The DCM Blog

How To Ensure Workflows Don’t Fail Over User Data

By Mikko Juola

November 10, 2022
CMDB User Data

User records are probably the most important detail of your Foundation Data since everything you do in ServiceNow is related to Users in one way or another. For example, all tasks refer to Users as Customers, Requesters, Callers, or Assignees. Most, if not all, Configuration Items refer to Users somehow. Therefore, it is crucially important that the User information is correct and up to date.

In this example, we will look at how you can quickly check that every User in your ServiceNow belongs to an Organization and has a valid Manager.

With Data Content Manager, this is another simple use case you can try with our Free Trial in your non-production environment.

Why Correct User Information Matters

We have visited this topic before, for example, in our article The Importance of Foundation Data with Examples. There we gave several examples of where and how Foundation Data matters. As said, we believe User records are the most crucial part of Foundation Data.

In addition to the User details, it’s about their relationships with Organizational Structures, Locations, and Managers. These derived details are often used in reporting and workflows or automatically populating additional information to different requests.

For example, when a user logs in to a Service Portal and requests a new laptop, the make and model might have been made available based on their Department. Then, approval might be required by a direct Manager assigned to the User. For more expensive purchases, the Department Head might need to approve.

If any of these details are missing or incorrect, the simple laptop request will fail, resulting in someone having to process the request manually.

Another obvious example is Incident and Service Request Reporting, where Service Managers would be interested in knowing which Departments, Cost Centers, or Business Units submit the most tickets. This reporting is inaccurate or sometimes not even possible if the User or other basic details are incorrect or unavailable. 

How to Make Sure that Workflows or Approvals Don’t Fail Due to Missing or Invalid User Details?

Although quite comprehensive, the Common Service Data Model (CSDM) doesn’t say much about User records. However, if we look at the out-of-the-box form layouts and keep it simple, we can start with a data model that defines how Users should be related to organizational structures and their managers.

Draw a Blueprint…

An example DCM Blueprint below shows exactly that:

Users Blueprint

This Blueprint will check that every User has:

  • An active manager.
  • A reference to an organizational unit.
  • Some key attributes are in place.

References to organizational units can differ from one ServiceNow instance to another, depending on how organizations have chosen to set them up. Nevertheless,  the idea here is that Users should relate to a Company in one way or another. Users can have a direct reference to a Company or go through a Department or even a Business Unit behind the Department. Regardless of how it is set up in your instance, you can easily adjust the Blueprint to match.

… Get Immediate Results

Once the Blueprint is ready, you can run an audit against it. The very first audit can give you valuable insight into User data and possible problem areas. For example, from the reports below, you can easily see that many of the active user records are missing a Manager or a reference to an organizational unit.

These reports are a part of the standard dashboards that come with DCM, so you do not need to worry about developing them separately. Instead, draw the Blueprint, and the reports will follow automatically.

Users First Audit

Just glancing at the report, you see concrete issues that can impact your workflows and user experience. Then, drilling into the reports further, you see the exact details of where these issues exist. And once you know where the problems are, they are easy to fix.

You can already do this with our Free Trial in a non-production instance.

Schedule the Audit for Constant Tracking

When you regularly audit your User data against this Blueprint, you can be assured that user-based reporting in different processes is more reliable and workflows don’t fail due to missing or invalid approvers.

After running the audit on a schedule for some time, the results could be something like this:

User Trends

The above example shows that the User count has increased with 157 new users. It might be due to some company acquisition or onboarding more customers into your platform. All new users had some critical deviations compared to the agreed user data model.

This increase in non-compliant records explains the sudden drop in user data compliance percentage. The responsible persons can immediately fix the issues before they impact any workflows or the user experience when they use a portal or contact the Service Desk.

Deviations found by the audits can be automatically addressed to managers, their managers, a department head, or any relevant party to ensure that changes to the data are made in the correct place.

Give it a Try for Free

You can try this for Free. We offer a Free Trial of Data Content Manager that you can run in any non-production ServiceNow instance. So as long as your non-prod instance has real data, you will get real results.

We will help you set everything up, including creating the Blueprint so that you can see the results from your instance with minimal effort.

There is no cost or commitment apart from the few hours you would spend with us. As for the results, they are yours to keep.  You can use the results as you see fit, so you will get value from this exercise regardless of if you ever purchase a paid license.

Click below to book a 1-hour demo session with us to get started!

Get a Free Guided Trial

To see how Data Content Manager works in your own environment, please request a Guided Trial from us. A Guided Trial allows you to experience the power of Data Content Manager in your own ServiceNow instance, with your own data. We will guide you through installation, creating Blueprints, running Audits, and interpreting results.

The results are yours to keep.

There’s no cost or commitment since we know this is the easiest way for you to experience the power of Data Content Manager.

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