Kingston, the newest ServiceNow upgrade, was released on January 11, 2018. This version brings exciting new capabilities like AI and boosted user experience thanks in part to recent partnerships with other technology companies. In a previous article about ServiceNow upgrade best practices, we detailed the different preparation steps involved in upgrading your platform. In this article, we have compiled a checklist specific to Kingston, following the same guidelines to help you prepare for changes and take advantage its new features.  


1. Review the ServiceNow Kingston Release Notes

The first step in planning for a ServiceNow upgrade is to review the version release notes. The ServiceNow Kingston upgrade notes include information about product changes, browser support, accessibility, and new features. Software changes can have dramatic effects on your staff, so planning strategically for these new or retiring features will help mitigate any confusion down the road. Implementing the new machine-learning features of Kingston, for example, would allow you to phase out other automated features or alter data analysis workflows.


2. Check for Specific Feature or Application Changes

With each ServiceNow version, you may need to perform additional tasks for specific features or applications. Check the ServiceNow Upgrade and Migration Task page to see whether you may need to take further steps to protect your data or other customizations from any system changes that may occur.  


3. Check for Changes to Existing Plugins or New Plugins

Will your existing ServiceNow plugins change with the newest release? ServiceNow provides information about these changes in their Kingston Release Notes, which can be accessed directly here. Check to see if any of your existing plugins have changed, retired, or been renamed to prevent any surprises after the upgrade. For example, Cloud API will replace the Amazon Web Services plugin in the Kingston version.


4. Reach out to the Community or Your ServiceNow Partner

Depending on the ServiceNow software version your company currently uses, the Kingston upgrade may have a substantial impact on your end users. Reaching out to the ServiceNow community can help answer questions you may have about how other companies are preparing, and if you have connected with a certified ServiceNow partner, you can contact them directly to discuss upgrade plans.

Strategic planning is one of the many ways you can benefit from working with a ServiceNow partner company. ServiceNow professionals have experience with upgrades and can create a plan for your organization to prepare and ease into the new version.


5. Revisit Strategic Business and Technology Goals

Regularly checking your company’s strategic goals is an excellent way to ensure you are on track to achieve them. As you prepare for the ServiceNow Kingston upgrade, revisit those goals to see if your current service offerings are in line with them.

Based on the Kingston release highlights, here are a few aspects of this version to consider:

  • New features will improve your ability to capitalize on valuable data generated from IT Service Management.
  • Improved metrics will allow your organization to measure its performance against industry leaders and peers.
  • ServiceNow’s push to strengthening its mobile capabilities will lead to a native mobile platform, which your company can use to improve field operations and more.


6. Create and Follow a Technical Upgrade Plan for the Kingston Release

Upgrading your ServiceNow software takes careful planning; after reviewing the release notes and understanding which areas will be affected, you should then create a plan for your company’s transition.

ServiceNow has released a downloadable technical checklist that includes specific planning steps for a software upgrade, including the following tasks:

  • Determine which new features or changes will affect your services and make a note to validate them after the upgrade is complete.
  • Decide which features, new or old, to enable or disable with the upgrade. Notify your users in advance if you will be phasing out any features to prepare for Kingston.
  • Follow a plan to test and release the new upgrade, including implementation of pre- and post-production. For more information on this planning step, refer to the During the Upgrade section of “Best Practices and Tips for Upgrading ServiceNow.”

The ServiceNow checklist above should be used in conjunction with this article to ensure your company is fully prepared for the upgrade, your end users are ready for any changes well in advance, and you have a plan for testing and implementing new features.


7. Maintain Ongoing Communication about Upgrade

The Kingston upgrade brings new features to improve the user experience, bring added value and organization to data, and predict service outages. After reviewing the release notes and creating a detailed upgrade plan, be sure to communicate with your users as often as possible. Whether you are choosing to phase out an old feature or adopt a new set of tools, regular communication helps prevent change fatigue and confusion.


Preparing for Changes to your ServiceNow Platform with Kingston

ServiceNow’s Kingston version is a much-anticipated upgrade to their platform. The push for better user experience has lead ServiceNow to dramatically improving its service portals and intuitive workflows, helping companies meet customer demands while scaling services. Machine-learning capabilities add to this by improving the way companies analyze and utilize data, predict business outcomes, and build automated workflows.

Planning for a ServiceNow software update can be challenging. By taking a strategic approach to this planning, you can reduce downtime, mitigate user frustration, and avoid compilations due to conflicting features. This should be a team effort and not a task given to any single staff member.

Partnering with a company like Infocenter can help you take advantage of professionals who have experience with ServiceNow upgrades. With their assistance in creating a strategic upgrade roadmap, your company can be sure it is fully prepared for all changes with the Kingston version and therefore be in a better position to take advantage of its exciting new features.

As a ServiceNow Technology Partner, Infocenter can help. Contact us today to learn more.

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