Audience: ServiceNow Architects; Product Owners; Managers; Developers; Administrators
Reading Time: 10 mins
Upgrading your ServiceNow setup is a daunting task for any company. It can become the entire focus of a ServiceNow team for an extended period of time and it may require outside partners to be brought in to help. So if it is such a drain of resources, why do upgrades need to take place?
Firstly, each upgrade brings with it major functionality changes and new additions which your business can take advantage of as well as keeping up to date with the latest performance and security enhancements.
Secondly, ServiceNow’s current policy is to only support their current and previous releases. This means that if you fall behind your platform will no longer have access to continued patches and hotfixes for your instances. In this case, ServiceNow will encourage you to upgrade.
When to Upgrade?
At Quality Clouds we’ve experienced different approaches to upgrading. Some companies consistently upgrade to every new release, others update every two. Both approaches have their advantages: frequent upgrading means faster access to new features, while yearly upgrades are easier for a smaller team to manage. Evaluate your needs and resources and decide which option makes sense for you.
Planning ahead and understanding the shape of your instances is also very important. Read the new version release notes and then start making a list of questions to answer. A few suggested ones are below:
Which instances do you want to upgrade at this time?
Which integrations are you running?
Which features are you going to enable or disable?
Who will work on the upgrade?
How are your custom elements going to be affected by the upgrade?
This last point is particularly relevant, as heavily customized instances can require extra attention when upgrading. To keep track of what will be affected, make sure to keep thorough documentation or you can alternatively use Quality Clouds’ Upgradeability Dashboard.
One of the biggest problems with upgrading is the amount of things that an upgrade might break. Therefore it’s very important to upgrade your instances gradually, starting with a development instance, moving to testing instances and ending with production instances. This results in minimal impact on the day to day operations of your business.
While testing, it’s also important to make sure you have a way to track and monitor any issues that may arise so that they can be successfully addressed. Make sure not to rush the testing process and review each instance once you’ve upgraded to iron out any problems.
So you’ve finished the upgrade! Congratulations! Make sure to check with stakeholders and see if they’ve noticed any irregularities or issues with functionality since the upgrade.
After having completed your upgrade take the time to sit down with your team and discuss what went well and not so well about the process. This will help you consolidate what you have learned and make the next upgrade smoother.