ServiceNow Fundamentals

ServiceNow offers many solutions, workflows, and products for an organization. Using the ServiceNow scripting and existing tools an organization can develop the customized applications and modules as per the business requirements. The ServiceNow developer instance has adequate data such as users, incidents, groups, etc., that enables you to gain a good comprehension of the concept. In this blog, we will consider an example of BookWorm ltd. to comprehend where ServiceNow fits in the internal functioning of an organization. The blog covers all the elementary concepts in ServiceNow that include applications and modules, lists and forms, users, roles and groups, tables, columns, and fields.

Applications and Modules


The Application in ServiceNow is a collection of files and data which delivers the service and manages the business processes and modules. For instance, the “Incident” application has modules like “Create new” for creating a new incident for any department in BookWorm ltd. The “Open” module lists all the open incidents within BookWorm ltd. Likewise, there are other vital applications such as Problem, Change, Workflows, etc., and its corresponding modules as “Create New”, “Open”, “WorkFlow editor”, etc.

Lists and Forms


This section makes you comprehend the concepts of lists and forms that are used in the ServiceNow application. The list exhibits the set of records based on explicit conditions from the data table. It could be a list of incidents assigned to a certain group, from the incident table or a list of problems not assigned to any group from the problem table, etc. The below example illustrates the Incident list having incidents, which are resolved from the incident table.

This List is a default module provided with ServiceNow which is generated through the “Resolved” module of the “Incident” application. To open this module and explore this list, you have to search “Incident” in the application navigator, and inside the Incident, the application finds the “Resolved” module. 

The form is used for exhibiting one record from the data table or it can be used to enter/update a record in a data table. For instance, an incident form displays the details related to a single selected incident or it can also be used to enter details of a new incident in an incident table. The below pictures illustrates corresponding forms having the details of an existing incident record and the form to enter the details of the new incident record.

To access the first form in the above example, you must navigate to the “Resolved” module inside the Incident application. A list of resolved incidents will then be displayed. Now click on any incident number which opens the form. The second screen in the above example, having a form to enter new incident details, can be accessed through the “Create New” module of the Incident application.

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Users, Roles, and Groups


This section demonstrates the concepts of users, roles, and groups in the ServiceNow application. Users of ServiceNow are the individuals who use the ServiceNow application within an organization. The system administrator has the authority to create a new user, browse through the list of existing users, delete a user, and mimic the user. To open the list of existing users, navigate to the “Users” module inside the User administration application.

To create a new user, click on the “New” button in the top left corner of the content frame. The below form will then open up to enter a new data record for the user table.

A system administrator can also mimic the user, which means that the system administrator can log in to ServiceNow as another user. The banner frame contains this option to mimic as another user.

Roles are the task assignments which a user performs within an organization that is based on the work profile. The role instances may comprise the incident manager role, application developer role, incident analyst role, etc. The roles control access to the features and capabilities in applications and modules. A system administrator role may have access to a few applications while the incident manager role may not have access. The list of roles and forms to add a new role can be found in the System security application under “Users and Groups”.

Groups are the collection of users, which perform a similar task. For instance, the group of change managers will approve the production changes, or the procurement group will have the access to raise the purchase order, etc. The group can be accessed through System security → Users and groups → Groups. Assigning the users to groups or vice versa is the best practice and further assigns roles to groups. In general, users are not assigned directly to the roles as it is not endorsed. The below example demonstrates the reason. 

Assume that among various groups in BookWorm ltd. there is one group for the IT team and under the IT team there is a child group for “Full-stack engineers”. Further, there are a couple of roles i.e., “Backend IT services” and “Frontend IT services”. The Full-stack engineers are assigned to both the roles such that they have access and license privileges meant for both Frontend and Backend IT services. A full-stack engineer joined BookWorm ltd. who is an expert in both backend technologies and frontend technologies. Therefore, instead of assigning this user to these two roles separately, it would be a good idea to create a group of full-stack engineers and assign this group to two roles. Now, for all the full-stack engineers joining BookWorm ltd., the administrator only has to assign that full-stack engineer user to the full-stack engineer group, which is a child group of the IT team.

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Practical implementation of Users, Roles, and Groups


Let’s now implement it with a practical example using ServiceNow, to comprehend this concept better. First, we have to create a group “IT team” and its child group “Full stack engineers”. In the navigation filter, search “User administration” and select “Group” modules under “user administration”. The following screen will open in the content frame.

Click on the “New button” and provide the details. Provide the “Name” to identify the Group. You can also provide “Group email” and select the “Manager” from the list of users. The “Parent” tag is used for creating a hierarchical structure in the group, so for the IT team group, we can leave it blank and for the Full stack engineers group, we can give the IT team group as the parent.

We have now created the groups, further, we are going to create two roles i.e. “Backend IT services” and “Frontend IT services”, that are assigned to the group Full stack engineers. Inside “User administration”, navigate to the “Roles” module.

Click on the “New” button and provide the name of the role. This role can be implemented for every application by Keeping the application as “Global” in your ServiceNow. The user assigned to this role will be given accesses/privileges more than a standard user by granting “elevated privilege” and this may require administering certain functionality.

Now, we have to assign these roles to the group. Navigate to the “Groups” module again and search the group “Full stack engineers” at the top of the content frame beside the “New” button.

Open group “Full stack engineers” which displays a new section to add roles or Group members. In the roles tab, click the “edit” button which displays the below screen.

Search for the role “Frontend IT services” which is created in the collection box. Select the role and click on the arrow button to add the role to this group. Finally, press the “Save” button. You will be navigated back to the main screen of the Group module. Update the record, using the update button situated in the top right corner. Likewise, repeat the process for Backend IT team services. Now let us add some users to ServiceNow. To do this, navigate to the “users” module in the “user administration” application and click on the “New” button.

Provide the details of the new user and then press the “submit” button. Likewise, you can also add a few more users. We have added two new users here, Vijay Bhaskar and Madhu Adla.

To assign the group “full stack engineer” to these users, open the newly created users again and scroll at the bottom of the user. You will see a new section to add roles or groups to this user.

Navigate to the “Groups” tab and then click on the “edit” button. The following screen will be displayed.

Search the group “full stack engineers” in the collection box, select the group and click on the arrow button to add this group to the user Vijay Bhaskar. Repeat the same process for Madhu Adla. So, finally, we have created users, groups, and roles. We have then added the roles to the group and group to the user.

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Tables, Columns, and Fields


In this section, you will learn what are tables, columns, and fields in ServiceNow. The tables are the collection of data in ServiceNow. Tables are used by the applications and modules for storing, displaying, and processing the data. For instance, the “Incident” application has an incident table. Likewise, there is a user table, change request table, etc. To check the structure or update the structure of any table, make use of the “Tables” module of the “System Definition” application.

The table name is searched in the top section of the content screen. The incident table is explored by clicking the required table where you can find all the columns in the table, column type (integer, string, etc.), maximum length, etc. The new column can be added to the table, using the “New” button.

The crucial point to be noted here is that every row in the table points to the unique record. For instance, if the incident IN3325643 is raised in BookWorm ltd., for the full stack engineers group reporting the database connectivity issue. A new row will be added to the incident table, which is specific to the incident record IN3325643. To browse the data, in the table search “.list” in the navigation bar (incident.list in this case).

Every column in the incident record represents the field having a specific value. For instance, this incident record IN3325643 is having the column “Caller” as Jayanth Khanna, this is one of the fields of this record. To open any record, click on the incident number from the list.

Likewise, you can also explore other tables such as users, problem, change, etc. A new table can also be created for our custom applications as per the business requirements. The new table is created from the Table module → New button in the top section of the content frame.

ServiceNow Fundamentals is designed for users with various organizational roles who are expected to work within the NOW Platform.  Thus you have learned about the NOW Platform User Interface and gained the fundamental knowledge of the applications and modules, lists and forms, users, roles and groups, tables, columns, and fields.