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The technology market is changing extremely fast and is forcing IT companies to stay up-to-date. Many organizations still use legacy software which hinders their progress and does not allow them to stand out from the competition. Having a mature platform that integrates process automation, optimizes HR and customer service, allows the creation of business apps, and gives insights into the IT infrastructure is a significant asset to any company. One of the most prominent tools of this type is the ServiceNow platform which has already accumulated 21,000 clients, which translates to a 7.2% market share. In this article, we will take a closer look at the ServiceNow platform architecture, features, modules, and benefits. 

What is ServiceNow?

ServiceNow is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that streamlines and automates business processes and provides an industry-leading experience. The tool leverages the cloud to help enterprises build and test custom apps, optimize operations and sales management, enhance security, and much more. The main scope of the services includes IT, security, HR, customer service, and business applications. The company tries to offer enterprises the level of convenience that we are all used to from apps like Uber and Airbnb.

ServiceNow Architecture

The ServiceNow platform overview

A unique ServiceNow enterprise architecture allows more customization and higher performance. Unlike AWS and Azure, which work with a multi-tenant architecture that creates a single instance for multiple customers, ServiceNow opts for a multi-instance architecture. This allows them to launch a separate instance for each employee and offers them their own resource stack. For example, several employees can share hardware while maintaining different applications, middleware, and databases. This helps them keep their data separate and perform their tasks without additional influence from their customers. 

What Is ServiceNow Used For?

Using ServiceNow, customers can create a service model that encompasses self-service solutions and helps businesses streamline their activities. The platform consists of three main components: Nonstop Cloud, the Now Platform, and Cloud Services. But what does ServiceNow do exactly? We will discuss each functionality in this section. 

Nonstop Cloud

Nonstop Cloud is the cloud infrastructure of the ServiceNow platform that always stays active for users. The company claims that customer instances will never be taken down or frozen unless the user requests. The unique ServiceNow architecture allows users to customize their cloud services to align with their needs and goals. Finally, the high level of scalability facilitates effortless upgrades and downgrades whenever the customer needs it.

The Now Platform

The Now Platform is a solution that allows users to build tailored applications to automate redundant tasks, increase productivity, streamline certain activities and more. This feature includes an automated testing framework, encryption options, databases, knowledge management, performance analytics and other services. The feature includes Personal Developer Instances (PDI) that allow users to ideate and conceptualize different apps. These products will not interfere with existing systems and will be simply tested on the PDI to check their performance and validity. 

Cloud Services

Cloud Services is the central aspect of the ServiceNow platform and comprises five categories: IT, Security, HR, Customer Service and Business Applications. These services constitute the core functionality that makes the solution so popular among businesses of many sizes and scopes. 

The ServiceNow platform overview

IT

Poor IT Service Management (ITSM) often leads to lower productivity and hours of waiting around for the IT department to solve the problem. ServiceNow offers a self-service platform that helps employees to be more autonomous and solve their issues a lot quicker. The portal adopted social media app features that accelerate the processes. 

For example, you can use a feature called ConnectChat that enables real-time messaging. As opposed to traditional in-office email communication, real-time chat allows employees to get in touch with the IT department in a matter of seconds and get technical support. Workers can attach incident files to the chat allowing the tech department to instantly solve the problem remotely. The system is also equipped with a drag-and-drop taskboard where users can assign tasks to relevant departments. 

Security

Traditionally, threat research takes minutes to conduct using manual processing which puts the company at risk of a data breach. ServiceNow utilizes structured workflows that automatically push forward urgent tasks that are more likely to negatively impact the organization. Using automated tools, tech support will gain all threat-related information within 20 seconds and prevent further breaches. 

HR 

ServiceNow provides a customizable Employee Service Center where employees can find HR-related information and submit and track cases that require HR help. You can also create onboarding guidelines to eliminate repetitive tasks from the HR team and allow them to focus on employee satisfaction initiatives. 

Customer Service

The ServiceNow platform offers an advanced customer service management tool that not only focuses on customer engagement like most CRM systems but also connects people and systems. Wherever a customer ticket is created, the platform focuses on the root cause of the problem, not only this particular situation. The system connects employees with the department in charge and notifies them about the root of the error. After the ticket has been resolved, the user will also get a notification pertaining to their case.

Business Applications

The last tool in the ServiceNow product overview is Business Applications that allows non-tech workers to build apps without using any coding. You get access to an entire database of reusable components and workflows to develop a custom application that suits your goals. The platform also provides guidelines to help inexperienced developers use best practices to build the best app they can. You can even offer your product on the marketplace for other companies to purchase and utilize your helpful tool. The platform allows for agile development, automated testing, and project management and deployment, and it consolidates the entire development cycle in one portal. 

ServiceNow Modules

The ServiceNow platform entails a plethora of services and modules aimed at making your business better, more profitable, and more secure. Modules in this solution are navigation options to the aforementioned applications that link to other pages. Using Application Menus, you can set up which modules you would like to utilize. In this part, we will explore the ServiceNow overview of the modules that you can employ to increase efficiency, lower costs, and improve user experience. 

IT Service Management 

We have briefly discussed how ServiceNow can improve your IT services within the company and reduce the time it takes to solve mundane tech issues. However, when implementing the ITSM system, ServiceNow encourages you to focus on the following themes:

  • Invest your time to create high-quality self-service portals that suit your business and objectives. This will increase customer satisfaction and improve productivity by allowing employees to focus on their main duties.
  • Utilize the Virtual Agent that offers you tips on how to streamline ticketing and other IT department activities.
  • Gather and apply performance analytics to boost performance and improve your metrics.

Case 1-ServiceNow

Common Service Data Model

The Common Service Data Model (CSDM) is a framework for data modeling and management that helps you to align your technology and business strategies. It allows you to connect your CIs (Continuous Integration) to services, costs, users, and more. The main goal is to collect service and application data from different sources and store it in one location, thus providing a unified overview. As a result, you will accelerate the incident resolution processes, increase security, and cut down operational costs. 

Governance, Risk and Compliance

ServiceNow provides a Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) module that displays real-time data about compliance and risks. The platform enables an organized and structured compliance management system that makes the process more transparent and reliable. You can also create and enforce your own policies and track their efficiency and compliance across the organization. 

The GRC system also facilitates smoother risk assessment and mitigation by continuously monitoring the potential threats. Finally, the audit management tool allows you to utilize the risk assessment information to prioritize audits and improve internal processes. Conducting regular and meaningful internal audits will save you from future fines in case you receive an unexpected external audit.

SecOps 

The ServiceNow platform allows businesses to complete the integration of existing cybersecurity management tools with the ServiceNow Security Operations system to expand the functionality and improve its effectiveness. This solution automates security incident management and provides progress tracking from incident creation to resolution and subject-based article publication. The integrated dashboards help the IT department and the ticket creator to monitor the status in real-time and communicate with each other in case something remains unclear. 

IT Business Management 

IT Business Management (ITBM) is a module that offers insights on how to manage IT finances in the most meaningful way. When you invest in IT and do not align your technical and business goals, you are likely to increase expenses without getting any returns. ITBM can make your IT investments more transparent which will help you deliver the best value and properly utilize finances. This feature offers a unified space to collect, assess, prioritize, and execute IT demand. 

DevOps 

DevOps is an integral part of agile practices that still poses challenges to businesses. The biggest issue is connected with GRC and audits whereby developers often neglect these policies to meet the deadlines. As a result, they create a high risk of downtime, bugs, security breaches and other common bottlenecks. ServiceNow mitigates this obstacle by offering a platform that automatically combines coding, pipeline and execution tools. This helps developers to focus on their duties, improves productivity and saves development costs. 

IT Operations Management

ServiceNow IT Operations Management (ITOM) allows the integration of various monitoring tools and a holistic overview of business service and IT health. Most current solutions only cover some of these features, which forces tech employees to extract data from different sources to have a full picture. As a result, efficiency goes down and the probability of service outages increases. ServiceNow ITOM solution offers a comprehensive set of capabilities that consolidate all records for IT infrastructure in one place. You can use a dashboard to track IT service issues and identify possible causes for their occurrence. 

IT Asset Management

The ServiceNow platform overview

The IT Asset Management (ITAM) system from ServiceNow provides an overview of the company’s assets and costs as well as software licenses, hardware assets and cloud resources across the departments. You can eliminate costs based on asset insights and automate the processes to improve overall productivity. Software asset management will help you to optimize license use and make sure you do not overspend your budget as well as remain in full compliance with regulations. Finally, this module offers higher visibility into cloud resources and allows you to monitor changes that happen within the cloud infrastructure in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

Integrated Risk Management

The Integrated Risk Management (IRM) is a module that gives insights into risks associated with your business and IT strategies. The solution automates and streamlines the processes across the organization to output real-time data concerning the current risks and their probability. ServiceNow IRM constantly monitors the changes for risks and provides a central overview to authorized personnel who can mitigate or avoid the bottlenecks. As a result, you can align potential risks with business goals and automate the evaluation and response processes to achieve better outcomes. 

Change Management

The Change Management system that ServiceNow offers includes the outline of the entire process from creation, risk evaluation, and conflict detection all the way to change approval. The tool also comes with an analytical system that can help you visualize business processes and detect possible problems. The automation can save you a lot of time by enabling swift approval of low-risk changes, planning board meetings in case of a complex change, and offering an overview of every change on the dashboard. 

ServiceNow Benefits

The platform has accumulated quite a large client base due to its revolutionary approach to ServiceNow architecture and business process optimization. In this part, we will dive into the main benefits that you can gain from implementing this software.

Unified Data Source 

Employees can access data from a single source and leverage metrics, services, locations, workers, customers, and other valuable information. All the pertinent company-wide data is located in one place, including user-generated applications, which allow employees to make decisions faster and stay more informed. 

Scalability

ServiceNow was built on a scalable cloud infrastructure and offers virtually unlimited scalability for its users. Whether you have a small business with less than 20 people or own a large enterprise with thousands of employees, the service will adjust to your needs. 

Security and Compliance 

The ServiceNow platform overview

Data protection remains one of the largest concerns for any business that deals with data, especially sensitive customer data such as financial or personal information. ServiceNow is a platform that provides a high level of security and compliance with every relevant standard and law. As a result, you can focus on your business goals and enjoy using custom services without worrying about data security. 

Usable for Non-Tech Employees

Your non-IT employees can configure ServiceNow settings without learning any coding. Some of the features do require low-code or pro-code skills but your sales, marketing, procurement and other non-tech workers can use the program without any extra help from the IT department. The software is also continuously evolving and advancing through new products, patches and features that will not affect your existing environment. 

High Speed and Performance

The open ServiceNow platform architecture allows users to utilize any services they need, including the ones that are often neglected or underrepresented. The moment you set the platform up, 75% of the work is already done by the tool which allows you to gain value a lot faster. By operating a program that offers a ready-to-use set of features and services with state-of-the-art ServiceNow enterprise architecture, you can swiftly increase the productivity and efficiency of your business. 

Robust Set of Tools

The variety of applications that the platform offers allows businesses to improve processes across the organization. The services include various departments and help employees analyze critical metrics. For example, a financial department can take advantage of Finance Service Management that enhances the visibility of work requests and trends and increases the efficiency of report generation. 

Cloud-Native

ServiceNow was natively designed in the cloud allowing it to endure more traffic and higher volumes of data. Moreover, the platform was created with large enterprises in mind and can withstand the stresses of operating multiple departments and thousands of employees. Finally, the tool can be used across different networks without being tied down to a local resource. 

Annual Knowledge Conference

When you become a ServiceNow user, you are automatically invited to the annual conference where people can share knowledge about the platform. On top of that, such events are a perfect place to uncover new networking opportunities. According to a ServiceNow survey, 92% of respondents say they learned something new about the tool and would like to return next year. 

Conclusion

Operating a company without a coherent business and IT solution may pose many difficulties and threats. You could also miss out on some valuable opportunities that could take your business to a new level. If you would like to learn more about the multi-instance ServiceNow architecture, business process automation, cloud integration, CRM and ERP implementation, and more, get in touch with our engineers at NIX United. We will guide you through the benefits of migrating to the cloud and help you equip your business with cutting-edge solutions that increase efficiency and lower costs.

Eugene Stepchenkov
Eugene Stepchenkov Business Process Automation Consultant

Eugene has more than 5 years of experience in business development and practice with ServiceNow and Salesforce software. This allows him to provide professional consulting, bringing clients real business value such as helping them integrate digital workforce solutions to improve planning and employee productivity, and redirecting investments into business scaling initiatives.

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