Founded in 2004, ServiceNow (formerly known as Glidesoft, Inc. pre-2006) is a software company based in Santa Clara, California. ServiceNow develops cloud-based software which provides Software as a Service (SaaS) for technical management support. The company specialises in IT Services Management (ITSM), IT Operations Management (ITOM) and IT Business Management (ITBM) allowing companies to manage their teams, projects and customers via an array of apps and plug-ins.
In June 2012, ServiceNow became a publicly-traded company following a US$210mil Initial Public Offering (IPO) by Morgan Stanley – one month after they took Facebook public.
One of the distinct benefits of ServiceNow is its ability to integrate with other tools and applications smoothly. Furthermore, ServiceNow provides a comprehensive third-party app store. The products offered are essentially a service model helping users and companies triage and resolve issues themselves.
Because of the wide range of products, ServiceNow can support a large variety of company workflows. Examples include ticketing systems and IT service/help-desks that can use ServiceNow to help track and resolve their cases.
So how can ServiceNow be used by an Investment Data Team (IDT)?
ServiceNow is ideally suited to investment data exception, query and system issue management. It is becoming increasingly less common for investment data to be sourced ‘in-house’. A more preferable model is to contract third-parties (usually multiple third-parties) to supply specialist investment data to an IDT.
A need, therefore, arises to be able to communicate with each data vendor any questions or data issues relating to the information provided. This can normally be achieved by using each vendor’s customer-facing ticketing system or communication method.
The complexity lies when an IDT has multiple vendors, each offering different service and data (or even the same data). Using different communication channels is cumbersome for an IDT as they need to access multiple tools to manage their day-to-day operations. This also makes an audit trail difficult to follow, particularly if you wanted to look at past issues. Furthermore, providing oversight of the outstanding queries and their criticality is difficult as the information is ultimately stored in different systems.
ServiceNow helps alleviate these pain points by providing a single source of all queries and data issues in a single location. This can be achieved either by individual vendors accessing their client’s ServiceNow instance or by directly interfacing with the vendors own client-facing ticketing system. In both cases, ServiceNow can act as the single control hub for all cases raised.
The benefit of this approach is that an IDT is able to view and manage all their cases with different vendors in one place. This in turn makes their exception management processes more efficient. Furthermore, ServiceNow can re-route cases to different vendors seamlessly. Previously separate cases would have to be raised on different systems. With a full audit trail, it is easy to see the communication and resolution steps, particularly if the same data issue occurs in the future. Also, management information of all cases becomes a lot easier to collect and report on. Finally, comparison and trend analysis is much easier as a unique set of criteria (for example criticality) can be applied to all cases regardless of data vendor.
As the need for more accurate and timely investment data becomes more crucial for IDTs, the requirement for multiple vendors and data sources is more apparent. ServiceNow can help efficiently manage data issues and queries across different vendors by allowing IDTs to manage their exception management processing in a single product. This allows IDTs to focus on more ‘value-added’ tasks (such the investigation and resolution of data issues) as the administration of the cases is taken care of.