ServiceNow Reporting Explained: Benefits, Limitations and Alternatives
ServiceNow Reporting is an out-of-the box feature allowing users to create & distribute reports. While it is not a full-fledged reporting tool, ServiceNow users can use it to for reporting that reflects the current state of ServiceNow data.
Table of Contents:
- What Are ServiceNow Reports: The Basics
- ServiceNow Reporting Benefits
- ServiceNow Reporting Limitations
- ServiceNow Reporting Alternatives: How to Integrate ServiceNow with Your Preferred Reporting Tool
What Are ServiceNow Reports?: The Basics
ServiceNow reports serve as dynamic visual representations of enterprise data that users can share across their organization via dashboards, emails, and service portals. These reports can also be exported in PDF format for further use.
ServiceNow provides a wide selection of pre-configured reports that deliver meaningful insights on business-critical applications and functionalities, such as incident management, service catalog requests, KPIs, Service Desk surveys, etc.
The Platform’s Reporting feature streamlines the creation and distribution of reports containing real-time snapshots of instance-specific data, such as the current count of open incidents sorted by priority level.
The Reporting functionality is a default feature for all tables (except system tables). Users can customize reports per their needs and add them to homepages and dashboards for broader visibility.
ServiceNow Reporting Benefits
Organizations can use ServiceNow reporting to gain insights that empower decision-making. With real-time insights, business leaders get improved visibility into and control of their IT infrastructure, resource consumption, and team performance.
The Platform’s OOTB Reporting capability provides the following benefits:
- Access to business-ready insights
Users can visualize data using pre-defined reports and dashboards customized for specific workflows.
- Increased awareness of the current state of ServiceNow data
Users can publish reports to URLs, dashboards, and service portals, share links, and create customized visualizations to act on data promptly.
- Some automation capabilities
Users have the option to automate the generation and distribution of reports.
ServiceNow Reporting Limitations
While ServiceNow provides OOTB reporting features, they are often insufficient for organizations seeking more nuanced insight.
Reporting limited to ServiceNow data only
ServiceNow’s native reporting and analytics are confined to data contained within the ServiceNow platform – it cannot run reports and analyze data from multiple and combined sources.
This prevents ServiceNow reporting from delivering comprehensive insights pertaining to the organization at large.
Reporting on the current state of ServiceNow data only
The Platform’s default reporting capabilities are designed to visualize only the current state of instance data, making historical trend analysis difficult. Any effort to track metrics over an extended period would demand resource-intensive manual input.
For more in-depth reporting and analysis, organizations must use purpose-built solutions.
Poor instance performance when working with large data sets
ServiceNow’s default reporting feature cannot function optimally when running reports on tables with large amounts of data. Bulky data reports cause system overload and significant performance impact, slowing database query speeds and impeding use of the platform.
Reporting delays due to slow report generation
Since ServiceNow’s operational bandwidth is required to generate reports, performance degradation affects the timeliness of report generation and use of other platform features.
This leads to many organizations running reports outside of operational hours as a workaround. As well as impacting the ability to produce real-time insight, this workaround is flawed further.
Even outside of operational hours, data-heavy reports may still time out due to the Platform’s inability to handle the data volumes. When reports time-out beyond the regular working hours, they aren’t ready for use when the next working day begins.
- See also: Troubleshooting Slow ServiceNow Reports
Poor data availability for non-ServiceNow users
Since ServiceNow Reporting can only work with data within the platform, employees and business leaders without a license have limited access to the reports.
Reports can be shared with non-ServiceNow users, but they cannot interact with the reports or contribute to their generation. This is particularly problematic for organizations with dedicated data and analysis teams who would require extra licenses to contribute to report generation in ServiceNow.
It also forces teams working with data into using an extra solution for reporting outside of their preferred, dedicated reporting tool(s).
This data accessibility limitation can become a security liability if employees share log-in credentials as a workaround solution.
Integrate ServiceNow Data With Your Preferred Reporting and Analytics Solutions
ServiceNow Reporting does not provide the advanced reporting capabilities associated with dedicated reporting, analytics, and intelligence solutions.
ServiceNow users that want to get the most value out of ServiceNow data should integrate ServiceNow data with purpose-built reporting and analytics tools to improve their operations and decision-making.
Fortunately, organizations can upgrade ServiceNow with DataSync – a ServiceNow-native integration application for transferring data out of the platform for use in their preferred solutions.
DataSync allows organizations to leverage advanced reporting and analytics solutions with ServiceNow data, as well as combining ServiceNow data with data from other sources.
DataSync and ServiceNow
DataSync benefits from Perspectium’s status as a trusted and official partner of ServiceNow.
Its pedigree is made clear by a success story with ServiceNow themselves. The organization reached out to Perspectium to provide a ServiceNow-to-database integration for its own internal ServiceNow instances.
The organization needed to replicate data from 10 production instances of ServiceNow into 4 SAP/HANA databases for analysis by Sales, Marketing, Finance, and other departments.
Perspectium was able to establish the integration, allowing transactional data transfers to feed 200+ dashboards and five predictive solutions in the big data environment.
The application provides a secure, fast, and performance-impact free approach to transferring ServiceNow data to an external data repository, allowing teams across the organization to use and collaborate on ServiceNow data and reporting.
For instance, teams outside the ITSM, like SecOps, can enjoy self-service access to relevant data for reporting and analysis.
How DataSync Works
DataSync differs from traditional and custom-built – often API/ETL-based – integrations that contribute to performance degradation as they require significant amounts of ServiceNow’s operational bandwidth to function.
Rather than having an external application contact the ServiceNow platform to initiate data transfers, DataSync operates natively and uses efficient Push technology to transfer data.
This means organizations can avoid performance degradation and transfer data faster, leading to more timely reports and insight.
It also means organizations aren’t forced into workarounds such as credential sharing and generating reports outside of operational hours.
While traditional and custom built integrations can work with small data volumes, they lead to severe performance issues as data volumes scale. They also require regular maintenance to stay operational. All factors that create a significant technical and data debt and impact employees working schedules.
Created by ServiceNow Experts, for ServiceNow Users
DataSync and Perspectium were created by ServiceNow’s founding developer – David Loo – to overcome such problems.
David Loo used their intimate knowledge of ServiceNow to design a data replication and extraction application for ServiceNow that does not hinder platform performance.
As such, the application is capable of massive throughput, with organizations able to transfer over 1 billion records per month without issue.
DataSync and Perspectium’s other applications have the added benefit of an “as-a-service” delivery model, meaning ServiceNow users do not have to maintain the integration themselves.
If you wish to learn more about our integration solutions for reporting and analysis, connect with us today!