ServiceNow has recently released to the public its new Utah version on March 22nd 2023. As always, the new release brings us new features and improvements within Strategic Portfolio Management solution.
When you look at the last October’s Tokyo release overview, you can see that the focus was on the improvements around the user experience using Alignment Planner Workspace and the new Project Workspace. Let us break it to you immediately: in ServiceNow SPM Utah release, the core concept of SPM remains the same, which is to align work with business goals to deliver products and services that support strategic priorities. What did change is the flexibility and scale at which you can now follow these goals and strategies.
With Utah, ServiceNow focused tremendously on building a more complex Goal Framework which was first introduced in San Diego, although a simpler version was already existing back in Rome.
The Goal Framework application is a tool that helps organisations create and track their goals, set targets, and evaluate their progress as part of a Strategic Plan in order to better align the very high-level Business Strategy and the more grounded Work execution to maximise delivered value.
The Goal Framework application consists of three key components:
- Strategic priorities: actions that align with an organisation’s strategic plan
- Goals: specific objectives an organisation wants to achieve
- Targets: measurable indicators used to track progress toward a goal
The Goal Framework for SPM allows organisations to automate the collection of data from various sources to update the actual value of targets automatically. By using the Goal Framework with other ServiceNow products, such as Project Portfolio Management, Agile Development 2.0, Scaled Agile Framework, and Strategic Planning, organisations can associate demands, projects, programs, initiatives, and epics with their goals to capture the work being done to meet their objectives.
The Strategic Planning tool offers a range of planning perspectives called Lenses. They help users with prioritising, funding, and planning their work. Depending on their role, users can now plan work from various perspectives – e.g.delivery organisation, strategic investment, product, and more.
Strategic Planning also provides 6 predefined Lenses to help users get started building their portfolio plans:
- Strategic Investments
- Value Stream
Portfolio plans are custom plans built by planning managers using a Lens. They enable users to focus on planning work from a particular perspective and prioritise the right work while aligning it with business strategy. Planning managers can create multiple portfolio plans using different lenses, visualise plans and the progress of work from different perspectives, and share them with stakeholders. This reduces the time spent aligning execution teams to the right work and helps drive shared strategy.
Overall, the Lenses and Portfolio plan features provide users with greater flexibility and customisation in their planning process. By enabling users to plan and prioritise work from different perspectives, you can be sure that they work on the right projects. Moreover, you can ensure that their work is aligned with the organisation’s strategic goals.
Portfolio Planning & Strategy Planning
You might have noticed that we have been talking about Portfolio Planning and Strategy Planning while keeping silent about the Alignment Planner Workspace. This is not innocent! In fact, this Utah release brings important clarifications about the Alignment Planner Workspace (APW).
Indeed, the formerly known Alignment Planner Workspace used to have different features depending on whether you were using it with a Pro License, or not. This of course led to some confusion that was addressed directly in the new Utah ServiceNow release: Goodbye APW! Hello Portfolio Planning and Hello Strategy Planning!
That’s right – in the Utah release, the Alignment Planner Workspace for SPM Standard was renamed to Portfolio Planning, and the Alignment Planner Workspace for SPM Pro to Strategic Planning, making them two distinct products.
Portfolio Planning allows users to prioritise, roadmap, and track work for their products and portfolios using personalised plans that align with business objectives. With the flexibility to switch between planning perspectives, Portfolio Planning enhances traditional portfolio planning for demand and project management using the waterfall methodology. Predefined Lenses are available to help users achieve focused planning for their portfolios and products.
Strategic Planning, on the other hand, prioritises roadmaps, and tracks work using traditional, agile, or hybrid methodologies, aligning strategy to execution by defining and tracking goals across the organisation. You can fill these roadmaps with any planning items used in ServiceNow such as Epics, Features, Big Rocks, etc.
The biggest improvement in the ServiceNow SPM Utah release is obviously the improvement to the Goal Framework. It will perfectly integrate with the other ServiceNow products (and Strategic Planning in particular) to provide organisations with more clarity and visibility on the value they strive to deliver.