Sep 03 2021

Evolving Your Agency’s Use of ServiceNow Tools

Agencies can use the ServiceNow platform for solutions beyond IT Service Management, including security and operations management.

For many years, federal IT leaders have been using IT service management (ITSM) tools to better plan and support IT services across agencies.

ITSM is a mainstay in federal IT management, and many agencies make use of it in their day-to-day IT operations. ITSM helps IT teams and help desks prioritize projects so that they can create the best operating conditions for agency mission staff.

One of the leading providers of ITSM solutions is ServiceNow, whose ITSM offerings include everything from virtual help desks and agents to incident management, asset management, change management and more. However, IT leaders should think beyond ITSM as they look to make the most of their investment in the ServiceNow platform.

Two areas that are ripe for exploration are security — which is more important than ever — and IT operations management. Under the security umbrella, agencies can take advantage of ServiceNow for governance, risk and compliance, and security operations. Additionally, ServiceNow offers significant IT operations management capabilities, which can help with asset visibility and configuration management databases.

Without a roadmap for continuously improving on the agency’s investment in ServiceNow, IT leaders are likely to underutilize the capabilities of the platform. That will not only decrease the value of the investment but also hold the agency back from being more efficient and improving its mission delivery.

DIVE DEEPER: What are the benefits of ITSM?

Get a Handle on Security and Compliance

One of ServiceNow’s key capabilities beyond ITSM is security operations, or SecOps. This covers security incident response, enabling agencies to prioritize and respond to threats using workflows and automations. It also includes vulnerability response to prioritize and respond to security vulnerabilities based on how they impact the mission.

Other capabilities include event management, to collect and process security events for incident creation; and tools to identify, prioritize and remediate misconfigured software. Threat intelligence and performance analytics also come under the heading of SecOps.

ServiceNow’s approach to governance, risk and compliance includes policy and compliance management to help agencies develop new hardware and software policies. Other capabilities include risk management and business continuity management.

These are now standard operating procedure for all agencies, and IT leaders have come to recognize the importance of having risk management and continuity of operations plans in place. A vendor risk management capability is also included to help agencies continuously monitor, detect, assess, mitigate and remediate any risks in their vendor ecosystems. This will become more important as the Biden administration rolls out new rules on software supply chain risk management.

Any agency IT leader reading the headlines over the past few months knows that major cyberattacks and ransomware events are now of critical interest to the government. Adding in security-focused ServiceNow capabilities to an agency’s portfolio can help reduce these risks.

MORE FROM FEDTECH: How can a ServiceNow approach help your agency?

Improve Your Agency’s IT Operations Management

One of the more popular ServiceNow offerings is IT Operations Management (ITOM), which helps IT teams be proactive instead of reactive. Using insights and automation, agencies can predict, identify and remediate issues before they occur.

That visibility is the main benefit of ITOM — knowing at a granular level what is happening across the agency’s infrastructure, applications and services. Agencies can use ITOM to create service maps to indicate which enterprise applications they rely on most heavily, and which services rely on those apps. Discovery tools give IT leaders a holistic view of their IT footprints across cloud and on-premises data centers.

Agency IT leaders’ ability to consider the health of their operations increases significantly when they know that if they take down a server, or if there is an issue with a particular application, certain services will be directly impacted.

ITOM tools also put agency leaders in a position to perform predictive analytics on their IT environments, making clear what they own, where it is and what happens if any part of it should fail.

As agencies evolve their use of ServiceNow offerings, they can work with advisers such as CDW to help them design and orchestrate their ServiceNow platforms. Because CDW implements a lot of the infrastructure that ServiceNow helps manage — and as a trusted third party, develops a deep understanding of an agency’s operations and mission — it’s a natural fit, covering everything from initial IT procurement to asset management and network infrastructure deployment.

To make the most of ServiceNow, IT leaders need a continuously improving roadmap. There is much that the platform has to offer agencies, and partners such as CDW are here to help them get the most value out of their investments. 

This article is part of FedTech’s CapITal blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #FedIT hashtag.

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