Imagine that one of your organization’s security applications just signalled an unusual incident in your network. The activity looks suspicious – it could potentially be a breach of your customer data – with all the privacy issues and possible fines this entails. But the problem is that no one is actively monitoring that security application – meaning the threat could go unnoticed.
For businesses that use ServiceNow, this kind of information gets delivered into a central hub, alerting IT staff to the issue so they can respond. But, in most cases data only comes one way – into ServiceNow from other apps. Sending information back the other way – bi-directional connectivity – is currently one of the most underutilized capabilities of the platform. And that’s a problem.
Let’s look at why your organization needs bi-directional connectivity with ServiceNow.
True bi-directional connectivity is usually overlooked
Out of the box, the vast majority of ServiceNow integrations don’t take advantage of ServiceNow’s powerful RestAPI. Sure, most enterprise tools are capable of forwarding data into the platform– and with the (expensive) ServiceNow Discovery feature, you can actively go out and call data from across your apps and tools. But, this is very different from smoothly sending data to and from the platform.
Here are the three key limitations of unidirectional ServiceNow integrations:
- Enterprise tool vendors don’t fully recognize how people use ServiceNow
And why would they? These vendors spend vast resources on developing rich feature sets and intuitive GUIs on their own products. As they should. But, ServiceNow customers come to depend on the tool to be their hub of all notifications and alerts. Our development team’s experience with numerous enterprise tools and ServiceNow gave us unique insight to the problem. It makes no sense to provide alerts in one platform that users can’t actually act on within that same platform.
- Taking action with uni-directional data is difficult
While you may have set up ServiceNow to receive data from various tools and applications, you cannot immediately do anything with this data. You still need to open up the third-party application to start figuring out what has happened – which is time consuming and requires additional skills and expertise. Factoring in this manual effort introduces a point-of-failure to your operation. Every time.
- 3rd Party Integrations are inconsistent when it comes to displaying data
While ServiceNow can collect data from multiple third-party applications and technologies, this information often arrives as raw, unstructured data and is often hard to understand and assess. No two vendors are alike regarding the methodology or depth of integration they choose to implement.
Benefits of bi-directional connectivity
Whether you’re using Splunk, QRadar, BigFix or one of many other network monitoring applications, bi-directional data transmission is critical for a meaningful integration. Once data has arrived in ServiceNow from one of these platforms, the ability to send commands and information back the other way allows you to:
- Resolve problems centrally and visibly
Rather than opening up multiple applications manually, you can solve most issues centrally. By doing this in ServiceNow, you also add powerful metric visualizations and reporting capabilities.
- Resolve problems faster
Save time. No more manually logging in and initiating actions from multiple GUIS. Instead, simply tell the third-party apps what to do from within ServiceNow.
- Comply with ITIL best practice
We all know how challenging it can be to practically follow ITIL best practice. With bi-directional data transfer, this becomes a lot easier to achieve.
This level of integration isn’t easy, but Champion Solution Group’s ebridge make it easy and seamless to deploy. So, there’s clearly a lot of value in implementing bi-directional connectivity into ServiceNow. How could you go about doing it?
Methods for implementing bi-directional connectivity in ServiceNow
Bi-directional connectivity into ServiceNow is complex – as ServiceNow themselves acknowledge. That said, there are two principle ways you can introduce bi-directional information flows:
- Go manual
For small companies, this might be a reasonable option. An analyst or member of the IT team simply needs to copy and paste data from third-party apps into ServiceNow – usually on a daily basis. Of course, there are inherent risks here, not least human error. Nonetheless, this is an option, at least for companies with limited requirements for bi-directional data transfer.
- Build your own bi-directional integrations
For larger organizations, the first approach is usually to create their own bi-directional integrations connecting specific apps with ServiceNow, either in-house or with the help of a consultant. As demand for this kind of tool grows, businesses then find themselves investing in ever more integrations. The cost of building and then maintaining these integrations quickly mounts up. In addition, unless you have a senior level SME with an extensive development skillset, the time to deployment may outweigh the advantage of the integration.
True bi-directional ServiceNow connectivity with ebridge
As organizations come to depend on ServiceNow for monitoring all the applications and tools across their network, the limits of uni-directional connectivity become clear. All alerts and notifications from third party tools are getting raised in one environment, yet if you wish to respond to these alerts, you need to open a different software programme to resolve the issue. This seems counterintuitive.
Building on years of experience working with ServiceNow, CMDB’s and many of the market’s leading monitoring apps, Champion Solutions Group’s ebridge solution has been designed to smoothly and efficiently support bi-directional data flows to and from ServiceNow and other CMDB’s.
ebridge connects ServiceNow with a wide range of third-party applications including Bigfix, QRadar, Splunk, Elastic Stack, Nagios, SCCM and more. ebridge is designed to facilitate bi-directional data flows between these different platforms. Data from apps is presented in a clear and easy to read way within ServiceNow, and analysts are then able to initiate actions on this data from within ServiceNow, sending information and commands back to the apps. Rather than having to open up a separate system once an alert comes in from, say, Splunk or QRadar, they can resolve most actions from right within ServiceNow.
Ready for true bi-directional connectivity between ServiceNow and the apps you depend on? Contact us today for a demo of ebridge.