• David Tessaro

How Do ServiceNow Integrations Go Wrong?

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

ServiceNow integrations

Integrations are invaluable within ServiceNow. They make life so much easier and save you precious time. But sometimes the things that are designed to make life easier, can actually make it more difficult. Like when integrations go wrong…

Common Pitfalls Made While Building Integration

1. Failing to Scope Properly Ahead of Time

Before you begin building the integration, you should know whether it will be a 1-way sync or a 2-way sync. This is a crucial planning step because when things aren’t designed properly you can unintentionally create a loop. This can quickly result in thousands of records being created in the span of minutes, or even worse, a system outage for one or both endpoints.

You should be aware of how many hook points there are going to be. Be sure to plan ahead and really understand the intended business value of the final product, so that you can create as few points of interaction in the integration as required, but at the same time enough to accomplish the goal at hand. Often, a lack of understanding up front will result in underestimating the number of hours the integration will take to build, resulting in headaches and missed deadlines down the road

2. Building on Outdated Functionality

A second way to ruin an integration is to build it on outdated functionality. REST is better understood than SOAP these days, due to it being a simpler framework, and more widely supported. Whenever possible, you should create a REST based integration – it’ll make your knowledge transfer to future individuals easier, and will be easier to maintain. SOAP, however, is still required at times, because not every other tool out there supports REST. So, when needed, don’t be afraid to use SOAP, but avoid it when you can.

3. Not Enough Time Dedicated to Testing

Testing is one of those things a lot of people are tempted to rush through or overlook. I can’t stress enough how unwise that is. What could be a quick fix in the development phase may turn into a HUGE issue in production that could cost your organization major time and money. So save yourself the headache, and test before it’s too late.

When it comes to building integrations, testing will often take anywhere between 1-3 weeks, with at least two resources working 20 hours or more per week. That may seem like too much time, but it’s worth it in the long run and is one major way to prevent integrations from going wrong. Testing is essential and you can never do too much of it.

Top Reasons Integrations Go Haywire

1. A Loop

A loop creates a task at point B, which then creates one at point A, etc. It’s a vicious cycle that makes it difficult to weed through all the notifications coming your way. Causing a loop is something you want to avoid while building an integration, as mentioned above.

2. Lack of Error Handling

Prevent a lack of error handling by making the system automatically try again after a set amount of time. This way, if you miss the error, you’ll be reminded to fix it. You should also have it send out emails/ notifications/alerts if it fails 3 times in a row, for example. Lack of error handling can result in data loss, so it goes without saying that it needs to be done right.

3. Lack of Security

Without proper security, outside parties can submit faulty information and hack into your system. This security issue can be prevented in ways like using secret keys/tokens, using HTTPS, etc.

The Solution

The easiest way to prevent integrations from going wrong is to make sure they’re built by someone with plenty of integration experience, and with the bandwidth to complete the job correctly the first time. At Cerna Solutions, we take all the right steps to build a proper integration so these common problems are avoided. In the end, building proper integrations saves your organization time and money. Additionally, when integrations are working as they should, they allow employees to complete their critical day-to-day tasks at maximum efficiency.

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