ServiceNow is a powerful, industry-leading cloud platform with a range of modules such as ITSM, SAM, GRC, ITOM, etc. Whatever modules of ServiceNow your organization uses, there are certain universal values that ServiceNow brings to the forefront – unparalleled visibility, which in turn drives better control. Not to mention streamlining workflows and bridging interdepartmental divides, which facilitates greater collaboration. However, your organization won’t get the maximum value from the platform if it is not being used as intended. In other words, you must follow some best practices.

Here are 5 handy tips from our ServiceNow experts to help you get the greatest value from the platform.

1. Stick with OOB and Minimize Customization

It’s a best practice that ServiceNow states loud and clear – Avoid over-customization and stick with out-of-the-box (OOB) functionality. While you can create your own customizations, altering source code and adding new functionality, it is a recipe for trouble at a later stage. Sure, it seems convenient, but there can be damaging consequences when you need to upgrade to a new ServiceNow release. Each customization needs extra work to be maintained properly and tested when it’s time for an upgrade, which in the ServiceNow world is every 6 months.

So use OOB functionality and minimize your customizations. This is where working with an experienced ServiceNow partner can keep you on the right track, and they can always point you towards functionality improvements in the next ServiceNow release that support your requirements. Despite this being a well-known best practice, it is unfortunately very common for organizations to over-customize their ServiceNow instances. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by avoiding falling into the trap of over-customization.

2. Make the Most of Script Includes

Using more script includes provides centralization which is one of the key values of ServiceNow. They help improve your utilization of ServiceNow, by storing JavaScript that runs on the server, in a single location.

The alternatives are global business rules, or writing code in multiple places, but they destroy this centralization and complicate your ServiceNow maintenance. Remember ServiceNow is all about keeping it simple and smooth. So avoid complications that will leave you searching for multiple pieces of code in various locations when you need to edit them. It is much better practice to use script includes that define object classes or functions. Such script includes are much easier to edit, and they are only loaded on request, when you need them.

3. Use Value Look-Ups, Not Hard-Coded Values

Using hard-coded values is asking for trouble down the road and can lead to unexpected results. They can also be difficult to locate and update later. For example, it is not a recommended practice to hard code sys_ids as they may differ across instances. It is better to look up the value by reference, or create a property and use gs.getproperty() to retrieve the value.

Organizational change is part of the deal for your ServiceNow instance, and hardcoding values creates inflexibility that cannot adapt to such changes. Looking up values is the key to easier management and smoother functioning of your ServiceNow instance.

4. Documentation Saves the Day

Documentation probably sounds like a basic step, but do not underestimate the value of documenting everything about your ServiceNow instance and implementation. Thorough documentation is invaluable when you need to expand existing functionality, or replace certain modules. It also supports knowledge transfer, making it much easier to get someone new up to speed.

At Aptris, a CDW company, we handle all things ServiceNow, and we are passionate about helping our customers leverage ServiceNow for maximum value. In addition to being an Elite ServiceNow partner, we’re proud to be 100% laser-focused on ServiceNow. Let us bring our industry-leading laser precision and dedication to your organization and support you with the ServiceNow module you’re using or interested in. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Mike Roberts
Mike Roberts is VP of Marketing for Aptris. He joined in 2010 with 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and communications. He coordinates Aptris’ overall marketing and branding strategies.