The Service Management team has upgraded Carolina’s ServiceNow platform to the New York release, marking the first upgrade since ITS and campus partners rolled out ServiceNow last July.

ServiceNow introduces new software feature releases every six months — and yes, they’re named after cities.

David Smith
David Smith

“We upgraded from Madrid to New York, and Orlando was just released at the end of January,” said David Smith, ITSM Manager.

New features coming

The upgrade to the newer version of ServiceNow is mostly behind-the-scenes for now, but it brings new features that the team will be able to implement over the coming months:

  • The ability to create, send and collect responses for customer surveys, plus the ability to use assessments to evaluate, score and rank records from any table in the system.
  • The ability to relate knowledge articles to a service request so that requesters can see additional information about the service.
  • Enhancements to Knowledge Management to align it to the what’s known as “Knowledge-Centered Service,” which is a new way to think about how knowledge articles are created and the role articles play in solving problems.
  • More security roles that provide more protection for incidents, problems, changes, and service requests.
  • A new Business Stakeholder role that gives read-only access to tickets or reports.
  • Performance analytics and reporting related to the Chat function.
ServiceNow project team
Some members of the ServiceNow project team

Required much prep

Smith and the development team of Francis Chan and Suping Li had been planning the upgrade — specifically the necessary code changes — since December. Testers Cau Thoong and Erin Towne and ServiceNow Practice owners made sure everything worked as designed. Thoong also implemented ServiceNow’s Automated Testing Framework to help speed the testing.

This was, Smith said, “one of the smoothest upgrades I’ve ever managed.”

Two upgrades annually

Going forward, the ITSM team intends to do two upgrades per year — one in the summer and one before the winter holidays, which are relatively quiet periods of the academic year.

“Staying current in the platform enables us to take advantage of new features and functionality, reduce the risk of encountering issues already resolved and avoid the issues inherent to running an unsupported release,” Smith said.

Lessons learned

The team learned a few lessons from its first upgrade:

  • Leverage Automatic Testing Framework in future releases and as the team builds out new enhancements in the ITSM suite.
  • Limit the upgrade to an aggressive two-week window to eliminate the risk of redundant work due to the rapid patching schedule of ServiceNow. ServiceNow has fully engaged in the DevOps model within its cloud architecture.
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