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This article was Originally posted by Tony Fugere and can be found – here


ServiceNow Admin 101: Eureka Release and Upgrade Best Practices

ServiceNow administrators can work more efficiently simply by following a few tips, and in the Admin 101 Series I will introduce some of the best tips to simplify the working experience within ServiceNow.

Last October, I shared tips on managing ServiceNow’s upgrades and release cycle. Today, I’d like to build on this information by focusing on ServiceNow’s latest release, Eureka, and sharing some more important tips and reminders. As you read through this post, be sure to review the more general upgrade and release tips I covered in last October’s blog.

TERMINOLOGY

Since my previous blog on this topic was written almost a year ago, the terminology has changed a bit.

Release Types
The types of releases have not changed since the Calgary-related blog post last October, but it is important to review them.

  • Feature: This includes all of the new features and all available fixes. It is geared to be production-oriented and will be applied automatically to instances per the phases below.
  • Patch: This is a collection of cumulative fixes and never includes new features.
  • Hotfix: This is to address a specific problem fix. These are not cumulative and never include new features.

NOTE: Patches and Hotfixes are always applied manually and are built for feature releases no further back than two releases (currently Calgary – Eureka).

Release Phases
The feature releases have three phases now instead of the CA and GA nomenclature from last year. In short, Phases 2 and 3 are where customers will be auto-upgraded.

  • Phase 1: Early access by ServiceNow invitation only.
  • Phase 2: Customers have the option to opt-in for the upgrade or they can wait until their instance is auto-upgraded.
  • Phase 3: Customers have the option to opt-in for the upgrade, can request an upgrade on-demand to the feature release via HI or can wait until their instance is auto-upgraded.

What’s the difference between opt-in and on-demand?

Opt-in means customers can request an entitlement to a release. ServiceNow Support then evaluates this request and will give customers the entitlement to choose the release for upgrade. On-demand in Phase 3 is where all customers can request the upgrade, making requesting an entitlement to the release unnecessary. You can think of it as a nightclub that has a bouncer versus one that does not.

Read more on this terminology here. A visual representation of this release cycle can be found on the ServiceNow wiki.

UPGRADE FAQS

Q: Can I get only some of an upgrade’s features?
A: No, but some features are released as plugins that are not activated by default. For more information about a particular release, review release documentation or preview features on the demo instance.

Q: If our instance is more than one release behind, can we still upgrade directly?
A: Yes, ServiceNow fully supports an upgrade from Berlin or Calgary directly to Eureka. There is no need to iteratively upgrade from one feature release to the next.

MAJOR FEATURES OF EUREKA

When preparing an upgrade plan and testing activities surrounding the upgrade, be sure to understand the major features within Eureka. This list highlights a few that Cloud Sherpas sees as important. Reviewing the Eureka Release Notes is critical for upgrade planning.

User Interface ‘14 (UI14)
ServiceNow has revamped the user interface with a tablet and ultrabook-friendly look and feel. As a result, UI components have shifted. Testing and training on the new UI features is critical to the successful upgrade of ServiceNow. Be sure to review the new UI.

Per the release notes: “For customers upgrading to versions prior to Eureka Patch 2, the UI14 user interface is not enabled automatically. For workaround information, see KB0539843 in the ServiceNow Knowledge Base.”

Notable Applications

  • Visual Task Boards
  • Demand Management
  • Event Management
  • Service Creator
  • Form and Catalog Item Designer
  • Facilities Service Automation
  • Survey Management
  • Assessments

You can find a comprehensive list of new features here.

PLAN, EXECUTE, TEST, TRAIN AND COMMUNICATE

Planning, executing and testing seem to be areas where most of our clients are successful. Be sure to take the time to go back and perform operational readiness testing within your ServiceNow project team and spread that slowly outward to process managers, process owners and known, trusted champions of your implementation. Involving people in the planning will excite them about the change instead of fostering resistance. Let stakeholders become advocates of your plan!

Two vital steps in performing a ServiceNow upgrade that many of businesses undervalue are training and communicating. This becomes especially important with UI14, but also as you begin to evaluate new applications and seek to provide more value to IT and the business. Be sure to consider organizational change management activities that will enable the success of a platform upgrade.

These concepts, tips, strategies and tactics will help ensure a smooth and successful upgrade of your ServiceNow instance to the new Eureka release. If you have not started your plan for upgrading, begin today. Remember: if your instances are more than two releases behind, you will no longer be supported by ServiceNow. If you need help establishing an upgrade plan or strategy, contact me at anytime.

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