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Plan your successful CMDB deployment

INTRO

Achieve high‑performing business services using a healthy CMDB

Content Guide

Part 1 – Configure your sources

Now that you’ve activated Performance Analytics, you’ll begin configuration by configuring your sources.

The Now Platform® gives you a framework for standard IT service management processes including incident, problem, change, request, and others. You can also use the platform for IT Business Management, IT Operations Management, or other ServiceNow® applications. The applications themselves include recommended fields for implementing the associated processes, but you can configure each application to suit your organization's specific needs.

When you turn on Performance Analytics, the product makes some assumptions about where it can find the data to build the trend information—namely in those recommended application fields. If you’re using different fields, you simply need to configure Performance Analytics to point to those locations. It’s likely that you will not need to make any changes to the indicator sources (see below). But it’s still helpful to review and understand exactly what parts of your processes are measured.

Step 1: Review the indicator sources

Before you start, determine which fields contain the data you’re looking for in each application you’re enabling for Performance Analytics. For most transactional applications (Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Request Management, HR Service Delivery, Customer Service Management, Security Incident Management, etc.), there are usually three indicator sources of interest. These three indicator sources (shown below) segment the data into smaller data sets that the indicators can process:

  • <Application>.New – This indicator source determines which records for the application process were created on a specific day. Point this indicator source to the time stamp field on the record that defines its creation day. In the out‑of‑the‑box content, the indicator source looks at the Opened field for Incident Management and Change Management. For Problem Management, the indicator source looks at the Created field. You need to determine if these are the correct time stamp fields for your process—is a new record measured in your organization by the Created time stamp or the Opened time stamp?
  • <Application>.Open – This indicator source determines which records were open on a specific day. This drives statistics around your work backlog. You can only know if a record was open by looking at the date it was new and the date it was closed. In the out‑of‑the‑box content, the indicator sources look at a combination of CreatedOpenedResolved, or Closed records to determine whether or not it was part of the backlog on a given day. You need to determine if the fields that come with the out‑of‑the‑box indicator sources provide the correct measurements for your organization's processes.
  • <Application>.Closed – This indicator source determines which records were resolved on a specific day. Point this indicator source to the time stamp field on the record that defines when it was closed. In the out‑of‑the‑box content, the indicator source looks at the Closed field for Incident Management, Problem Management, and Change Management. Note there is a separate indicator source for Incident Management called Incidents.Resolved that looks at the Resolved timestamp.

Make sure the indicator sources provided with the out‑of‑the‑box content are pointing at the fields you want to use to measure the performance of your processes.

To review the list of indicator source definitions and to make modifications:

  1. In the left navigation pane, go to Performance Analytics > Sources > Indicator Sources. The list of indicator sources appears in the main content pane. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Select an indicator source from the list to see the details. The time stamp fields that the indicator source used are listed in the Source section of the page. In the example below for Changes.New shown in Figure 2, you can see the indicator source is using the Opened field.
  3. If you need to make a modification to the time stamp field, use the drop‑down list to make the change.
  4. Click Update to save your changes.

Figure 1: A list of indicator sources

Figure 2: An example of an indicator source that’s using the Opened field

Step 2: Update Performance Analytics scripts

Performance Analytics includes scripts to help support the  calculations on records. For example, scripts help calculate how long it takes to resolve incidents or how long it takes to close changes. The scripts need to use the specific time stamp fields from the indicator sources to obtain the correct calculations. This means if you made a change in the indicator sources (Step 1), you may need to make a modification to the supporting scripts for that process.

Note: If you didn’t update any indicator sources, you can skip this step.

To review the scripts and make modifications:

  1. In the left navigation pane, go to Performance Analytics > Automation > Scripts. The list of scripts displays in the main content pane. (See Figure 3.)
  2. Click on a script to open the details for that script. In the example shown in Figure 4, Change.CloseTime.Hours is selected. This script is used to calculate the duration of a change based on the Opened and Closed fields.
  3. Click the lock icon next to Fields to modify the specific fields that are passed into the script. The slushbucket selector appears. (See Figure 5.)
  4. Use the slushbucket feature to move the desired field into the list of fields passed to the script. In the example shown in Figure 6, if you use the Created time stamp field to define a new change, you need to replace Opened with Created.
  5. Scroll down to the Script section of the form.
  6. Replace the field in the script with the database name of the new field (not the display name). For example, if you replaced the Opened time stamp with the Created time stamp, you need to replace opened_at in line 3 of the example script with sys_created_on as shown in Figure 7. In this case, sys_created_on is the true database field name for Created.
  7. Click Update to save your changes.

Note: You only need to modify the fields in the scripts if you have made changes to the defined fields in the indicator sources. If you do make changes to the indicator sources and do not make the script changes, you will see bad data (or possibly no data) in the indicators that rely on these scripts.

Figure 3: A list of scripts

Figure 4: Script details with Change.CloseTime.Hours selected

Figure 5: A script’s slushbucket selector

Figure 6: An example of using the slushbucket feature to move a field into the list of fields passed to the script

Figure 7: Replacing the field in the script with the database name of the new field

Step 3: Review the breakdown sources

Breakdown sources represent the elements used to examine a KPI in more detail. For example, the out‑of‑the‑box Assignment Group automated breakdown uses the groups breakdown source.

This breakdown source returns all active groups in your instance that will be used to examine your data. In other words, if you’re looking at the Number of Open Changes indicator, and you examine the Assignment Group breakdown, you’re going to see all groups in your instance instead of just the groups that are actually working on your change requests.

Note: It’s likely that you will not need to make any changes to the breakdown sources, but it’s helpful to review and understand exactly what parts of your processes are measured.

When you modify the breakdown source, you can limit the element list to only those items that are meaningful for the data analysis. The benefits of this are:

  • Smaller element lists make it easier for consumers to find the data they need. It’s easier to comprehend a list of 25 groups associated with a particular process rather than it is to sort through thousands of groups.
  • Smaller element lists lead to less data collection and more efficient use of data. Rather than having the data collector crunch through 1,000 different groups to categorize your data, the data collector can analyze the 25 groups that support the process.

Make sure the out‑of‑the‑box breakdown sources return the correct element lists for your breakdowns. Again, ServiceNow makes assumptions about your data structures, and you want to be certain the provided configurations actually match your instance.

To review the list of breakdown sources and their definitions and to make modifications:

  1. In the left navigation pane, go to Performance Analytics > Sources > Breakdown Sources. The list of breakdown sources displays in the main content pane. (See Figure 8.)
  2. Click a breakdown source from the list to see the details. Figure 9 shows the Change.Impact breakdown source is displayed. 
  3. Under the Source tab, you can see the definition for the breakdown elements, including the table that contains the unique list of sys_ids. In the example, the unique list of values contained in the Change Request application’s Impact field come from the sys_choice table. The conditions provide additional filters to ensure that only the Change Impactfields from the sys_choice table are returned. (See Figure 10.)
  4. Click the Preview button to see the number of elements returned by the query. The example in Figure 11 shows three records returned.
  5. Click the link next to the Preview button. (In Figure 11, the link is 3 records match condition.) Next you’ll see the specific values that were returned. The list of elements display in a new browser tab. (See Figure 12.)
  6. Verify that the records returned match what you expect to be in the breakdown element list. Close the browser tab.
  7. If the records were different, modify the conditions on the Source tab that matches your environment. Repeat steps 4–6 until you get the desired list of elements.
  8. If you made any modifications, click Update to save your changes.

Once you have completed these three main steps, you’re ready to start collecting your data!

Figure 8: List of breakdown sources

Figure 9: The Change.Impact breakdown source

Figure 10: Source condition filters

Figure 11: Query results showing three records returned

Figure 12: A preview of the specific values of a query’s returned records

Tools and resources