ServiceNow Discovery or Service Mapping?

By Gregg Spivack

Director of Client Services, NPI

May 31, 2018

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ServiceNow has emerged in the market as the leader in IT and Enterprise Service Management (ITSM). Over recent years, ServiceNow has grown its IT Operations Management (ITOM) suite of products to complement how customers respond to incidents and manage their environments. Two ITOM products that help customers realize this value are ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping.

Both products improve environment awareness, enable customers to become more predictive, help pinpoint where an outage occurs, and illustrate the effects of an outage on the organization in terms of cost and user impact. Both Discovery and Service Mapping can be bought together or separately depending on the needs of the customer. To make that determination, it is important to know what is needed for them to successfully function in the customer’s environment.

  • ServiceNow Discovery: The Discovery product engages a “horizontal” method of uncovering customer devices that are on the network. These devices include desktops, laptops, printers, servers, routers, and switches. The Discovery product updates the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) with the information that it uncovers. Customers primarily use the Discovery product to improve asset management compliance and cost management as well as for preventive maintenance of devices that contribute to frequent incidents.
  • Service Mapping: In contrast, Service Mapping utilizes a “top-down” approach to map the underlying components that comprise a business service. These components include applications, services, data storage and infrastructure that are needed to enable a service such as Payroll, Claims Processing, or Customer Service to successfully be executed. “Top-down” means that the Service Mapping product maps dependencies between these components based on connections between them. Like Discovery, Service Mapping populates the CMDB with business service components. Customers typically acquire Service Mapping to monitor the health of critical business services, minimize business service outages, and to be predictive in how they support and maintain key services.

Sourcing and Implementation Implications for ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping

Discovery and Service Mapping are typically not part of the initial implementation of ServiceNow in an organization. A customer should have the core ServiceNow ITSM product implemented before taking on implementation of either product. The CMDB should also be ready to be populated with the device and business service data.

It is also worth noting that while Discovery and Service Mapping are excellent products, they are not plug and play; they require oversight from technical staff in the beginning to ensure the services are returning accurate results. Some customization may be required to ensure accurate results. It is important to note that both products require the installation of a MID server that requires network access to perform its device and business service discovery.

Both Discovery and Service Mapping are licensed “per node,” which means that the customer pays a fee per virtual or physical server under customer management.

In the end, it makes sense for customers to acquire both Discovery and Service Mapping to gain a full view of their enterprise. Both products complement each other based on the view of the organization that they present, but do require up-front work and setup to enable the quality results.

Want to know if you’re getting a fair deal on your ServiceNow purchase? Contact NPI.