Slow ServiceNow Instance Performance Could be Down to Over-Customization

Slow ServiceNow instance performance is a thorn in many organization’s IT service management (ITSM) strategies. Poor ServiceNow performance can cause bottlenecks that impede an organization’s scalability.

A leader among ITSM vendors, ServiceNow is a highly customizable tool – a key factor driving its popularity. Organizations can tailor the tool to meet their specific demands, adding custom functionality via custom-built code, applications and APIs.

However, customization – or rather, over-customization – is often at the heart of slow ServiceNow instance performance. 

ServiceNow Customization – Don’t Overdo It

As organizations add more and more custom functionality, ServiceNow instances become increasingly difficult to manage. 

In the case of upgrades or implementing new features, organizations need to extend resources to ensure the custom functionality remains compatible. When the resources required are sourced internally, this can delay time-to-value as DIY ServiceNow integrations take, on average, 470 hours. When sourced externally, the burden of cost is financial. 

Additionally, custom integrations can have a direct impact on ServiceNow performance. Organizations are often tempted into the DIY approach to building custom integrations, particularly for integrations that transfer limited amounts of data. 

The DIY approach uses web services to connect ServiceNow to other apps. The web services and the channels ServiceNow users operate within shared, and limited bandwidth.

As organizations and their data volumes scale, they increase the potential for limited bandwidth leading to slow ServiceNow instance performance and impacting queries.

Slow ServiceNow Performance and Technical Debt

The negative effects of the customization outlined above are often referred to as “technical debt”. One of the many hidden costs associated with DIY ServiceNow integrations.

An awareness of the hidden costs of DIY ServiceNow Integrations is a best practice for anybody managing a ServiceNow instance. 

“Most of the ETL tools in the market leverage web services, which adds a lot of load to the system.”

Venu Malyala – Senior Director of BI, MDM & Analytics, ServiceNow

If you’d like more help understanding the hidden costs of DIY ServiceNow integrations, get the “Integration Total Cost of Ownership Toolkit”.

‘Technical debt’, is an apt term, as organizations often fall into the pitfalls of technical debt by trying to save costs up front. The cost of slow ServiceNow instance performance is difficult to quantify. Many organizations that opt for the custom/web services approach end up out-growing their custom solution.

So if your organization is experiencing slow ServiceNow instance performance, and you are running custom-built code, applications and APIs, the root of the problem is likely technical debt. 

“When we integrated ServiceNow we used an open source tool […] and that worked okay for a while. But those ETLs put a lot of stress on ServiceNow,” explained Paul Liesse – Supervisor, Managed Service Applications, CDW. 

“We did find another commercial product but it was also web-based. It had a lot of the features we were unable to implement [before …], but eventually we ran into the same issues,” Liesse continued.

“Anybody who’s tried to do bulk web-services against ServiceNow knows that at some point you’re going to run into a scalability issue.”

The issue CDW experienced is far from unique. ServiceNow themselves are aware of the impact web services can have on the solution, with Venu Malyala – Senior Director of BI, MDM & Analytics, ServiceNow – stating “most of the ETL tools in the market leverage web services, which adds a lot of load to the system.”

Despite the prevalence of the issue, there is a solution … 

Addressing Slow ServiceNow Instance Performance

While some organizations attempt to adopt pragmatic solutions – such as only extracting ServiceNow data as nightly batch transfers – these are more akin to workarounds than they are solutions

A workaround will always have its limitations. In the case of nightly batch transfers, your organization cannot benefit from real-time automation and data delivery.

Additionally there is a strong potential for an organization’s data volumes being too vast to extract ServiceNow data as batch exports overnight. In this case, exceeding the time constraints can interfere with the service the organization provides

Therefore, the solution for organizations dealing with large data volumes, and/or organizations serious about scaling up, is an automated and native solution. 

Perspectium DataSync is that solution. By running natively in ServiceNow, DataSync minimizes the potential for slow ServiceNow instance performance. 

It achieves this by subverting the competition for bandwidth between web-services and ServiceNow itself. With a native application, organizations experience: 

  • Lower impact through push technology – as a native application, DataSync observes record changes in real-time, and push payloads of changed records to a message bus.
  • Lower impact through load-balancing – with push technology, Perspectium’s native application makes use of non-active nodes, load-balancing to maximize performance
  • Lower impact by throttling the rate of posting – where data volumes are high, DataSync users can use a staggered approach to publish data via HTTP POST to databases or other instances, so teams can engage in otherwise performance-impacting jobs outside of the production instance

Learn more about how Perspectium helps achieve and maintain healthy ServiceNow performance.

Slow ServiceNow Instance Performance Could be Down to Technical Debt

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Zak Cole