ServiceNow Version Upgrades

We'll help you stay compliant and up-to-date

ServiceNow Platform Upgrades

“Thanks to the Pathways team, we were successfully able to perform our first ServiceNow platform upgrade in three weeks. The experience was well managed, seamless and validated all the dev efforts preceding the upgrade as we achieved a 96% ‘out of the box’ score.”

– Mike, Director of Product Management, Major Financial Services Firm

Pathways ServiceNow Upgrade Service

We’ll help you stay compliant and up-to-date.
ServiceNow system upgrades can be an arduous undertaking for any organization. The upgrade process is more than just a simple installation; it can vary in complexity depending on your instance and the new features being introduced and often requires external resources to complete. Each ServiceNow release introduces new functionality updates and significant additions to the platform that should always be considered to ensure your upgrade is successful and precise. Pathways’ highly-refined upgrade process provides your team with more than just the newest version of ServiceNow. You get access to our experts on demand who can prepare you for your upgrade, offer best practices, share knowledge, implement, and test your instance.

“We’ve been through the upgrade process twice now and it’s been fairly seamless both times. The two times with Pathways Consulting Group has been quick and concise, experiencing little issues and keeping things pretty much out of the box. Our second time around felt like an overall health check.” - David, Global Consulting Firm

Free ServiceNow Upgrade Readiness Assessment

Readiness Assessment

We also bring these valuable items to smoothly transition your organization to the latest release:

  • Regression test cases
  • Defect tracking templates
  • Complete development and testing support
  • Visibility throughout each step of the project

We want to ensure your Pathways ServiceNow Upgrade Service is efficient and more effective. We price the upgrade process in two ways: Commercial or Enterprise. Each allows us to support your team in upgrading your ServiceNow platform to the latest version that makes the most sense for your business. These services specifically address challenges with instance upgradability, manageability, scalability, and performance.

Why Is It Necessary to Upgrade Your ServiceNow Instance?

To get the most out of your ServiceNow implementation, you must keep it up to date. Staying current lets your business take advantage of the new features and functionality designed to help you streamline processes, improve efficiency, and achieve the business outcomes you need. By upgrading your ServiceNow instance, you can maximize your investment, reduce the risk of encountering technical issues, and avoid problems associated with running an out-of-date release. Regular updates keep your instance secure and also bring significant value to your organization, including:

  • Staying current with the latest ServiceNow features and functionality
  • Keeping your instance healthy
  • Remaining covered by ServiceNow’s large, multi-year support

Upgrade FAQs

ServiceNow recommends up to a 2 month upgrade timeline. Leveraging our upgrade experience we can help complete your upgrade in 4 weeks or less.

It is highly recommended to enact a production blackout period during the upgrade cycle. This means no active or parallel activity in your environments while the upgrade is taking place.

At a minimum, all active applications and functionality should be compiled into a list. The majority, if not all, should be regression tested in the lower development regions to ensure no upgrade impact.

Our process and strategy helps you to make smart decisions of what to test and how much testing to perform. ServiceNow also provides a wealth of knowledge and documentation to help support the upgrade process.

We borrow the best pieces from this to help you stay as efficient as possible while still maintaining a high level of quality.

Cloning ServiceNow instances means taking your existing and updated version of production and copying it over your development and testing regions to sync up all of the data and code. This can be scheduled in your parent instance through the cloning application.

Upgrading is moving your environment to a new patch or version of ServiceNow. ServiceNow may auto-schedule these so keep an eye on your active Changes and Tickets! These can be manually scheduled through the ServiceNow HI portal.

Users will be able to log into your production environment while the upgrade is in progress and submit tickets as normal. It is very rare to see any data related issues as the result of an upgrade.

Typically, only slowness may be reported by your users while the upgrade is active. For this reason, you may wish to complete an organizational communication and notify your teams to try and stay out of the instance during the upgrade window.

Generally, the less users in the system, the better for your upgrade. Our typical plan is to schedule the production upgrade on a Friday evening, apply the defect fixes Friday night, and have our mutual upgrade team smoke test the environment Saturday morning.

The good news is that the actual ServiceNow upgrade activity is very stable and rarely encounters issues, but it is always best to plan for the worst. The worst possible case for an upgrade error is that up to 24 hours of production data could be lost.

ServiceNow backs up customer instances dynamically every day within a 24 hour cycle. You cannot request a specific time to back up your instance. Should a ServiceNow error occur during the actual upgrade process, we can contact the NOW team and they can typically hot fix functionality on the back end removing the risk for a loss of data.

Should a smaller error occur during post-upgrade production smoke testing, such as a field missing on a form, we can hotfix these quickly. Our upgrade test process in the sub production region is tailored to catch all such issues.

There are several important roles to properly staff a ServiceNow upgrade team. Upgrades are heavily dependent on regression testing resulting in the Quality Assurance Analyst role being paramount to the success of the effort. Beyond that, a developer and project manager are must-haves as well as a team of your primary ServiceNow stakeholders.

Together we strategically plan who and how many more users to leverage for upgrade test validations, but this core team can be very successful on their own.

There are two major ServiceNow releases per year. Starting with Madrid, ServiceNow is moving to an N-1 release cycle, meaning they are heavily encouraging their customers to be no more than 1 release behind current.

What this roughly translates to is 1 mandatory upgrade per year.

The most common upgrade issues involve custom applications. The good news in this regard is that typically custom applications will typically break completely or be unaffected at all during the upgrade. We can identify these very early in the upgrade process by completing a review of the upgrade log within ServiceNow.

In addition to those items, we’ll typically see issues with minor customizations and functionality, especially in instances where an application we have customized has had a facelift with the new ServiceNow version. Regression testing helps us identify these.

Lastly, it is common to see occurrences where the upgrade may add new functionality to applications you are already using. We can choose to limit the new functionality for the end users and strategically hide new components. During the process we’ll highlight these, and if you like the new functionality we will create a quick reference guide to help you inform your users. A good example of this would be a comparison document that highlights a new UI layout vs an old one.

ServiceNow Upgrade Basics

There are two major ServiceNow releases each year. ServiceNow encourages customers not to fall more than one version behind. To keep your platform running efficiently and take advantage of the newest ServiceNow offerings, you need to prioritize an upgrade, at minimum, once a year.

The Pathways team will tailor an upgrade plan for your environment, including a strategic approach to regression testing and risk identification. We have done hundreds of upgrades and tailor your plan for your unique work environment. Our highly-refined upgrade process includes regression test cases, defect tracking templates, complete development and testing support, and knowledge transfer, with visibility throughout each step. Enjoy:

  • Proven – post-upgrade incident/defect rate over the past two years is less than 1%
  • Experienced – successfully completed hundreds of upgrades
  • Expert – specialized team, all with a minimum of four years experience and 20+ upgrades
  • Cost-Effective – an average of 40% savings over the competition
  • Fast – 50% faster than an internal effort with an average time of four weeks
  • Non-Disruptive – frees your team to focus on mission-critical elements

How Pathways and our ServiceNow Upgrades can Help Your Organization

Are you ready to plan and execute a successful ServiceNow upgrade? To learn more about Pathways’ upgrade methodology and how we can help get you on the newest version of ServiceNow, contact us today!