Instance Localization in ServiceNow

What is Instance Localization

Borders and geographical locations do not restrict modern businesses. With ServiceNow, language is not a limiting factor either. Using the Localization plugin, you can open your services up to users from around the globe.

Often referred to as ‘Internationalization’ and ‘Translation’, the Localization feature is a powerful tool for and within ServiceNow Platform. It enables users to access services, catalogs and knowledge articles in their own language.

The reason it is termed ‘localization’ is that you are not simply providing a direct translation from one language to another. The feature makes your ServiceNow Portal much more user-friendly, allowing you to suit specific local needs.

By using the ServiceNow Platform in this way, you accommodate users from a variety of different countries, using different languages and even currencies, all within the same instance!

This tailored approach increases the chances of driving ‘self-service’ which benefits you and your users – as we explored in a previous blog post Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.

How does Instance Localization work?

The default language supported by ServiceNow is American English, but standard content can be easily translated with the use of the ServiceNow translation plugin. However, if additional or custom translations are required (i.e. service catalog forms, notifications, custom fields, etc.), then additional translations to the target language are required.

You configure the default instance language via the System Properties section and System Localization. Translation information is stored in a few tables: Languages, Translated Name/Field, Message, Field label, Choice, Translated Text. This video from the ServiceNow superstar – Chuck Tomasi provides a nice short example.

Depending on the number of custom fields and unique translations you need, you should review your strategy and approach to the topic carefully, as there are several options available to you. SPOC has supported many customers with these challenges, like Exide Technologies.

Why localization matters?

The research shows that we prefer to communicate in our native language:

  • 72% consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their language.
  • 72% consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product when information is in their language.
  • 56% consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is even more important than price!

Though the foundations of excellent customer service do not change, the technology-driven possibilities are changing every year! Communication with customers should be clear, comfortable and as easy as is it can be! Moreover, business messages should be aimed at the local person and must not be misleading.

Other benefits of localization

If your organisation has a product or service to sell, there are many ways localization can help. Here are just a few:

  • Boost – increase product share by targeting a new market. Simply translate product information to be suitable for the target market,
  • Profits – adapt product and service descriptions to the target customers preferences, making them more confident in what you are offering.
  • Prevent cultural confusion – translate products and services to avoid cultural barriers,
  • Safeguard legal aspects – keep the organization safe by translating legal agreements,
  • Relations with customers and business partners – communicate with them in their native language to effectively build long-term relationships.

How to keep translations correct and consistent?

Dealing with language and custom fields can be challenging, and you need to be precise. If there are differences in the translation of new items in the system, i.e. field name, notification content, etc., you must review new and existing records to ensure accuracy.

The frequency of performing record reviews depends on data retention in the instance, changes introduced and other factors resulting from the specifics of the organization’s work.

If you are unsure about making these changes, we’re here to help.

Reach out for localization assistance

Release Management in ServiceNow

Release Management in ServiceNow (and other cloud systems) is the key to success in implementing changes. It supports Change Management and organizes the process of uploading any modifications to the production environment.

Release Management – introduction

Release Management first requires a remote session with the customer to identify customer’s needs and expectations. Based on these, we make the following decisions:

  1. How often should the upload take place?
    Frequency can depend on change queue volume. We recommend a weekly basis to keep implementation continuity. However, if the customer wants to upload changes with a different frequency, we can adjust the plan.
  2. What is the best day of the week and time to upload the changes?
    To reduce the impact on the instance users, while choosing the best date and time, we consider different time zones and customer’s availability.
  3. How much time before release the customer should confirm upload of the change to the production instance?
    We highly encourage customers to test every change in the UAT state and confirm if it works properly or not. Moreover, we recommend to determine the final release scope 1 business day before the release date.
  4. What are the other expectations related to the process?
    We need to know what are the other suggestions and how we can include them in the process.

After the session with the customer and discussing all details, we can prepare a draft proposal of a process version. The customer reviews it, and either proposes own corrections or accepts the prepared plan.

Change Management

We group normal changes in releases. Incident resolution and urgent changes are uploaded to production as soon as possible to fix the system failure or implement a business-relevant modification. We use our version of Release Management in ServiceNow instance which is a very convenient tool to take control over the changes and keep the customer informed.

Releases should have a consistent naming convention. Every release should have a unique name, assigned person responsible for managing it on the SPOC side and set date. Every change request record has the “Release” field on the form to provide the proper release number. All changes within a release, can be checked in the release record from Related List.

Release & change planning

On our side, we can see release size based on changes estimates and developers involved in changes implementation. It’s good to plan releases at the beginning of the month, and organize them in the system to observe the delays that may affect the original plan.

The customer should early confirm all changes  in the UAT state, to make us able to upload it properly to the production instance. In case of confirmation delay, we recommend its upload in the next planned release.

If the customer finds any bug, our Maintenance & Development Team implements fixes as soon as possible, implementing the change in the next release. The fixes application time depends on issues complexity.

Release & change implementation

We upload all the changes in maintenance windows first agreed with the customer. Thus the instance users know when they can expect system modifications. If any changes in the release are not uploaded to the production instance, we move them to another release record.

Release reporting

The release manager on the SPOC side provides Release Notes to the customer. The notes contain information about the implemented changes, possible conflicts or issues, and the list of unimplemented changes with the reasons.

All information is visible on the ServiceNow instance – releases have states and fields providing customer with relevant information.

Benefits of Release Management

Release Management brings a number of benefits to each organization:

  1. We take control over changes uploaded to production instance what reduces the risk of unexpected incidents.
  2. We keep the customer informed. It generates the satisfaction – the customer knows which changes were implemented and which were not, knowing the reasons why that happened.
  3. Instance users know when they can expect changes in the system.
  4. If something happens, we can identify faster which change solution was the exact source of the issue.
  5. We can track which changes got stuck in states, e.g. UAT for a long time and speed up the customer’s actions.

Discuss your release management case