Entrago: ServiceNow Approvals

by | Aug 31, 2021 | Applications, ServiceNow

by David McDonald, Senior Technical Consultant
by David McDonald, Senior Technical Consultant

Entrago: ServiceNow Approvals

ServiceNow approvals have been proven to be incredibly useful in the platform. For approval processes, it’s powerful, flexible, and easy to track. Over the last few years, entrago’s ServiceNow team has made significant improvements to the ServiceNow platform for multiple clients in the several industry sectors. These include:

  1. Improving the approver experience in the ServiceNow service portal.
  2. Organising a large number of approvals awaiting the user.
  3. Summarising approvals for an at-a-glance review, preventing approvals from being missed or forgotten.

The Problem The common problem that clients have previously, and commonly encountered is during instances when approvals that are assigned to a specific user to action, becomes overwhelmingly large. In the past, ServiceNow creates an automated email to send to the user to inform them about it. However, since most approvers are designated to different areas, this unfortunately causes their mailboxes to easily become overwhelmed with emails related to approvals action. When a specific approval doesn’t get actioned, processes in the baseline platform of ServiceNow halts and waits. Consider a Change Manager at an enterprise-sized company. They receive dozens of emails a week from approvals overwhelming their inboxes to a point that it is no longer manageable. If approvals are completely forgotten about, they have the tendency to build up and remain there until an employee notices that a specific user from Accounting has 3,000 approvals that they haven’t looked at in years. Approvers like these are part of multiple or large processes, and can quickly become overwhelmed with approval requests. This can then result to approvals being missed and falling through the cracks, and even in some instances, forgotten completely.

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Solution The ServiceNow team has come up with a solution that regularly and automatically sends a reminder email to approvers that they have approvals waiting for them. This allows the user to know:

  • That there are existing approval requests requiring action.
  • The amount of approvals that are requiring action.
  • The firections to the approvals page in the service portal, where they can review and action their approvals.

The aim is for the reminder email slim & lightweight, directing the user to the service portal instead of including the approval details in the email. This approach has proven to be successful due to the following reasons:

  • It passively encourages approvers to use and become familiar with ServiceNow and the service portal.
  • It doesn’t include information about the approvals, which often becomes stale over time.
  • It avoids security concerns with shared mailboxes, where sensitive approval details may accidentally be viewed by someone who has access to the approver’s mailbox. Especially with HR-related approvals.

Some examples for potential customers that could utilise the approval process include:

  • Approval requests that have a financial impact, for instance, purchasing an asset that’s greater than $10,000.
  • Human Resource data updates (e.g. change of manager).
  • Onboarding or off-boarding employees.
  • A change request (e.g. I want to update the server “ABC” at “8:00pm” on “01/02/2023”)

The Outcome Through this methodical approach, clients are now able to utilise the platform to automate and receive reminder emails. For each designated time and date, the user with pending approval tasks will receive reminder emails. These reminders will request the user to log into the service portal Approvals page to action such approvals. This enables consistency in task mediation and action. This then streamlines the client’s ability to respond to future issues in a consistent and effective manner, which ultimately drives successful outcomes. by David McDonald, Senior Technical Consultant“With over 10 years experience in IT and 6 years working in ServiceNow development, David has significant experience in the IT services industry. David has proven success in ServiceNow application development, service portal customisation, systems integration, and ITIL Foundations.”

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