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Aligning Projects to Business Value with ServiceNow SPM

This public pension system serves educators around the state. The organization used and maintained the same IT Demand and Project Management System—developed in-house—for over 25 years, and the last person who knew how to manage the system had retired. Lacking automation and a central knowledge base, the outdated system led to an over-reliance on manual processes that slowed fulfillment time and increased costs.

Looking to make a modern fresh start, accommodate the growing demand for IT resources, and streamline processes, the organization’s leadership team engaged Thirdera to help implement ServiceNow’s Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM, formerly known as ITBM) solution. With Thirdera’s guidance, the organization implemented Project Portfolio Management, enabling a user-friendly application experience, better visibility, and faster work delivery. With the combined power of ServiceNow and Thirdera, the organization has achieved significant process improvements, improved the consistency of IT application requests, and enhanced visibility into key business operations.


Company Profile

Size: 200,000+ active members      |     Industry: Government     |     Location: United States


Key Challenges


Outdated, legacy business process application was not aligned to current best-practice IT methodologies such as ITIL. Implementing an SPM solution would require a complete overhaul.



The existing solution required inefficient, manual processes that increased the time to approve new applications and enhancements, caused rising costs, and elicited concerns around maintaining compliance with union and state regulations.

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Without multi-system integration touchpoints across lines of business, there was no consistent user experience. Users would consistently try to circumvent processes in an attempt to avoid using the system, resulting in an inconsistent vetting process.

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Lacking automated reporting tools, many of the organization’s paper-based forms were not digitized. As a result, there was no central knowledge base and an incomplete understanding of all online services.

With nearly half a million active members, retirees, and beneficiaries, this public pension system serving the state’s educators aims to provide exceptional customer service to its members. However, its existing technology made it challenging to optimize every stage of the member journey. Both members and staff struggled with the process of inputting new application requests, application enhancements, and corrections for application defects.

With the antiquated IT Demand and Project Management System that had a green screen UI frontend, staff struggled to input information consistently and efficiently. They couldn’t streamline how requests came in and were assigned with the decades-old system. 

Work would come into the system several ways, sometimes circumventing the established process. The inflexible system and process caused many users to actively try to evade them to turn in application requests and enhancements. This resulted in confusion for staff and an inconsistent experience for members.

As the pension fund continued to grow, the rising number of requests across departments became overwhelming to manage using the in-house system. The system did not have the flexibility to adjust processes or procedures to accommodate this growth, leading to increased demands on employees. Over the years, as the specific skill sets necessary to manage and maintain this system became scarcer across the IT team, any kind of adjustments or improvements also typically caused usability issues for end-users.

Additionally, hampered by a lack of visibility to guide decision-making, the organization’s leadership team found it difficult to measure current processes, assess how they were doing, and identify process improvements to boost organizational performance.


Our Solution

Having worked with Thirdera in the past on ServiceNow project initiatives, the pension system’s leadership team appreciated Thirdera’s track record of successful implementations and consistently staying on time and budget. After starting with an assessment, Thirdera drew up a roadmap to implement ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management (PPM)—a powerful application within ServiceNow’s SPM suite of products—to better manage the organization’s business and IT demands. 

With guidance from Thirdera, stakeholders can now harness SPM fully:

  • Demand Management enables identifying and assessing strategic and operational demands through a centralized collaborative platform.
  • Project Portfolio Management provides transparency and insight for organizational demand, resources, and initiatives to promote productivity.
  • Innovation management allows collaboration and innovation across departments.
  • Performance analytics and dashboard enable leadership to track, aggregate, and visualize key performance indicators (KPIs) to gain insights into processes and productivity.
  • Resource management empowers managers to build and execute plans that address their resourcing needs. Leadership can better make plans, request staff, and assign appropriate tasks.
  • Automated regression testing with Agile 2.0 and Test Management ensures seamless IT development.

The Result

Automation and enhanced process insights increased productivity significantly, allowing the organization to approve new application requests and enhancements 27% faster.

The new technology and dashboard improved visibility into project pipelines. Leadership’s ability to track and measure overall processes enabled them to find opportunities for improvement, reducing wasted time and resources.

With an automated process and uniformity of work entry, the organization maintained consistency across several lines of business. Staff utilizes automated project templates instead of manual processes.

Decision Making
Funding projects became more efficient with the increase in visibility, while leadership can now more effectively rank projects in order of priority.

The ServiceNow implementation and consultative services provided by Thirdera enabled the public pension organization to align its business processes with established industry best practices. With contracted efforts over two years, Thirdera ensured that not only was the implementation smooth for the organization but that all stakeholders were set up for long-term success.

ServiceNow SPM allowed the organization to improve reporting, visibility, and automation capabilities. With clear governance and accountability in the system, staff no longer rely on emails and various spreadsheets to keep track of work. As a result, leadership has clear insights with a dashboard that keeps them updated with everything they need.

Thirdera ensured that all stakeholders got the most use out of their new platform with training and organizational change management (OCM). OCM deliverables included videos, quick reference guides, recorded and live training, and guided tours. Thirdera customized training for every role in the organization, including management, end-users, and more. Thirdera broke up each position into five to seven different training sessions to ensure long-term success with the technology implementation.

In the past, the pension organization felt stuck with its legacy system because it feared it would be too time-consuming, difficult, and expensive to replace. But with Thirdera, all those fears were put to rest. With Thirdera's unique combination of business process consulting and technical consulting, the organization has a streamlined, easy-to-maintain platform that will meet its needs now—and into the future.


About Thirdera

The largest pure-play ServiceNow partner in North America, Thirdera is a trusted Elite ServiceNow partner focused solely on improving and innovating the way our customers leverage the ServiceNow platform. Our experts possess authoritative capabilities and skillsets spanning the entire Now Platform. This extensive platform expertise allows us to understand our customers’ needs and deliver tailored solutions that solve business challenges.

Contact us today to discuss your next project, and enter a new era of ServiceNow partner experience.

Get in touch


David Broom

David Broom is the SPM Practice Manager at Thirdera with more than 20 years of experience with ITBM, ITSM, ITAM, CMDB, and Operations Automation. David is a versatile project leader who has served in many senior roles including Architect, Project Manager, Client Principal, and Developer.