ServiceNow Now Platform Review

Service desk functionality that has many features and is highly customizable but comes with a high cost


What is our primary use case?

I am actually a development expert within the ServiceNow platform. So I implemented ServiceNow for some of our customers as well as within our company. I help them to implement some applications customers and configure what they need from the suite of management applications available within ServiceNow.  

The most important thing we use this solution for is IT service management where users implement processes like incident management, problem management, or chain management. Incident management and problem management at its simplest can be a system whereby any user in an organization can report a defect. Say I am a user and my email is not working and I want to raise a ticket to get the problem solved. I use ServiceNow for raising that ticket. Another example is that if I want to implement new software, I need may need to raise a change request, so I do that in ServiceNow. 

We are always on the latest version. There is a new version every six months, so there are two releases every year. That means every time there is a new release I have to upgrade, update my knowledge about the changes by becoming familiar with the changes, and then we have to upgrade the program for the customers as well.  

What is most valuable?

The workflow feature really has a lot of value because you can create workflows in a simple, intuitive way. With a few clicks, you can actually develop quite a complex workflow using tool and product life cycles and so on. So, the workflow feature, in my opinion, is the strongest feature in the ServiceNow platform.  

What needs improvement?

There are several areas of the product that could use improvement. From a vendor point of view, I had an opportunity to work with them on their licensing model. It still needs some improvement in the way the licensing model works because it is a little bit complex and difficult to understand. They change it from time-to-time and sometimes they do not communicate those changes effectively to their partners. Put simply, the licensing model is something that can be simplified and made more visible to both the partners and the customers or end-users. Currently, the product is comparatively quite expensive and lowering the cost would likely produce a better response from customers.  

I know that the company is at work on many new things right now. But one thing I would expect to see in the next few releases is vertical-specific solutions. For example, say solutions for banking or healthcare-specific solutions. I believe they are going to come up with at least a draft version of this type of solution for some industries over the next few releases.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution since about 2016. So it is almost four years now.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have complete confidence in the stability of the platform. It is very stable.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

ServiceNow is very easy to scale — that is if the customer has the money to spend. It is quite easy to take on new licenses. It is very scalable.  

Our customers can be any size business but in my personal experience, I work with medium to large customers. The solution is something that is used on a daily basis.  

How are customer service and technical support?

We have been in touch with their technical support and it is quite responsive and they are very good about providing solutions. We have a dedicated technical support desk that is quite approachable. For now, everything is quite good.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before ServiceNow, I used other solutions, but mostly they were custom-built applications. For example, I used to code and develop an application from scratch. ServiceNow is the first product I have used software that is a dedicated service desk product.  

How was the initial setup?

I would say that from my point of view that configuring ServiceNow is pretty simple. But there are also a lot of things to consider. If you want to build a complex system, the configuration process can be complex as well. If you understand the software, you get a standard set of functionalities, but you can configure that for your own needs. For example, I had a situation where I knew a particular customer had some different requirements than what was provided out-of-the-box for the standard version. In this case, I was able to configure ServiceNow to match their needs. I can write complex scripts or I can do programming to build new processes within ServiceNow. But the implementation is different for every customer.  

How long the implementation takes becomes a very open-ended question because they have so much existing functionality already in the product that may need to be configured and the need for customization depends on the user's requirements. There are so many factors involved that I can not really define an absolute amount of time required for standard implementation. It depends on the use case. The basic installation of the application itself can be done in ten minutes and the solution can be made to be up and running within three months. However, if you want to have a complex, custom-built chain management process, it can take years.  

What about the implementation team?

I am from a software development company and I work as a consultant as well as an architect for projects. Our operating model is that we work directly with the customer and we do the consultancy, we get into workshops with customers and discover their requirements and then our development team starts working on those requirements. So we have two levels. One is as a consultant who helps to finalize the requirements and the other is as developers who satisfy the requirements that have been defined.  

As far as how many people it takes for the deployment of the platform, that can not be determined as a set number either as it requires knowing the scope of the project and perhaps other factors like the expected timeline.  

We use a public cloud, but as our customer, you get a private instance. So you can think of it as an environment you can have in the cloud that is indicated for a particular customer.  As a customer, you do not get visibility as to whether it is in a public or private cloud. From a customer point of view, you do not know that or it is invisible to you. But in the backend, it now maintains their data and the platform using both AWS and Azure in the background and they use the cloud for that.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing price for ServiceNow is somewhat high. The pricing depends on the number of users. For a similar type of application, the price of licensing for ServiceNow is on the high side. Actually it is 20% to 30% more than the nearest competitor.  

There are technically not any additional costs besides the licensing fees from a customer point of view for the product. But, if they want to implement an application in ServiceNow, they may also have to pay for a developer's team to implement the solution. Once development is complete, they probably have to spend some amount for supporting and maintaining the application and customization, so that will also be included as an additional cost for the company using the solution even if it is not a direct cost for the product.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated other products but within my company, I only work with the ServiceNow project and I have been doing this for the last four years. Sometimes part of our customer engagement requires that we do comparative studies. For example, we had a request from a client to do a feature comparison with the Pega platform. I got some detailed information from Pega's product development and other resources to compare with ServiceNow and did the comparison in that way. But in terms of development or implementation experience, I do not have any direct experience with Pega.  

What other advice do I have?

The foremost thing I would like to recommend to people considering ServiceNow is not to try to reconfigure or customize the out-of-the-box process too much. Stick to the out-of-the-box processes that are provided as much as possible and use minimal customizations. We used to say to our customers to use maximum configuration but minimum customization.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate the ServiceNow product overall as at least an eight.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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