PPM Reporting in ServiceNow

PPM Reporting in ServiceNow

10-09-2019

If you are a ServiceNow client new to PPM or a consultant starting with PPM in ServiceNow ITBM suite, it can be a daunting task to get hold of the reporting features in ServiceNow and that too specific to PPM. This is particularly because there are many reporting "entry points" in ServiceNow unlike other traditional PPM tools. In this blog post I will try to provide an overview of all these options and I hope you will find this helpful in thinking in a more structured way on how your PPM community can benefit from reporting in ServiceNow. Please feel to free to share and add your comments.

I don't get into the technical details in this post - things like how to create a report or set up a dashboard, Performance Analytics for PPM etc - that requires a separate article altogether (planned in the near future). Also the screenshots in this post is from the New York release of ServiceNow.

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Reporting Entry Point 1: The Project Workspace
You may not realise this, but the Project Workspace provides an overview of your projects. It can also be an actionable page because the projects with Status Red are highlighted in Red and will force your user to take notice. I advice clients to direct the users to this page rather then the project list page for such reasons. Another reason is that when you open up a project from the workspace, additional project context reports/insights like the Analytics page, Financials and Status Reports page are visible by default (more on these reports below).

 

Projects from workspace

You can set up your own filter in the Workspace page - something like projects where you are the PM, or projects belonging to a portfolio that you manage or projects related to a Business Application related to your work. Each of the widgets in the page is a project picked up by your defined filter and provides high level information of your project - latest status report status, % complete, project phase, planned dates etc - most of the important insights of a project. If needed, your platform admin can also control what information the widget displays.

 

 Project Workspace

 

Reporting Entry Point 2: The Project List Page
Yes, any normal list page in ServiceNow can be used for reporting too. How? Reason 1 is because as a user you can control which columns you want to see, group the result and define your filters.

Reason 2 - Create Bar chart or a Pie Chart (right click on the column header for which you want to create the chart). For example, selecting Bar Chart on the Project manager column header gives me the below report:

 

Project List Page Option

 

Bar chart

 

This is the Create Report page and already has the filters applied from the project list page. From here on, the user can start configuring the report and can also share and schedule the report. More on report configuration options in a future post.

Reason 3 - Launch Interactive Analysis (click on a column header to see the option and appears right below the Bar and Pie Chart option). Choosing this option opens up a page with dashboard experience like below. Think this as a great tool to do "exploratory data analysis" on your data.

 

Interactive Analysis

You can use the options of Group By, Stack By and Aggregation to control what and how you see the data. You can also add more filters to the page. Although you cannot share this page with others, the system remembers your configuration and the next time to open up the interactive analysis from the same list page, it will give you the same options that you chose the last time.

 

Reporting Entry Point 3: The PMO Dashboard
This is one of the most well designed dashboards from ServiceNow. Many of the widgets depend on PA (performance analytics) data - I will write a separate article on how to set that up.

Each of the tabs in the dashboard consists of widgets to answer various elemental questions on your projects. For example, the Summary tab provides a high level overview of the projects - how many projects are active, what's the total planned cost and benefit, whats the actual cost and benefit, projects by Business Units, Investment Type etc. These metrics provide a quantitative overview of the projects.

The rest of the tabs are used to measure the idea, demand and project pipeline, the health of the projects, data quality, actuals and the project calendar.

 

PMO Dashboard

 

As a user, you can control what you see in the Calendar tab of the dashboard - Project Completion, Project Task completion or the Key Milestone dates. Also, you can choose how you want to highlight the dates.

 

Calender - PMO Dashboard

 

Reporting Entry Point 4: The Investment Portal
This one is my personal favourites and probably the most powerful one to cater to a wide variety of use case. To start with, a user can create their own multiple view of the data with different filters, share the view with others, bookmark their favourite view, control what you see in the views and even create additional columns which the portal may not display by default. From the list views of the portal, you can drag and drop columns to create multi-level groups and export the data to excel.

As an admin, you can create custom widgets for the Investment Portal to support your organisation's PPM process.

 

IP Landing Page
In the landing page of the portal, you can create a new view, see all the views that you have bookmarked, created or shared with you. You can also use the filter to quickly find a view that you are looking for.

IP Definition
When you are creating a new view, you will need to enter a Name, and define how you want to filter the data - available options are Demands/Project, Portfolio and Program. Depending on your use case you will select the right option - for example if you want to filter the data by all demands and projects or by the related Business Application, you will select Type as Demands/Project and then select the Business Application in the filter criteria.

Another use case might be a selection of all active projects with status = Red. As a PMO team, you might want to review such projects on a weekly basis.

When the View opens, you will see a page something like below. The top section contains the widget and the bottom section shows the data in a grid. You can open the Widget Configuration to select and remove the widgets. Example, in the below view (Projects with Status Red), it makes sense to remove the Demands widget.

 

IP Widget Config

 

Note that any changes to the view needs to be saved (the save icon on the page). If you want to edit the filter definition, click on the pencil (Edit) icon. The other 2 icons let you copy and delete the view.

On the grid views, you can drag and drop columns to create a multi-level groups of the data. Example below is the Overview tab which shows project level information and I have grouped the data by Portfolio and Manager.

 

Multi Level Groups

 

The Timeline tab shows the project timeline and the milestone dates. Please note that you will have to expand the groups to see the individual milestones.

 

Timeline

 

The last tab is the Financials tab which shows the data from the view of the cost plans in the project.

 

IP Financials

 

In the Grid Configuration option, you can select and remove columns and you also have the option to add columns. One thing to note is that you cannot add new breakdown columns (time scaled columns) to the view although you can select and remove them from the list.

 

Add Columns

 

You can share your view using the Users/Groups option.

 

Reporting Entry Point 5: The reports within the project context
I have listed these reports together because you navigate to them from within a project. All of these show data within the context of a project.

The first one is the Status Report and you can navigate to it by clicking on the Status Report related link within a project. Or if you navigate to a project from the Project Workspace (another good reason why you should use the Project Workspace), it will be visible as a top level tab in the project. Details include: high level overview of the project, Summary of the Status Report (you can select the one that you want to view), Planned vs Actual in terms of cost and resource, details of the current status, Key Milestones, Risk, Issues, Actions and Changes.

The other set of project context reports is the Analytics tab.

The Financials tab of the Project also provides a very investment portal like insights but more focused on the financials.

 

 Project Financials

 

Reporting Entry Point 6: The Report Page
This is more like reports in other PPM tools where admins (and in many cases users) create and maintain reports. As an end users, you can use the filter (see screenshot below) to quickly filter for the report that you are looking for.

 

Normal Reports

 

Another page which is interesting from Resource Management perspective is the Resource Reports page. This page lets you report on Availability, Forecasted and Committed Utilization and Allocation.

As you have seen from the above options, there are multiple ways you can use ServiceNow to report on your PPM data. There is no one best option and rather depends on what you want to report on and how - and that's the beauty of ServiceNow as a platform.

I hope you find this article helpful in your ServiceNow PPM and ITBM journey.