August 31, 2021

ServiceNow + VividCharts, A Reporting Love Story

VividCharts can help every business that's utilizing the ServiceNow platform.

Panel Experts

Pedro Soto
Senior Manager
Westbury Analytics
Pedro Soto
Senior Manager
Westbury Analytics
Pedro Soto
Senior Manager
Westbury Analytics

Businesses run on spreadsheets.  Wait, businesses run on the numbers that are IN the spreadsheets.  That's still not totally right.  Businesses run because of PEOPLE who build the spreadsheets.  Having the right people inside the business will always determine the success or failure of the company.  This means that everything matters in the day to day workflow.  Bad processes lead to poor results and burnout.  Great processes lead to favorable outcomes and avenues for growth.  ServiceNow is a big step in the right direction when it comes to business controls but how does VividCharts fit in?  The answer is simple, we make ServiceNow reporting less error prone, less biased, always available, easier to read along with pleasing visuals.  The bigger question though is why does that matter?  Here are 3 game changing factors that created us and will change your business too.

1. You Waste Hours A Week With Manual Tasks That Could Be Automated.

Everyone is familiar with the concept of automation.  If you stopped to think about a classic automated process maybe you think about the automotive industry and how vehicles are made.  Here's a 2018 BMW x2 being made step by step.  In contrast here is footage of a 1920's Dodge Brothers Car Assembly line.  The difference is astounding, but its based on decades of change and an understanding that faster and more consistent results are key.  Without this progress we wouldn't know the world as it is today with it's magnificent amount of products and services at our fingertips. You may not work in the automotive industry but your business MATTERS when it comes to progress and global function.  Here are 2 ways automating processes helps you succeed regardless of the industry you champion.

  • Time is money.  Sure everyone has heard that phrase but whose money is it?  Every business has one of 2 current endgame strategies; grow until a specific size/revenue is reached OR grow perpetually until the market dictates the maximum size/revenue.  Regardless of the strategy, both are susceptible to internal collapse without addressing "whose money it is." The failure to ask this question doesn't mean it won't be answered, it means that you leave control up to fate, and well, that's not a good place to be.  Ultimately the money is everyone's inside the organization, so it requires each person to contribute value. The ability for everyone to contribute is then tied to their ability to resist burnout.  How many workers feel burnout?  A lot.  Look at this study that shows 76% of workers are experiencing some form of burnout.  That's a big number.  The more important number, is that when asked what would help reduce the burnout, the biggest answer was "reduced work hours".  The solution: AUTOMATION.  Just like the auto industry, automation allowed the same amount of workers to do more.  Thus, reducing the amount of hours needed for the same output.  With this greater output for the same amount of work it will then be easier to accomplish the next item causing burnout; employees not feeling comfortable taking their vacation time.  Having a team that can consistently generate powerful results sets the stage for employees to be able to take a rest, and feel good about it.
  • Ideas matter and are often cultivated.  When you have a stressful morning full of pressure and time constraints you are much less likely to be able to do something like come up with creative dinner plans.  Businesses often will agree with the idea that creativity inside the organization is important but then will not cultivate the atmosphere for it.  Here is a study by multiple universities that investigates the reason why some people are or seem more creative than others.  You can dive into it if you to see a more interesting in-depth look, but here's the bottom line; people who have the time and put forth the effort to be, are more creative.  In a practical business sense, this means that if you have processes that are inefficient, staff that are burnt out, and no room for creativity, it just isn't likely to happen.  Automation frees up more resources so they are available for the creativity cultivation that will take you to the next level.  If you don't build in time for your employees to cultivate their creativity, it just simply will not happen.    

2. You Aren't Giving Decision Makers The Tools To Make Good Decisions.

Decisions made today shape tomorrow.  If you make the wrong decision today, going back to fix it can be impossible or difficult at best.  Whether it's 7 million dollars to spend on computer software upgrades or a single update needed for a division of the company, the decision matters because it then drives the next decision. Here's 2 reasons that you're probably not giving yourself the best chance at successful decision making with your current reporting.

  • Your reports are confusing and they take a lot of time to make.  Remember in the beginning when I said businesses run on spreadsheets?  Unfortunately, even though that statement is false, it reverberates with many people who would read it (not to mention feel some possible dread).  The problem with building spreadsheets manually is that it takes a ton of time to copy/paste everything along with building any formulas you need.  Then when something goes wrong and you get that dreaded #REF! or an ERROR it's almost like having to start over. (That goes double for highly customized reports). The data in the sheet is important though or it wouldn't be getting utilized into the sheet.  Time spent on data reports that can be automated is wasted time.  If we assume that everything is entered correctly and all the formulas give the expected output, we still now only have a spreadsheet with numbers.  So unless you have a very thought out system of headers, sub headings and visual flow, someone looking at it is likely to get lost.  Not to mention, if you aren't the only person with your job, then there's going to be multiple versions of the report you are building.  This means that the decision maker that is utilizing your data is not going to be immediately seeing the focus, but instead getting frustrated trying to find what they are looking for.  A beautiful single form template that has automated import of data solves all these issues in addition to reducing errors in transcription and bias.  
  • There's nothing drawing the viewer to engrained urgency. If I ask you what color a stop sign is, you don't have to look it up you know that it's red.  If you are looking at data and suddenly one has a "!" beside it, you know that there must be something that makes it different than the others without it.  Along with other "learned" queues, this is exactly how everyone reads reports as well.  So if you receive a report like this:

It isn't really clear where your eyes need to go.  Most likely you will roam the page and then end up looking at the colored circles only then to wonder what they mean.  This leads to immediate frustration and lack of any structured path to a decision.  Instead what if you were presented with the same report but like this:

The process of getting into the report and finding what you need is much less cumbersome and much more likely to lead to the user finding the information that you are showcasing as most important.  We have seen users of VividCharts save hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars just from this single idea.  It's not enough to hope that a report will yield the tools to make a sound decision; you have to be able to prove that it will.

3.   Employees Thrive When They Have The Right Tools, Get The Right Feedback And Are In The Right Positions.

When it comes to what we believe in as a company, traits like flexibility, speed, opportunity, and responsiveness are paramount.  VividCharts has grown into a team of 17 people who are bold enough to take on the idea that someone needs to champion the cause of reporting automation and its effect on employee culture.   Since burnout is so prevalent, the opportunity for positive change is huge.  Just like the citizens we strive to be in our community, we also strive to help our clients achieve positive change within their own spheres of influence.  It may not seem like enhancing the reporting functionality and speed within the ServiceNow platform could be so far reaching but here's 2 concepts showing it probably does or would.

  • Maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch.  PeopleKeep, who has over 15,000 active users conducted a study about what benefits are most important to employees here. Not surprisingly the most important was remote work or flexibility of scheduling.  In a post COVID world, the landscape of the work environment has been forever changed.  Since this doesn't mean 100% remote work necessarily, you might be surprised to learn what other item has jumped up in the list: free food in the office.  So it's not surprising that events like "lunch and learn" are so popular.  This year the sleep foundation put out an updated study on the amount of sleep recommended for adults and it's still 7-9 hours.  Wait, how is a sleep study related?  Everyone produces more quality work with much more satisfaction when we are healthy and thriving.  Producing a culture inside your business that is conducive to successful outcomes means that you are taking everything into consideration. This absolutely includes building great processes for those remote, having an office atmosphere that produces the highest level of productivity and reducing potential avenues for burnout. Long term dissatisfaction leads to long term loss of business health.  So with such a diverse group of needs, having employees in and out of the office and the COVID changed landscape; processes need to be strong where physical/mental health are affected.

Your employees aren't loyal. Woah wait a minute. That's right a study by Insurance Business America found that 76% of employees are actively looking for new jobs or opportunities.  That's so important that I'm going to snip the text and post it here:

76% of employed individuals are either actively looking for new jobs or are open to learning about new opportunities.

So on average you only have 29% of your current employees who aren't looking for new jobs.  Having the right employee in the right position doing the right thing increases the chances that they will stay.  So suddenly processes from top to bottom inside each organization play a critical role in shaping the culture, satisfaction, retention, output and health of the business.  The exciting part of this is that every person WANTS to be at their dream job.  Every employee WANTS to have the job that ends their desire to scout.  Becoming that business requires strategic planning.  Make no mistake, asking an employee to make decisions or build reports on complex data that is not automated WILL lead to frustration and then to burnout.  It can all be avoided with just a call to us!

We believe that who you partner with has a significant influence on daily outcomes.  Those daily outcomes shape what will become the reality of your future.   Having better reporting is just that, better reporting, but we've proven that how decision makers get data, how they process it, satisfaction in the outcome, mental health, physical health and the process of building the reporting all are paramount when it comes to the overall function of every business.  This is why we believe that we can help EVERY business that is utilizing the ServiceNow platform to build a stronger company, a stronger community and a healthier world for us all to live in.  If you see the value in our vision, we would love to tell you more about it anytime you're ready.

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