As well as being frustrating for employees, slow ServiceNow reports can seriously disrupt operations.

Slow ServiceNow reports are typically caused by performance degradation on the platform. Since ServiceNow does a lot more than just reporting, querying the database to create reports is in competition for resources with other ServiceNow functions. 

This is why slow reporting is a common issue among ServiceNow users, as many address some – or all – of their ServiceNow reporting needs using the platform’s inbuilt reporting and analytics capabilities. 

While limited in comparison to purpose-built reporting solutions, ServiceNow Reporting still helps organizations gain insights into internal operations, customers, and ServiceNow features (e.g., request or incident management). 

However, the insights provided are held back when generating reports becomes slow, and leads to performance issues on the platform. 

Custom and extensive reports with complex variables in particular present challenges to many organizations as their use of the platform scales.

The Issue with Slow ServiceNow Reports

Slow and unresponsive ServiceNow reports present a number of issues that disrupt an organization’s operations. 

Performance degradation on the ServiceNow platform causes reports to run slowly. And large, extensive reports themselves contribute to performance degradation. 

When experiencing this dynamic, many organizations are forced into introducing workarounds such as running reports outside of operational hours only. 

However, this increases the likelihood that reports will reflect out-of-date data, and nullifies the benefits of their insight. 

Additionally, if performance degradation is significant, reports can take so long to generate that they are incomplete when operational hours resume, causing delays that affect employees tasks and even the service provided to customers.

How to Identify the Cause for Slow ServiceNow Reports?

Slow ServiceNow Reporting Caused by ServiceNow

If reports are taking a long time to run, ServiceNow identifies some common causes and recommends possible solutions including: 

  • Table size: If the user is reporting off of a large table, the report takes much longer to return results based on the data size.
  • Report optimization: Check the filter conditions and turn on SQL debug for assistance.

ServiceNow users can use the Report statistics function to view how often each of your reports is run and how long it takes for the reports to run. This exploratory step can identify particularly problematic reports and help organizations understand where optimization is required. 

However, this does not always prove successful. For example, if the data in a large table must be preserved, then users reliant on ServiceNow reporting still need to generate those reports – despite the time taken and impacts to performance.

Similarly, with optimization, there is only so much that can be done in-platform before organizations hit a wall. 

Slow ServiceNow Reporting Caused by ETL or API/Web services

Many organizations that experienced slow ServiceNow reporting turn to ETL or API/Web services-based solutions to extract data from the platform so reports can be run from an external data repository, preserving the performance of ServiceNow. 

The problem is that such methods also cause performance degradation in ServiceNow as they compete for ServiceNow’s operational bandwidth to execute.

If the volume of data transferred is small, then there is typically little scope for issues. But when those volumes grow – as they will when the company uses ServiceNow successfully – the data transfers can seriously slow down the platform.

How Push-technology Integrations Solve Issues with Slow ServiceNow Reports

If ServiceNow’s recommended troubleshooting steps do not solve the issue, then it’s likely that your organization’s use of ServiceNow is beyond the threshold of what the platform’s Reporting capabilities can handle optimally. 

If your organization is still experiencing performance issues after implementing ETL or API/Web services-based integrations, then it’s likely that these integrations are the issue.

The solution in both cases is to extract ServiceNow data and replicate it to an external database using a Push-technology based integration. 

As with ETL or API/Web services-based integrations, this approach solves the query speed issue born of reporting from large tables by limiting the need for queries on the ServiceNow platform itself. Rather than running extensive queries on the database to retrieve the data required for reports, organizations can instead query an external data repository. 

However, unlike ETL or API/Web services-based integrations, Push technology integrations avoid performance degradation by optimizing how data is moved off the platform.

Instead of “pulling” data from the platform using unoptimized web-based calls from a third-party, push technology can be used to initiate the transfer of data to an external database, natively. Once in the external database, organizations experience all of the benefits associated with leveraging an external database to generate reports.

They also benefit from the ability to use purpose built reporting solutions with more extensive capabilities than ServiceNow Reporting – including the ability to combine ServiceNow data with other sources for more comprehensive analysis. 

See also: Advanced ServiceNow Reporting: A Guide

Eliminate Performance Impacts with Push Technology-enabled Native Integration Solution

ServiceNow’s built-in reporting and analytics capabilities cannot match that of dedicated, advanced reporting tools like Tableau and Power BI

As discussed, the Now Platform struggles when dealing with large, complex reports. While replicating ServiceNow data to an external database is a good starting point for reporting, organizations must use the correct integration methods to connect their preferred reporting tool with that database.

This eliminates the negative impact of direct reporting from ServiceNow and the impact of third-party, web based means of pulling data from the platform. 

Fortunately for ServiceNow users, ServiceNow is partnered with Perspectium – a ServiceNow-native, push-technology based solution for extracting and replicating ServiceNow data to an external database without impacting performance.

Organizations can use Perspectium solutions to connect ServiceNow data with the broader enterprise and replicate it to dedicated tools/systems/apps for reporting, analysis, BI, AI, ML, and more.

Unlike traditional integration solutions, Perspectium does not use APIs or web services for data replication. It uses push technology and a cloud-enabled message broker system (MBS) for secure data transfers that prevent data loss. 

Perspectium DataSync can replicate millions of ServiceNow records to external repositories via encryption and obfuscation, protecting data at rest and in transit. 

The MBS ensures there’s no risk of data loss during transfer – in case of an endpoint outage, the data safely waits in a queue and is pushed into the target system when it’s back online. The target system receives data directly from the MBS, not ServiceNow, thus preserving Platform’s performance. So, teams can run large reports without worrying about ServiceNow’s data export limits.

ServiceNow themselves use Perspectium solutions to replicate millions of data into a number of SAP/HANA databases for analysis by Sales, Marketing, Finance, and other departments.

Transactional data transfers feed 200+ dashboards and five predictive solutions in the big data environment. Production data alone accounts for about 20 million transfers per day – from more than 600 individual database tables. 

And of course, this is all happening with negligible performance implications on the production servers thanks to the highly efficient Perspectium architecture.

As well as reporting, DataSync supports other use cases, including data lake building, data archiving, data democratization and self-access, and backup & disaster recovery.

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