ServiceNow News

Welcome! We will use this Help Center page to raise awareness about great new features in ServiceNow (or existing features you may not be aware of), tips & tricks on how to use ServiceNow to your advantage, as well as release notes when system changes are implemented that may affect how you use the system.

Check back often!

What's New?

Use the Activity Formatter to make it easier to scroll through long tickets!

You may have noticed that sometimes it's hard to find what the Caller wrote on the ticket because you have to scroll through lots of extraneous information (like when an email was sent from ServiceNow, what team last had the ticket, when the configuration item was changed, etc). What you're scrolling through is the Ticket Activity. Unfortunately, this additional information in the Ticket Activity section can make it difficult to separate what's truly important in the ticket.

The solution is to remove some of that extra content by using the Activity Formatter. On the right-hand side of the screen (just below the Additional Comments), you should see a funnel icon. If you select it, the Activity Formatter pop-up window will appear. Here you'll see a list view of all the available content that can appear on a ticket.

By default, all the content options are checked. We suggest unchecking all of the boxes and paring it down to just a couple of options:

  • Additional Comments
  • Work Notes

Now you'll only see what you wrote to the Caller, and what they in turn wrote back! It makes those long 'threads' much easier to read! Feel free to toggle on additional content as the need warrants. For example, if you want to see when an email was sent to a customer, simply select the funnel icon again and enable the Sent/Received emails checkbox.

You can learn even more about the Activity Formatter on the ServiceNow wiki.

How To?

Here are the latest 'tips & tricks'

Learn how to leverage SN to work the way that's best for you.

What are the most popular Request Forms in SN?

In the last couple of months, the amount of work that has been put in to creating and revising Request Forms has been incredible. You can see for yourself by selecting the "ServiceNow Request Development" homepage in ServiceNow.

Over 60 new forms are in production and many more are in the pipeline. Some of the more noteworthy forms include:

  • Access Request Form
    • This form is heavily used by hiring managers throughout our DSS-supported units. The feedback has been positive and the team continues to fine-tune it to meet our customers' needs.
  • Server Design Request Form
    • This massive form came together with the help and input of several teams across OIT. It's an extremely important form for many of us in OIT.
  • Group UCInetID Request Form
    • This is one of the newest forms that will be going live very soon. It's one of the more popular and deceptively complex requests that the Help Desk fields, so we're looking forward to rolling it out.

Feel free to browse the Service Catalog to see what other forms are in production, and take a look at what's in the hopper.

What are some 'best practices' for working with Incidents?

Glad you asked! Ideally, you should work on tickets soon after they arrive. If that's not feasible, get to them within the 'first 48' (hours). If you don't, you will breach our Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Learn more than you ever wanted to know about SLAs here.

When a ticket arrives, it's in the New state; however, as soon as you start working on it it'll flip to the Active state. Before you finish working on the ticket and select Update (which takes you out of the ticket), make sure you choose Awaiting User Info. This state will 'stop the clock' (the SLA clock) until you hear back from the user (you won't be breaching any SLAs anytime soon). While it's not 'wrong' to use the states Awaiting Problem or Awaiting Evidence, for reasons that are a bit beyond the scope of this discussion, keep it simple and just use Awaiting User Info.

What next? Well, you should check on your tickets at least once more during the day. It's a good habit to check them at least in the AM and in the afternoon. More often is best, particularly if you get an email notification that the Caller has replied to the ticket.

Another clever way to keep an eye (or ear) out for tickets is to 'follow' them. You can select the Follow button in the upper-right corner of the ticket and so long as you keep your browser tab open in ServiceNow (and if you have desktop notifications turned on for SN), you'll get an audible and visual notification in the upper-right of your screen letting you know your ticket has been updated. Below in this 'how-to' section, we discuss how to utilize this slick, new feature.

Finally, if you haven't heard back from the user in 3 days, you can do what we do at the OITHD and just resolve the ticket. We deal with 5K-6K tickets per month (more than most of you will see in a year), and this approach works wonders. We use a Template called "Closing Ticket - No Word" which resolves the ticket with a nice note to the user reminding them to re-engage us if they're still having issues. The user always has the option to un-resolve the ticket by selecting the link in the Resolve email notification, at which time the state changes back to Active and we start the process again.

If you want help creating templates, read how to create them a bit further down in this 'how-to' section. Or if you'd like guidance on creating a report to more closely monitor your tickets (like we do at the OITHD), you can open a ticket and one of us can help you out.

How do I convert a ServiceNow Incident into a Request?

There are two ways to 'convert' an Incident into a Request:

  1. Change the Incident Category to Request.
  2. Copy the salient information from the Incident, close it, and then paste the info into an existing Request form.

Option 1 is by far the easiest, particularly if you're unsure of which form to use. For Option 2, Client Services can help! If a form for your team doesn't currently exist, you can fill out a request for a new form. Client Services has a dedicated team who will reach out to discuss the requirements and build the form to meet your business needs.

Once the new form is live, you can notify those users who've opened incidents by creating a Template which can convert the Category to Request, as well as add a link to the form in the Additional Comments.

What are Templates and how do I create them?

If you find yourself repeatedly processing the same kind of Incidents, Requests, or even Problems, you can use Templates to streamline the process and become more efficient. Templates in ServiceNow are fully customizable and allow you to automatically set the State, Additional Comments, Assignment Groups, Configuration Items, and much more with a single mouse click. You can easily create a Template based on an existing Incident (which will inherit some of the settings such as Configuration Item and Short Description) or you can make a template from scratch.

Create a Template

To create a Template from an existing Incident, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Incident you want to use as the basis of your Template.
  2. Select the + ion in the lower right corner of your screen (if you don't see it, you may need to toggle the Template Bar which you can easily do by selecting the ellipsis icon (row of 3 dots) in the upper right of your screen, next to the Submit button).
  3. The "Create New Template" window will appear. By default it will inherit some of the values from the Incident (such as Configuration Item and Short Description). You can modify each of the fields or select the 'x' icon on the right side to delete a particular field. You can also add new fields at the bottom.
  4. Give your Template a name and optionally add a description.
  5. If you want to share the Template with your group, add your team's Assignment Group to the Group field in the upper right. This will make it visible to everyone on your team.
  6. Select Save and you're done.

Use a Template

To use the Template, simply select the ellipsis icon (row of 3 dots) in the lower right of a new Incident and a small window will appear, and in it you'll see a list of your team's templates. Select the one you'd like to use and it will automatically populate the Incident.

Edit a Template

If you want to edit one of your Templates, select the 'Edit' link next to the Template in question, and you'll be taken back to the "Create New Template" window where you can modify your template. Select Save when you're done.

How do I convert a ServiceNow Incident or Request into a Project?

Currently it's not possible to automatically convert an Incident or a Request into a Project. If you realize that the scope of the request is something which is not currently easy to execute and repeatable, it's best to reach out to the Requestor and let them know that you should close their Incident (or Request) and open a Project instead.

Either you or the Requestor can fill out our new Propose a New OIT Project form, and someone from the Project Management Office (PMO) will be in touch to discuss the project scope, gather requirements, and much more. Alternatively, if you have the KSAMS Project Manager role you can initiate the Project yourself in ServiceNow. The aforementioned PMO can also serve as a valuable resource to help your goal get off the ground.

The KSAMS role requires approval by the ServiceNow administrators before you can proceed.

How can I 'follow' an Incident using the Connect service?

Before the latest version of ServiceNow (Helsinki), if you wanted to stay apprised of the status of a ticket you would either assign the ticket to yourself or add yourself to one of the Watch Lists. Depending on your notification preferences, you'd most likely receive an email whenever someone updated the ticket.

While email notifications are a fine way to receive updates, if you get a lot of email (which a lot of us do!) it's easy to miss these notifications. As an alternative, you can use the new Connect service in ServiceNow to 'follow' a ticket. Connect is a new instant messaging service in ServiceNow that allows you to IM anyone in SN using a separate chat window, and it also comes with a 'follow' feature which will send a push notification in ServiceNow whenever the ticket is updated.

To follow a ticket, select the "Follow" button in the upper-right corner.

When someone updates a ticket you're following, you'll see a 'badge' on the Connect icon telling you how many new notifications you've received. You can review these notifications by selecting the Connect icon in the upper right of your screen (resembles a cartoon caption window), which will slide the Connect Sidebar out from the right. Select one of the notifications and a small chat window will appear in the bottom right, where you can read the update.

You can optionally add Additional Comments or Work Notes to the ticket right from this window, and there's a menu bar along the top of this window which (among other things) allows you to open the ticket in the main window to update the ticket.

If you'd like to learn a lot more about the Connect interface, you can review the support docs on the ServiceNow website.

Here is a video overview of Connect. It was recorded in Geneva (prior version), but applies to Helsinki as well.

How do I toggle between homepages in ServiceNow?

If you or someone on your team have created additional homepages in ServiceNow, you can easily toggle between those pages by following these steps:

  1. In the upper-left corner of your screen just below the UCI logo, select the pulldown menu (for most of us, the current page will read 'ITIL Homepage' as that is the default homepage everyone sees when you first start using ServiceNow).
  2. A dropdown list of homepages will appear. Choose the one you'd like to view and after a moment the new page will appear.

Repeat these steps to return to the ITIL homepage.

What's Up Next?

We've listened to what you've had to say since SN went live 2 years ago, and based on all of your great feedback we've compiled a list of Enhancement Requests.

These feature requests will become a priority for OIT and we will let you know here once they're live!

  1. Prevent retired applications from being used as Configuration Item
  2. View only role needed for Contract Management
  3. Automate Critical Service Alert notification
  4. Look in to making the incident number clickable (in SMS message)

Teach Me!

OIT Client Services is offering a series of ServiceNow workshops so OIT Staff can gain familiarity, refresh understanding, or explore challenges in use of ServiceNow.

2017 workshops will be conducted via Zoom - connect to 9498248718

Our next training class is July 26, and the topic will be "ServiceNow Overview".

SN Release Notes

NOTE: Login to ServiceNow first before clicking the links below.

As new features & system updates become available, they will appear in the Release Notes table below.

NumberUpdatedShort DescriptionApproval
CHG003269308-24-2017 17:00ServiceNow SSL Certificate UpdateApproved
CHG003269408-24-2017 17:00Quarterly Patching (Q3-2017) of ServiceNow UCI instance to Helsinki Patch 11Approved
CHG003278008-25-2017 13:14Pulldown menu for the 'ResNet Community' option on the incident formNot Yet Requested

Return to the OIT Help Center.