My ServiceNow Story: Mark Harper, Solutions Consultant
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
The team at GlideFast Consulting is full of passionate, skilled, and enthusiastic developers and architects. If there is one thing that we all have in common, it is our love for the ServiceNow platform and community. “My ServiceNow Story” is a blog series that will give you an inside look of the work and lives of the consultants at GlideFast Consulting and how they started and built their careers in the industry. Our consultants will share their stories with you and will lead you down the path that brought them to where they are today.
This ServiceNow Story features Mark Harper, a Solutions Consultant currently living in Atlanta, Georgia. Mark is originally from the North East coast of England.
How were you first introduced to ServiceNow? What was your first job using the platform?
I was first introduced to ServiceNow at the tail end of 2013 while I was architecting a data center migration at a large financial institution. At that time I was not looking to get hands-on with the platform, but was actively advocating for the customer to elect to use HP’s application stack instead. HP’s ITOM capabilities were some of the best in the business at the time, but the constant maintenance and headache that came from simply trying to integrate one HP product to another left a significant number of customers exhausted. Needless to say, the customer at the time selected ServiceNow, and it was the first of many losses we had going up against ServiceNow.
As they say, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” and that is exactly what the services partner I was involved with back in 2016 did. It was then that I finally got my hands dirty working directly with the ServiceNow platform. The ITOM capabilities at the time were not quite as polished as we find them today, but the principles of Configuration and Event Management still applied. We were able to adapt to the ServiceNow way of doing things very quickly and make a name for ourselves in this space. In an effort to form a tighter relationship with ServiceNow, a number of architects, including Rob Geen, Chris Tessier, Brian Wong, and myself, flew to different countries around the world to attend boot camp and ITOM enablement sessions. Visiting Amsterdam on the company dime is an experience I would highly recommend, but most importantly, it afforded us the opportunity to discuss the ITOM roadmap with the R&D team and establish ourselves as leaders in this space.
My first project involving ServiceNow was a rather simple Discovery implementation, where the customer looked at the results as if they were created by witchcraft. One unfortunate aspect of automation is the chance that an employee’s job requirements are reduced; however, this individual couldn’t be happier that they no longer had to maintain a spreadsheet of all their devices and installed software on the SharePoint. While inventory management was their key use case for the CMDB with Discovery, we were able to broaden it out to elevate their existing ITSM process to adopt the CMDB and objective risk assessments of changes.
What other jobs have you had working with ServiceNow?
From there, I have been involved in many ITOM engagements rolling out Discovery, Service Mapping, and Event Management. One of the larger projects involved performing Discovery and Service Mapping for a hospitality chain that was planning for a Cloud migration of their on-premise data centers. To perform a data center migration effectively without bringing down the entire organization, we had to break the data center down into move groups and move events. Using the ITOM tools from ServiceNow, we were able to identify application-to-application dependencies and group those servers and applications together to move at once. Many application owners believe that their applications are running on a dedicated server or database, but through these efforts we always find that if shared services were shut down without notice for several hours, it would severely impact business operations.
What are your primary ServiceNow skills?
My main skillset is based around the ITOM offerings of the platform—Discovery, Service Mapping, and Event Management—along with the foundational principles of Configuration Management. I see the CMDB as the keystone of the platform that is often neglected or populated via manual entry with no true governance. Working directly with ServiceNow, I put together a CMDB workshop that we presented around the country to increase customers' understanding of Configuration Management along with getting them some hands-on experience with tools such as the identification and reconciliation engine, CMDB health dashboard, and de-duplication rules.
What are your plans for the future in your career and in the ServiceNow industry?
I am excited to be a part of the growth of the platform. As we incorporate more AI and ML, we can enhance the working experience for millions of people and their customers. It is becoming much easier to identify a business problem and create a solution in an ever-increasing low code/no code manner. But I don’t want it to get too easy that you don’t need professional services.
Interested in working with the experts like Mark on the GlideFast Consulting team? Reach out to us here. We would love to learn more about your ServiceNow challenges and how we can help your organization build better solutions.