As a ServiceNow partner and advanced user ourselves, we recently gave ourselves a challenge - upgrade our ServiceNow instance to the newly released Kingston version in just 10 days.
You might be asking ‘why?’ Well when we embarked on our ServiceNow journey in 2015, we took a DIY approach and built our own internal capabilities to be able to complete our own implementation. Fast forward to today and we’re an official partner with several successful customer projects under our collective belt. Being users of the ITSM system gives us unique insights into our customers’ challenges, so it’s worked really well. We decided to take a similar approach with the Kingston release. Although we wouldn’t recommend a 10 day upgrade process to most of our customers, we wanted to upskill in the latest features and embed Kingston into our team so we’re in the position to use our experience to help our customers with their own upgrade process.
How did we do this?
The thing that had the single biggest impact was the new Automated Test Framework (ATF). We wanted to maintain the comprehensive test plans that we conduct as part of the upgrades we had delivered in the past, but wanted to streamline them without compromising quality. ATF gave us most of the tools we needed to achieve this across both our UAT and DEV environments.
One of our favourite features is the ability to bundle several manual tests into a single automated test case and roll test cases up into a suite of tests. This assisted in highlighting any potential issues a lot quicker than manually running tests. This feature will also give a lot of flexibility when looking to upgrade a single module of ServiceNow as you can specify testing on just that particular module.
The ATF also meant we reduced manual testing time significantly, down from two people testing for eight hours, to one person for three hours. With a shorter time frame, we were able to reduce drift between our sub-production instances and production, minimising surprises when applying the upgrade to production.
While the ATF did a lot of the heavy lifting for us, it also had to be underpinned by a robust, pragmatic upgrade plan. Our upgrade plan covers every aspect, from runsheets, responsibilities and scheduling, to manual test cases, risks, assumptions and approvals. Running your upgrade to a clear, well built plan is crucial for success.
What’s new in Kingston?
Kingston brings some true innovation to the ServiceNow platform and our favourites are the Major Incident Management Workbench and Flow Designer. Flow Designer provides a no-code, user friendly interface to help you build your workflows. Another great feature we are enjoying is Agent Intelligence, allowing us to use supervised machine learning that can be tailored to each customer and their own data. Agent Intelligence is a paid feature but, definitely worth considering if you run a large Customer Service Centre.
To find out more about the Kingston release, please click here.
Why should you upgrade?
Upgrading can sometimes be a tedious process but, the benefits and future enhancements always make investing the time to upgrade worthwhile. ServiceNow have two major version releases each year and whilst we’re excited about Kingston, which was just released in January, we can’t wait to see what features the London release, that is earmarked for August this year, will bring. Don’t forget that every ServiceNow release makes the one from 3 versions ago (n-3) unsupported, so make sure you don’t fall too far behind.
Did you know?
AC3 is both a customer and registered ServiceNow Partner. This gives us the benefit of being on both sides of the engagement and access to all the resources and assets that ServiceNow offers as part of the partner program.
ServiceNow underpins our Managed Services and Service Integration and Management (SIAM) platforms. By using ServiceNow operationally within our business, we take these experiences and learnings and apply them to our customer engagements with best practice and pragmatic advice. If you would like any help or advice on your own ServiceNow instance, please get in touch on 02 9199 0888 or firstname.lastname@example.org