Summary

Today, every enterprise is becoming a technology company, creating unprecedented challenges, opportunities, and complexity. ServiceNow lets them run smarter, faster, better. And it helps people spend their time on work that’s meaningful, not menial.

 

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ServiceNow provides a scalable platform to enable each department to create services, provide an intuitive service experience and deliver them efficiently. The company believes that nearly everything can be delivered ‘as a service’ in ServiceNow and enterprise service management is emerging as a third estate between ERP and CRM systems. This whitepaper focuses on best practices to integrate enterprise service management platform especially ServicNow Customer Service Management application with other enterprise business suites.

 

Need for Integrations

Enterprises are embracing a best-of-breed enterprise application strategy. For example, companies use ServiceNow for Service Management, Oracle or SAP or NetSuite for ERP and Salesforce.com or Dynamics for CRM. However, these applications probably don’t work very well with each other. The biggest challenge of a multi-app strategy is the inherent complexity – different technologies, different interfaces, different services, and different terminology. Most of the applications offer some in-built integration capabilities, tools and techniques but companies are left with the complex task of designing and building functionally working integrations between them.

 

Enterprise can take different approaches for integrating the applications – Point to Point integration, Integration using EAI Tools or Integration using ETL Tools. They can choose any of these approaches or a hybrid approach. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantage and with the explosive growth in enterprise cloud applications, deciding on an integration approach is a tricky task.

 

ServiceNow Customer Service Management – Integration Scenarios

The ServiceNow Customer Service Management application enables companies to provide service and support for your external customers through communication channels such as web, email, chat, and telephone. A typical Customer Service Management implementation requires both master and transactional data migration.

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The ServiceNow Customer Service Management application enables companies to provide service and support for your external customers through communication channels such as web, email, chat, and telephone. A typical Customer Service Management implementation requires both master and transactional data migration.

Typically, in many organization, ERP plays a role of single source of truth (SSOT) system. Master data integration requires an ongoing integration to synchronize Accounts, Contacts, Locations, Assets and Contracts information with the backend ERP / CRM system. Master data integration is usually achieved with the help of ETL (Extract, Transfer, and Load) tools. ETL tools offer a mechanism to extract data from multiple different systems, performs data cleansing activities and loads cleansed data into the target system.

Business process integration automates business processes and activities by connecting different business entities and systems. Use cases for business process integration significantly vary by industry. In some cases, you need to build an integration with internal department and systems and in some case, it is with external entities such as Partners, Customers, Vendors with EDI systems. Typically, EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) tools are used to integrate disparate applications. Most of the industry leading EAI and ETL tools include pre-built standard connectors for the most common packaged and legacy applications and databases, such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, PeopleSoft, and Microsoft.

 

ServiceNow Integrations – Key Capabilities

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ServiceNow integrates with many third-party applications and data sources. A variety of techniques can be used, most notably Web Services, JDBC, LDAP, Excel, CSV, and Email, as well as any industry standard technologies that use SOAP, REST, or WSDL. Please visit Integration Documentation to know more about an individual option.

 

ServiceNow Integrations – Tips

  • Evaluate Integration Approach: You can choose to integrate your source system with ServiceNow as an automated batch process or as a real-time process. Master data integration is typically implemented using batch integration approach whereas Business process integration is implemented using real-time approach. Choose appropriate integration approach based on your business requirements, processing power and execution time.

 

  • Monitoring: Establish a mechanism to monitor integration processes. Many middleware solution providers offer monitoring solutions to keep a track of deployed integration processes. They offer dashboards to monitor running transactions, completed transactions, failed transactions, execution time, system load etc.

 

  • Robust Error Handling: Errors that may occur during the integration should be logged to a centralized location. Classify these errors into separate buckets Ex. technical errors, unexpected errors, user errors for better categorization and reporting. Provide a mechanism for users to view integration errors. Send email notifications only for mission critical integrations to avoid email flooding.

 

  • Only Sync Relevant Data: Define business rules to extract only relevant data from source system. Ex. Customer Service Management application supports your "Customers" and "Prospects" hence Integration process should filter all "Prospects" and pass on all active "Customers" to ServiceNow.

 

  • Establish "Single Source of Truth": For all Master data integrations, document data flows between the source and target systems. Designate one system as "System of Record". In many organization, ERP plays a role of single source of truth (SSOT) system.

 

  • Use Correlation ID: All of the ServiceNow tables include "correlation ID" and "correlation Display" fields. These fields should be used while integrating the third-party system with ServiceNow to store external system ID. correlation ID field should be used to prevent data duplication.

 

  • Build vs Buy: ServiceNow has a rich ecosystem of partner solutions. The ServiceNow Store is a diverse innovative enterprise application marketplace with a wide choice of solutions. SynQ, JitterBit, and Workkato are some of the key integration partners who have built integration solutions for ServiceNow Customer Service Management.

 

  • Focus on Data Security: Security is an important aspect while defining new interfaces to ensure that all data is securely exchanged between the source system and ServiceNow. Review organization's security policies to make sure that the integration between source systems and ServiceNow is in compliance.

 

  • Performance Testing: A common issue with integrations is that they are not equipped to handle realistic loads. Because each integration is a scoped application, there are more limitations imposed by the platform to ensure system stability. These limitations may result in long running jobs or API calls being terminated. You can ensure that long running processes that process lots of data are handled gracefully by reducing the time each call or process takes. Performance testing can help in identifying system bottlenecks. Performance testing is recommended if you have highly customized code or large transactional volume