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Top 3 benefits of upgrading your ServiceNow platform

Upgrading to new ServiceNow instances takes financial investment, human resources, and time. Yet the short and long-term benefits of upgrading far outweigh the costs.

Like any software, if you're to get the best out of your ServiceNow implementation, you need to keep it up to date. ServiceNow's upgrade cycle includes a new release every six months – bringing new features, functionality, bug fixes, and enhancements to your ServiceNow instance.

The upgrade process can vary in complexity depending on your instance and the new features being added, often requiring significant internal resources to complete. But there are some key benefits that make the process worthwhile, which we'll explore here.

How can upgrading your ServiceNow platform improve your organisation?

Here are the top three benefits of upgrading to the latest ServiceNow release:

1. Business value gains

Keeping current with ServiceNow upgrades provides business value in the form of higher productivity, lower build cost, easier maintenance, and faster time to the next version.

ServiceNow has handily provided a benefits calculator based on a study1 conducted with customers. For example, a company with 10,000 employees and two ServiceNow developers earning £144,000 a year each can potentially gain an annual value of £870,000 by upgrading to the latest software version.

Keep in mind that this is only a ballpark estimate, we'd recommend speaking to a ServiceNow partner to get a personalised business case for your organisation.

2. Better performance

Each upgrade brings major functionality changes and new additions that could be game-changers to your business.

ServiceNow invests millions of dollars in R&D, fixing past issues and developing new features that keep up with consumer trends and new technology. Upgrading quickly will help you keep up with the ever-improving functionality and performance of the ServiceNow platform.

With faster access to new features, you can reduce the time spent on build-outs and developments by up to 80%2.

3. Higher security

Ensuring you have the latest version of ServiceNow translates into higher security and availability.

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 – increasing the security risks for both performance and data stored in the application.

Looking for upgrade support? Contact us today!

Why upgrade ServiceNow?

On top of the benefits already mentioned, there are several incentives to upgrade your ServiceNow platform.

An up-to-date ServiceNow environment ensures that you're always benefitting from the latest features and improvements – maximising your investment, reducing risk, and avoiding the potential pitfalls of operating on an unsupported release.

ServiceNow estimates that applying regular updates could improve your workflow efficiency by up to 25%.

Not only will you be more efficient, but each update will also reduce the time spent on future upgrades. You could potentially reduce it by up to 81% – which means better performance and increased return on investment.

When should I upgrade ServiceNow?

ServiceNow releases two major upgrades per year, usually in March and September. To ensure your version is still supported, you'll need to upgrade at least once a year to stay current.

We'd recommend that your upgrades be treated like any other project. So make sure you use best practices and allocate appropriate time and resources to its success. A popular alternative is to use a ServiceNow partner to assist in upgrading your ServiceNow platform.

What happens when upgrading ServiceNow?

There are seven typical phases of a ServiceNow platform upgrade:

  1. Plan: Read the release notes and plan your upgrade.
  2. Prepare: Prepare for the development instance upgrade.
  3. Schedule: Verify your configurations and schedule the development instance upgrade.
  4. Review: Upgrade and validate the development instance.
  5. Test and validate: Upgrade and validate your other non-production instances.
  6. Remediate: Prepare to upgrade the production instance.
  7. Production upgrade: Upgrade your production instance.

What do I need to check after upgrading ServiceNow?

Once the upgrade is complete and pushed to your production instance, there are a few follow-up actions you should take.

Be sure to apply any update sets and post-upgrade fix scripts you might have, and continue to validate and test your instance with user acceptance testing (UAT).

Check with key stakeholders that everything is performing as it should and that key features and functionality are available.

If you're given the all-clear, you can then close the project down and record any learnings or improvements for the next upgrade.

Need help upgrading?

Upgrading your ServiceNow platform is essential to maintaining your operations, but, as we've outlined above, there's a lot to consider.

The good news is we can take the headache out of upgrading. We'll handle the heavy lifting and work with you to ensure a smooth transition – freeing you up to focus on the day-to-day.

Get in touch for a free consultation on upgrading ServiceNow from our specialist team.

1 Calculated using a financial model developed by Forrester Consulting based on the commissioned November 2018 study, The Total Economic Impact™ Of Staying Current With ServiceNow Upgrades, conducted with actual customers on behalf of ServiceNow.

2 The Total Economic Impact™ Of Staying Current With ServiceNow Upgrades, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, August 2020.

By Nicola Conquer
29th Apr 2020