Service Portal vs. CMS – is it worth to switch or not

Service Portal and CMS are 2 ServiceNow solutions, both apply Jelly, but deliver completely different user experiences. Now a number of mature users of the ServiceNow platform are considering how and when to move from the legacy Content Management System (CMS) application to the newer Service Portal (SP). We’re going to review the validity of the switch and answer the first 2 questions (how and when).

What was CMS

CMS is the first offer available from ServiceNow to cover the self-service needs of businesses. CMS in its day was a great application that allowed organizations to produce solutions offering the freedom of self-service. You can configure and modify CMS, but due to its building blocks and that it’s coded in a dated Jelly language, the modifications are limited and the time and complexity for development is high.

ServiceNow was aware of these issues therefore introduced a more modern solution to compensate them. As users are people used to intuitive interfaces offered by consumer platforms they engage with in their personal lives, the SP was designed to deliver similar experience at work.

Service Portal ServiceNow SP - dashboards

SP provides businesses with a way to deliver attractive, sleek and engaging interfaces. The range of visual possibilities is much greater compared to the CMS. As the images above show, the page designs can be altered to suit specific needs of the organisation. What’s more, the system architecture allows to reuse many of the widgets (items on the page) and adjust them. Thus you save time on development and reduce its complexity level.

Service Portal vs. CMS

Service Portal CMS
Responsive, consistent UX Fixed
Service Portal supports the No, Low, Pro Code users, which combined with its limitless design potential, enable your organization to create functional and user-friendly interfaces. The pages are non-responsive, so you need a different version for each device. The look is dated which badly affects feel, resulting in poor UX.
Bootstrap, Jelly, Angular, JavaScript Jelly, HTML, CSS
Developed with reusable widgets, responsive apps and interfaces. Offering a vast library of ready-made components you can use and freely modify to best meet your needs. Complex to build, with limited customization possibilities dues to the application of dated Jelly technology.
Supported & continuously developed Supported but not developed further
Service Portal is continuously developed, with each release offering additional capabilities and enhancements to the existing functionality. CMS is still supported by ServiceNow, however, offers narrow self-service capability that won’t be further expanded. For more flexibility, you need to switch to SP.

Who benefits from CMS-Service Portal switch

The differences in the 2 solutions mean that companies who are making the shift from CMS to the SP can expect a more enjoyable, dynamic experience for their users. The widgets and the interactions they provide, give customers the information they require quicker and more efficiently.

However, the Service Portal doesn’t just benefit the end users. The designers and developers implementing the SP have an easier more manageable job. New enhancements or changes required to match the needs of the businesses, can be added quicker and with less frustration compared to the legacy CMS development work.

The switch

When your organization decides to move from CMS to Service Portal, it is also a chance to review the processes and experiences delivered via CMS. It’s actually the foundation for a successful switch to Service Portal in your organization.

Analyze the current CMS imperfections and act upon their resolution, either applying minor tweaks or completely redesigning a particular function/feature. The improvements can come from simplification, enhanced design, automation, sophisticated reporting, etc., and will make the solutions more effective for both users and the business.

These are the consecutive stages to pass through to efficiently organize the development process.

Feedback collection stage

The best approach is to involve a group of varied stakeholders who will provide a wider spectrum of opinions. The feedback collected will provide an invaluable input for the design stage.

Requirements definition stage

Next, collect all the technical and visual requirements to best demonstrate them in the prototype (check the next stage).

UX design stage

It’s worth to precede the development stage with the engagement of a User Experience expert (UX designer). The UX designer, based on the needs and expectations collected in the feedback collection stage, will visualize these in a mockup (prototype).

At this stage all the stakeholders can interact with the concepts and ideas before they’re committed to the development plan. Their feedback allows to tweak the mockup so to best reflect your users needs and further experience.

Development stage

Each organization has a pre-defined project delivery model, yet it’s worth to review and update it based on delivery experience. Making the most of Service Portals for our customers, we’ve refined ours since 2010.

Need a consultation?

Are you hesitating to move from CMS to Service Portal in your organization or not? We’re here to support you – our consultants are at your disposal.