The ServiceNow upgrade process moves your instance to a new ServiceNow release version. ServiceNow releases an upgrade to its instance every six months. Regularly upgrading the NOW platform helps you obtain latest features, enhanced platform stability and security. Before you start your upgrade process, it is wise to make a proper preparation like the following


Communicate to the stakeholders about the upgrade in an effective way  like in any other business. While there may not be any new project development during the upgrade phase, you need to ensure that the stakeholders and users are notified about the new feature addition/ change expected post upgrade. This process is helpful to check if all the teams are resonating with each other throughout the upgrade process

Analyse Release notes by ServiceNow:

In order to plan better and test, it is important to read the release notes that consists of a list of features added to each application and detailed documentation of new application. It will help you to

  • Understand the changes made earlier that are now in the new upgrade’s OOTB
  • Identify potential threats with the new upgrade
  • Know if any existing feature is replaced by a new feature

Impact Analysis:

By reading release notes, it is possible to detect potential impact/defect with the new upgrade which will be documented for each module for the stakeholder’s usage during UAT.


You need to identify the sub-production instance which will have the initial upgrade so that you can take a backup of the in-progress development work to avoid loss of data/ rework.

ServiceNow Licenses

Upgrade Sub-Production Instance:


You need to identify and clone your sub production instances to eradicate any inconsistency of both data and functionalities. By accessing the cloned instance, you can avoid encountering any issues while upgrading the production instance.


Upgrade can be scheduled using “HI” ticket and an upgrade monitor will be helpful to track the start/end time and duration of the upgrade and check the process of upgradation.

Review Skipped updates:

The system will mark few out of the box items as skipped if they are modified by users and this kind of skipped updates comes with priority (p1-p5). You cannot update it to the new version. After reviewing, we can decide to either retain the customization or revert to base configuration or merge both.

Regression Testing & UAT:

Regression testing can be done either manually or by ATF. In case of using ATF, you need to update the test suite/ test cases before upgrade. Now, you will be able to detect the defects and document them which can eventually be resolved. You can capture the resolution in update sets and can use it during PROD upgrade. Stakeholders will do the UAT and the issues identified will be captured and resolved.

PROD Upgrade:

Plan Production upgrade:

The production upgrade should mostly be planned on weekends or when the instance usage is minimum and it can be scheduled using “HI” ticket.


Upgrade team will provide support during PROD upgrade and the upgrade monitor will be helpful to track the start/end time and duration of the upgrade. After the upgrade, the resolution update sets will be deployed in PROD instance where smoke testing will be done.


The upgrade team provides one week hyper-care support after the PROD upgrade. One of the sub-Prod instances will be available without upgrade for reference. By this, we can identify whether an issue raised during hyper-care is an existing issue or upgrade issue.

As a premier partner of ServiceNow, Aspire systems takes care of such seamless upgrade process regularly.


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