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Get Your App Published on the ServiceNow Store (Part 1)

These days IT organizations are often faced with the tough decision of “buy vs. build” as they prioritize an ever-growing log of development, bugs, and enhancement work against limited ServiceNow resources. In these waters, businesses often turn to the ServiceNow Store seeking work developed by other organizations that can serve as a springboard to value and success. As the ServiceNow platform has grown, solutions and integrations built by others often make the dirty work of standing up new applications much easier than they’ve traditionally been; and, certified quality apps available through the ServiceNow Store can provide a business-friendly avenue to reach new goals quickly. 

How to get started 

But, what if you have an idea that isn’t currently available on the Store? Maybe you’ve already built a great custom solution that meets a business need or an integration that fills a previously unmet market demand. Or, perhaps you see a need in the market but don’t have the in-house expertise or time to build out this great idea yourself. You may even run into a situation where you are working with a software vendor who doesn’t yet offer a ServiceNow integration, and the integration would bring large amounts of value to your company. (And potentially the vendor, too!) Any of these situations could serve as the catalyst for a successful ServiceNow Store application. However, while the ServiceNow Store serves as a valuable vehicle for bringing these types of innovations to market, the process can bring unknowns to the unfamiliar. You may ask questions such as, “How do I get started?” or “What is this harrowing ‘certification’ process that Store apps go through?”  Let’s try to answer some of those questions to help get your ideas moving! 

Before jumping right into coding, a good place to start is understanding what applications are already available in the ServiceNow ecosystem. Consult with people familiar with ServiceNow’s existing platform offerings to ensure that your app doesn’t overlap too heavily with existing platform functionality or at least has strong differentiators.  This might mean conversing with your organization’s ServiceNow administrator team, a ServiceNow customer representative, or a consulting partner to explore existing ServiceNow functionality and its integration points. Understand gaps in what’s available and if/how your new idea builds on or complements extant software. Also, it can be wise to review other applications available on the Store and on ServiceNow Share to look for potential competitors and brainstorm new ideas. If you truly have an original idea then that’s quite lucky indeed! However, even if you find other tools that might seem to overlap, referencing the available info about them can help you understand what functionality is expected from that type of app and maybe provide inspiration to help you to differentiate your new offering. You may also find other Share projects that could generate new ideas or even benefit directly from your collaboration. 


ServiceNow Store vs. ServiceNow Share 

Another valuable question getting started is whether the Store is the right vehicle for your idea or whether Share will also work. This depends largely on the nature of your application and the intended audience, and there’s certainly some depth to the consideration. For the sake of brevity, here are some considerations: 

  • The Store is generally viewed as more reputable by larger businesses due to the applications going through the rigors of certification. 
  • Also, Store apps must be certified for ServiceNow’s bi-annual platform updates.  Some Share app authors may test their apps similarly, but there is no guarantee of the same rigor. 
  • The Store can often be a good fit for larger applications and is the only answer if you are looking to charge money for the application. 
  • Both portals allow users ways to browse and find your application, but the Store does provide additional filters for category and industry beyond what Share does.  This can make it easier for new users to find your app in the Store.  
  • Share is a great place for sharing utilities or smaller apps and potentially collaborating with developers with similar needs. The sky is the limit, but the burden is on the developer(s). 


Ready to Put Your App in Front of 100,000+ Global ServiceNow Users? 

Getting started is easier than you might think. ServiceNow offers a Technology Partner Program for vendors looking to publish software to the ServiceNow Store: Become a ServiceNow Partner. Through ServiceNow’s Partner Portal you can handle the legal agreements for new partners, find valuable documentation and marketing content, and request ServiceNow instances for development, testing, marketing, and demos. Think of this as the first step and central point of contact for much of the up-front activity while you plan out your app. 

Speaking of plans, this is a great time to plan out some of the technical aspects of your design. Documentation and guidance are available for many types of applications on the platform, which can help your efforts to start on a solid footing. No one wants to design an application and then review it later with the Certification Team or one of the ServiceNow business units and discover that, for example, the design lacks fundamental functionality expected for this type of app or that it didn’t use a required API. If your application hooks into any out-of-box ServiceNow functionality, take the time to research what mechanisms are available for third parties to hook into. Review the ServiceNow documentation site and investigate what APIs might be available to make your development tasks easier. Not only will these save time, but they’ll ensure your code is more likely in line with ServiceNow’s design guidance as well. 


What is next? 

Check back for Part 2 in this series where we’ll dive more heavily into what certification is and how you can prepare yourself to ensure it goes smoothly! 

At Thirdera, we’ve built more certified ServiceNow apps than any other ServiceNow partner. Let our experience help turn your app from idea to asset on the ServiceNow Store! 

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Chris Bailey

Chris is a ServiceNow Certified Technical Architect with over 10 years of experience on the platform, including 8 years of experience developing custom Store applications and integrations. Most recently he has worked extensively with ServiceNow’s Security and CMDB business units to help Thirdera customers develop several class-leading integrations, and this work continues to contribute to Thirdera’s industry-best marks in ServiceNow Store application delivery.