How Does ServiceNow Work with HCM Systems?

As the HR evangelist at ServiceNow, I get the opportunity to engage with hundreds of customers who are looking to improve their HR services. As a former HR executive, I understand well the challenges they are facing in modernizing and transforming their HR service delivery.

Nine times out of 10, the first comment I get is, “Why would I need service management when I already use Workday, SuccessFactors or Oracle?” A recent article in TLNT asked this too.

It’s a great question. I think it’s worth delving into that and other frequently asked questions as the HR Technology Conference and Exposition kicks off today.

Q: How do HCM systems work with ServiceNow?

A:  Service management doesn’t replace your current HCM system. It integrates, compliments, augments, couples and any other word that describes “working together” to dramatically make things better. Service management gives you visibility and control of the work you probably do mostly via email today.

Typically Workday, SuccessFactors or Oracle is the system of record for HR, which means these systems hold all of the core HR data for the company. ServiceNow acts as the system of engagement for shared services — basically orchestrating across different departments and specializing in case management, workflows, portals and service catalogs. Any time there’s a request/fulfill task or duty in the HR function, ServiceNow can help. See our whitepaper on this. As a side note, Workday and ServiceNow actually both use each other’s software in running our own businesses.

Many companies already use service management for their IT needs. Extending it to HR is a natural step to provide employees with a high-quality service experience.


HR Service Management graphic

Service Management software works with your HR system of record to streamline your HR services across the company.

Q: Does ServiceNow handle onboarding?

A: Starting with a simple request, it breaks down onboarding into its individual activities – such as getting a workspace, credit card, security access and phone ­– and then distributes these to the different departments for approval and action. It then tracks the status of each activity, and automatically reminds people if they’re behind schedule.

If an activity is stalled, it is automatically escalated so that you can sort out the problem. Some manual processes can be eliminated entirely. For example, the service management system can create email accounts, and even update HR and finance systems automatically.

Usually at this point, prospects want to know what we mean by service management. This is one way to explain it:

Q: What is Service Management?

A: Service management transforms the way you engage with employees. Think of it as the perfect combination of administrative assistant and project manager. The system responds instantly to employee requests, progresses cases, automates repeatable manual processes, and even manages complex cross-departmental activities such as employee onboarding. Service management never forgets or makes mistakes, always follows up with people so things get done, and lets you know if there’s a problem it can’t solve. It also shows you where your people spend their time – so you can optimize resource deployment and maximize productivity. Check out our new demo to see it in action.

And the answer that always gets the HR team’s attention is here:

Q: How long will it take for ServiceNow to be implemented for my HR team?

A: Service management doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need to take a big bang approach. You can start to see benefits very quickly – in as little as a couple of months. For example, you can begin by simply recording all employee interactions and requests in ServiceNow without making any other changes to your business model. This will give you visibility into your business that you’ve likely never had before. And with the information you will now have, you can make better decisions for your business and your employees. You can now confidently and easily answer questions like:

  • How many employees have you interacted with this month?
  • What is the most common employee question?
  • How long does it take HR to respond to employees?

Most initial roll-outs take less than four months. You can probably already see lots of different ways that you could use service management – the possibilities are endless. If you’re wondering where to start, check out our eBook.

Q:  Will ServiceNow help my HR team be less dependent on IT?

A: In short, it absolutely can. ServiceNow was designed in such a way to make configuration easy and manageable by someone who doesn’t have an IT background. Many HR teams are experiencing the power of being able to more closely manage their service delivery and make changes in the tool based on their experience and feedback from employees. They are not standing in line to get help, from IT or a vendor, for every single change they want to make. This is very empowering for HR. Having said this, a strong partnership between HR and IT is always the best way to ensure a smooth implementation.

I hope I was able to address any unknowns about service management and how ServiceNow works with leading HCM systems. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Jen Stroud
Jen Stroud is passionate about inspiring HR leaders to transform the employee experience and how work gets done in HR. She comes to ServiceNow from TeleTech where she spent the past 10 years in HR and most recently was the Executive Director of Human Capital Services. In this role, Jen led an enterprise HR transformation initiative, transitioning the company from a decentralized HR support model to a Shared Services operating model.

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