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All you need to know about ServiceNow releases

All you need to know about ServiceNow releases

8 minutes

What are ServiceNow releases?

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 new functionality on an instance.

ServiceNow releases - plan, test, validate

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.

How often does ServiceNow make releases available?

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.

Do I need to upgrade my instances with every new feature release?

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.

What if I am on an unsupported release family – will I be part of the Patching Program?

The Patching Program does not schedule patches on unsupported release families. ServiceNow offers product support for supported release families only.

Can I stay on an unsupported release family, knowing the risks?

No. You must upgrade your instances to supported versions in order to get the latest security, performance, and availability updates.

How do I get a new ServiceNow release?

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.

The best of the ServiceNow San Diego release

Can ServiceNow releases be purchased in the ServiceNow store?

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.

What is the latest ServiceNow release?

As said, ServiceNow releases are published two times per year. The current San Diego release was delivered in Q2 2022. Prior to San Diego was the Rome release of Q3 2021. ServiceNow’s next release, Tokyo, is planned for Q4 2022.

The ServiceNow San Diego release

The San Diego release brings great benefits to workforce satisfaction and productivity with its streamlined, perfectly modern workspaces. The Automation Engine now allows you to connect ServiceNow to even more systems, both modern and legacy. Naturally, this release contains some nice low-code enhancements for citizen developers – making apps is now quicker and easier than ever!

San Diego includes new features like:

  • Templates in the App Engine Studio
    The App Engine Studio now has the brand-new ability to create app templates so custom apps can be created faster than ever.
  • Ad hoc tasks for lifecycle events
    San Diego has the flexibility to manually create child tasks in ongoing lifecycle events without disturbing their original structure.
  • Digital Portfolio Management
    The new Digital Portfolio Management application gives you a central point from where you can manage your services and tech portfolios.
  • Dynamic Service Population
    With the Dynamic Service Population method, CIs that aren´t tagged can become part of an application service.
  • Onboarding tools and apps via Service Requests
    You can now easily onboard apps and tools through a service request in the Service Portal.
  • Floor maps and mobile wayfinding
    Employees can now make and manage a reservation directly from their mobile device. The wayfinding feature helps by giving live directions.
  • Soft booking and scheduling enhancements
    Soft booking ensures that no double bookings take place. Scheduling tasks and making a scheduling plan are now easier than ever.
  • ITBM becomes Strategic Portfolio Management
    ITBM has a new name and UI, emphasizing ServiceNow’s ambitions with this solution. SPMs new features further strengthen the link between an organization’s strategic objectives.

Did any of these spark your interest? Read a more extensive report on San Diego’s best new features here!

Where can I find ServiceNow release notes?

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 San Diego are published on the ServiceNow site, as are the notes for all previous releases.

Why do I need ServiceNow release notes?

Before embarking on the San Diego upgrade process, be sure to read the San Diego release notes and review the upgrade and migration tasks for your applications and features.

The ServiceNow release notes are the go-to place for:

 

✓ Release highlights – Know what you’re getting

Review the release highlights to learn about new features and enhancements in San Diego. 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:

  • San Diego highlights
  • Features and changes by product, which are pre-combined for cross-family upgrades
  • Changes to plugins
  • Personalized PRB release notes
  • Available patches and hotfixes
  • Browser support
  • Accessibility and compliance

✓ Best practices – Checklists to a successful upgrade

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.

 

✓ Guidance – Get started with your 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.

ServiceNow Releases - Release notes

How do I know what my current ServiceNow release is?

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.

How do I upgrade my current version to the new ServiceNow release?

Basically, upgrading to any new ServiceNow release involves answering the following 3 questions:

 

1. What has changed in the new release and what have you changed in your instance since the last release update?

Assess the impact of the new release on your existing functionalities:

  • Check past experiences & history
  • Review what has changed in the new release
  • Use the Upgrade Preview module to see impact on current configurations and help estimate time needed for the upgrade
  • Contribute to common findings register and make them reusable for other upgrades

 

2. Have you got a plan of action in place to ensure you’ve covered all feature changes?

Prepare a release schedule and make a resource plan:

  • Make a calendar view with dates and hours and identify number of resources required and their availability
  • Define and assign upgrade responsibilities
  • Use the Upgrade monitor to review past experiences to know what to fix and what to ignore and plan time for tackling defects and bug fixing
  • to ensure any urgent development work is rounded off before the development freeze period

 

3. How can you validate that what you have upgraded works when going live?

Prepare test plan & scripts

  • Re-evaluate your resource plan based on:
    • What to test
    • How much to test
    • How many resources are needed to test
  • List all critical functionalities and assign resources and hours for additional time to build and testing
  • Plan high-level testing for other non-critical functionalities
  • Carry our portal quality check to make sure your users are getting the experience you have in mind

How will upgrading to the latest ServiceNow release impact my operations?

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.

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✓ Resources
When upgrading on same instance where project is being executed, we recommend a development freeze.

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✓ 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.

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✓ 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.

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✓ 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?

Overview of all ServiceNow releases

Release names and highlights:

Release name Date
Aspen 2011
Berlin Q3 – 2012
Calgary Q2 – 2013
Dublin Q4 – 2013
Eureka Q2 – 2014
Fuji Q1 – 2015
Geneva Q4 – 2015
Helsinki Q2 – 2016
Jakarta Q2 – 2017
Kingston Q4 – 2017
London Q2 – 2018
Madrid Q1 – 2019
New York Q3 – 2019
Orlando Q1 – 2020
Paris Q3 – 2020
Quebec Q1 – 2021
Rome Q3 – 2021
San Diego Q2 – 2022
Tokyo Q4 – 2022
Utah Q2 – 2023
Vancouver Q4 – 2023
Washington Q2 – 2024

 

The best of the ServiceNow San Diego release

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