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Implementing or extending ServiceNow has a lot in common with building a house.

Assume Nothing: Data Foundations in ServiceNow

Implementing or extending ServiceNow has a lot in common with building a house.
5
min read
|
by
Ben Savage
November 30, 2023

Implementing or extending ServiceNow has a lot in common with building a house. Both require a plan, permit, data, processes, a sponsor, subject matter experts, and funding.

But there is a key difference that haunts most ServiceNow instances, and it’s tied to the “permit” phase. Let me explain.

The first thing that occurs when the construction of a house commences is the pouring of the foundation. The foundation gets poured and then the inspector validates it and signs off on it.  Once that is completed, the house gets built. It’s the same process worldwide as everyone knows a building is only as strong as its foundation.

Whatever we do in ServiceNow, needs a foundation of data. It feeds the processes. Now ask yourself the following, was your data foundation validated? Was it reviewed and ultimately approved?

Not so long ago, Rapdev was brought in to implement SAMP in an instance that was stood up by “others”. Instead of just assuming that the supporting data was there, and 100% correct, I decided to delve deeper. I wrote a script tag that tagged every active user, in the sys_user table, with the following:

  • Has an EUC assigned
  • Has a CI assigned, no associated asset
  • Has a mobile device assigned
  • If have both an EUC and a mobile
  • If no devices were assigned, a separate tag

In case you didn’t know, a ServiceNow tag is just a text label applied to records. No structural changes needed etc. They look like this, in blue:

Here are the findings from that initial scripted analysis of the sys_user table in question:

  • Users with only an EUC = 5.74%
  • Users with only a CI = 0.13%
  • Users with only a mobile device = 0.00%
  • Users with both = 0.00%
  • Users with no assigned devices = 94.13%

Interesting right? But surely this isn’t normal. So, I reran the script in another instance. Here are the findings:

  • Users with only an EUC = 21.46%
  • Users with only a CI = 0.80%
  • Users with only a mobile device = 0.00%
  • Users with both = 0.00%
  • Users with no assigned devices = 77.74%

Do you see a theme here?

The knock-on implications of not having a strong data foundation are that implementing ITSM, Software asset management, and Service Catalog is substantially hindered by not having a strong base to leverage. How can a user open a ticket on their device when there is no relationship between the user and their device? How can software be revoked?

The fundamental reason that I decided to blog about this subject is that it’s known to us at Rapdev. We always validate before proceeding. The peculiar thing though is that validation of the “foundation” doesn’t appear to be being conducted by most organizations when implementing ServiceNow.

Shouldn’t it be?

Written by
Ben Savage
Boston
UK-born and raised ITAM veteran now residing in Chicago.
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