What is ServiceNow?

ServiceNow is a software company that provides a cloud-based platform for automating IT management workflows. The company specializes in IT service management, IT operations management and IT business management.

The ServiceNow platform easily integrates with other tools, letting users manage projects, teams and customer interactions using a variety of apps and plugins. For example, users can perform VMware AirWatch tasks within the ServiceNow interface. ServiceNow also provides an app store offering third-party tools.

ServiceNow platform features

The service model of ServiceNow products is based on helping users identify the root cause of issues they encounter and correct these issues via self-service.

The service model appears as tasks, activities and processes from ServiceNow products, separated by cloud service. Together, these elements are part of a comprehensive managed workflow that supports features such as real-time communication, collaboration and resource sharing.

ServiceNow offers specialized service management software for specific industries:

  • Healthcare and life sciences.
  • Financial services.
  • Public sector.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Telecommunications.
  • Technology.

Examples of ServiceNow products

ServiceNow's cloud services include a suite of products that enable users and companies to operate using serverless computing. The cloud offerings encompass five common business categories: security, customer service, IT, human resources (HR) and business apps.

Nonstop Cloud

Nonstop Cloud stores and organizes data for users in the cloud without ever taking that data offline. The tool's multi-instance model lets users customize how they use the product to access the type of information they need. Users can also schedule and perform upgrades and other changes at specific times with Nonstop Cloud.

Now Platform

The Now Platform is a dashboard for ServiceNow's products, including Nonstop Cloud and tools for anomaly detection, predictive modeling, peer benchmarking and performance forecasting. The Now Platform also includes edge encryption, an intelligent automation engine and a service creator, among other web service offerings.

The Now Platform's other functionalities include the following:

  • Service portals.
  • Subscriptions and notifications.
  • Knowledge bases.
  • Service catalogs.
  • Workflows.
  • Developer tools.
  • Reports and dashboards.
  • Single databases.
  • Contextual collaboration.
  • Orchestration.

Users can also build their own applications to use within the Now Platform dashboard. Management teams can assign or break up workloads among various users.

Use cases for ServiceNow products

Because ServiceNow offers a wide range of tools that integrate smoothly with many legacy systems, the company's products can support most workflows. Common uses for ServiceNow products include ticketing systems to manage large projects, benchmarking to track progress and predictive modeling to manage workflows.

For example, IT professionals operating a service desk or help desk can use ServiceNow products to organize their help cases and manage problems and instances. ServiceNow can also assist with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) processes.

ServiceNow's business model

The ServiceNow business model is based on providing cloud-based software as a service, or SaaS. This model involves setting up systems to define, manage, automate and structure services for companies.

The ServiceNow platform is designed for use in security, operations, customer service and HR, among other areas. The ServiceNow product suite also offers software for physical and cloud IT needs and can be used to manage service-level projects and production instances within a department.


ServiceNow, now headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., was founded in 2004 by Fred Luddy. Luddy created a workflow system largely based on forms in the cloud.

In 2005, with very few customers, ServiceNow created its first limited-service catalog. In 2006, the company expanded internationally and created its first cloud-based orchestration platform.

In 2016, the company was certified through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, meaning that it meets security expectations for products set up within the cloud. Since its inception, the company has also made several acquisitions of security, observability and AI startups.

This was last updated in February 2023

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