ServiceNow released a new version of ServiceNow, codename Kingston. More amazing work by ServiceNow once again!
This article showcases just some of the new features I am excited about in this new release. It is getting more difficult to write these upgrade posts as there are so many new features.
For full release notes, check out the Kingston Release Notes
Reference icon preview
Clicking a reference icon (Information icon that appears next to an item in a list) opens a preview with the option to the open the record in another window, regardless of whether the user is viewing a form or a list in List v2 or List v3. The reference icon preview functionality makes for a more consistent experience across the platform, as well as being more accessible to all users, including tablet users.
ServiceNow Agent Intelligence is a new Now Platform feature in the Kingston release.
Use machine-learning algorithms to set field values during record creation such as setting the incident category based on the short description. Train predictive models to act as an agent to categorize and route work based on your past record-handling experience.
Assessments and Surveys
Multiple correct answers for questions
For a Quiz type assessment metric, multiple correct answers are supported for the following questions types:
- Numeric Scale
- Image Scale
Copy a survey, assessment, or quiz
If a metric type (survey, assessment, or quiz) has at least one metric or category, you can copy the metric type using the Copy option, or by selecting Copy from the context menu on the title bar. All associated questions (type), configurations, categories, metrics, domain separation rules, and role-based categories are copied. Assigned users, category users, instances, and trigger conditions are not copied.
CMDB Software Development Kit (SDK)
ServiceNow released a new SDK to improve integrations with 3rd party applications when integrating into the ServiceNow CMDB.
This new SDK uses a REST to minimize duplicate CIs and only allow authorized sources to insert/update CI information.
The CMDB SDK provides a set of Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable third-party applications to use the identification and reconciliation engine to create, read, and update configuration item (CI) records. Thus, eliminating duplicate CIs and improving overall CMDB data quality.
ServiceNow Flow Designer is a new Now Platform feature in the Kingston release.
Enable process owners to use natural language to automate approvals, tasks, notifications, and record operations without having to code. Use a single design environment to author flows and actions and manage flow executions.
This is the "easy version" of ServiceNow Workflow. It doesn't have all the features that ServiceNow Workflow has yet, but perhaps someday it might.
However there are definite use cases for the product.
- Low Code Development - You can enable "non-developers" to build flows. There would be likely some training needed, but it is much easier than introducing them to ServiceNow workflow
- Linear Integrations - Customers often build linear straight forward workflows for the majority of their Service Catalog items. This would help when building those items.
ServiceNow Function fields are a new Now Platform feature in the Kingston release.
All supported relational database management systems (RDBMS) provide a common set of built-in functions that can be used in SQL statements: string, mathematical, and so on. Function fields and function scripts let application developers and administrators use those functions in the platform in an integrated and familiar way without requiring any knowledge of SQL or RDBMS specifics.
Read more: Function Fields
ServiceNow IntegrationHub is a new Now Platform feature in the Kingston release.
Automate integration tasks using ServiceNow-built components for Flow Designer. Requires a separate subscription.
How to install the IntegrationHub on your personal instance.
- Login into the ServiceNow Developer Site
- Go to Manage Instance > Activate Plugins
- Activate the ServiceNow IntegrationHub Installer
- ServiceNow will email you when complete
After it is enabled, you will see new actions in your Flow Designer:
- Microsoft Teams
- ServiceNow eBonding
I really like the direction ServiceNow is going with Knowledge Management. In the last release, Jakarta, they added Article Versioning, Subscriptions, and a Service Portal.
In this release, they added more solid, common-sense improvements to Knowledge Management.
Enhance the experience of knowledge users by providing consistent structure to the articles. Use the default How-to, What-is, FAQ, and KCS article templates, or create your own customized templates.
External Content integration
Integrate external content sources into the unified knowledge search results and provide knowledge users with a seamless search experience across several platforms.
Article Quality Index
Assess the quality of the articles and the performance of the authors by conducting article quality reviews. Create a customized set of questions and use them to evaluate the quality of knowledge articles.
Use the MetricBase product to collect, retain, analyze, and visualize time series data on the Now Platform.
Time series data is a collection of values for an item taken at specific time intervals. Time series data is stored in a separate database, called the MetricBase database. An example is collecting CPU usage values for a computer every hour. You can then use the time series data to evaluate system capacity issues.
The MetricBase product is integrated with the Now Platform making it easy to handle time series data for applications on the Now Platform. The MetricBase database saves values as floating-point numbers.
The MetricBase product is available as a separate subscription.
Lower your amount of emails with an email digest. This might be a major reason to upgrade to Kingston right here!
Enable an email digest, a single email that summarizes the activity for a notification during a digest (time) interval that you specify. By enabling an email digest for a selected notification, you can reduce the number of emails received when associated records are frequently updated during a short time period. Admins create the email digest format for a notification and control the digest intervals that users can choose when enabling a digest in their notification preferences.
Add SEO information to Service Portal pages
Service Portal is becoming more public and with the option to replace customer facing websites. Maybe someday I can blog from the Service Portal!
Improve the searchability of Service Portal pages by adding meta tags and descriptive, dynamic titles. A Service Portal page may load static or dynamic content. Add Search Engine Optimization (SEO) information to both static and dynamic pages by: Associating public pages with meta tags to optimize search from external search engines.
Using record data loaded in a page to dynamically generate descriptive page titles.
Create Service Portal announcements
Use announcements to broadcast messages to Service Portal users. Announcements can be displayed in an announcement banner or an announcement widget instance. Announcements are active on new instances. To activate announcements after upgrade, activate the Service Portal Announcements (com.glide.service-portal.announcements) plugin.
Shorter upgrade durations
Upgrades are now faster!
The performance of the upgrade engine is enhanced, resulting in significantly shorter duration times for family-to-family upgrades. A family-to-family upgrade occurs when an instance moves from its current release version to another version in a different family (for example, upgrading from Jakarta Patch 6 to Kingston). The upgrade process is optimized for both patching and family-to-family upgrades starting in Kingston and later releases.
The performance improvement can be significant enough to cause concern that your upgrade may not have run properly. As always, test your upgrades, but do not assume that the upgrade was unsuccessful based just on the time it took to execute.
Provides the option to view attached documents inline within the platform rather than just downloading the documents to the file system. Configure an audit trail to track the number of views and downloads for a particular document.
I have noticed this making uploading documents slower. This is because the Document Viewer sends the files out to a server on a ServiceNow datacenter for PDF conversion, then stores the PDF within the instance.
This should be explained to your users before the upgrade. Otherwise more questions on why attachment upload is slow will be asked.
Response time indicator
View more details for the response time indicator using the expand option.
Agile Development 2.0
The Agile Board has a landing page where you can access the key features of the application.
Application Portfolio Management
ServiceNow has made a lot of enhancements to APM in Kingston.
I am currently working with a customer that is a design partner for APM. They were very impressed with ServiceNow and how they have responded to the customer's design suggestions.
There are so many improvements, that is best to check out the release notes.
Enterprise Release Management
Enterprise Release Management is a new feature in the Kingston release.
Enterprise Release Management helps you manage enterprise releases, product releases, and deployment process.
The Financial Planning application is newly introduced in the Kingston release.
Customer Service Management
New features in CSM
Customer service agents can record time worked on case-related activities, create time cards and time sheets, and submit for approval. Managers can approve time sheets, define cost rates for different types of activities, and convert to expense lines.
Case and account escalation
Use the escalation feature to highlight specific cases or accounts and raise awareness of important customer issues. Escalating cases or accounts facilitates communication about an issue and enables users to track progress toward issue resolution.
Agent intelligence for case management
Assist users with case creation by requesting a minimum of information, such as the product and short description; automatically determining the category, priority, and assignment group; and routing the case to the correct queue.
Case management integration with Communities
Agents, fulfillers, and privileged community users can create a case from a discussion thread based on the roles and rules set up by the community administrator. This feature allows users to escalate a question or discussion thread to a case so that the question can be answered by experts in the support team.
Flow Designer actions
Use Flow Designer actions as building blocks to create Customer Service Management business processes.
Communities has a ton of improvements. Check out the release notes.
IT Operations Management
A ton of updates to Cloud Management in this release. Check out the release notes.
Discovery has added new features that I know people will appreciate. Some of these items have been asked about for years.
Pretty cool I think
Use Nmap to perform credential-less Discovery when regular authentication on configuration items (CI) fails. Discovery and Service Mapping can run Nmap commands on the target to collect some basic information about the CI without using credentials. Nmap can return operating system information and application information, and perform reverse DNS resolution to identify a host from the IP address.
Microsoft SCCM 2016 support
The Now Platform supports data imports from SCCM 2016, providing Asset Intelligence and Incremental Software Reconciliation.
Discovery can find instances of IBM z/OS using patterns.
vCenter Discovery extension
Trigger custom probes from existing sensors to collect new attributes of currently discovered CIs or to discover attributes of new CI types.
IT Service Management
Software Asset Management Foundation plugin for the ITSM Software Asset Management
Manage your software assets using manual normalization and reconciliation to determine software compliance.
Plugin for Risk Assessment
The Change Management — Risk Assessment version 2.0 plugin (com.snc.change_management.risk_assessment) is introduced in this release. This plugin is activated by default for new users.
The Change Management — Risk Assessment version 2.0 plugin updates the risk assessment for a change request in the following ways:
- Updates the underlying assessment engine from Legacy Assessment to Survey & Assessment v2.
- Improves the overall assessment experience.
- Introduces a new assessment questionnaire based on sound practice from customers, ServiceNow Change Management experts.
- Works seamlessly with Risk Calculation capability of Change Management.
Major Incident Management
The Major Incident Management plugin (com.snc.incident.mim) is introduced in this release. This plugin must be manually activated for new and existing customers.
Read more Major Incident Management
Service Catalog landing page in Service Portal
The Service Catalog landing page in Service Portal is available by default for zBoot users. Upgrade users should activate the Service Portal - Service Catalog v2 plugin (com.glideapp.servicecatalog.portal)
Performance Analytics and Reporting
External data sources for Performance Analytics
Collect scores and breakdowns from external Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) data sources.
Reveal any patterns that exist in user-entered text fields.
This is an interesting feature that will compete with other 3rd party applications.
Responsive canvas dashboards are enabled by default on new instances.
Responsive dashboards overview page
Navigate and search responsive dashboards more effectively with the dashboard overview, which shows a tabbed card view of:
- Recent dashboards
- Dashboards owned by the user
- Dashboards shared with the user
- All dashboards to which the user has access
Field Service Management
Use the appointment booking feature and its integration with dynamic scheduling to determine appointment availability in real-time and automatically assign appointments to available resources. Field service agents can also schedule appointments for users.