Automate boring ServiceNow tickets with Power Automate

Service now is an excellent tool for IT service management. But have you come across a situation where your most precious time is wasted in raising the service now tickets (Change Ticket, Incidents, and Service Tickets)? This becomes quite boring and inefficient. Especially when you have to go thru this ordeal very often because your work depends upon other teams. Did you always imagine being happier if you could offload this boring stuff to somebody else? Sounds familiar?

Ok, do not worry. If you want to automate this monotonous stuff and become more productive then this blog is for you.

In this blog, we will learn how to automate Service Now ticket with Microsoft Power Automate and Power Virtual Agent.

ServiceNow Ticketing System

ServiceNow Ticketing System is an Online Ticketing System that helps organizations manage and track their ticketing process. It is designed to enable organizations to manage their ticketing process from a centralized location, and to provide a single platform for managing all aspects of the ticketing process. ServiceNow Ticketing System also helps organizations to automate their ticketing process by providing a variety of ticketing tools and features. This is a typical incident management cycle:

  1. A breakdown happens. This means a production system (for example SQL server) is down.
  2. Reporting an incident: Somebody reports this incident in the ServiceNow System.
  3. Managing an incident: This phase contains three steps:
    • Assessment: Incident team tries to asses the incident
    • Assignment where the incident is assigned to SME who can investigate the issue.
    • Investigation: In this phase incident is investigated to find out the root cause.
  4. Resolving the incident: Here an incident is not resolved by finding the root cause, the resolution is applied and the incident is marked as resolved.

The Ticket Lifecycle

ServiceNow has the provision of creating different types of tickets and they are all linked to each other. Tickets go through a series of stages in their lifecycle, from initial assignment to resolution. Each stage in the lifecycle is represented by a ticket state. The following is a brief overview of the ServiceNow ticket lifecycle and how they are related to each other,

  1. Once we report an issue it becomes an incident
  2. The team notices the other users report the same issue
  3. The system and administrator create a problem related to these incidents
  4. The team tries to find the root cause of the problem
  5. If needed a change is created to solve a problem
  6. The proposed change is accessed implemented and reviewed
  7. The problem is resolved and all related incidents are closed automatically

Why it is so boring?

Let’s see why this entire process is so boring.

As soon as a user creates an incident ticket in ServiceNow this whole process triggers:

  1. The project manager (who is responsible for the incident resolution tries to schedule a Teams meeting
  2. The project manager creates a dedicated Team channel for the incident and invites all the stakeholders and incident resolution teams into the channel.
  3. The Project manager sent notification emails to all the concerned stakeholders so everybody concerned about the incident is kept informed.
  4. The Project manager creates JIRA (or a similar tool for Agile effort tracking) ticket so that he can track the efforts of the team members.
  5. All the incident-related info goes thru multiple tools and it is the responsibility of the teams involved to keep this information current in all these tools.

Here the same information is flowing across multiple tools and it is really difficult to focus on real technical work instead teams’ bandwidth is wasted on the documentation and keeping these tools current with loads of information.

Need for a solution to avoid the repetitive process

We need to build a solution that can solve these issues and fulfill these requirements:

  • Build a solution that can improve productivity because 50% of the bandwidth goes in context switching between multiple tools instead of focusing on real work.
  • Create a solution that can free up bandwidth for the user, so he does not need to go thru multiple tools to get status updates.
  • Deploy a solution that can free bandwidth for the incident engineer to provide the updates in one place instead of updating it in multiple systems (JIRA, SNOW, Teams, and Mails) and asking for updates in multiple places.
  • Use a solution that can ease up the bandwidth for PM to update/track info in JIRA, mails, and Teams.

If we use power virtual agent and Power Automate for automating the ServiceNow tickets it can help to improve productivity.

Power Virtual Agent’s capabilities

Power Virtual agent is a great no-code tool to develop chatbots and it becomes more powerful when we use Power Automate with it.These are the benefits of PVA:

  • Reduce assisted support inquiries
  • Integrate seamlessly with other systems
  • Task automation

Power Virtual Agent Key Terms

PVA uses some terms and it is important to understand the terminology used in PVA:

  • Topics: Represent conversation flow road-maps based on different needs.
  • Entities: Used to translate data supplied in text and extract it into something easily consumed in the bot. 
  • Nodes: Items that are used in Topics to do things like ask questions, send messages, or perform actions.  
  • Variables: Data that is captured during the conversation so it can be leveraged later. 
  • Synonyms: Used to improve natural language accuracy. For example “View inc” or “View incident” is synonyms because both signify the same thing. when the user speaks inc or incident it means he is telling the same thing.
  • Triggers: Used to trigger a Topic

Topics and examples

Topics are conversation paths that can be tied together in a single bot. In any conversation we need to start with some topic for example if we are talking about politics then the topic will be politics.

  • Each Topic has trigger phrases that control when the topic is used.
  • Topics can be turned on or off.
  • Multiple system topics are created automatically to assist in handling items such as greetings, escalations, etc.    

Here we are taking three examples of topics. For example, if somebody uses the trigger phrase or asks a question What is the weather today? Bot understands that it needs to kickstart “check weather topic” and starts all the steps required for it.

Design a Topic conversation path

When designing the conversation these are the typical activities that are performed in some way.

  • Ask a question: When the user asks a question its response is captured in the variables.
  • Call an action: Executes an action such as a Power Automate Flow.
  • Show a message: Displays a message in the conversation window.
  • Go to another topic: Automatically moves to a different topic.
  • End the conversation: Ends the conversation with the user. 

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