Real-World Insights – What ServiceNow Benchmarks Are Telling Us

In a recent blog, I talked about the importance of industry benchmarks. By comparing yourself to your peers, you can see how you’re really performing. That allows you to take concrete action to improve your performance, focusing on areas where you need to do better. It also lets you have objective conversations with your business stakeholders, so that they understand the value of the service levels you’re providing.

ServiceNow Benchmarks are now giving us a front-row view of IT service management performance around the globe. We’re getting incredible insights that just weren’t possible before – including major variations across industries, company sizes and geographies. Here are just a few of the differences we’ve seen, based on anonymized data from more than 3,500 ServiceNow customers.

Financial Services Companies Have More High Priority Incidents

In financial services companies, 3.9% of incidents are high priority. That’s more than 1.5 times the overall average, which comes in at 2.5%.

At first glance, this seems strange. After all, financial companies invest heavily in IT processes – so shouldn’t their metrics be better? Perhaps not. Remember that financial institutions have large numbers of mission-critical systems – trading desks, settlement platforms and more. When more of your systems are mission-critical, you’re likely to get more high priority incidents.

This is a perfect example of why you need to benchmark against your industry peers – rather than just comparing yourself to cross-industry averages.

Smaller Organizations Struggle with High Priority Incidents

When we looked at organizations with less than 1,000 users, we found that they have more high priority incidents and take longer to close them. In Fact, a full 6% of their incidents are high priority – more than twice the 2.5% average. And, it takes these organizations 11 days and 14 hours to close a high-priority incident – whereas the average across all companies is only 6 days and 17 hours.

Again, this is a fascinating result. On the one hand, it may reflect lower maturity levels and resource constraints in smaller IT organizations. On the other hand, it may indicate that smaller IT organizations need to refine their prioritization, taking a hard look at what is actually classified as a high priority incident.

Energy Companies Lag Behind

It takes energy companies 18 days and 9 hours to close an incident, 84% more than the 10 days and 5 hours on average. And it takes them 19 days and 23 hours to fulfill catalog requests – as compared to 12 days and 8 hours across industries.

In comparison, education and research organizations only take 8 days and 11 hours on average to fulfill catalog requests – about half the time it takes energy companies. And utilities, finance, retail and healthcare all take 9 days and 16 hours or less to close incidents – again, almost twice as fast as energy companies. Clearly, it’s crucial for energy companies to understand this gap – can it be fixed, or is it an unavoidable result of their industry environment?

There’s Huge Room for Performance Improvement

So far, we’ve been talking about averages. However, when you compare these averages to best in class performance, you start to realize that there’s huge room for performance improvement – even if you are performing well compared to your peers. For example:

  • On average, it takes 292 hours to fulfill a request. Best in class? Only 93 hours.
  • Closing a high-priority incident takes 161 hours on average. Best in class is just 33 hours.
  • Best in class for closing incidents is 121 hours, compared to an average of 245 hours.

In other words, best in class is at least twice as good as the average – and in some cases, it’s nearly five times better. Now you know what you can really achieve – what you need to do to become a leading-edge IT organization.

For more real-world insights into IT service management performance, check out our “ServiceNow Benchmarks and Data Insights” ebook.