ServiceNow is changing their support model from an n-2 to an n-1 model in conjunction with the release of London later this year.
And because ServiceNow is shortening their support window, companies who don’t currently upgrade to the latest ServiceNow release each year are going to need to revisit their approach. Once London is released, you’ll need to be on either London or Kingston in order to receive ServiceNow support.
N-2 vs N-1
Prior to the London release, ServiceNow has had an n-2 support model. This means that ServiceNow support is provided to all clients that are on the most current version of the platform, abbreviated as “n,” and up to 2 major releases prior. So at the time of posting, support is available for Kingston, Jakarta, and Istanbul.
ServiceNow has also allowed customers to opt-out of upgrades and stay on old versions indefinitely, albeit without any technical support available.
But due to platform security and stability concerns, this is now changing. Beginning with the release of ServiceNow London this September, ServiceNow will be moving to an n-1 support model, meaning support is provided for the current version (London) and 1 major release prior (Kingston). Furthermore, in 2019, they will likely be mandating upgrades without an option to opt-out.
Moving to an Annual Upgrade Cycle
I know, moving to an annual upgrade cycle is a heck of a lot easier said than done. You need to find the time and resources to adequately plan, develop, and test all the changes before moving into your production environment. You need to train your admins and fulfillers on process changes and new functionality. All of this can take weeks, even months to complete, especially if you don’t have a ServiceNow admin available to orchestrate everything.
And if you have a significant amount of custom code built into your platform, you’re in for an even bigger undertaking. The ServiceNow platform won’t touch custom code during your upgrade because changes would break it, leaving you with a busted platform. Instead, it marks any custom code as a “skip,” and someone from your team will have to manually review these skips every year.
But there are considerable benefits that come with annual updates. By staying up to date, you will leverage ServiceNow’s substantial R&D investment in the product. According to their 2017 year-end report, ServiceNow invested more than $370 million in R&D, all of which benefits you when you upgrade. This includes new features, product enhancements, bug fixes, and updates to the platform’s security. And of course, you can depend on your instance being supported by ServiceNow’s technical support team.
Be Careful what you Customize
We’re champions of configuring your database rather than customizing it, because configurations are resilient to upgrades. We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum: clients with only a small handful of skips to review and update and others with thousands of skips to be addressed with each upgrade.
Managing these skips has perhaps been manageable when you were only upgrading every 2 or 3 years. But now that you’re staring down the barrel of required annual upgrades? Those customizations could quickly cost you more time and energy than they save.
There will be reasons that you’ll want to build custom code into your ServiceNow platform. The rule of thumb for building customizations is to make sure you’ve exhausted all the out-of-the-box configurations first. Plus, the no-code workflows in Kingston make it even easier to configure your system.
Don’t Undertake the Journey Alone
These are some big changes to ServiceNow support on the horizon and you may be thinking, “I don’t have the resources for yearly upgrades” or “I don’t want to hire a part or full time ServiceNow admin.” And we hear you.
The good news is, with the right ServiceNow partner, you won’t have to shoulder the burden of hiring additional staff. Your partner can perform an upgrade readiness audit to prepare your organization for the newest ServiceNow instance, manage the upgrade process from beginning to end for you, or just augment your team where you need it most.
Evaluate your ServiceNow instance to identify performance improvements, find ways to optimize your processes, and prepare for an upgrade.
Our ServiceNow Architects run the ServiceNow Health Check, analyze the results, and present you with detailed findings and recommendations that takes into account your existing circumstances and upgrade strategy.
Whether you’re getting ready to upgrade to Kingston or London, our team is here to help. Click the button to learn more and request a Heath Check for your organization.