What is ServiceNow and How it is Changing the Face of ITSM?

what is servicenow and what are servicenow capabilities

In the current times, it seems everyone is talking about ServiceNow in the IT industry. But do we know – what is ServiceNow? Well to start with, ServiceNow is a Cloud computing organisation providing a cloud-based platform for enterprise needs.

But definitely, that’s not all to give you a holistic idea about ServiceNow. Let’s discuss today ServiceNow capabilities, operations, trends and myriads of possibilities which we can achieve using ServiceNow.


Before I begin, I would like to admit that this article has a lot of technical jargons which may otherwise sound meaningless to people are either a fresher or from a non-IT background. Please take this opportunity to comment all your doubts in the comment section at the end of this article.

What is ServiceNow?

Cloud computing and applications are the need of this era. We have seen a rapid increase in the demand for cloud technology.

Why? The reason is simple. Cloud technology offers various benefits starting from infrastructure, software service, software platform, etc. Needless to explain the associated cost savings with this technology.

But cloud companies are facing a daunting task of supporting several organisations. Organisations have high expectation when it comes issue resolution. It is no easy job for a cloud company to coordinate with its different internal teams such as cloud operations, engineering, etc. to track down and resolve the cause.

That’s where ServiceNow comes into the picture. It intuitively solves problems at both ends i.e. at the customer as well as at cloud company’s end. It automates IT operations by creating a single system of record for different IT processes within an organisation. Thus, bringing together IT design, strategy and operation seamlessly on the cloud platform.

ServiceNow began its journey with IT Service Management applications providing Service Catalog Management. Later, other project management applications followed which helped in managing the entire projects when the magnitude of the incident, problem or change is more.

It didn’t stop there, very soon, CMDB (configuration management database) made its way to the list of applications.

Today ServiceNow has apps for both IT Service Management Processes and IT Enterprise such as HR Management, Security Management and PPM, etc.

ServiceNow company background and history

Fred Luddy founded this company in the year 2004. However, Fred Luddy created the cloud application in the year 2003 itself.

Not many people are aware that initially this company was coined as GlideSoft Inc. and later changed to ServiceNow in the year 2006.

Initially, when Fred Luddy laid the concept of this company, he had no idea that his business would grow 300% every year. Probably no one predicted at that time.

infographic ServiceNow history and demographics

Image Source: Company

Fred started this company with one thought in mind – To provide a better platform to IT industry to function better. Initially, the company even faced a couple of patent infringements, but everything settled down with the passage of time.

In the year 2011, Frank Slootman replaced Fred Luddy as the CEO of ServiceNow. Later, Frank took the company to even greater heights. Currently, ServiceNow is the leader in the ITSM quadrant, and I believe there is hardly any competitor in the market.

The headquarter of ServiceNow, Inc. is in Santa Clara, California.

Now since we know about the company, let us try to understand what is ServiceNow and how does it operate?

Integration of cloud services and ServiceNow

ServiceNow capabilities include different cloud service models which are SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) & PaaS (Platform as a Service). Let’s see high-level definition of these cloud service terminologies.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS is cloud application service where web browser acts as a point of access to a software application running on servers. Third-party vendors manage these applications that run on the server.

Mostly, client side does not require any software but a simple web browser. A pervasive example could be Google Apps, Dropbox, etc.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

PaaS is a framework which exists a level below SaaS. It provides a platform for which software can be developed and deployed. It is more of dealing directly with servers and providing the client with access to server applications.

ServiceNow is the market leader for ITSM (IT Service Management) apps as well as for developing business apps. Today a ServiceNow developer can create business apps in hours!

Yes, you heard me right. It’s incredible.

The platform provides a capability for its developer to create a workflow for it business application and support it with relevant scripts, forms and actions.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS is more of dealing with networking, storage, virtualization and servers. In short, it is cloud infrastructure services. AWS (Amazon web services) is a good example of IaaS.

In today’s demanding IT world, we need resources to be available at a click of a button. ServiceNow tool provides this capability using AWS. It has activities which can be leveraged to create your AWS instance in a matter of time.

Your complete AWS management can be taken care within the tool.

ServiceNow is an excellent tool. Let’s get into some more technical details.

ServiceNow technical details

ServiceNow is built in Java. It uses Tomcat Web Server for hosting its cloud-based platform applications which are hosted on a Linux Server. It supports JavaScript, Jelly (deprecated mostly) and Angular JS.

The tool does not stop you from writing PowerShell scripts for Active Directory/SCCM integrations or even shell script for discovery purposes in Linux, etc.

JavaScript is the primary scripting language on this platform, making it easier for software professionals to work with this tool. After all, these days who doesn’t know JavaScript!

servicenow applications and cpabilities

Image Source: T-Systems

The Server side scripting and Client Server scripting is both written within the platform and developers can manage the complete code within the same environment.

One of the main libraries of the tool is GlideRecord, proprietary of ServiceNow, which makes it very easy to traverse through the records within a table.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The tool provides many such classes at server side which makes it easier to develop any user Interface, workflow, form, actions, etc.

These details will interest a developer but why should the industry choose ServiceNow as its Enterprise ITSM tool?

Let’s pen down the capabilities of this tool.

ServiceNow capabilities


Single Sign-on (SSO) feature is the essence of any tool and ServiceNow is no different. This tool has multiple provider SSO feature. An organisation can use several SSO IDPs (Identity Providers) to manage authentication.

SSO enables a user to login into the application without providing any User ID or password. It uses the Windows ID and Password.


Companies are using Active Directory for various purposes. Be it providing access to applications or maintaining Outlook Distribution list; there are many. The LDAP integration is a piece of cake for the ServiceNow tool, and the best part is that you do not have to code anything. Everything is a simple configuration!


ServiceNow provides the capability of orchestrating or automating simple or complex tasks on remote servers. Once Orchestration is implemented in any IT company, the entire work requires less skill and labour. It can automate systems like VMware, Microsoft Exchange mail servers, etc.


The Platform provides the capability of publishing or consuming API at the same time. SOAP, WSDL or REST API are the protocols supported. You can either create codeless API or Scripted ones.

Enterprise Portal

One of the most important requirements for any organisation is to have a web portal where users can request for access, service or support. ServicePortal is giving wings to different organisations.

Today Enterprises are developing their ServicePortal to showcase their ServiceNow capabilities. ServicePortal also replaced the deprecated CMS site which was the old version of portal but not as capable like ServicePortal.

Mobile Ready

I believe it’s enough on the integration side; let’s discuss something which is more relevant to the business.

Today most of the business-centric folks require your enterprise application/service/solution to be mobile enabled. They need the ability to make changes on the go.

Can we, do it? Oh, yes!

ServiceNow forms and application is mobile friendly and can be published directly to the mobile without specific development done for mobile. ServiceNow provides the web-based application for the mobile and a mobile native app for iOS and Android.

Well not to mention that there are other Developer capabilities of ServiceNow which are a prime factor for Enterprises to choose this tool.

The code movement from Development to Quality or Test to Production is phenomenal. Without much hassle, the code can move from one ServiceNow instance to another. All these happen at the click of a button.



The capability of ServiceNow is endless, and new functionalities are getting added with every version release. Usually, ServiceNow releases two upgrade versions every year.

The first release focuses on the architecture, whereas the second release focuses on feature and functionality. ServiceNow has a state of the art architecture and does not give its clients any nightmare of availability or performance.

The company claims and have proven to provide 99.95% availability. So next time when someone says that ServiceNow is an ITSM Ticketing tool then do mention about its capabilities, and I’m pretty sure the other person will be impressed.

Do you want to be ServiceNow developer? If yes, then keep watching this space, and I will take you on the development trip.

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Rahul is a technology geek and a professional Java developer. He is FIDE rated Chess player and he loves to spend his free time playing Bullet Chess. Currently, he is residing in NewJersey with his wife and a cute daughter. He loves writing about latest technologies and job opportunities.