Governance your compliance with ServiceNow

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“We need to do this! Else we are not compliant!”

I have heard this numerous times while working at a SOx and FDA compliant customer. Of course, we need to ensure we are and stay compliant. But who knows exactly why and how we are compliant? There are so many standards, frameworks and regulations used within companies that we loose track of them. Not to mention all policies we have defined for these authoritative sources. This is where the IT Governance Risk and Compliance module steps in.
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Keep track of your adjustments

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buttonMaking adjustments to a ServiceNow environment is one thing. Tracking your adjustments and document them is a whole different kind of thing. With experience at an FDA compliant customer, it is crucial to keep track of your adjustments for your requirements.
In this blog I would like to follow-up Fred van der Schaar’s blog about the Business Requirement section, in particular; the Functional Specification module. This is a part of the ‘Requirement Management’ application created and used by Logicalis SMC.

The Functional Specification

A Business Requirement contains a need for the business, requested by the Customer. However, the Business Requirement is a strategic level and leaves a lot of questions how things should be implemented on an operational level. To avoid fuss, a translation to actual functionality is required. This is done in the Functional Specification, the tactical level.
The Functional Specification contains all required information for the tactical level, how would we like to see the Business Requirement being fulfilled. For example: ‘We need a risk calculation button and when pressed, a calculation is required between values in Field Y and Field Z’.
The Functional Specification on tactical level is seamlessly integrated with the actual adjustments in the tool, which are on the operational level.

What about keeping track of your adjustments?

The Functional Specification module contains several related lists. The related lists are all connected to specific components in ServiceNow (like Access Controls, Applications, Business Rules and Client Scripts). These related lists are used to relate Functional Specifications to actual adjustments in the tool.

How can we document this?

Now we got all information in the ServiceNow tool. For some customers, just having the information in ServiceNow is not enough and compliance requires an additional document for approval. Or in some cases you would like to create a feature list for your next release. We can use the ‘export to PDF’ function to get the information directly or we can build specific reports to get us the information we want.
Logicalis SMC decided we needed an easy way to export all Business Requirements and Functional Specifications directly out of the tool in a proper layout and in a Word document. In the screenshot below you can see how the Word document looks like when exported out of ServiceNow.

If you have any questions you can contact me via .img[at].img

Which Assignees have no incidents assigned to them..??!!

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“I cannot see which users in my assignment group are not assigned to any incident”.
A valid remark of a customer, which had multiple assignees in multiple assignment groups, and each assignee needed to have three active incidents per assignment group. How can we make this happen?

Database view

First I needed to get the info of the assignment group, the user and the incidents in one view. The most practical way to get this in one overview is by using a database view. In this view we need the assignment group and the users (retrieve this from the sys_user_grmember table) and the incidents (we can use the task table). See below the database view I have created.

As you can see I used a ‘Where clause’ to relate the task ‘Assigned to’ and ‘Assignment group’ from the TASK table to the ‘User’ and ‘Group’ field on the SYS_USER_GRMEMBER table. Be sure to set ‘Left join’ on the TASK table to true.

We will receive a list of all users in all assignment groups that are assigned to a task. We can now see that Fred Luddy is not assigned to any TASK in assignment group ‘RMA Approvers’ (as the number is (empty), but Fred Luddy is assigned to an incident in assignmet group ‘Network’ (we can see an incident number).
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Notify users when their email is not related to a ticket in ServiceNow

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As my colleagues have written a couple of blogs about the email functionality in ServiceNow, I asked myself; what happens when ServiceNow does not process an incoming email notification as expected by the user. In some cases, ServiceNow will not relate incoming email notifications to any ticket, without informing the user. A simple notification in return to the user can save a lot of calls from indignant users to the Service Desk.

As this is not a difficult adjustment in ServiceNow, knowing when to send back a notification is a little bit harder.
For example; incoming email notification that are marked as ‘Junk’ by ServiceNow do not need a notification in return.
Also incoming email notifications in the ‘Inbox’ are way too early as they are not yet fully processed.
And – do you want to inform only ‘known’ users (who are registered in your ServiceNow instance) or any user that sends email to ServiceNow?
Also timing is essential; do you want to send notification back once a day or each half hour?

In this blog I created a business rule that will only pick-up email that is received within the last hour and is received from registered users and the email notification is in the ‘Received’ mailbox.
The email notification may not be in the state ‘Ready’ and most important the field ‘Table target’ is empty. I also created a scheduled job that will trigger the business rule each hour of the day. This is repeated each hour and notifications to the users will be sent at most, one hour after being received by ServiceNow.
Business Rule
What we need is a business rule that will only pick-up email notifications that are within my scope. I named the business rule to ‘Check not related email’ and let it run on the ‘sys_email’ table. I used an encoded query to determine the timespan which is required (the last hour). As this business rule will be triggered by a scheduled job, I did not use the ‘insert’, ‘update’, ‘delete’ or ‘query’ options. The following condition is applied:

[cc lang=”javascript”]
current.mailbox == ‘received’ && current.state != ‘ready’ && !current.user_id.isNil() && current.target_table.isNil()
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Testing and ServiceNow

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In addition to the blog by Fred van der Schaar about Business Requirements, also a test registration module is developed by 2e2 Consulting.
I have been working with this test registration module for a couple of months now.

When Business Requirements and Functional Specifications are defined and new functionality is developed, testing also kicks in. Testing your Functional Requirements and therefore verifying your Business requirements give you the opportunity to check if your ServiceNow instance is working as designed.

The Structure

Currently Business Requirement and Functional Specification are linked to each other. As we are defining the actual adjustments to the tool in Functional Specifications, we have created a link to the Test Case Step (which contains the test criteria). The Test Case Step is linked to a Test Case (which is a summary of all similar like Test Case Steps). Eventually, the Test Case Step contains all test results.

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