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5 Common ServiceNow Challenges – and when to call a professional

It feels like everywhere you look, customers are telling incredible stories about the cool innovations they're making with ServiceNow. These stories may include consolidating various business tools into a single system of action, building meaningful apps using citizen developers, or expanding ServiceNow beyond IT and into new departments like HR, security, finance, and more. However, for every success story, there will always be 4 or 5 other companies that are quietly struggling to keep up with their ServiceNow goals. These much more common scenarios are from companies that know where they want to go but can’t seem to get there.  

There’s no shame in that. Even with access to incredible resources, very few companies can afford a full platform administration team that eats, sleeps, and breathes ServiceNow. Very often, the secret behind those success stories is that they found help to keep them moving forward and achieving their ServiceNow goals.  

Let’s look at 5 of the most common challenges that are holding back ServiceNow customers, and what you can do to start writing success stories of your own. 


1. Your backlog has you in “reaction mode” 

Stifled momentum due to ServiceNow backlogs is extremely common, but it can also be a real drain on productivity. ServiceNow is designed to allow you to solve problems proactively and automate manual tasks, but that capability comes with required upkeep and maintenance responsibilities. This not only causes resource constraints, but it prevents you from adding any new functionality to the platform; both because your team is too busy working on existing requests and because you don’t have the bandwidth to support additional capabilities. 

For some companies, adding full-time resources with the right skill sets is either too expensive or too hard to come by. However, not doing so means losing out on substantial value and return on investment by putting you in a state of limbo instead of growing and innovating along with the platform.  


2. You can’t find, keep, or afford the right talent for a ServiceNow role 

ServiceNow skills are in high demand and are expensive to develop and maintain. This is causing employers, both customers and professional service providers, to vie for top talent with competitive salaries, benefits, and work-life balance incentives that can be hard to stay competitive. Some companies may not be mature enough in their ServiceNow practice to know how to screen for the right level of skills during the hiring process while having to account for turnover only adds more unexpected costs and delays for your organization. 

Another frustration may be that your organization doesn’t need a full-time ServiceNow developer or architect year-round with even fewer options for part-time or temporary help that can do the work required. In many ways, it would be more ideal to have a rotating role that is both flexible and readily available without having to keep a bench of talent that may not always have something to do. 


3. Upgrades are a headache 

Keeping ServiceNow up to date with the latest version isn’t just a good idea; it’s a sign of platform stability, best practices, and a strong foundation for your ServiceNow instance. On the other hand, if the thought of having to upgrade two times per year gives you a stomachache, there’s a good chance that you’re also dealing with additional inefficiencies that are causing stress all year round. This can be caused by cutting corners during an implementation, an excess of customizations, or even a lack of understanding of proper QA testing processes. These issues can also cause instability which negatively affects the user experience, resulting in decreased user adoption. 

Upgrades don’t have to be stressful and correcting what’s causing that stress will have a positive domino effect across your organization. The result is an increase in productivity and buy-in for your users, as well as saving time, resources, and reduced anxiety for your ServiceNow team. 


4. You don’t know what you don’t know 

Trial and error will always be part of the maturity process, but it’s also extremely expensive and time-consuming. Most companies require a level of guidance to know how to bypass common pitfalls and avoid unnecessary mistakes that can cause complications for years to come. Following generally accepted best practices is a great first step but having access to someone who understands the reasoning and benefits of those practices from the first-hand experience provides the organization with the real-world context of how and why they are so important.  

That guidance may come from a senior level ServiceNow developer, architect, or process consultant to validate and ensure stability in the platform. As we mentioned above, few companies have a need – or a budget – to employ that skill set on a full-time basis. However, not having access to that role may make trial and error your only option. 


5. You have a ServiceNow roadmap, but it’s on “hold” 

Having a plan is great, but it’s only half the battle. Unless you’re able to take steps to make measurable progress, your plan starts to look more and more like a wish list. As mentioned above, this can be caused by excessive backlog overflow or shortage of available resources, but it can also be caused by a perceived lack of value from your existing implementation. 

You may understand how expanding your ServiceNow platform across your organization can remove silos, promote automated inter-departmental processes, and increase efficiency through self-service and incident deflection, but you also need to have buy-in from both your current users and your leadership team. This again may require the help of an architect-level skillset, as well as a skilled solution consultant, to outline, explain, and demonstrate how to accomplish those next steps, as well as paint a clear picture of the measurable value those actions may have for your business. 


What all 5 challenges have in common 

The most frustrating thing about each example above is the obvious lack of options. The problem isn’t that ServiceNow customers can’t afford an architect, it’s that they don’t need an architect on a dedicated basis. Many customers have a team that can manage their backlog, but they don’t have a team to help them depreciate the old and unused ones so they can expand into new products and capabilities. No matter what, there simply aren’t enough options for a solution that fits your needs. 


How to overcome these challenges? 

Thirdera has designed our Managed Services offerings to include the options and flexibility customers need to solve these challenges. If you’re looking for day-to-day maintenance or long-term strategic consulting, we provide a variety of choices to allow you to meet your ServiceNow goals, budget, and timeline.


Platform development and operational support

Our Managed Services offering is a fixed monthly fee model designed to add capacity and platform expertise to your ServiceNow team, where you need it most. This gives you access to services providing supplemental enhancements, guidance, and support; or allow Thirdera to guide your organization through a fully managed ServiceNow operation.

Managed Services is an ideal option for customers looking for: 

  • Application development for enhancements 
  • Backlog reduction and overflow support 
  • Production support and system administration 
  • Architecture and platform optimization 
  • Version upgrades 
  • Manual and automated testing 


Want to learn more? 

Options are available to get the most from your ServiceNow investment. Reach out to us at to get the support you need to grow your business.  


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John Lamberta

John is a ServiceNow professional with 10 of years of experience on the platform, focusing on HR, IT and process improvement. He is capable of quickly understanding business problems and delivering creative solutions using both process and technology. John has a strong reputation for thought leadership, problem solving and innovation, with a proven ability to bridge communications between the business and technical resources.