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What is ServiceNow Workflow?

Organizations have policies with multiple internal and external business processes. A business process is a definition of steps involving different people and tasks to be performed by people to deliver a service.

Here are a few examples of business processes:

  • The process of issuing a new laptop for an employee

  • The process of onboarding a new customer

  • The process of upgrading customer systems

These predefined process definitions help organizations to carry out their business efficiently because they know in advance what to do and how to do it. ServiceNow assists companies with their digital workflows to deliver their processes efficiently. Let’s try to understand what ServiceNow workflow is and how this relates to business processes.

Workflows as ServiceNow concept

A workflow is the automation of initiation, transition, and completion of a process or group of processes altogether. Consider a defined business process to issue a laptop:

  1. Approval by finance department head if the cost is greater than $500

  2. Issuing by the procurement team

  3. Configurations by the IT team

This process can be carried out manually or can be automated in the ServiceNow workflow. Here is a comparison of both:

Issue new laptop (a manual process):

All of the activities are started manually by an employee initiating an email and the IT team forwarding the email to the next relevant person or department involved if and when needed.

  1. Employee sends an email to IT team for a new laptop

  2. IT team loops in the finance department for approval if the cost is greater than $500

  3. Finance head replies with approval/rejection

  4. After finance approval, the IT team loops in the procurement department

  5. The procurement department person on duty initiates the procurement and replies back with an update and/or completion

  6. After the procurement completion email, the IT team start to configure the procured laptop

  7. The IT team completes the configuration and sends an email to the employee that the laptop is ready

  8. The employee knows from the email from IT that the laptop is ready to be picked up

Issue new laptop (ServiceNow workflow)

All of these activities can be managed by a ServiceNow workflow where people only have to take care of their own actions (approval, mark completion, etc) and the system will progress automatically.

  1. Employee submits a new request in ServiceNow

  2. The system checks if the cost is greater than $500; if it is, an approval request is automatically sent to the finance department head

  3. The finance department head marks the request as approved/rejected in the system

  4. After finance approval, the system assigns a task to the procurement group

  5. The procurement group agent on duty initiates the procurement and marks the task closed on completion

  6. The system assigns a task to the IT group for configuration

  7. The IT team configures the laptop and marks the task closed on completion

  8. The request is fulfilled and marked closed, and the employee is notified by the system that the laptop is ready to be picked up

Benefits of ServiceNow workflow

As seen in the example above, implementing the processes using ServiceNow workflows is much cleaner. It offloads administrative responsibilities and overhead from people while the system takes care of the most part. A ServiceNow digital workflow enables businesses to:

  • Automate the processes in the system

  • Track ongoing processes and report on pending actions

  • Remove manual overhead

  • Increase business efficiency

  • Improve turnaround time

  • Implement service SLAs

  • Generate accurate process efficiency KPIs

  • Reuse automated processes across different business areas

Workflows as ServiceNow capability

ServiceNow’s workflow capability allows any business workflow to be implemented into a technical workflow design. A workflow in ServiceNow is configured by developers or administrators according to the requirements given by the business process owners. Here is a link to understand the technical implementation details of the ServiceNow workflow in the platform.

Workflows as ServiceNow solution

ServiceNow groups its products together into four high-level solution categories. These solutions are targeted to optimize different business areas and contain relevant digital workflows, including IT, employee, customer, and create workflows.

ServiceNow provides many reusable workflows out-of-the-box with the ability to create new ones for business needs. ServiceNow workflows enable businesses to drive efficiency in all their business processes. The company proudly promotes its state-of-the-art digital workflow features with its motto “Let’s workflow it!”

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