Ritchie Dioneda, Service Management Office Manager for San Diego, leverages ServiceNow to manage IT trouble tickets, track assets, elevate compliance and meet a host of other key goals.

Apr 18 2023

ServiceNow Drives Improvements in Municipal IT Service Management

Cities gain tremendous efficiencies with in-house administration of their tech environments.

In the past, the city of San Diego relied on a range of vendors to support ticketing, service-level agreements and asset management for a variety of solutions. Today, the city has consolidated all of that into ServiceNow, a cloud computing platform that helps to manage digital workflows. 

“The biggest gain that we’ve seen has been developing our own processes,” says Ritchie Dioneda, the city’s service management office manager. “Since it’s our tool, we’re able to define and design these processes and make it work inside the tool. That gives us flexibility and scale that we didn’t have before.”

San Diego is not alone. Nationwide, municipalities are leveraging IT service management (ITSM) platforms such as ServiceNow as a way to manage IT trouble tickets, track assets, elevate compliance and meet a host of other key goals.

“The biggest value any tool can provide is the power of knowing, at any given point, your various IT assets — not just tangible assets, but any assets that are being monitored,” says International City/County Management Association CIO Hemant Desai.

“It could be time spent by help desk personnel, all the way to back-end engineers. That end-to-end visibility into operational efficiency in the IT environment is the main objective of any ITSM tool,” he says.

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How ServiceNow Supports a Service-Based Delivery Model

Many cities are shifting to cloud infrastructures and service-based delivery models as part of their modernization journeys. ServiceNow has helped San Diego’s IT team to be more effective in this emerging “as a service” environment.

“With our previous managed service provider contracts, we had multiple systems for ticketing,” Dioneda says. “We were succumbing to their processes for things like incident management and how we manage a support ticket from the time it comes in to how it’s resolved.”

With ServiceNow, the city has greater control over the way it manages roughly 60,000 incidents and service requests each year. The platform allows IT leaders to define their own processes rather than relying on a heterogenous mix of vendor-defined approaches. Beyond this, ServiceNow generates the reports IT needs to refine and improve its efforts.

“Now we can take the data and go, ‘All right, how can we categorize these tickets? What are the most common issues that we see?’” Dioneda says. “Then, we’re able to make adjustments to fix it long-term so we can prevent it from happening.”

For the most common requests, “we actually can start creating workflows to make those more efficient,” he says. “We can define what steps are required to fulfill that particular request. We can ask questions ahead of time, so we’re not going back and forth with our employees trying to get information. All of that results in faster delivery.”

Ritchie Dioneda
The biggest gain that we’ve seen has been developing our own processes.”

Ritchie Dioneda Service Management Office Manager, San Diego

Santa Monica Is Improving Access to Citizen Services

In the city of Santa Monica, Calif., meanwhile, CIO Joseph Cevetello seeks to simplify citizens’ access to services, using digitized workflows to improve the constituent experience.

With this in mind, the city partnered in 2018 with ServiceNow to roll out ITSM, and in 2020, the team built on that capability to create a new web portal and mobile app to provide a communications platform and knowledge base for 311 services.

Prior to the pandemic, most city services were delivered face to face. When the pandemic hit, “we had to figure out how we could continue to deliver services and interact with the public without being physically in the same space,” Cevetello says.

The city already had implemented ServiceNow to simplify the IT environment, and Cevetello leveraged the platform to meet pandemic-inspired needs.

DIVE DEEPER: How ServiceNow streamlines operations and improves the customer experience.

“We had a workflow request infrastructure already in place, and we were using this for internal services within the city,” he says. “I thought, ‘Well, wait a minute, we have this entire workflow engine, this platform. How about I expose that to our citizens, to our constituents?’ That’s where we really were able to make a difference.”

ServiceNow assisted with back-end development support. “We were then able to create the City of Santa Monica app. We launched that, and it had an immediate impact,” Cevetello says.

Residents can download the geospatially aware app to report refuse in an alley, for example. Thanks to ServiceNow, the app connects to the service infrastructure, alerting the 311 team and getting the problem resolved.

With ServiceNow, “it’s all one system, it’s all integrated,” Cevetello says. “Before this, that was not the case in our world. Usually, you have a separate app, and then you open a case, and then the work is done in another system. This is all the same system, the same platform.”


The percentage of state and local governments identifying a lack of resources or too much ticket volume as the top challenge to IT service management

Source: meritalkslg.com, “How the Public Sector is Tackling Top ITSM Challenges,” Feb. 21, 2022

How Denver Is Prioritizing Better Due Diligence

The city of Denver uses ServiceNow to manage IT tickets — some 445,395 of them in 2022 — and its technology assets. The platform also has helped the city to elevate its due diligence in risk and compliance processes.

For instance, the city uses the platform to support payment card industry audits. As that process unfolds, “if I need to send someone a task, to collect firewall rules or provide me evidence that I need to give the auditor, I can do that right out of the Governance, Risk and Compliance module of ServiceNow,” says Denver privacy and security compliance analyst Shannon Boyles.

The platform also helps the city to be more effective in vendor onboarding and renewals. “I will get a task assigned to me through the ServiceNow workflow saying, ‘Hey, Shannon, please initiate a vendor risk assessment on this vendor.’ I get their contact information and whatever other information that will provide me context on the intended use of that vendor,” Boyles says.

“That helps me with setting up the risk assessment and sending the vendor the appropriate questions,” she says.

All this is a big step forward from what Boyles has seen in city government in the past. “In my previous role, we had one system for ticketing, one system for asset management and one system for compliance. It caused a lot of wasted time and had the potential to miss important items,” she says.

With ServiceNow, “it saves me time, and everything that I need to do is right there. It’s the one-stop shop that I need to do my job,” she says.

READ MORE: How modern data platforms deliver efficient government services.

Photography by Matthew Furman

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