SLA in ServiceNow – a curse or blessing?

SLA in ServiceNow, and in general, introduces contractual responsibility for providing your service within a specified time – it’s definitely a binding element of the contract with the customer. From the Support Team’s perspective, the SLA (Service Level Agreement) configuration mainly applies to the Incident Management or Service Request Fulfillment. It allows the customer to measure response time and resolution time.

ServiceNow SLA definitions

SLA values stored in the contract can be simply transferred to ServiceNow, where they’re defined in an intuitive way. The configuration of relevant records enables easy monitoring of SLA status from the record level. SLA definitions in ServiceNow depend on the terms of the contract signed with the customer. The negotiations of this part are crucial to finding the values satisfying for both parties to the contract.

Every definition is built mainly per ticket priority or type. ServiceNow offers great SLA configuration options that include i.e.:

  • Naming,
  • Building comprehensive start, stop, pause, reset conditions and workflow,
  • Determining duration values in the chosen schedule.

SLA definitions in the system are fully reflected and adapted to the needs of customers, both those less and more demanding.

The response time may start from the ticket’s creation and stop at the start of the initial analysis. This means status change and new comment addition. The resolution time may start from the ticket’s creation (and include response time) or from the moment when the response time stops. Resolution time stops when the ticket is closed.

SLA in ServiceNow projects - condition start and stop

SLA for Change Management

Due to the specifics of the Change Management process, there are difficulties in measuring and keeping SLA times for normal changes. It makes more sense for the standard changes that have their own clear definitions and their implementation time is similar. The complexity of normal changes can be quite different. It can affect their implementation and testing time. Every normal change needs a separate analysis and estimate.

SLA reporting

To measure SLA effectively, it’s also worth implementing appropriate reports for team leaders on the supplier side, supporters, and the customer. Each of the report observers may have different needs but the goal is always the same – the provision of a high-quality solution, in a timely manner. The SLA reports need to be based on the task_sla table that stores all SLA records generated for individual tickets.

In the beginning, it’s worth considering which reports will allow every observer to identify inconsistencies and problems. They should be intuitive and user friendly. Regular tracking of SLA:

  • Helps to avoid breaches,
  • Prevents payment of contractual penalties,
  • Nurtures customer satisfaction.

SLA advantages by role

Depending on your role, the use of SLA brings a number of advantages.

For customer:

  1. Control of response time that helps update the tickets and informing end-users about the work progress on a regular basis,
  2. Control of resolution time that helps provide critical solutions quickly enough,
  3. Assurance of work continuity within important areas,
  4. Awareness of the process and working on tickets in a specific order, in accordance with the priority.

For team leader on the supplier side:

  1. Identification of the problematic areas in teamwork (e.g. overloaded people, the need for internal knowledge transfers, communication issues) and providing improvements,
  2. Identification of the problematic areas in the used tools (e.g. illegible reports) and providing improvements,
  3. Building a transparent relationship with the customer,
  4. Quick response to problems in providing solutions for the tickets or updating them.

For supporters:

  1. Work prioritization for better time management,
  2. An easy indication of tickets that require quick response and are critical for the customer.

Work on SLA is more and more often a standard in our ServiceNow support services delivery. If you decide on this cooperation model, we always properly cater for it in the contract to the benefit of both your organization and SPOC.

Trustworthy data in Software Asset Management

Trustworthy data is a critical piece for the configuration of a solid ServiceNow Software Asset Management (SAM) application/process, making up its first tier. For a brief reminder, there are 4 tiers:

  • 1 – Trustworthy Data (know, manage, and trust your data),
  • 2 – Practical Management (streamline management controls and run quick wins/benefits),
  • 3 – Operational Integration (Integrate with other processes, such as request to make the software asset management process more efficient and effective),
  • 4 – Strategic Conformance (strive for being best-in-class).

Software Asset Management ServiceNow best practices

To manage the data well, you need to measure these. When your data are consistent and accurate, reliable, credible, useful, and complete, you and your organization are able to reach the full potential and benefit of the SAM program. Thus, the most important in this tier is the definition of the right data that will:

  • Support your SAM,
  • Localize the sources of the data,
  • Upload these into your ServiceNow instance.

ServiceNow Software Asset Management includes

How to efficiently implement SAM

Effective Software Asset Management relies on solid foundational data and the ability to determine/report what software rights are owned/purchased versus used/consumed. Still keep in mind the phased approach “start walking and then run”:

  • Choose Software Asset Management Certified Partner (we’re here to help),
  • Ask yourself and your organization what really matters for you, meaning:
    • What information and details associated with it do we need to track as the organization?
    • How and who will use it?
    • Who needs it?
    • How and who will control it?
    • Is it really needed for the compliance position?
    • Who is interested in the cost and whether the tracking is really required?

The answers to those questions will support you in making the conscious decision on what collection and maintenance information you really need as an organization. Later on, there are 3 areas that require attention, therefore consider the following tactics to incrementally implement SAM product includes.


  • Use phased approach by department or site,
  • Subset the data (e.g. desktops versus SaaS),
  • ServiceNow Discovery or 3rd Party Discovery tools are critical to automatically upload the software installation data.


  • Classify your software: from the least to the most complex,
  • Start from one type of license metric, suite, or cost of the specific product.


  • Select most important Publishers from the organization perspective (by software spend for instance),
  • Get clean and up to date entitlements from your vendor(s),
  • Verify the completeness and accuracy using import function within SAM Pro.

Thereafter, you can report results to the leadership team using KPIs that are operationally important to your organization, and can fast and easily emphasize the countable benefits.

We prepared this material for you using the following resources:

  1. Software Asset Management Professional Fundamentals book (2020 version),
  2. Software Asset Management Implementation Practices Overview Deck.