Jun 09 2022

Using ServiceNow Tools to Drive Digital Transformation in Higher Ed

The ServiceNow platform can be an engine for modernization if higher education IT leaders and their teams take advantage of all it has to offer.

As higher education IT leaders seek to overcome challenges to digital transformation within their institutions, they are also being tasked with improving student, faculty and staff experiences.

To do that at scale, university IT departments must be able to meet their needs quickly, be agile in how they operate, and develop new software and tools to support a modern digital experience.

According to an EDUCAUSE QuickPoll, higher education institutions are thinking more about digital transformation now than they were in 2019. In a 2019 survey of higher education institution IT leaders, 13 percent of respondents were currently engaged in digital transformation, while 32 percent were in the process of developing a digital transformation strategy. In the 2021 QuickPoll, 44 percent were currently engaged in digital transformation and another 27 percent were in the process of developing a strategy.

To spur digital transformation, higher education institutions increasingly are turning to tools from ServiceNow, not just for functions such as IT service management (ITSM) but also for a service-oriented IT model that enables IT teams to advance their universities’ digital strategies and missions. ServiceNow’s platform can serve as a modern operational backbone for universities seeking to transform how they interact with students and staff.

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ServiceNow Tools Enable Digital Transformation in Higher Education

Dale Landowski, an ITSM product manager for ServiceNow solutions at CDW, notes that organizations need standard processes, shared data, shared applications and shared technologies to thrive in this environment. Higher education institutions must avoid having multiple applications that perform the same function.

Sharing data is essential to transformation, he says, and ServiceNow enables that for agencies via a shared data repository.

“That really provides the insight and the ability to modernize and provide a true modern backbone,” he says.

As higher education student and staff experiences with companies have grown more digital and personal during the pandemic, their expectations for how they should interact with their institutions have changed. IT teams must become strategic partners to other university departments, students, faculty and staff members as they seek to streamline operations across the entire campus.

FIND OUT MORE: How ServiceNow can help achieve a true digital transformation.

To focus on that kind of work, universities can leverage ServiceNow to simplify and optimize IT operations by merging core operational functions into a single platform. The platform enables standardized processes and allows data sharing to leverage shared applications.

This empowers IT teams to work in a service-oriented fashion, operating not as a cost center but as an integral element of the delivery of modern, mobile-friendly services that students and staff can access whenever they need to. ServiceNow tools allow an IT team to function more like a business than a technology provider, able to forecast demand and focus on the delivery of core services.

“If you’re not thinking about services and products, and you’re not talking about services and products, and you’re not able to articulate what services and products you’re supporting in IT, you’re not going to be able to have conversations about digital transformation, because that’s where the transformation is taking place,” Landowski says.

How Colleges and Universities Are Leveraging ServiceNow

Several colleges and universities have turned to ServiceNow to manage operations across the entire campus.

For example, Virginia State University rolled out ServiceNow in October 2021 and has found uses for the platform outside of the IT department, including in human resources. The platform helps validate when employees have done their security training, gather metrics on device deployment and identify bottlenecks at any point.

At Utah State University, ServiceNow centralized the university’s ITSM, but the IT department soon learned that the platform could do much more. For example, the university’s custom HR app, called MyTime, allows university employees to submit their time sheets, leave requests and overtime hours digitally, saving approximately 2,000 hours of administrative work annually. Utah State also built an app within ServiceNow that enables high school students to apply and pay for courses within the state of Utah’s concurrent enrollment program, which allows students to earn college credit from the state’s eight public colleges.

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona implemented ServiceNow to streamline its IT ticketing system and enhance users’ self-service abilities. ServiceNow gives students a single access point for all university services, quickly giving them the information they need. This implementation has reduced change-related incidents by more than 70 percent. It also has created a single record for each student, displaying each interaction a student has with administrative offices in one location and helping the university deliver on its commitment to student success.

Most organizations have shared network and infrastructure capabilities but lack services with clear value, Landowski says. IT teams deploy those shared capabilities but are not engaged with the business or mission areas of the organizations.

“Good organizations and organizations that have a modern operational environment have services that provide value back to the business,” he says. “They understand what it is and what they’re getting, and they pay based on a consumption model, for example.”

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