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Tales from the Field: How Thirdera Helped This Health Organisation Implement ServiceNow ACC

From HR service delivery to IT operations management and every business workflow in between, the ServiceNow platform enables organisations to create digital experiences that allow them to work smarter, faster, and better. 

But while ServiceNow is a powerful platform, it’s not always easy for organisations to configure in a way that meets their unique business requirements. 

In this short technical case study, we’ll explain how Thirdera helped the IT Operations Management (ITOM) team in this organisation configure its ServiceNow platform to proactively monitor and manage critical IT assets in public hospitals across Australia.  

Supporting virtual visits for patients across Australia 

As a large organisation in the health sector, they provide essential community health services to individuals throughout Australia. One way it provides high-quality patient care throughout its many rural and regional hospital sites is through the use of workstations on wheels (WoWs). These WoWs are equipped with expensive, high-tech USB headphones and webcams to facilitate both family visits and videoconferencing with off-site specialists.  

To optimise patient satisfaction and maintain access to care, these WoWs need to be monitored to ensure the hardware is plugged in, in use, and functioning properly. With over 200 WoWs dispersed throughout many medical facilities in the Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), however, the organisation’s IT team needed a remote solution to efficiently monitor the hardware.  

The IT team had been attempting to monitor the health of these WoWs with ServiceNow Agent Client Collector (ACC) for more than a year. But despite multiple attempts, they had not been able to successfully implement, configure, and customise the solution to meet their unique needs. This left the IT team monitoring the WoWs manually, requiring a significant investment of both time and people power—and sometimes leaving downtime problems unresolved and unreported. 


Expert configuration of ServiceNow Agent Client Collector 

Thirdera was brought in to fast-track the implementation of remote health monitoring through the use of ServiceNow Event Management and ACC, both part of the ServiceNow ITOM suite. The Thirdera solution had two important goals: provide visibility into what devices were in use and enable the proactive monitoring of these critical IT assets in real time.      


Step 1: Provide instant visibility into hardware assets 

Thirdera’s first goal was to simplify and automate hardware discovery. Specifically, it needed to configure ServiceNow to automatically identify the USB devices—headphones and webcams—attached to any given WoW.  

As ServiceNow’s out-of-the-box (OOB) Windows Desktop pattern couldn’t capture the details of attached plug-and-play (PnP) devices, Thirdera wrote a custom pattern as a shared library and used it as an extension to the Desktop OS. As part of the pattern build, Thirdera wrote a command to fetch the USB information as a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) object. This information was then used to create or update records in the Peripherals table, as shown below:     NSW Blog Oct 2022 #1

Next, the JSON object was converted to values that could initially be stored in a staging table before being updated in the Peripherals table. Here is a sample of what the code looks like: 

NSW Blog Oct 2022 #2

 The goal was not to run this extension for every single computer workstation across the entire organisation, but to limit it to the patient-facing WoWs only. To achieve this, Thirdera created a check to run before the extension pattern was generated, to verify whether the workstation belonged to the WoW group. Once the configuration was complete, the solution would monitor only this specific group of workstations.  

With complete visibility into critical hardware assets, it was time to move on to the second step of the solution: monitoring.  


Step 2: Enable continuous health monitoring 

Once each device connected to the WoWs was instantly discoverable, the next step was to monitor their status. If the status of any device changed from “enabled” to “disabled,” the solution needed to send event alerts to the organisation’s ServiceNow instance.

The IT team monitoring WoW functionality wanted to access these alerts via a dashboard so they could quickly take any actions needed to improve service availability. This could include identifying why a specific device was disconnected or checking whether it had failed.  

Thirdera initially used a test WoW device to check the ACC architecture. While there are many plugins available through the Sensu framework that ACC can use, there were no specific plugins that suited the organisation’s specific use case. To solve this problem, Thirdera created a Ruby command to perform checks and then developed a custom plugin. Next, Thirdera’s implementation team created a check definition that could be filtered to the specific devices the organisation wanted to run checks on. As part of this test stage, one webcam and two sets of headphones connected to a specific workstation were monitored.

The parameter passed from the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) was the instance ID, which had already been populated during Discovery. Next, the instance ID needed to be converted into a BASE64 format which could then be stored in a custom field. This was achieved using the code below:  NSW Blog Oct 2022 #3This was then used in the following way:

-h, --help Display this screen
-d, --deviceid DEVICEID Check the status of a specific PNP device by Id
-b, --base64Id Flag that --deviceid is base64 formatted
-m, --missingsev 0|1|2 The severity to generate if the device is missing
-u, --multiplesev 0|1|2 The severity to generate if there are multiple devices with the same DeviceID
-n, --notoksev 0|1|2 The severity to generate if the device status is not OK

Only ServiceNow ACC could provide the functionality required for the organisation’s unique needs. Other monitoring tools simply couldn’t provide the same level of flexibility and would not have worked considering how specific the organisation’s use case was.


Proactive health checks maximise uptime and quality of care

Thirdera configured ACC to automatically update the status and health of each WoW USB device directly within the organistion’s CMDB. As a result, all relevant information—including the status of each piece of hardware, the associated software components, and the relationship between these—was easily accessible from a single location.

After successful implementation, the organisation’s IT Operations Management Discovery Lead shared how Thirdera’s solution helped improve their provision of patient services:

“As a result of Thirdera's efforts, we have seen a great deal of improvement in a long pending task of ACC. Their work on Discovery remediation has also led to a completer and more accurate CMDB.”

The solution was so successful that it has since been rolled out to other organisations across the state of New South Wales. Thirdera also worked with the organisation’s System Centre Configuration Management (SCCM) team to convert the solution into a package that’s readily available in the organisation’s software centre. This means the solution can now be easily and quickly installed by the organisation’s IT team onto any workstation.

A unique blend of technical expertise and business acumen

The organisation’s ServiceNow platform is in use by 140,000 staff members across 229 hospitals and has a goal of saving 500,000 healthcare worker hours. By enabling ITOM visibility and monitoring, Thirdera has been able to move the organisation closer to its ambitious goal.

As the largest and most experienced pure-play ServiceNow partner in the world, Thirdera’s deep understanding of the ServiceNow platform means it’s perfectly positioned to support companies that require unique solutions to overcome specific challenges.

Our expertise as an elite ServiceNow implementation partner means we can help develop and implement tailored solutions where an off-the-shelf option simply won’t suffice. After all, your ServiceNow instance should adapt to your business—not the other way around.


Ready to find your tailored solution?

Get in touch today to discover how Thirdera can help you get more out of your ServiceNow instance and solve your unique business challenges with a personalised approach.

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Mei Yeng

Mei is the APAC Marketing Manager at Thirdera. Her focus is on growing Thirdera and the client journey across APAC and partnering with like-minded organisations to create thought leadership content and activations that will empower organisations and individuals.
[blog, it-workflow, it-service-management, apac] [Blog, IT workflow, IT Service Management, APAC]