations don’t have anything formalized, so we help that along because we see it as central to achieving success. 

  1. How do we know what suites to implement and how often to implement?

Roughly 50% of all ServiceNow® customers only implement 2 product suites, with less than 12% implementing more than 3 product suites. If you are thinking to yourself, “hmmm I only have the one thing”. Trust me, you are not alone. Typically, once organizations hit their original goal, they don’t have the forethought to continually extend into the environment. What your organization can do is continually educate, inform, and communicate the latest features and benefits available so you can get the most out of the platform. 

  1. How do you think Covid-19 will impact an organization’s existing Roadmaps?

Here in the US, the effect of Covid-19 is going to be a much higher need and reliance on remote workforces.  There will be a big drive to platforms like ServiceNow that can be used regardless of your physical location. There will be a bigger drive for ServiceNow’s own mobile capabilities.  There will also be many lessons learned and questions about how companies can be more prepared the next time this type of situation arises.  

Just like the IT world went through a business continuity experience about 20 years ago post 9-11, they need to be formally ready for extraordinary circumstances- prepared with need a formal response, and an operationally mobile response.  The time is now to look at your current roadmap and make the necessary adjustments to increase your readiness factor in preparation. 

  1. How do I decide who should be part of the roadmapping team?

Again, you are going to have to ask questions. Who owns the platform? Who are the executive sponsors (financial authority)? Who are the key stakeholders (end user community, HR, etc.)? Who are the process owners (they adopt the processes and they need to be able to use it)? Once you have the answers to those questions, you can move forward to assemble the appropriate members of your team. 

  1. What new feature are you most excited about in Orlando?

Predictive Intelligence and NLU Advancements 

Enhanced Agile Development 2.0 & DevOps 

Advanced Risk Assessment in GRC 

Customizing Agent Workspaces and advanced controls with work assignment 

HR Service Delivery update 

ITSM Virtual Agent upgrades 

Mobile Onboarding and related Mobile Platform upgrades 

Cloud Insights 

  1. How often do you Upgrade?  Are you on Orlando?

Most organizations upgrade once a year even though ServiceNow would love 90% or better to do every six months. As an organization you need to think about how you make change in your environment. (Specialized testing requirements, government regulations) Every organization is different and would need to have a different response. 

The current policy of ServiceNow is to support the most recent and the immediately previous release families. Because ServiceNow generally makes release two new release families per year, you will need to upgrade approximately once per year to stay on a supported release family. Staying ahead of the game is becoming more and more important. 


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