Application Portfolio Management (APM) assessment challenges

Like children, I don’t think we are supposed to pick our favorite product/application on the ServiceNow platform, so I will simply say Application Portfolio Management (APM) is one of my favorites. The reason for this praise is because APM in my opinion is one of the best products to show the power of the ServiceNow platform. Commercial break over, but if you have not checked out APM take a look at this product and consider putting it on your roadmap.

APM | The Big Picture

The purpose of this post is to offer advice and potentially some alternatives when building out indicators based on Assessments within APM.

If unfamiliar with assessments, here is a link to the ServiceNow documentation.

Scoring profiles are made up of one or many indicators (not to be confused with Performance Analytic indicators) and associated with several business applications or capabilities. When assessments are generated for a year/quarter these are typically assigned to a user identified on the business application record such as the “IT Application owner” or “Application portfolio manager”.

The challenge with these assessments is that the collected scores will not populate unless 100% of the application indicators are complete.  For organizations with hundreds and sometimes thousands of applications, one incomplete assessment for one application can impact the application scoring for the entire organization. Meaning the business application scores will not be available to review for that year/quarter until the outstanding assessment is complete and submitted.

There must be a better way!

The first question to ask is, are application assessments absolutely required?

Some alternative options include:

  • Advanced Rationalization
    • Move towards a more advanced scoring profile that does not depend on assessments.
  • Form Values
    • Move assessment-based questions to fields on the business application record and then ensure these are part of the data certification process prior to the scoring cycle. Better yet can these values be derived from existing fields?
      • Careful consideration should be made before adding custom fields to a table in ServiceNow.

If assessments are required, there are also some alternative options.

  • Limit the target
    • Shrink the assessors required to someone like the “Application portfolio manager” who can complete assessments for all applications in a portfolio. This does not scale well for organizations with a large number of business applications.
  • Influence
    • Try to influence assessors to complete tasks on time (carrot or stick).
  • Scripted Solution
    • This is accomplished by changing the indicator type from assessments to a custom script. With a custom script we can pull in the submitted value before all assessments are complete.
    • The question that comes up next is what to do for those unsubmitted assessment scores. Some options include using the last period’s submitted result, last period’s submitted result + a penalty, assume the worst case (worst possible score), or assume the best case (best possible score).
    • For implementation the result is stored in asmt_category_result table, using the source_id as the business application sys_id and the rating field as the submitted value. This rating value can then be included in the payload along with the business application sys_id.

APM can be used for business applications or business capabilities. For simplicity, I assumed business application in the scenario above however, the scenario will hold true for business capabilities as well.

Date Posted:

January 18, 2023

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