*Note: This entry is my attempt at summarizing what I’ve learned in Chapter 1 of ‘Mastering Servicenow’ by Martin Wood, in my own words. Hooray for study tips!*
Diving into the guts of Servicenow can be a daunting task when you first log into your instance. Accessing the system by the default System Administrator account that is provided at creation shows you every possible action that is possible in the system. All are represented by a long list of applications and modules down the left hand side of the screen in one grandiose, ever shifting menu.
After you dig in under the hood of the system, the underlying structure starts to take shape and soon, you can see a growing picture of what makes Servicenow tick. While it may seem scary with menus and options every where you turn, the backbone of Servicenow is rather simple; it is one giant database. Every bit of data you see, is a record stored in a relational database, grouped by named tables that hold all of the related records together.
I can imagine what you’re thinking right now; a giant relational database filled with hundreds of tables and thousands of records does not seem any less daunting. It’s not so bad though. All of the data is managed by customizable lists that will show you all of the records in any given table.
Being able to visualize the list and see how it is broken down, the structure of Servicenow starts to make more sense. Each row on the list is a record, which you may choose to think of as a single grouping of data. Every column in that row then, is a field, which is a different string of information contained within the record. There are several different types of fields that can be held within each of those records, but we’ll get to those later.
For further detail of a record, we will want to dig deeper and look at the form that makes up the record. You can do this by simply clicking on the record name in the first ‘field’ or column of the list. For our example, let’s click on the ‘Room’ record.
You’ll notice the form lays out the same information that is available in the list view, however it is missing some items and may add some more that you do not need in the list. This form has the pertinent information displayed such as the ‘Room’ label and well as the table name that the record belongs to. There is a lot more data available to you though. You can control the lay out of your forms by way of the meta data table known as the ‘dictionary’, as well as configuring layouts and adding additional fields to the record. Really, the sky’s the limit!
Where the efficiency of Servicenow begins to shine is in the depths of these records and tables, being stored as a simple relational database. Due to this, we can can create forms and records, that pull pre-existing information off of other records and tables, which keeps us from having to recreate data structures for every different iteration that we wish to package into an application. This way we can create more forms and applications, with far less repetition of work. Everybody appreciates a bit less work!