Extending Service-now.com features – Q4 2010

The Fruition Partners Professional Services team was very busy these last 3 months, and all deserve a nice Christmas break.

Our consultants are big fans of Service-now.com, always keen to extend the power of the platform. Here are some examples of the configuration work we did these last 3 months:

Request Catalog Decentralization
Need: it was required to decentralize the creation and maintenance of local catalog items to more than 80 departments worldwide. The Graphical Workflow engine was perceived as too powerful to be decentralized. An alternative to the standard Request Catalog administration was required.

Solution: Fruition Partners created a Master Workflow, including more than 30 activities (and a series of subflows) handling any type of combination expected by the customer. A new set of tables “Workflow Variable” was also created in order for the local catalog administrators to define for each catalog item, which combination of the Master Workflow should be used for this specific catalog. Finally, we also created a new role to manage the security of the Local Catalog Administrators.

Result: A Local Catalog Administrator can now go to a dedicated Application where he can create local catalog items. A new catalog item is automatically linked to the Master Workflow. The local Catalog Admin then only needs to create Workflow Variables that will determine the expected combination of activities for this item. Also, thanks to this concept, the Local Catalog Administrators can work directly in PROD as the catalog items are considered as content (just like KB articles).



Extended Service Portfolio (handling of SLA contracts)
Need: the new Service Portfolio plugin is amazing: it allows the definition of a Service, its Pricing Model, related Service Offerings and Commitments and so on. This plugin however, doesn’t link (at the moment) the Commitments with the SLA Definitions table where the Response and Resolution Targets are defined.

Solution: we created the link between the Commitments and the SLA Definitions tables and adapted the SLA Definition Parameters so that the Schedule and Timezone used for the SLA calculation (Task SLA) is based on the Schedule and Timezone selected at the Service Offering. We also modified the Service selection in the Incident so that only Services the Caller has subscribed (either through the Company, Department, Group, etc) can be selected in the Incident.

Result: The customer can now define a new Service, together with its Service Offerings, related Commitments and for the “Resolution” Commitment Type, he can define which SLA Definitions to use. Then, all the new parameters defined automate the trigger and calculation of the Task SLAs.

Migration of HP Service Desk 4.5 Data
Need: one of our customers is a big user of HP Open View Service Desk 4.5 and needs an agile approach for the migration, especially as the Cut Over period will be very short. Another challenge is that the data volume to migrate is very big, so Excel or CSV files would not have done the job.

Solution: one of our consultants that is a DBA expert created a set of Import Sets for Services, CIs, Contracts, etc using direct JDBC connection in the HPOVSD 4.5 database (via the MID Server) and defined the Transform Maps for each table.

Result: We can now run on-demand data migrations with direct export from HPOVSD database and retrieve more than 200’000 CIs and about 350’000 CI relations, all this on the fly!

Most Used Templates
Need: the way Service-now.com handles Templates is great. You can simply go on an existing record, save it as a Template, and the values populated in this record will be made available and automatically populated in a new record when applying the saved template. Templates can be saved either as global, group or personal templates. The issue is that for large organizations, all templates are displayed in one big contextual list, which makes it difficult to use when the volume is high. The customer asked for an improved functionality to select the templates.

Solution: We improved the existing functionality by creating a concept of template usage and the ability to display the top 10 most used templates and an option “Others” that displays a list of all templates

Result: The user can now select and apply from the contextual menu one of the 10 most used templates. If the template to be used is not available in this list, he simply clicks on “Others” to access to the full list of templates he is authorized to use.


E-Signature plugin modification (to trigger only when ‘Subject to GxP’)
Need: Service-now.com list of plugins includes the E-Signature plugin. This plugin modifies the Approval table so that the Approvers must enter their login and password to approve or reject a change or a requested item, etc. This plugin is mainly used for the organizations that must comply with GLP/GXP practices (mainly pharmaceutical companies). Our customer needed this plugin, but with an adaptation so that the dialog box requesting the authentication would be required only for Changes where “Subject to GxP” would be set to true.

Solution: the plugin was adapted to run only on the Change Request table and also only when the Change Request was Subject to GxP. Some adaptations were also required to authenticate the users of multiple Windows domains. We also defined a new flag at the CMDB_CI level “Subject to GxP” so that when a change coordinator selects a CI that is Subject to GxP, the Change Request is set automatically to “Subject to GxP” to ensure its compliance.

Result: Approvals on Change Requests that are Subject to GxP automatically request an authentication.

Contextual Record Producer variables in Incident
Need: the Record Producer is a nice feature in Service-now.com. It allows the creation of Registration Forms for specific tables. As an example (available in the demo instance) there are Record Producers such as “Create a new Incident”, “Reset a Password”, “Report a Performance Problem”.. All these record producers have the same target table (Incident in this case) but each of them has dedicated questions so that the request is better qualified when created from the web portal. The issue comes when the end-user is not using the web portal but calling the Service Desk. The agent has the option to either create an incident via the web portal on behalf of the end-user or to use the Incident Form. But when using the Incident Form, the variables that help to qualify the request are not available.

Solution: A new link was created between the CIs and the Record Producers. Then, a script was created in the Incident so that when a CI is selected, a dedicated Variable Section appears with the appropriate set of variables coming from the related Record Producer.

Result: The agent can now ask the appropriate questions directly from the Incident record without using the Record Producers.

This great stuff was performed amongst other nice configurations, such as a Tripwire integration, extended use of Knowledge Submissions for article reviews, automated creation of Business Service Catalog Entries based on the Business Service table, multilangual Request Catalog based on the same model than the KB internationalization plugin and much more…

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in one of these configurations. We don’t have time unfortunately to document them all in our blog, but we are setting up our Knowledge Base so that our customers will have a direct access to all this very soon!

Michel is one of the co-founders of Aspediens (acquired by Fruition Partners in 2016) and now CEO, Europe at Fruition Partners. As a serial entrepreneur with strong experience in innovation, product management and solution delivery, he spots trends and writes about the future of Service Management.
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