On December 10, 2020, Bravium Labs proudly announced the release of its second ServiceNow product, Upgrade Assistant. In an effort to continue innovating the way ServiceNow development teams successfully operate their instances, Upgrade Assistant joins the fight alongside the Best Practice Engine to help customers take back their instances.
As new upgrades are offered bi-annually for ServiceNow customers, so are new features, improvements, and security reinforcements, among other things. A tenet of high-quality instance management in ServiceNow is preparing for these updates and being ready to execute them successfully.
However, the battle endures as customers inadequately log indexes of their past upgrades and lose track of the customizations committed to their instance. The risk of technical debt and major functionality breakage ensues as there is no effective way to fortify your instance and manage the upgrade in a timely manner. Damaging losses in time and money are incurred by the ServiceNow platform team as they try to get back on track, but the workload is too large and the excitement around upgrading becomes smaller and smaller.
Our mission at Bravium Labs is to help ServiceNow customers to take back their instances. Just as there is risk in anything, there are also opportunities for improvement. BPE proved that developing and managing a ServiceNow instance doesn't have to be risky or inefficient. Upgrade Assistant is here to aid every ServiceNow customer in their battle against bad upgrade experiences.
The 3 U’s Framework
We see a better way of ensuring upgrades in ServiceNow run smoothly and maintain the quality of your instance. The process can be simple, but often becomes complex to complete. At Bravium Labs, we have formulated a simpler way of thinking about it from start to finish: The 3 U’s Framework.
The very first step before taking any action toward a new release should be understanding what the current state of your instance is. The steps involved in understanding the condition of your instance are varied depending on your implementation history, but a few things remain consistent.
First, it is important to understand the areas of customization in your instance. Identifying what packages or sections of the instance are most heavily customized will inform your team on how to manage those areas when going through the upgrade. Failing to consider such things can lead to catastrophic errors and features breaking, leading to necessary remediation and longer upgrade process.
It is also critical to understand what happened in the last upgrade you performed. Having the knowledge of what features may have been skipped and why they were can be the difference between a smooth upgrade and one that costs your team time and money.
The second step in the 3 U’s framework is the action of upgrading. Arguably the most important part of the process, performing the upgrade is the obvious point in which you transition from preparation to execution. In this phase, team leaders should prioritize having visibility into the feature skips being performed and the files being altered. Beyond that, it is crucial to become proactive and prepare for upgrades by maintaining organization in your instance and being aware of the impacts from an upgrade version.
The final “U” in the 3 U’s Framework is the idea of upholding the work you have done so far and improving on the progress you have made. The goal when upgrading your ServiceNow instance is that it should be as friction-less a process as possible. By upholding the work you have now done to get to the newest version of ServiceNow, you will be better prepared for the next update, and every update following!
Features in UA
For more than a year, our team has been creating an experience by which ServiceNow developers, administrators, and platform owners can improve the way they take care of their instance during an upgrade. Upgrade Assistant will meet your upgrade needs, plugging into your existing process, or helping you establish better upgrading practices. As our second Built on Now application, Upgrade Assistant brings the data of your upgrade to you with curated dashboards and cross-instance management tools. We have organized our product across three dashboards, as seen in the following sections:
Using this dashboard gives you immediate insight into the current state of your instance in terms of its preparedness for upcoming upgrades. The primary focus is to show users how close their instance is to being Out-of-Box (OOB) and how much they have allowed certain files to be customized. The instance overview provides a Customization Score, calculated using the comparison of your total files to the number of customized files, in addition to several other metrics.
Our second dashboard, the Upgrade Overview, is excellent for use while performing the upgrade process. With this dashboard, users are able to look forward at the impacts of an upgrade prior to the process occurring.
This dashboard enables users to do many things involved in the continuous maintenance required through and after an upgrade is performed. Users are able to log and track the identified skips for current upgrade and future upgrade review. Upgrade Review is a powerful tool for ServiceNow users to continuously improve the quality and integrity of their instance upgrade after upgrade.
Upgrade Assistant makes it possible to effectively manage your ServiceNow customizations and upgrades, reducing the risks incurred in the upgrade process and creating a repeatable operation that can be performed safely time after time. Our team is excited to share this new product with ServiceNow users. Contact us here to schedule a demo today!