ServiceNow: Product Overview and Insight

ServiceNow, which appears to be pivoting to simply Now, provides cloud-based solutions that define, structure, manage and automate assets and services for enterprise operations.

ServiceNow.logo.PO

Editor's note: eWEEK has started a new IT products and services section that encompasses most of the categories that we cover on our site. In it, we will spotlight the leaders in each sector, which include enterprise software, hardware, security, on-premises-based systems and cloud services. We also will add promising new companies as they come into the market.

Today: ServiceNow (IT asset and service management)

Company description: ServiceNow provides cloud-based solutions that define, structure, manage and automate assets and services for enterprise operations. It is a publicly traded company founded by Fred Luddy in 2004 with headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.

The company has pivoted to using the Now brand logo on its website in 2018, although the company name remains ServiceNow.

ServiceNow’s product categories are Cloud Management, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Software, IT Management, PaaS (platform as a service) and SaaS (software as a service).

ServiceNow offers an ITAM platform and two ITSM products (ServiceNow Service Management Suite and ServiceNow Express) that are targeted at organizations with high and low I&O (infrastructure and operations) maturity, respectively. ServiceNow Service Management Suite is evaluated in Gartner Research’s Critical Capabilities companion research, with its score contributing to the "product or service" factor of Ability to Execute.

Strengths:

  • ServiceNow dominates customer short lists, and its tools' revenue market share is double that of the closest competitor, making it the prime target for technology and implementation partners, and subsequently resulting in a wide choice for its customers.
  • ServiceNow has been improving its wider ITOM (information technology and operations management) capabilities over the past few years, through the maturation of earlier acquisitions that complement its ITSM product (such as service dependency mapping for configuration management database [CMDB]).
  • ServiceNow's global reach is improving with more regions reporting better availability of local sales and implementation partners compared with other competitors.

Cautions:

  • Stricter approver licensing, named-user-only subscriptions and the bundling of non-core product features can make it confusing for ServiceNow's customers to achieve favorable deals.
  • Customers reported that implementation and management of ServiceNow's ITSM tool requires greater time and resources than they expected when selecting the product.
  • ServiceNow's strategy to promote its products for activities outside of ITSM is creating some uncertainty around ServiceNow's dedication to innovate within the ITSM tool market.

ServiceNow’s solutions include:

  • IT Asset Management, which maintains control of and monitors all enterprise assets globally;
  • IT Service Management: which enables users to streamline operations and maintenance tasks and automate and standardize processes;
  • Others: Incident Management, Problem Management, Change and Release Management, Benchmarks, Cost Management, Request Management, Configuration Management Database, Service Catalog, Knowledge Management, Survey and Assessment, Service Level Management;
  • IT Operations Management: Discovery, Cloud Management, Event Management, Orchestration, Service Mapping, Operational Intelligence; and
  • Asset Lifecycle Manager: Allows users to manage IT and business processes with consolidated asset configuration.

Insight and Analysis:

ServiceNow IT Asset Management Suite provides IT managers with a real-time overview of how IT assets such as hardware and software are deployed. It offers a customizable dashboard that provides a graphic view of categories such as software and hardware assets and an IT self-service catalog in order to emphasize key business benefits in an easy-to-see, all-up dashboard setting. Updates are automatically incorporated into graphics displaying the amount of money that has been saved or could be saved. Thus, financial managers can use this functionality in addition to IT managers.

ServiceNow, the pricing of which begins at $10,200 per year for the Express version, is a cloud-hosted web application with a variety of departmental tools to use across the enterprise. ServiceNow’s asset management is part of its IT operations management module, delivering a system that allows users to build a single record of an entire IT infrastructure with one source of incidents as well as service management. This way, users can see which incidents will have an impact on your organization's ability to deliver. While the solution works fine overall, it's burdened by a level of complexity both from a user interface as well as plug-in and feature perspective.

Pricing for ServiceNow is higher than most of its competitors, though that may not always be the case after you do the full math on features and number of nodes. The Express version is recommended for those just starting out, and this version costs $10,200 per license per year. It has a minimal setup process and the platform scales easily. The ServiceNow Enterprise version allows more tracking across the business and has more features than the Express version. The pricing for ServiceNow Enterprise begins at $42,000 per year, and has more features and configuration complexity than Express.

According to the company, in order to get machine tracking (endpoints), the add-on for ServiceNow that does asset discovery needs to be purchased. This needs to be purchased for both the Express and Enterprise versions. The cost for asset discovery in both products is currently 20 cents per node per month and needs to be purchased in 100-node blocks.

Pros:
Cloud-hosted; tracking incidents, depreciation, and users with assets; reports are sleek and customizable; many support options.

Cons:
Navigation pane is complex; asset discovery means higher cost; no on-premises option. relatively high upfront cost; complexity when choosing plug-ins and solutions.

Bottom Line:
ServiceNow asset management is usable from a features perspective but is burdened by a complex user interface that's mostly the result of it being part of a much larger business application framework.

Despite being managed through a single workspace, the software is easily connected across multiple countries to provide the IT manager or CIO with a complete international overview and opportunity to drill down into savings and costs.

List of current customers:

ServiceNow customers include AAA Services, Accenture, Adidas, Allianz, AstraZeneca, Broadcom, CERN, Discover Financial Services, Enterprise Rentals, Experian, GE Capital, H&R Block, Informa, KPMG, Macy’s, MetroPCS, NetApp, Moody’s, Omnicare, Qantas, Red Hat, Safeway, Siemens, U.S. Dept of Energy and a list of others.

Key Features:

  • Customized graphic display: Administrators can choose to customize the chart-heavy graphic display to toggle between hardware, software and self-service catalog requests.

Automated Asset Management:

  • Manage the big picture. Using ServiceNow, managers can automate an entire IT Asset Management (ITAM) lifecycle, including Software Asset Management (SAM), in one system of record can help you reduce costs, eliminate wasted resources, improve compliance, mitigate security risks and drive standardization.
  • Track assets associated with inventory types. The ITAM suite can, in addition to tracking what's installed on hardware, track any asset by assigning a barcode that can be associated with a particular inventory, used to track warranty, lease and contractual details.
  • Find who has an asset. By automating many of these processes, the ITAM Suite frees up staff members while making it easier for managers to track who has a particular asset, what's on it, how it's used and where it is.
  • Useful notifications. The software provides notifications about everything from upgrades, changes, expiring warranties, or batteries that might be about to fail.

Implementation:

  • Deployment: Cloud-based subscription system only; not available for on-premises data centers.
  • Delivery: Software as a service, cloud
  • Agents:  None
  • Pricing and availability: ServiceNow costs $10,200/year for a starter Express version license and has a free 15-day trial option. It sells its solutions through a network of resellers and VARs in the United States and internationally.

Other key players in this market:

HP Enterprise

Flexera

Ivanti

Manage Engine

Samanage

Scalable Software

Snow Software

Vector Networks

Sources:

Gartner Research

eWEEK

ITAM Review

PC Magazine

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...