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Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Cloud Infrastructure, Collaboration, Manage

Driving Office 365 Adoption

One question we often get from clients who have moved to Office 365 is “We like it, but we’re not sure we’re getting all the value we can from the Suite.  Can you help us understand our usage and drive uptake?”

What a lot of people don’t realise is that Micrososft themselves have released a number of good tools to help you understand usage.  First, there’s the upgraded admin center, released in March last year. Next step is to leverage the reporting portal, also released in March last year.

While this was a good start, we’re very excited about the release of the public preview of the Office 365 “adoption content pack”  in Power BI.

“Office 365 gives users the freedom to work from anywhere and the services they need to be more productive and collaborative. Sometimes, however, people need a helping hand to get started with Office 365. For example, if someone doesn’t use Skype for Business, they might not know how to get started using Skype or understand how they can leverage it to communicate better. In either case, the IT department might want to connect with this person to provide them with more information or training resources.

The new Office 365 adoption content pack gives you a cross-product view of how users communicate and collaborate to help IT admins provide more targeted user communication. When you better understand how employees use the various services within Office 365, it is easy to decide where to prioritize training and communication efforts. The content pack lets admins further visualize and analyze their Office 365 usage data, create custom reports, share insights and understand how specific regions or departments use Office 365.”

The reports are a lot more detailed and insightful – for example:

But we’re particularly excited about how our global clients are going to be able to visualise uptake in their various geographies:

Feel free to contact us for more information on how to deploy this in your environment, and then how to make the most of the learning this data and analysis will give you. [wcp_contactform id=”wcpform_hxgn8u984″]

Adopt, Advise, Collaboration, Enhance, Service Management

Service Portal in ServiceNow – Power and Beauty

‘Use Service Portal to create a delightful experience for your users’ – this is the very first line in an article about Service Portal available in ServiceNow Product Documentation portal. Starting from Geneva, I have customized and built several portals and dashboards in Service Portal and my experiences say the above line is completely true. I completely agree and I believe those who are working with and using Service Portal will agree with me.

Many people think Service Portal is an alternative to CMS and hence it’s going to replace CMS. YES, certainly Service Portal is replacing CMS but that’s not the only thing we should think of about Service Portal. It could be as powerful as to become an effective alternative to ServiceNow Standard UI for many users and roles whereas CMS was mainly built for end users to submit request and check the status of their tickets.

Comfort – for both Users and Developers

The ServiceNow platform changes how people work, and Service Portal will change how people interact with data and the tool. With the help of Twitter Bootstrap, AnguarJS, HTML5 and SCSS Service Portal is ready to provide ultimate, ubiquitous and useful (easy to use and easy to perceive) functionalities through different types of computing devices starting from Desktop, laptop to hand held devices.

Service Portal can eliminate “noise” for the logged in user by presenting data the user wants and needs to view and interact with. This delivers a clearer interface, which is key as far as end user experience is concern.

It’s been a huge relief for the developers as well, for two main reasons:

  • Compared to building or customizing a portal in CMS, it’s way more comfortable and easier to configure and build in Service Portal. No more Jelly script needed for building portal!!!
  • Unlike CMS which could be quite restrictive, the sky is the limit in terms of potential ways of implementing business requirements. It can interact with every component in the underlying ServiceNow platform and incorporate any UI technologies easily.

Possibilities – case studies

By building different widgets and with the help of CSS driven page layout Service Portal can be leveraged to present information and action for a user within a single page. You can lay down several widgets that are dedicated to display designated information in a much more autonomous manner. It’s like a multi-dimensional facet which gives you 360-degree view of your data, and you can pick different perspective and make decision effectively and efficiently with few mouse clicks – and most importantly, staying on the same page.

I am going to share 2 case studies that support the claims so far we have made in this article.  Many thanks to our good friends at Cask LLC who bought us in, and did a lot of the design and creative work that we built on this project.

Case study 1: Procure to Pay portal

We’ve recently deployed a project for a finance department at a large customer, managing the Procure to Pay process entirely through a Service Portal front end. The entry page was designed in such way that the related information is grouped together and presented whenever the user wants to view.

There are top row widgets which are used to display top category information for the logged in user. Upon selection of the widget in the top row, there are dynamic tabs below which are populated and provide further categorized information. The number of tabs depends on the top row widget selection. For example, when you click on My Approvals widget, it gives you only two tabs as opposed to four tabs when ‘My Activities’ is selected.

Widgets we deployed include:

  • The Filter widget which dynamically displays saved or default filters for the selected category and logged in user. Users can edit the filter on the fly to filter the data instantly without saving it for future use.
  • The Vertical List widget displays the list of items/records with summary information based on the selected top row widget (main category), selected tab (sub-category) and filters. This vertical list can also be paginated, so instead of showing all records at a time it lists first few records for big list with the ability to let user load more data whenever needed. It has sort options and sort criteria dropdown box to sort the list as required.
  • The detail widget present detailed information about the selected record along with related records in tabular fashion. You can also perform different activities like attaching an attachment, creating a duplicate record, sending email or inserting a comment. You can also turn a switch on or click a button to view further information related to the record if you need. For example, you can view list of approvers for the record or you can turn on ‘View cost allocation’ switch button to view further information.

Case study 2: Financial Close Management Dashboard

This project focused on helping the Finance department manage the processes for closing the month. This is like the Procure to Pay app but even more complex in terms of transactions and functionalities.

This Close Management Dashboard introduced a carousel to display more widgets within the same page – while there are seven widgets, only 3 are displayed at any one time.

We also incorporated different graph libraries to present data in different fashions – for example vertical lists and detailed forms on the one page.

Final comments

This is not our intention to review these two portals, and there’s only so much we can show in a blog post. But I wanted to showcase the possibilities and potentials of Service Portal that we can harvest out of Service Portal capabilities as per our need.

The beauty of Service Portal is reusability – whatever you develop that can be reused for other portals. It could be a Style Sheet, Widget, Header, Footer, Theme, or any other dependencies (APIs, Angular Services, Directives etc), they can potentially be reused. This reduces time to market.

A word of warning – what is needed is proper planning, where planning should be completely aligned with business need and expectation. Importantly you need a good layout designer that depicts the plan and verifies whether the need and expectations are met. Attention to details (e.g. font color, font size, positioning etc) is very important in this kind of project as your ultimate objective is to give user a delightful experience.

Best of luck, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Adopt, Advise, Cloud Infrastructure, Enhance, Manage, Services

CloudGo Turns One

Many thanks to all who joined us at last week’s birthday party! We’re happy and grateful that our business, our idea, of a consultancy that delivered business value through cloud and digital transformation, has made it through the first year.  We’d like to thank all those who have made it possible – our customers, partners, friends, investors and supporters.

We’ve been going through some significant changes recently – we’ve tripled in size in the last year, opened our Australian office, and launched a new Cloud Infrastructure and Collaboration practise to be led by Haythum Auda (see the other blog post).  Our Salesforce and Service Management practises continue to grow, and we’ve delivered a number of advisory workshops and engagements recently.

Thank you all again – we look forward to an even bigger party next year, and more cake!

Adopt, Enhance, Service Management, Services

ServiceNow Express for Mid-sized organisations

For the last 10 years ServiceNow has focused on enterprise customers in the Fortune 1000, and have a long list of successful deployments to show for it. Recently, they have started focusing on Mid-sized organisations and launched ServiceNow Express for organisations with less than 1,000 workers.

With ServiceNow Express, IT teams have a powerful new IT automation solution that provide these key functions:

  • Incident, problem and change automation to speed the assignment and resolution of tickets, fix recurring issues and help IT teams stop managing services with email.
  • Self service which gives supported end users a clean, simple front end to their IT support organization.
  • Discovery finds a computer or device, it explores the device’s configuration, provisioning, and current status and updates the CMDB accordingly.
  • Custom Application allow customers to develop new applications that meet their business needs.
  • Asset tracking to replace spreadsheets with a single system of record to see what assets the IT team manages, where assets reside, how they are performing and what issues are tagged to them.
  • Visual Task Boards to give IT managers a unique and easy way to assign the team work through a drag-and-drop interface, including changing assignee, adding tasks, resetting priorities and collaborating with the team.
  • One-click reporting on any metric to track performance and demonstrate the value of IT to business leaders.

 

Express is purpose-built to get IT up and running quickly with these elements:

  • Pre-configured workflows and more than 150 report templates speed time to value. IT teams can use the templates to automatically run reports rich with easy-to-read graphs, charts and lists and then send them to a group of users.
  • Codeless business rules help administrators define automatic data entry behaviors and assignment rules to track key metrics and ticket routing, such as automatically creating incidents from end-user emails.
  • A quick-start guide and an administration home page designed for time-strapped IT teams to get up and run rapidly with their in-house resources.

 

SUMMARY

ServiceNow express gives Mid-sized customers access to enterprise grade cloud to solve Service Management challenges. It is ideal for organisations with less than 1000 workers. If you decide to move to the Enterprise version there is no upgrade fee.  You may, of course, need more licenses, and please note CloudGo does not have the rights to resell ServiceNow to you, but we’d be happy to make the introduction.  You can signup to get a free trial, or for more details on Express you can see more videos.

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Service Management, Services

How to save between $60,000 to $400,000 by moving to the cloud

Many Singaporean entities are struggling with the same questions.  How do I innovate in difficult economic conditions?  How do I improve my business productivity, so I keep profit margins stable even while revenue is under pressure?

It surprises us that many Singaporean entities don’t know about the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme run by IRAS.  “Under the PIC Scheme, businesses can enjoy 400% tax deductions/allowances and/or 60% cash payout for investments made in any of the Six Qualifying Activities from the Years of Assessment (YAs) 2013 to 2018.”

There are six “qualifying activities” under the PIC scheme, the first of which is “Acquisition and Leasing of PIC IT and Automation Equipment”.  Items in the list include:

“Information technology software including office system software and software used in connection with provision of any office automation service, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management such as reservations, registration, queue management, ordering, billings and collections, inventory management, record management, knowledge management, human resource and payroll management, financial information and business management such as accounting and assets management, and personnel business travel request, information and management.”

The bold highlighting is ours – we are focussed on service management and customer success, after all – but also note you are entitled to a “100% accelerated writeoff for capital allowances” on these items.

So where does the $60,000 come from?  Simple.  There are two ways to claim PIC deductions:

  1. You take the “cashback” option and get back 60% of a $100k investment, so $60k in straight cash. OR:
  2. You take the “tax deduction” option. The Tax Deduction option lets you claim up to 400% of appropriate spend (max $600k) per year.  So you can claim up $600k x 400% = $2.4m, and at the company tax rate of 17% that’s $408,000.  So your $600k investment is actually only costing you $192,000 – an effective 68% discount!

Please note – CloudGo is not a financial services firm, this is advice only and conditions apply.  Please check with IRAS, your accountant or specialised firms like GAC Group who can help you make any claim.

So what does this mean to you?

CloudGo can help you pull together a first project around customer success or service management, and your investment in software like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Devicedesk or DocuSign can be offset.  Hence, your project doesn’t have to jump as many hurdles to show a successful ROI.

We’ll be running a webinar on this in late March.  To register for it, or for more information, please contact us.

 

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Enhance, Manage, Service Management, Services

Welcome to CloudGo

CloudGo started as an idea first: that we could grow and have fun while solving interesting problems for people.  That we could create a business that the best in our niche in the market would want to join, and that we could invest in relationships with our customers.  Somewhere that was big enough to handle tough problems, but small enough to look after the people involved.

We’ve had plenty of comments about our startup, and thankfully all of it positive: the two most widely used comments “adventure” and “exciting”. And that’s what it feels like to us: an exciting adventure, where we might be able to do interesting things for and with our customers, partners and team.  Now, we’re not Scorpion who can deliver “any funded need” (Podcast from Tim Ferriss here)– we’re very specific about what we do.

We deliver digital projects with a speciality in service management, customer success and analytics. That’s it.  And we are very focussed on the PaaS/SaaS technology platforms that we use to deliver these outcomes.  We’ve leveraged our experience in these spaces to select the leading solutions, and then we’ve doubled down on those.  Although we’re still working through the official paperwork to be able to call ourselves “authorised partners” of ServiceNow, Salesforce, Devicedesk and DocuSign (plus hopefully one or two more in the BI/big data space), we have the skills now to deliver outcomes. Through partnerships, we have access to 250+ certified Salesforce developers and architects, 20+ certified ServiceNow resources, and many more Mobile/UX/custom coders.  That means two things for you: first, that we can scale to larger projects, and secondly, that we can provide offshore rates to reduce your cost.

With the backing of systemsGo, we have the APAC reach and financial backing to be able to focus on delivering projects for you, and not be distracted by the noise that other startups have to deal with.

Thanks for reading this – we’ll have our first technical blogs out next week.  In case it’s not obvious, as a startup, we’re looking for foundation customers and our first success stories.  I make an offer at the bottom of our about page – feel free to contact me to discuss what that could mean for you!

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