Featured Service Portal – Purchasing Requests Simplified

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One of the things we love most about the NOW Platform and Service Portal plugin is the ability to create awesome user experiences for complex business requirements. A recent custom app and portal we built is a great case in point. This customer needed to:

  • Reduce the time it takes to turn purchase requests into deliveries
  • Prevent missed deadlines
  • Measure fulfillment times
  • End the use of emails and spreadsheets for managing requests

To meet these objectives, we knew we had to deliver a solution that would:

  • Allow employees to easily submit purchase requests and track their status
  • Give purchasers a useful tool for managing requests and related purchasing tasks
  • Automatically assign request categories based on description
  • Dynamically generate purchasing tasks based on complex criteria
  • Meet the organization’s high standards for scalable architecture and adoptable user experiences

  Both the back-end business logic and front-end user experience required advanced techniques and innovative ideas. To deliver, we made the most of NOW’s custom app suite and Service Portal to deliver a great solution that was on time, on budget, and immediately manifested significant value for the customer.

The Custom App & Business Logic

The back-end doesn’t have much to show off visually, especially since both requesters and purchasers use a portal interface. Therefore, this work was all about designing scalable business logic that allowed an admin great control over how requests were created, populated, and assigned. We didn’t set about to build everything from scratch. Wherever possible we used native features of the platform to create a more sustainable (and accelerated!) product. Here are some of the more interesting aspects that added a lot of value to the app:

  • An admin can use a condition builder and related list to easily construct complex rules that dynamically generate request tasks
  • Using native text search, we could predict request categories with 80% accuracy
  • SLAs, metrics, and reports provide detailed visibility of the app’s effectiveness
  • An intelligent workflow schema allows requesters and purchasers more flexibility in changing request details at any stage

The back-end development was challenging and enjoyable, but the real fun was had at the front-end.

The Service Portal

The organizational culture of this customer demanded modern and usable application interfaces. There were basic style requirements for theme branding, but the biggest focus is of course the actual user experience. Let’s take a walk through the final app (and please pardon the demo data).

 

Homepage

 

    The portal’s homepage is the entry point for new submissions, and is a dashboard for everything that’s yours or is assigned to you as a purchaser. The tabs generate contextually based on who you are, what work you have, and the status of that work. The tiles provide at-a-glance details and updates.  

Submit a New Request

     

For the new request page, we customized the form and field styles for a cleaner, more modern look. We also created a character counting gauge that helped ensure detailed descriptions.

 

Request View

  As you know, there can be a lot of details for any given request, such as field data, related lists, comment journals and attachments. This page provides an easy entry point to all that information. Some of the nicer features on this page are the Service Portal compatible action buttons, a progress bar that displays duration metrics, and tab navigation that makes it easy to focus on the info that matters most at the moment.

 

Task Management

  Rather than asking fulfillers to manage their tasks with the classic UI, we built this widget that displays records in a related list as forms. This lets purchasers easily manage their tasks in an extremely simple interface.  

The End-Result

Upon delivery of the completed solution, our customer was surprised by three things:

  • How fast we were able to build something so scalable and effective,
  • How few resources we required to deliver it,
  • And how amazing the final interface felt when using it.

It’s projects like this that we love the most. A complex business requirement requires an innovative solution, and we once again had the opportunity to make the most of our talents and the NOW platform to deliver something we’re truly proud of.


Please check out our blogs and other content on Service Portal for ServiceNow by clicking here. If you’d like to start a conversation about Service Portal consulting, or other ServiceNow needs, send us a message below, and we’ll be happy to connect with you as soon as possible.

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