ServiceNow releases are twice yearly version upgrades. Intended to improve the overall performance of the platform, the upgrades also typically include new modules, applications or enhancements, as well as fixes for existing products. All releases are named after a city.
Upgrading your instance to a new release requires planning, testing and validation. In fact, system upgrades can be significant projects. Each ServiceNow feature release includes major additions, so you should always consider the impact of a new functionality on an instance.
Upgrading involves implementing enhancements to all features that are part of the base system, or are already active, unless the feature is customized on your instance.
ServiceNow has a strong history of delivering updates to ensure maximum performance and improve functionalities. Since the Kingston release in Q1 2019, ServiceNow plans two feature releases per year in two non-consecutive quarters.
In between these feature releases ServiceNow provides patch releases with a collection of all known problem fixes to date that are eventually automatically deployed to customer instance.
ServiceNow supports the current and previous release. Your instances will continue to function if you choose not to upgrade with the latest release, but this means that ServiceNow cannot guarantee the performance or safety of your systems.
The Patching Program does not schedule patches on unsupported release families. ServiceNow offers product support for supported release families only.
No. You must upgrade your instances to supported versions in order to get the latest security, performance, and availability updates.
The next ServiceNow release, Washington DC, is scheduled to be released publicly in late March 2024.
All ServiceNow releases are part and parcel of the ServiceNow subscription or licensing agreement. ServiceNow plans release dates up to three years ahead and notifies clients on the exact release dates upfront.
Upgrading typically takes weeks if well prepared beforehand and when using ServiceNow’s prescriptive guidance and best practices.
Releases are free, as they are part of any ServiceNow subscription or licensing agreement.
The ServiceNow store is the place to go for both paid and free applications and integrations developed and deployed on the ServiceNow platform. The store is dedicated to the promotion of cloud‑native enterprise applications developed by 3rd party ISVs, solution providers, system integrators and service providers.
With over 300 apps in the store, it’s an important channel for ServiceNow users.
As previously mentioned, ServiceNow releases two new versions per year. The current Vancouver release was delivered in Q3 2023. Prior to Vancouver was the Utah release of Q1 2023. ServiceNow’s next release, Washington DC, is planned for late March 2024.
The Vancouver release boasts many new features to ServiceNow products such as App Engine, CSM, HRSD, IRM/GRC and ITSM.
Some noteworthy features from the Vancouver release include:
Did any of these new features spark your interest? Read a more extensive report on Vancouver’s highlights here or watch our 45-minute webinar on Vancouver’s hidden gems.
Proper planning, testing, and validation are the basis for any successful release upgrade. The release notes guide you through completing all the phases and tasks of an upgrade.
The release notes for Vancouver are published on the ServiceNow site, as are the notes for all previous releases.
Before embarking on the Vancouver upgrade process, be sure to read the Vancouver release notes and review the upgrade and migration tasks for your applications and features.
The ServiceNow release notes are the go-to place for:
Review the release highlights to learn about new features and enhancements in Vancouver. You can also find the release notes that correspond to your particular upgrade path.
Each of the release notes packages includes tools to inform you on the next steps in your upgrade, including:
Start preparing for your upgrade with the upgrade planning checklist based on best practices.
To help ensure that you complete all the tasks for a successful upgrade, follow the step-by-step instructions in the upgrade planning checklist to track and plan the upgrade.
Upgrading your instance involves planning, testing, and validation. The release notes guide you through completing all of the phases and tasks for a successful upgrade.
If you’re not quite sure what release is running on any one of your instances, you can check this when you go to the ServiceNow Support page.
Basically, upgrading to any new ServiceNow release involves answering the following 3 questions:
Assess the impact of the new release on your existing functionalities:
Prepare a release schedule and make a resource plan:
Prepare test plan & scripts
Any release upgrade requires planning and resources to make sure that all features work to the max and system security is guaranteed once the upgrade has been completed. This will impact any current projects that you have running, as well as requiring people to become owners of upgrade actions.
Importantly, we’ve seen release upgrades are most successfully implemented if current IT projects are completed or temporarily halted so that full focus can be given to the ServiceNow release.
When upgrading on same instance where project is being executed, we recommend a development freeze.
✓ Clear actions and owners
Not all people are experts in upgrades, always check to you have the right people fitting the right task. Provide them with a clear action list and assign single owners to actions. Multiple owners for one action causes ambiguity.
✓ Selecting instances
When requesting a cloned instance to test upgrade, consider the impact to testing components such as integrations, and reapplying fixes to original the dev instance.
✓ Resuming projects
Ask yourself what is required post-upgrade to resume original projects. How do you realign your people and resources? And will you be needing additional people to fulfil your plans on time?
Release names and highlights:
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