Cloud Field Day2: Integrating with ServiceNow

The need to integrate or improve what is already done in companies IT is the primary focus of ServiceNow (https://www.servicenow.com/), a company located in Santa Clara founded in 2004 (landed in Italy in 2013) that simply brings “a platform for all needs”. The idea around this service is to solve one of the most annoying but essential issues for the business company: have a single pane of glass to rule all IT elements, able to start workflows, handle requests and bring together all managed pieces of existing applications, and do more…

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But near the build of a “simple” workflow there are all kinds of technical expertises (grown by customer experiences) that are available in every implementations in order to become a robust platform that speed up business workflow and be compliant to laws and regulations (ITIL, SecOps, etc)… and keeping the focus on the platform itself, there are a lot of implementations that could be satisfy plenty needs without writing code.

A closer look inside the platform

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First of let’s say that ServiceNow is a “dedicated” Platform As A Service focused on Enterprise customers. Technically every instance (one for customer or departments) is composed by:

  • A service portal
  • A Subscription and notification system
  • A knowledge base repository
  • A service catalog
  • a workflow system
  • Some developer tools
  • A system for reporting and build dashboard
  • A database
  • A contextual collaboration system
  • An orchestration system

Under the hood, ServiceNow is delivered from 18 Datacenters (4 in EMEA) and every instance is running separately from the others (there are no shared data with other customers), bringing the ability to have a running version that fit and doesn’t impact to the customer implementation.

Obviously, like the major part of non-code platform, it is possible to customize functions simply coding, in a easy way, pieces of script in javascript language syntax.

ServiceNow is a suite of many “tools” and licensing varying from what is needed in a customer project; eg: service IT Management Suite is licensed as fulfiller for a subscribed company (only company user) and IT Operations is licensed per node (physical and virtual server), but you could adjust the price with vendor and partner, finding the best solution that fits in company case.

Here the introduction during Cloud Field Day 2:

A sandbox example

If you want to start your journey to ServiceNow it’s useful and cost effective to start a guided POC. This suggestion become mandatory for people with no knowledge of the product. In fact surfing the site you will not find a “try and buy” option (to avoid a non-sense tryout), but there is an area called Developer Program that is focused for developers that wants to improve their skills using learning paths, examples and an entire community born around this product. On this way, newbie and skilled IT system integrator could find the best place to test, practice or try the whole platform elements.

This is amazing and useful in the same time, because ServiceNow really wants to bring coders/integrators to their “house” in a guided way and in the same time, keeping to the developer the ability to practice, hacking,… Further information here: https://community.servicenow.com

And time to “my test” has come: I started with a simple using “Jakarta” instance and after few clicks I was ready for my first usage. But even you’re trying devbox without skill there are few guided setups that could help to speedup the evaluation:

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After this guided configuration you’re ready to start a full-featured instance with user interactions and workflows system.

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Some interesting cases during CloudFieldDay

The interesting parts of the presentation during CloudFieldDay comes with the demo presented by Josh Nerius (Solutions Architect and Developer Advocate at ServiceNow), which demonstrate how could you build and integrate a sample rental application, with database, approval workflows and multi-tenancy using the near-zero code available with ServiceNow.

After this demo, we moved into an show area composed by 3 demo booths where ServiceNow personel presented some real life application of ServiceNow. This is a proof of what could really do this platform outside the use of an enterprise IT application: using physical device like rasberry and tablet is possible to send and receive data using ServiceNow as application workflow to store and process data.

My thoughts

In my life I found two opposite scenarios that could embrace or a reject this platform: everyone need automation but only few company poeple are involved in the integration processes and in many cases a CEO, CIO or CTO wants to measure every investments that produce money… In a simple question :<< What’s the deal buying this platform from building an in-premise platform to do the same integrations?>>.

Talking with ServiceNow I appreciate the involvement and the experience in enterprise companies that gives the value of many experiences to improve the IT in company processes; but seems that the critical part of this challenge is given to the ServiceNow partner that works with the customer. Anyway partner and customers could count in a great support pre and post implementation that gives the right weapons to respect the requirements and reach the goals.

Disclaimer: I have been invited to Cloud Field Day 2 by Gestalt IT who paid for travel, hotel, meals and transportation. I did not receive any compensation for this event and None obligate me to write any content for this blog or other publications. The contents of these blog posts represent my personal opinions about technologies presented during this event.

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