How ServiceNow Service Mapping Can Help Enterprises Deliver Better Customer Satisfaction

When you are running a business, it is important to set up a process or a solution for your IT to understand the technology stack—how your applications operate, how they collaborate with other components, and so on—of the IT-enabled services that your enterprise delivers. This process is called Service Mapping
Service Mapping is essential to identify the flaws in your IT infrastructure that make up a service, fix them quickly, and further improve your business services for consistent customer satisfaction and continuous growth.
But manually mapping business services to their relevant IT components can be time-consuming and inaccurate. It might take thousands of hours to map a particular service with its relevant components. Manual mapping might work well for a small-sized company that may need to deploy very few applications but is impractical for most enterprises today.
For most companies that handle complex business operations and where there are many servers, networks, databases, and applications, automated service mapping has become a must-have solution.
In this article, we will discuss why enterprises should pursue ServiceNow® automated service mapping and how it helps them grow their business by driving service-aware operations that deliver a clear picture of the relationships between the company’s applications, IT components, and cloud services.

How does ServiceNow Service Mapping help in Overcoming the Challenges of Manual Mapping Processes?

Historically, enterprises had been implementing a horizontal discovery process where they recognized each IT component as independent and no relation was identified with other components. This type of mapping often posed a challenge for IT to be able to track the connection among the applications and interconnected services.
The second challenge was to populate the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), which stores information on how an enterprise’s IT components are configured and how they work together, with the Configuration Items (CI). This process involved significant manual effort, and also was time-consuming and error-prone.
With ServiceNow, service mapping has become a smooth ride.
ServiceNow’s modern workflow solutions have enabled enterprises to improve their IT Operations Management (ITOM) like never before, automating the IT service mapping process while ensuring accuracy.
With service mapping, enterprises can utilize the discovered data of configuration items (CI) and identify their relationship with other components and populate their CMDB with service maps quickly and efficiently. Automated service mapping keeps the CMDB up-to-date consistently, which manual processes fail to accomplish considering the complexities that exist today.

ServiceNow Service Mapping Benefits:

  • Identifies the underlying infrastructure components easily and resolves service outages faster.
  • Optimizes business services efficiently for improved performance and better customer satisfaction.
  • Reduces the time taken to map a large number of services when compared to manual mapping.
  • Prioritizes application vulnerabilities easily and resolves them based on their criticalities.

How does ServiceNow Service Mapping work?

1. Top-down mapping

Top-down mapping involves identifying services with their URLs (Entry point) and extracting the hostname from the URL to further cross-examine and identify other related components of the services. It then builds on this data and identifies every other application related to the service, thereby creating a complete service map. This mapping works based on a set of instructions that drive the mechanism for interrogating the hosts and identifying their connections.

2. Intelligent traffic-based mapping

The conventional traffic-based mapping identifies every CI relationship instead of specific service-level relationships. This brings several complexities in identifying specific components and their relevant service relationships.
Intelligent traffic-based mapping deploys machine learning algorithms to identify previously discovered data on specific service-level relationships and eliminates unnecessary complications. However, it may not be as accurate as top-down mapping.

3. Tag-based mapping

Tagging your cloud resources with specific metadata can help identify and categorize resources easily with their relevant criteria.
The tag data which is revealed by ServiceNow Discovery is then utilized by ServiceNow service mapping to find the components that make up a service and build service maps. However, this mapping may not be suitable to identify the relationship between these applications.

How to Ensure Efficient Service Mapping in ServiceNow?

Here are some of the important decisions that enterprises need to consider to ensure seamless implementation of ServiceNow service mapping for better customer satisfaction:

ServiceNow Service Mapping

1. Test Mapping in Non-Production Environment

To ensure that any software or project implementation functions at its best, it is sensible to first test the functionalities or the effectiveness of the solution in a testing or a non-production environment – an environment where software or projects are tested before making it live – so that the end-users of the solution do not face any issues.

Likewise, for efficient service mapping implementation in ServiceNow, enterprises can initially undertake the process in a testing environment and then move it to the live operating environment. This way, the end-user instance remains more secure, and services can be mapped quickly and efficiently. This is an important point to consider during the initial stages of the service mapping process.

2. Identify Access Points to an Application

The next important step in the service mapping process is to identify the entry points – access points to an application. It is essential to extract the entry points and credentials of the application services to map services. There are three approaches to identifying entry points during the mapping process – identifying manually entered entry points, importing entry points from a CSV file, and a load balancer discovery approach (which leverages automation to identify access points).

All of these approaches have their pros and cons. For instance, the manual approach may not be suitable for the bulk service mapping process. Instead, the CSV and load balancer approach would be the most suitable option for bulk mapping and locating multiple applications parallelly. To choose the best-suited approach, it is vital for enterprises to evaluate their requirements as this would have a direct impact on customer satisfaction during service issues.

3. Keep Upgrading Service Maps

When service maps are not accurate, it can be difficult to draw conclusions about infrastructure component relationships and resolve relevant services.
Services discovered using patterns and traffic-based discovery – discovering CIs that got exempted during pattern-based discovery – may have flaws. It is necessary to identify those flaws in these discovery methods and fix them so that the components and the related connections can be found easily to create improved service maps.
Besides, certain components may not have been discovered even after fixing discovery patterns during the automated processes. So it is essential to incorporate those components manually to ensure the accuracy of the service maps.

4. Ensure Service Map Maintenance

The applications or the components can constantly change and it is necessary to deploy a scheduled discovery process. Such a maintenance process can ensure that these changes are identified and all the applications are discovered at regular intervals so that the service maps are automatically updated.
To consistently maintain the quality of the service maps, it is essential to set up an advanced monitoring process.

Wrapping Up

Implementing ServiceNow service mapping helps enterprises in understanding their business services and the associated infrastructure components that deliver those services better. Enterprise leaders must make informed decisions and consider implementing advanced strategies like those suggested above to ensure effective and more accurate service mapping that contributes to business success. Many enterprises today are switching over to the far more modern, smarter, and automated service mapping. Would you like to experience the advantage of ServiceNow Service Mapping?

KANINI, a ServiceNow Premier Partner, helps enterprises in transforming their IT operations through smooth implementation of ServiceNow service mapping. Reach out to us at transformations@kanini.com to know more about our ServiceNow implementation services.

Author

Joshua Smith

Joshua is a process improvement thought leader and digital transformation expert at KANINI. Over the past 15 years, his focus has always been on achieving organizational maturity and enhancing business processes through implementing tools and workflows to drive transformation initiatives. With experience in multiple verticals from – manufacturing to healthcare, Joshua brings a practitioner’s perspective when working on business solutions and goals to allow him to advise and guide on industry and process best practices.

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