ServiceNow Tokyo release is finally available to general subscribers, meaning it’s time for you to draw up upgrade plans. Upgrading a ServiceNow instance is a necessity. It gives you access to all the latest innovations and helps you get more out of NOW platform.

ServiceNow issues biannual upgrades or releases, named after cities. ServiceNow Tokyo is its second release for 2022 and follows ServiceNow San Diego release. ServiceNow Tokyo release focuses on employee and customer retention with improvements to its ITSM and CSM modules. It also provides premium encryption and cloud security.

Since its London release in 2018, ServiceNow has moved from an n-2 support model to an n-1 model. So, it is recommended that you upgrade your ServiceNow instance at least once a year.

ServiceNow n-1 support model explained

ServiceNow provides two major releases every year. And with every new release, subscribers have access to ServiceNow support only if they are on the latest release, or ‘n’, and the previous major release, referred to as ‘n-1’. This is referred to as the ServiceNow n-1 support model. For example, now that ServiceNow Tokyo release is out, you can access ServiceNow technical support only if you have upgraded to either the San Diego release (n-1) or if you are on the current Tokyo release (n).

Prior to the London release, ServiceNow had an n-2 policy. This means you could remain on two previous major releases and still get ServiceNow technical support. So, going back to our above example, you can access support if you had either the Rome, San Diego or Tokyo upgrade. Many companies choose to upgrade their instance only once a year given the cost and resources needed for such a project. You could also choose to skip upgrades completely after your initial ServiceNow implementation. However, this would cut your access to the latest security and performance benefits, and crucial technical support.

ServiceNow n-1 support

Why you should stay current with your ServiceNow instance

ServiceNow releases cover security patches, upgrades to existing modules, bug fixes and brand-new modules that bolster your enterprise service management. For instance, ServiceNow Tokyo release highlights Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) management to help businesses navigate and adhere to important global and local norms regarding social and environmental responsibilities. ServiceNow experts recommend upgrading your instance at least one month after the release of the new version. This ensures that you also get any post-deployment patches and hot fixes and helps you plan your ServiceNow support strategy.

Simplify your ServiceNow upgrade project

A ServiceNow upgrade is a major project by itself. It requires a lot of planning, dedicated resources and personnel, hours of testing and training before the new instance is ready for use. To ensure a smooth upgrade and faster launch, it is important you remember three key factors:

Read, allocate and communicate: Read the release notes for each product you have licensed such as ITSM, ITOM, HRSD, ITBM, etc. before you begin planning for the upgrade. An upgrade is a separate project by itself and can’t be done parallel with other tasks. So, you must also allocate necessary resources and personnel for the project.  Communicate with all your ServiceNow stakeholders of the upgrade process, the upgrade schedule and its impact in advance.

Avoid too many customizations: It’s easy to get tempted by ServiceNow’s low-code/no-code tools and go overboard customizing your platform. But, taking on too many custom features only complicates your upgrade process and raises costs. It’s recommended that you stick to ServiceNow’s guided upgrade and later take on advanced customizations when needed.

Power your upgrade with ATF: Forget error-prone manual testing and switch to ServiceNow’s Automated Test Framework. An OOTB feature of ServiceNow, ATF lets you test customizations and functionalities in ServiceNow without the need for third-party tools, expediting the upgrade process.

Many companies are often reluctant to perform a ServiceNow upgrade due to the costs and resources involved. Most can’t afford to divert sufficient resources and personnel. But as we’ve seen earlier, these upgrades are essential in order to scale your IT estate to match your business goals. As a Premier Partner, Aspire Systems has all the tools and resources required for seamless upgrades.

We’re an experienced ServiceNow solutions provider with Automated Test Framework being one of our focus areas. Recently, a Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer approached our experts, complaining of frequent bugs with their Problem management and Incident management modules after version upgrades. Our experts upgraded their instance and used Automated Test Framework this time to capture errors in the Stage environment and execute necessary actions. ATF implementation helped the business reap the benefits of ServiceNow ITSM 64% faster.