ServiceNow, as an enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud offering for enterprises, delivers and manages just about everything. They lead the pack for Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) tools among a long history of other IT vendor tools for service desk and incident management. Their “Now” platform runs IT, employee, and customer digital programs. For IT cloud provisioning, ServiceNow includes a Cloud Management application in its IT Operations Management (ITOM) suite.
It makes sense to integrate with ServiceNow whenever and wherever you can as an independent software vendor (ISV). The question is where and who’s leading the dance?
In fact, dancing by yourself, although not necessarily a bad thing, might just send you off the floor. IT shops invested heavily in ServiceNow want to achieve the promised business value so all enterprise consumers of IT can access and manage whatever they need from any connected system.
Their core value comes from two things. First, they maintain an industry standard “system of record” for everything that is created, deleted, changed, and archived in what’s called a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Second, they have an incredibly easy-to-use interface that is powered by a SaaS application that accounts for and manages usage for the cost of the digital services across all lines of business for the enterprise.
ServiceNow Attracts the CMDB-Friendly, and Like-Minded
Back to dancing. What makes a ServiceNow integration possible? If the CMDB gets updated, chances are you’ll at least make it to the dance floor. For example, in this workflow for a CloudBolt provisioning process, an Action in the order form will update the CMDB in ServiceNow:
Actions in CloudBolt provide orchestration steps in the provisioning process and can be customized to the exact specifications required by the enterprise. The key value is that a system of record is maintained in one place so troubleshooting scenarios are streamlined and identifying at what stage and where a configuration item (CI) is impacted is easy to find.
ServiceNow Cloud Catalog
ServiceNow provides a way to include a catalog of cloud resources from popular vendor sources such as AWS, Azure, and VMware so that developers and anyone needing virtual infrastructure can request resources and have it provisioned if approved. They use the term “Launch a Stack” from the ServiceNow Cloud User Portal page, as shown in the following example.
What goes on next is up to the IT admins and system administrators in the enterprise. They can choose to develop a workflow to provision all the resources using ServiceNow or they can integrate with other solutions to achieve the same goal. They must decide if another solution that integrates with ServiceNow might be a better alternative than just sticking with the platform.
ServiceNow Integration Decisions
Integration with ServiceNow might include either a “front-end” or “back-end” capability.
When a ServiceNow cloud consumer “Launches a Stack,” the user interface (UI) could change to a third-party portal that has a service catalog where ordering and managing resources takes place. This works for some organizations that might already have a robust self-service provisioning tool that they want to keep rather than configuring everything all over again in ServiceNow. A key part of this integration should include inventory management that can be accomplished with updating the CMDB that is managed by ServiceNow and the industry standard for IT processes. Any platform like ServiceNow would typically have a CMDB and the integration tool should update and “sync” with the main system of record for the enterprise.
Another scenario for the integration is having the Cloud Management application in ServiceNow call another solution to do the orchestration, automation, and provisioning of cloud infrastructure resources. The ServiceNow enterprise consumer would not even notice that the “back end” is being run by another technology provider. In order for this decision to be wise, either the integration technology for provisioning is superior to ServiceNow or it is already in place. It could also be both. The technology is already in use and is superior.
Extending Beyond Cloud Provisioning
Other third-party systems integrate with any of the wide range of workflows in ServiceNow as a starting point. For example, a monitoring solution that has identified a network, application, or infrastructure condition that the service desk in ServiceNow needs to get could be automated to generate a service ticket. There can be manual steps and even approval processes configured for all or some of the steps of any integration with ServiceNow. A service desk request could then kick off a cloud provisioning workflow that is completely automated.
CloudBolt and ServiceNow
CloudBolt can be part of any of the integration workflows in ServiceNow and has been proven to be particularly useful as the provisioning engine for complex orchestration, automation, and provision workflows for the enterprise.