How to Connect ServiceNow to Third-Party Applications
Organizations leverage data and process integrations to connect ServiceNow to other applications. There are a number of options available to facilitate such integrations – from manual to technological solutions.
- Connecting ServiceNow to Third-Party Applications: The Recommended Approach
- Other ServiceNow Integration Options
- Considerations for ServiceNow Integrations
Organizations with large data volumes typically embrace integration technologies to meet their needs. Small businesses are often tempted into a manual approach – but this can make scaling up difficult as manual integrations require resources to maintain them.
This post will outline the different methods available to connect ServiceNow to other applications, and the considerations that should influence your decision.
How to Connect ServiceNow to Other Applications: Integration Options
A Native Application for ServiceNow integrations – For integrations that don’t noticeably impact ServiceNow performance, the recommended approach is to use a native-application for integration.
3rd-party, custom technological integrations typically require web-services to function. Meaning they share bandwidth with the organization’s ServiceNow instance, impacting query speed. They must also be maintained over time, and updates to ServiceNow can break integrations and cause disruption.
Perspectium provides a ServiceNow-native application and fully-managed service for ServiceNow integrations. Perspectium users can take advantage of integration as a service that doesn’t impact the health of organization’s ServiceNow instances.
iPaaS – Integration Platform as a Service tools deliver a platform on which you can build your own integrations, and often come with a vast array of connectors.
Vendors in this space include Informatica, Mulesoft, Boomi and Jitterbit. It’s important to note that these solutions just deliver a platform – the creation and management of the actual integration is left to the customer.
These tools are often used by large organizations where the data warehouse team makes the integration buying decisions – since they are looking for a single solution that will work with most data from most applications.
ETL Tools – Extract, Transform, Load tools are one of the older forms of integration, delivering datastore to datastore transfers of data. They work well in situations where application business rules or security requirements don’t matter.
They are good for staying within (behind) a firewall, when data is not time sensitive. Sample vendors in this space include Pentaho, SAS, Talend and Xplenty.
Integration Hub – This is ServiceNow’s own integration technology, and is really just a re-packaging of the web-services approach that they have been delivering for years.
This product is delivered in the same “style” as iPaaS solutions – in that a platform is provided, and it is up to the customer to create the actual integration on top of that with the tools provided.
This approach is good for trigger-based integrations like chat and remote control, and for when you want to keep iPaaS inside ServiceNow.
DIY – Do-It-Yourself approaches typically rely on web service interfaces written in-house by a “spare” developer to perform an integration task. Since they are created for a specific task, any changes to that task usually require a re-write and re-test of the (typically undocumented) integration.
This approach is often used by organizations without a lot of experience in integration, due to the escalating ongoing costs and the solution inflexibility that soon become apparent.
Swivel Chair – is exactly what it sounds like. These are manual integrations – where a human copies information from one tool into another.
There are obvious shortcomings with this approach – but it is relatively cheap, and appropriate for very small-scale integrations.
ServiceNow Integrations: What to Consider
The right integration approach depends on the job at hand – there isn’t a single integration approach that will suit all requirements.
As such, there are a list of considerations that you must think about before deciding on the right approach for a specific need. Considerations include:
Volume: When moving large volumes of data, the DIY and swivel chair approaches have significant limitations. Large amounts of data and data sources can make the processes involved too complex to manage.
Performance: Non-native integration solutions are typically facilitated by web-services. ServiceNow can be impacted by large web service data exports since they use the same communication channels as the users.
Organizations have to consider whether these impacts to performance can be managed without impacting their customers.
Timing: Organizations often seek to subvert the performance impact of non-native integrations by executing integrations as batch jobs out of business hours. However, batch exports often exceed the allotted time and lead to disruption for the end-user.
In contrast, organizations using ServiceNow-native applications for integrations can leverage real-time data-delivery, without impacting performance.
Resilience – how critical is the integration to your business? Is it something that should be monitored on a 24/7 basis to ensure that it’s always available?
If you cannot afford any down time, a custom-integration approach may be incompatible.
Distribution: How does this data need to be distributed? Is it a one-way transfer, or a bidirectional synchronization? Is it a point-to-point integration, or are there multiple destinations for the data?
Perspectium gives you the real-time, bidirectional integration that you require to connect your customer-impacting applications in a meaningful way.
Overall Cost – an obvious consideration, but one that is often calculated inaccurately. Ensure that you are looking at the Total Cost of Ownership – as opposed to just the license cost. Factor in development time, testing time, regular maintenance for upgrades and process changes, additional hardware and software requirements, and so on. A TCO calculator like this one from Perspectium can help here.
For more information on ServiceNow integration options, and free comparison chart for integration options, click here.
Want to learn more about a native solution for connecting ServiceNow to other applications? Contact us here.