Custom Applications in ServiceNow

Replace manual work with custom applications in ServiceNow. This blog introduces custom applications in ServiceNow and what you should be aware of when developing new applications. 

ServiceNow comes with various products, including applications that are ready to be implemented with a single click. All these products make use of the platform’s rich features, and together with its underlying cloud infrastructure power, the platform has the potential to be the  most important IT tool in your enterprise. But, I dare to say that there is a great chance that you can leverage even more value from your ServiceNow platform, than you do today.  Our experience is that many companies only use aprox.  20% of what the ServiceNow platform is capable of.  So there is room for improvements. 

 You might not realize how much of your day-to-day business that relies upon custom applications in your enterprise, and many of these applications only partially support business needs or user expectations (even if you disagree). ServiceNow is a platform to make further improvements on, and tailor to your company needs. It should extend your service delivery and management to all enterprise departments. With the use of industry-standard JavaScript, you have the possibilities to add functionality in your ServiceNow platform as you like - and you should!

Why develop custom applications?

So why should you develop a custom application in ServiceNow? Happy you ask. Not only, ServiceNow but the entire IT industry encourage you to replace outdated, inadequate, custom business processes through custom-developed applications. By implementing manual work and processes into your ServiceNow platform, you will experience a greater level of automation and consolidation to enterprise services and their management. This would extend the value of your ServiceNow instance - simple as that! Build effective ServiceNow applications that increase responsiveness, productivity, and user satisfaction. This is the beauty of the platform.

Should you build it? 

ServiceNow is more than predefined applications and processes, which you can find through the ServiceNow store or from their websites. Most likely, you utilize the ITSM applications today, and maybe one or two more products like CSM and HR. You might also have looked through the available plugins ready to be installed on your instance, but simply could not find something complimenting an internal manual process. So, should you build our own custom applications? it? I know it sounds silly that you can implement everything in ServiceNow, but you can - almost. It can even brew you a cup of coffee when you arrive at the office - sounds awesome, right? But just because you can implement it, does not mean that you should - even if it is a business need. This actually goes for all ideas and requirement definitions, but that is for another blog post.


But when should you build it, then? First, you need to assess your processes. Take your time and think of a manual process you have in your enterprise today. Got one? Good. Am I wrong if I assume it makes use of excel spreadsheets?
If not, then that process would most likely be a good fit to do a custom application for.
If you can say yes to the following, then a custom application would be a good fit!

  • Data can be modeled in a relational database
  • Extensive use of forms to interact with the data
  • Requires reporting capabilities
  • Need workflow to manage processes

Examples of manual processes that can be automated

Below are some examples of manual processes, which potentially could be developed as a custom application in ServiceNow.ServiceNow_Custom_Application_Axamples

Designing your application

 What is important when deciding to develop a custom application is to understand the business problem. So ask yourself, if you are solving a business problem - if not, then you don’t need a new application.  But if you are solving a business problem, then think about the outcomes.  Is it clear how  you can improve, save, or retire? In other words, you should be able to identify the concrete business problem and how the application can solve it - before you develop a custom application. 

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about this topic, Chuck Tomasi has written a great blog article:

At The Cloud People we have a unique Application Development Checklist as well as a way of guiding you in order to design and develop the perfect custom applications to replace the manual work in your enterprise. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you want to know more about the possibilities with custom applications. 

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