Enabling Inter-application Workflows in ServiceNow

Enabling inter-application workflows in ServiceNow requires automation, and helps organizations make the most out of their ServiceNow data.

Workflow automation is nothing new. There are workflows within your IT applications, within your HR applications, within your supply chain applications, and within most of the other tools that you use to run your business.

Leveraging ServiceNow workflow to eliminate roadblocks from everyday business operations

In order to achieve efficiency and streamline various processes, organizations have turned to automation solutions like ServiceNow Workflow.

ServiceNow Workflow automates multi‑step processes that occur between any combination of people and systems to help companies achieve better business outcomes.

Organizations that successfully implement the solution enjoy increased productivity and revenue, reduced costs, improved quality, and a smoother digital transformation process.

ServiceNow’s approach to workflow improves business outcomes in a variety of ways:

  • Eliminates bottlenecks
  • Integrates processes and activities
  • Automates the routing of requests, approvals, decisions, and actions and simplifies interactions that involve these processes
  • Automated workflows use a drag-and-drop interface that visualizes the entire sequence of activities in an easy-to-understand flowchart.
  • Allows you to create end‑to‑end automation of the previously manual or disconnected processes that drive your business
  • Eliminates redundant steps and processes, thereby increasing efficiency
  • Integrates existing applications and data as well as disconnected processes (this is critical and an aspect we’ll delve into more detail further down the blog)
  • Enables business scalability and extends the value of existing investments
  • Minimizes errors
  • Address new use cases and requirements and improves current process flows

Of course, you want to get started and achieve the most profitable business outcomes, but..

How can you derive the best results from using ServiceNow’s workflow?

Inter-application workflows allow for data to flow efficiently and securely between integrated applications. Integrating ServiceNow has many beneficial use cases, from moving data into BI and analytics tools to powering AI.

While ServiceNow Workflow has robust capabilities for moving data within your ServiceNow instance, extracting that data can be difficult. To create end-to-end, inter-application workflows, organizations need to consider their integration options. 

The cons of manual integration: Simply connecting two systems is not enough

Simply linking two pieces of technology to exchange data is not a business value-driven approach to integration.

When an organization chooses to integrate one system with another, they do so to achieve a business goal. For example, an organization may want to improve inter-application workflows to speed up the time-to-resolution of cases. They may even aim to introduce real-time data synchronization to improve data availability for reporting.

However, when the integration requirements are shifted to the IT team for execution, the business goal tends to take a backseat. That’s because managing and maintaining the integration is difficult, consuming employees focus and preventing a business value-driven approach.

Often, the IT team may even be lacking the resources to build the kind of automation solution that can deliver the business goals you envisioned.

Custom, stand-alone integrations are extremely limiting in this respect. When extracting information from disparate streams of data via custom integrations, it is quickly evident that the approach is time and resource-consuming, performance-impacting, difficult, and error-prone.

That’s because, with custom solutions, there’s too much to go wrong. The owner of the integration project could leave, taking their understanding of the integration with them. The process of data extraction via API calls and the resulting performance degradation could cause delays at best and outages and data loss at worst.

And so, realizing actual business value from an integration requires one step further than merely integration … and that is – automation.

If you’re working with the best workflow automation tool, don’t let manual processes get in the way!

Take the example of a car wheel. The wheel is merely a component of a transportation solution – not the solution itself.

Your solution is the entire vehicle – wheels, seats, engine, lights, and thousands of other components to enable you to make the journey.

Similar to the wheel, a stand-alone integration has limitations. Yes, it is able to connect the source technology to the target, allowing for data and process movement. But how does that data move? In what state does it arrive at its destination? Does it get to the destination ready for use and on time? Integration alone cannot address these questions. That requires automation.

So while integration is a critical component of an automated solution for integration, achieving your business goals will require automation – which includes integration and much more.

Here are important factors to consider when implementing inter-application workflows for ServiceNow:

Consider native applications

Integration typically results in the addition of an external tool to enable the connection. However, this approach arguably introduces more complexity to the organization’s enterprise architecture. It’s yet another technology that requires resources to build, implement and maintain.

New hires are unlikely to be up to speed with the architecture driving the integration. Additionally, the custom approach can present a serious risk to control, security, and privacy over the data exchange.

Automated integration solutions can work natively from within ServiceNow. This is key to enabling a truly inter-application workflow that adds business value. This approach allows more control and stability and less friction when moving data between systems.

Additionally, such a solution is pre-built and does not require internal resources to implement and maintain.

Also, a native application for ServiceNow integrations allows you to manage and monitor the integration with greater ease from within an application that existing (and likely new) hires are familiar with.

Transform Data at the Source

An added advantage of controlling the automation from within ServiceNow is that you can now transform data right at the source.

Whether it’s a simple modification or a more complex one, such as the complete erasure of personal identifying information before moving data into a data warehouse, it is counterintuitive to replicate the private data onto an external system before cleaning it.

Instead, implementing an automated solution allows you to transform data before it leaves your system.

Automatically Create Schemas

Automation solutions often require database administrators (DBAs) to set up the data repository and ensure it captures data correctly.

However, the DBA is still a resource whose time and effort are already needed across multiple departments. It is not ideal to engage a DBA every single time you change your service management process or data.

With an automation solution, you can configure the schemas automatically. This eliminates delays in getting the data to the right place at the right time and gives you flexibility in making changes whenever you need, thereby allowing you to support the business without having to rely on another department.

Highly Available and Monitored 24/7

Once the entire process is set up, you’ll have to ensure that your automation solution is doing what it’s supposed to – which is working round the clock!

Various maintenance requirements must be taken into consideration:

  • What happens in the event of a network or power outage? Will the data transfers continue to happen once connectivity is reestablished?
  • What is the course of action for when the integration slows down?
  • What is the process of identifying a problem? How long can it go undetected?

Failed or incomplete transfers result in errors and poor decisions based on bad data, negatively impacting your customer experience and decreasing revenue.

Using an automated integration solution allows for high availability and 24/7 monitoring to ensure that if there is a problem, you can identify and rectify it quickly. You can also audit your data transfers to understand which parts of your data moved and which ones didn’t.

Real-time Data Transfer

Your automation should operate in real-time, just like your business and your IT department do.

Too often, businesses choose to perform their data exchanges after business hours to avoid the impact that certain forms of integration have on ServiceNow performance.

However, this also means the data you deliver to the business is old. Whether delayed by several days or even a few hours, running a business with old information is hardly advisable.

Your automation solutions should not impact performance and should operate in real-time – just like your business.

Security for Your Connections

Implementing a DIY solution that uses web services often requires sharing login credentials with each data exchange.

These credentials may need to be changed frequently, which means you will have to recreate the web-service integrations every time you change the integration user’s password.

Your ServiceNow integrations are likely critical to your business, but so is security. Your business shouldn’t have to compromise one to achieve the other.

A modern automation solution for integrations does not require the exchange of credentials and can also provide encryption while your data is at rest and in transit.

Enable inter-application workflows in ServiceNow, with an automated integration solution

Allowing a Data Engineering Approach

A data engineering approach ensures that the right data gets to the right place at the right time, rather than extracting everything under the assumption that the destination application will know what to do with the data.

Enable Inter-application Workflows with Perspectium, the automated approach to ServiceNow integration.

Both integration and automation enable you to move data from one place to another, but automation delivers a complete solution.

Perspectium provides native ServiceNow applications that automate secure data extraction without impacting ServiceNow performance. In addition, the applications come inbuilt with high availability and enormous throughput.

Want to leverage all the benefits of automated integration solutions? Talk to us today.

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Zak Cole