You’ve been using emails, spreadsheets, and a smorgasbord of other applications to keep track of all your IT processes since you were a wee startup, but now that you’ve hit a period of rapid growth, it’s time for a change. You’re realizing that you need something more than just that sticky note on your laptop to remind you to complete a task, and you need more visibility into what your employees are doing. Speaking of employees, it feels like you see a new face onboarding every day, so it also wouldn’t hurt to keep track of those new devices on your network. Or, maybe you’re a part of an organization that’s finally empowered with the resources to adopt a powerful tool, and you’ve finally gotten the “okay” from the higher ups.
Either way, it’s time to adopt an IT service management (ITSM) solution.
We’ve already talked about the unexpected considerations you should have when you’re looking at a cloud-based ITSM solution. These include:
- Elevation of current IT value within organization
- Ease of use allowing for expansion beyond IT
- Real time-to-value
- Unified service desk and asset management
- Whether it’s a true cloud solution or just SaaS
Something else to consider, especially if you’re in that sweet spot between getting your first office and enterprise maturity, is the idea of scale. There are a lot of ITSM solutions out there; after all, it’s not realistic to think that any business can survive without devices… and networks… and servers. While we encourage businesses to find the right solution, we know that one size doesn’t fit all. Case in point, the option between ServiceNow and ServiceNow Express
As defined by the Harvard Business Review, the five stages of business growth are:
- Stage I: Existence — You’re working to obtain and maintain customers and have limited resources, personnel and capital.
- Stage II: Survival — You have customers and are now faced with developing stronger revenue in order to grow.
- Stage III: Success — You’ve achieved enough wins that you must now determine whether you want to keep your business stable and profitable (Stage III-G) or grow your business and expand (Stage III-D).
- Stage IV: Take Off — Your key issues are how to grow rapidly, how to finance your growth, and the delegation of responsibilities from the owner.
- Stage V: Resource Maturity — You now have the resources and personnel for detailed and strategic operational planning.
ServiceNow Express might be perfect for stages I – II, when you’re a fairly immature (that’s not an insult we promise!) small business that’s just up and running with limited resources and personnel. Maybe you’re working with slightly more than blood, sweat, and tears. ServiceNow Express offers the bare basics, essentially a scaled down version of the ServiceNow product without customization options or the ability to scale up as you grow — essentially, you’ve locked yourself into a rigid ITSM box with no flexibility.
So, once you reach full maturity, it’s time to upgrade to ServiceNow’s premium suite. ServiceNow is big; it’s extremely capable, and because of its size, it’s costly to implement. You can be looking at a much larger total sum once you take professional services into account.
But what about the in-between?
The Happy Medium
Let’s face it: Your business is going to spend a boat load of time in the growth phase between a startup and maturity (we’re talking years). Not only do you have two full stages that are integral to your business’ growth, there are so many changes that can happen. An ITSM solution must help you reach your goals, but for that to actually happen you need something that will scale with you wherever you go (rather than a one size fits all that is only a perfect match if you fit into an extreme).
As we mentioned, buying ServiceNow by itself is a costly investment, and transitioning from ServiceNow Express to ServiceNow is even more money that could be spent elsewhere. In terms of the long-term cost, professional services alone will take a big chunk of your revenue during your transition time. This can be overwhelming for your wallet as you try to grow your business. Wouldn’t it be better to allocate those resources elsewhere?
Also take into account how much time and effort may be put into learning a new system that could be spent developing your business — in other words, the human cost. The work that it may take to transition can add extra stress to the workday of your personnel. On top of that, such a large system may require certified developers if you don’t feel like running directly to ServiceNow in case of an issue.
Another factor to take into consideration is your current process. As in, do you already have a solution in place? How difficult will it be to transition information from your current system or processes to another, only to have to upgrade it again? Or, if you’re currently using spreadsheets (hey, no judgement), you’ll definitely want a solution that’s easy to use at any level of business maturity.
To Wrap it Up
You want a solution that’s easy to use, seamless to implement, and will ultimately give you the best ROI possible. Most important, it has to be able to scale to your needs wherever you are in your business without making you use professional services to accommodate growth. So when you’re shopping for an ITSM, be sure to ask: Will it scale?
About Matt Fuchs
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