First and foremost, ServiceNow is a web application you can access through your browser in order to track and automate work. Beyond that basic explanation, ServiceNow is a bit like the software equivalent of the blind men and an elephant parable. What ServiceNow is to you depends largely on which piece of it you get your hands on first. As a company, ServiceNow provides both Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings via it’s Now Platform in a single tenant architecture.
It’s SaaS offering provides mid and large enterprises with a suite of applications focused primarily on automating processes and workflows for IT, Human Resources, and Customer Service.
It’s PaaS offering allows customers to build custom business applications using a multitude of pre-built capabilities such as reporting, integrations, security, and other more robust features.
Single Tenant Architecture
ServiceNow uses a single tenant architecture which means that each ServiceNow customer gets their own instance of the Now Platform on which to run apps instead of sharing resources as occurs in a Multi-Tenant environment. Single tenant tends to cost more to operate but grants the customer additional flexibility to customize their instance to meet their needs.
ServiceNow offers a wide variety of baseline application products for customers to run in their instances including:
IT Service Management (ITSM)
The ITSM application was ServiceNow’s original product offering, providing IT Service Desks with a robust ticketing and help desk solution. It is built to support ITIL governed processes including Incident Management, Request Management, Change Management, Problem Management, and Knowledge Management. It also includes a powerful Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and Asset Management tools.
IT Operations Management (ITOM)
The ITOM application helps organizations manage their IT infrastructure and services. The application provides a suite of tools for discovering, monitoring, and orchestrating infrastructure while keeping the CMDB up to date. Additionally, it provides automation for identifying and responding to anomalies and events.
IT Business Management (ITBM)
The ITBM application helps organizations plan and execute project portfolios. It covers everything from the operational Project Management and Agile Development modules to the tactical Resource Management module to the strategic Financial Modeling module.
Software Asset Management
This application covers everything to do with managing software license data and costs.
Security Operations / Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)
The Security Operations and GRC applications help organizations to manage security threats and ensure overall policy compliance. Security Operations provides a set of tools to assess vulnerabilities, ensure security compliance, and respond to security incidents. Similarly, the GRC application provides a broader framework for assessing risk, auditing compliance, and remediating issues.
HR Service Delivery
The HR Service Delivery application helps coordinate HR services across the enterprise by providing standardized processes for requesting and submitting documents, inquiries, and requests. It also provides the Employee Service Center which gives employees a single source for company HR information.
Customer Service Management
The Customer Service Management provides a broad spectrum of tools to address customer service processes. It includes everything from Customer Service Case Management to Field Services Management and even Project Management. Additionally it provides valuable self-service capabilities such as Communities, self-service portal, and Virtual Agent.
Custom Business Applications
The real power of ServiceNow is realized when taking the platform beyond the basic applications. ServiceNow provides a common platform of tools for building business applications with minimal to no code required. It’s capabilities include a powerful workflow engine, tasks and assignments, user notifications and alerts, integrations, imports and exports, reporting, and other tools. With the added advantage of applications sharing a single system of record, ServiceNow makes automating work simple and effective.