Paige Duffey

7 minute read

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I started working directly out of high school. I bounced around a bit trying to find the type of job that fit me. I was adamant at the time that I did not want a job sitting at a computer all day. At that age, though, I wasn’t sure what I wanted and didn’t have experience to guide me so I aimed for jobs that I had a talent for. This put me squarely in the place I was sure I didn’t want to be, with the Service Desk. Despite my initial hesitation, I was quite successful. I often found ways to improve the processes we had in place and ways to make our jobs more efficient. I had an aptitude for digging out areas for improvement and working to improve them.

In 2010, the organization I worked for implemented ServiceNow. I was asked to assist in the build and to help guide the technical aspects. I barely understood the difference between JavaScript and Java, let alone what the purpose of LDAP was. I had no idea where to start, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

The implementation was a crash-course in development, and I rapidly learned everything I could about the platform and how to support it. When the build was done, I had an unexpected new skill set: developer.

Growing into my career

I spent the next several years splitting time between acting as the sole administrator for the platform and various other roles as I moved within the organization. Throughout these years, the one constant in my job was ServiceNow. As I spent more and more time working in ServiceNow, I realized it was something I wanted to develop from just a role into a full-fledged career. I focused on developing supporting skills by taking JavaScript classes and taking advantage of the ServiceNow classes that were available at the time. To my surprise, I found that I really enjoyed coding and building new functionality in ServiceNow.

Five years ago, I moved to a company that was pushing the boundaries of what could be done with ServiceNow. They did not treat it as “just” a Service Desk tool. This encouraged me to push myself as well, and go far beyond what I thought was possible. I’ve been part of amazing creations such as an app to track immunizations, an app to provide relief funds to employees during the pandemic, and building out a robust Citizen Development program.

The Citizen Development program afforded me the opportunity to help design and implement a new process to expand platform development to individuals outside of the core development team. It became one of the things I’m most proud of. This program was an unexpected surprise that I’ve enjoyed watching flourish. It also forced me beyond what were actually self-imposed limitations.

I have continued to grow my career in ways that I had not expected. I’ve embraced the uncomfortable in order to find success. As an example, I do not like presenting. No matter how well I know the topic, it makes me nervous to stand up in front of a group. But I continue to do it. In pushing myself I’ve found that, though I am still not the biggest fan of presenting, I do actually like sharing my knowledge with others. I would not have realized how much I enjoy that aspect of presenting if I hadn’t overcome my discomfort. I’ve now presented on the Citizen Development program that I am so proud to have been a part of in 2021 as a Knowledge session and with ServiceNow as a Webinar.

In 2020, Maria Gabriela and I were discussing the lack of women in the first Dev MVP cohort. We were both saddened by the lack of representation for women in the ServiceNow developer community, so we decided to do something about it. We created, a collaborative blogging site open to all women and allies to post on a variety of topics. I was uncomfortable putting myself out there in a way that could be considered ‘political’, but I hoped by doing so, others would feel more comfortable themselves. And I am proud to say that’s exactly what happened. Women from varying backgrounds have stepped forward to share their stories about the difficulties they’ve encountered in their careers, as well as to share ServiceNow tips and tutorials. We started developing a community of women in various roles within the ServiceNow ecosystem. Our work was recognized by ServiceNow’s Developer Relations team and this factored into me being named a 2021 and 2022 Dev MVP. That inclusion would not have happened if I had not been willing to push beyond my comfort zone.

ServiceNow in Healthcare

Working in healthcare my entire career has given me a unique perspective regarding the needs and requirements of healthcare organizations. It’s also given me the opportunity to build apps that are specific to the healthcare space. Below are just a few examples:

Immunization Management App

Most healthcare organizations require some kind of compliance with yearly flu vaccines, and we saw even more need for this with the recent COVID vaccines. Prior to COVID, however, we still had a requirement that all employees either receive a flu vaccine or had an approved exemption.

This process was almost entirely on paper. The HR team would barricade themselves in a conference room for a month, sorting through all the different sources to determine which employees were not compliant. In 2019, we turned this process into an app in ServiceNow. This app was used to track several different things criteria needed to see a clear picture of compliance such as immunization data, manager dashboards, regular reminders, etc.

Using all of this data, we were able to quickly and easily provide a full picture for Employee Health, HR, managers and employees. We have processed over 25,000 immunizations in a 30-day window and what once took a month or more to process now takes minutes.

Relief Fund

COVID hit everyone hard. Many people lost their jobs or suddenly found themselves out of work for weeks or months on end due to illness. In mid-2020, we began offering assistance to employees who were struggling due to difficulties caused by COVID.

Initially this process started out in Microsoft Forms and Excel. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the number of requests that would be received in a short amount of time. Trying to work these requests in Excel was simply not feasible. It took 28 days on average to provide funds to those in need. We were asked to help move this process into ServiceNow, with the hopes that it could be streamlined.

On the surface, the app was pretty simple: a couple of forms to request different types of assistance, and some back-end tables to house the information and allow the team to work the requests. Because of the flexibility of ServiceNow, we were able to automate and simplify much of the process. We could provide a clear picture of the amount of assistance an employee needed and easily show past requests from the same employee.

Additionally, it was simpler to track when a request was approved, the dollar amount that was approved, and when the assistance was actually paid out. Lastly, we were able to produce automated reports that could be imported directly into the system of payment. All of this has helped us to process over 27,000 relief requests and bring the average time to payment down from 28 days to just 6 days.

ServiceNow’s Impact

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to help build a number of applications which shine a light on how large an impact ServiceNow can have on the healthcare industry. The ability to rapidly spin up new applications, with very little limitation beyond your imagination, has positioned ServiceNow to help shape the future of healthcare in the digital world.

How to be successful with ServiceNow

Although “sitting in front of a computer all day” was not my goal when I first began searching for a career, I was drawn to ServiceNow because of its ability to do just about anything. Seeing its power outside of the IT space hooked me. If you can imagine something cool to do, you can do it. Forcing myself outside of what I knew encouraged me to keep moving forward.

You can certainly be successful by finding a lane and sticking to it, but if you want to see your career advance by leaps and bounds, don’t be afraid to take on things that force you to learn and develop your knowledge. . You may be surprised by what new aptitude you discover, just as I was.