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7 Top ITOM features in the ServiceNow Washington DC release

7 Top ITOM features in the ServiceNow Washington DC release

Washington DC is out, and so are a bunch of new additions to the ITOM family, especially for the ITOM Visibility (Discovery and Service Mapping) package. This is a family that continues to grow because of ServiceNow’s continuous devotion to expanding its products. This dedication extends to a wide range of improvements, from minor modifications, changes and innovative products that facilitate and aid processes, to technical improvements of solutions.

Top features

Time to embrace the future with Now Assist for ITOM

The GenAI revolution has swept across industries, with vendors investing heavily to enhance their products with AI-powered features. ITOM has not been spared, and the first feature to hit the ITOM roadmap is the Alert Simplification capability. 

This feature aims to make alerts easier to understand and act upon by simplifying them with straightforward descriptions and suggestions. Technical staff at all levels of experience will now be able to quickly grasp and proactively respond to alerts, improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of IT operations.

Agent Client Collector expands with patterns

This is a major feature that we have been waiting for a long time. Historically, the use and benefit of agent-based and agentless Discovery have been different. One of the primary differences has been the amount of data they bring in, with agentless Discovery being the superior. This is both regarding attributes, middleware and relationships.

These differences have now been decreased with the use of Patterns for Agent Client Collector. Patterns have previously been exclusive for agentless Discovery, while the Agent Client Collector has relied on OSQuery – which for old timers like us – has been a rather new method to incorporate.

We are big fans of patterns, as they provide a more logical step-by-step method to add new CI types, attributes and relationships. Being able to put the same “centralised” logic into clients is a beautiful addition to the Agent Client Collector.

ITOM Content Service

Due to fast infrastructure growth and the constant release of new IT products, it is challenging to adjust Discovery to ensure rapidly and continuously updated visibility to the IT estate.

To help with that, the Discovery Admin Workspace has introduced a novel ITOM Content Service, aimed at accelerating the identification of previously unrecognised applications and infrastructural elements by leveraging crowd-sourced input.

Based on AI, ITOM Content Service ensures up-to-date visibility of products in use by providing new CIs on a weekly basis, improving the accuracy and completeness of the IT inventory and unlocking the overall value of Discovery implementation.

View unmapped servers

With directives like NIS2 hitting a lot of companies, making sure all servers are mapped to an application service is a major focus. This is not a difficult report to create yourself, but this View ties together with Machine Learning-based Service Mapping, which we are very excited about. 

In this View, along with the unmapped server, one is also presented with a service candidate. This service candidate is what Service Mapping has suggested as your application service. And even though this is a basic report to create, it still demonstrates how ServiceNow is aiding the operators with maintaining these overviews with out-of-the-box solutions.

Unified Map

The Unified Map combines two of our favourite views: the Dependency View and the Service Mapping View. This alone has been missing for a long time since it wasn’t possible to include both a technical overview of the application service and the relationship between servers outside of the service map.

But that’s not only what it does! It also adds a timeline, enabling you to see how the landscape and relationships change over time. Moreover, it adds a CI search capability, allowing you to search the map. The Unified Map is available with CMDB Workspace v4.0.

Event flow testing

On the ITOM Health side, a nifty new feature is the possibility of generating a stream of events from a production environment to a subprod environment. Why is this so nice? Historically, to test new event rules, alert management rules, correlation and the like, you had two options – create your own new events or enable the connector in a subprod environment. None of these were ideal. 

Getting the actual event from production gives you the correct event for testing.

You often do this for the specific rules that you create, but you might miss how it impacts other stuff that you don’t test. Getting the actual events from production hopefully gives you the full picture when performing your changes.

New Cloud Accelerate with Cloud Service Catalog

One notable change from the last year was that Cloud Governance has been renamed to Cloud Accelerate, maintained as a Store application. By employing self-service catalogues and regulated workflows, Cloud Services Catalogue enhances cloud operations. 

Automated workflows expedite cloud resource provisioning and application migration, streamlining cloud operations. Recent improvements have simplified the process of incorporating new offerings into the catalogue, enhancing the ability to manage the lifecycle of cloud resources effectively.

Minor yet impactful features

New patterns

By now it almost goes without saying, but of course, Washington DC also brings new patterns to the table. Among the most noticeable are the following:

  • NetApp, which, for the storage fans, has been missed for quite some time.
  • Database Administrator (DBA) report – This is, from a pure tool perspective, a very interesting idea. This pattern is the base for DBA-specific reports, such as tracking information in master and system tables. We are yet to deep-dive into the use case, but it’s clear that DBA gets more into ServiceNow – much like firewall auditing.

Improvements in the Service Operations Workspace

The previously released Express List now features a Link View and offers multiple Alert Automations, enhancing user experience. It gives an operator a better understanding of the connections between alerts in a tag-based alert group. Link View shows how the alerts in a group are linked with each other based on what they have in common.

The better change

The ServiceNow Washington DC release brings significant enhancements to IT Operations Management, including streamlined alert management, the process of adding new CI types, and the identification of previously unrecognised applications and infrastructural elements. It’s clear that ServiceNow aimed to enhance efficiency, ease the decision-making process and give a better overview of the IT processes for users, making good use of its AI capabilities.