ServiceNow Runbook Automation: Top 5 Use Cases – Part Two

Thought Leadership for
IT Service Management Professionals

ServiceNow Runbook Automation: Top 5 Use Cases – Part Two

Posted by Steph Velte

Wed, Dec 05, 2012

In last week's blog post I discussed the first two of five high-value automation use cases that we believe all ServiceNow customers should be looking to employ:

  • Account Lockouts & Password Resets

  • Diagnosis and Remediation of Common Incidents

Today I will cover the remaining three cases: 

  • Employee or Contractor On-Boarding

  • Cloud Provisioning

  • Deployment of Standard Changes

Automation Use Case #3 – Employee or Contractor On-Boarding

It seems that every customer we work with is looking to improve their employee or contractor on-boarding process. The main reason for this is the process has a lot of moving parts and handoffs to various individuals, many of which are not in IT. This process complexity makes it an ideal fit for a platform such as ServiceNow where the activities of on-boarding can be properly orchestrated amongst IT and the business. Fold in runbook automation and many of the role-based provisioning activities can be performed without the need of IT involvement.  The common automation components within this process are the provisioning of accounts (such as within active directory), the assignment of roles that grant rights to applications (such as SharePoint, ServiceNow, etc.) and the configuration of role-based services (such as the installation of specific department-used software onto the workstation). Because the on-boarding process is typically the first introduction of a new employee or contractor to the services that IT provides, having a well-orchestrated and automated solution can establish a trust between IT and the business that can result in the business seeking out and sponsoring more valued-added services from IT.        

Automation Use Case #4 – Cloud Provisioning

Cloud computing provides organizations with a model for enabling convenient, on-demand computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services). With this capability IT can better react to business demand from customers and build, test and deploy new solutions to address this demand. ServiceNow runbook automation has extensive capabilities to interact with VMware and other cloud providers (such as Amazon) to spin up environments, add capacity and destroy images when the cloud resources are no longer in need. This feature can be leveraged to react to incidents by adding capacity to environments or can be used as an orderable service through the service catalog.

Automation Use Case #5 – Deployment of Standard Changes

Standard changes from an ITIL perspective are routine, commonly implemented changes with little to no risk on the services provided to the business. These changes lend themselves to automation for they tend to be consistent with a proven set of instructions and validation procedures. Given the routine and likely high volume of these activities there is cost savings in automating the execution of these changes to the environment as well ensuring consistency in the deployment of these types of changes.

The bottom line: don't be paralyzed by the belief that automation is too big of a challenge to tackle! Real cost savings can be realized by targeting your automation on these top 5 use cases within the ServiceNow platform. 


About the Author
Jeff Benedict, Practice Manager, Evergreen Systems

Jeff has more than 15 years of experience working in IT and consulting. He is ITIL and ServiceNOW implementation certified and has managed and implemented countless ITSM tool implementations. Prior to joining Evergreen Jeff managed a delivery organization for a Managed Service Provider.

Topics: Service Catalog, ServiceNow, Runbook Automation, Automation Use Case


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