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5 Things You Should Know Before Using Catalog Builder

by snnerd
Published: Last Updated on 971 views

The Catalog Builder is one of the most exciting new features on the NowPlatform in years. Since the Quebec release, this new capability teases the thought of empowering business users to create their items, removing developers as the bottleneck and freeing them up to work on more meaningful tasks. However, before you adopt the Catalog Builder and embed it into your processes, there are some things you should know if you want to get the most out of this great new feature.

  1. Understand its limitations

    While the scope of what you can accomplish in Catalog Builder expands with each release, you should still be aware of a few limitations, depending on your current version. A ServiceNow Administrator can still address these gaps in the classic UI, but you don’t want to become too reliant. Therefore, ServiceNow has published a comprehensive list of limitations here.
  2. Create design standards – and stick to them!

    Unless you want a Service Catalog where every item has a different style, layout and terminology, you’ll want to create some design standards before your start building. It is also important to think about what is a candidate for a catalog item in the first place and have a process in place to prioritise. Then, once you have created and agreed to these standards, you’ll need to make someone accountable to ensure adherence. 
  3. Have a migration plan

    As you involve non-admin business users in your service catalog creation process, you need to consider where you will build the items and how you are going to get them into production. For example, will you give your business users access to develop them straight into production or follow the standard development process? Business Users don’t have access to Update sets, so how will the developers move the items into production? Are you going to get them to rebuild the object in production? If you follow the traditional development process, your developer will need to establish a safe, repeatable way to move these configuration changes reliably. These are all things that need to be considered by your team.
  4. You’ll still need an Admin/Developer (just a little less)

    Unless you plan on building your Catalog items in production (which is not recommended by ServiceNow, see here), you’ll still need a System Administrator to move the items into production. They can also assist in streamlining development by creating question sets, which business users across items can re-use. You’d be wise to take on board developers’ lived experience developing catalogue experiences to help guide business users. They are the ones who need to support what get’s built, so you will need to keep them happy.
  5. Don’t forget about testing!

    The Catalog builder provides guide rails for business users, exposing only a subset of features and allowing administrators to limit options that can be selected set via templates. Don’t let these guide rails fool you into thinking that testing isn’t required! If anything, more testing is required, as business users don’t have as much experience as developers – especially when it comes to creating dynamic behaviours (aka UI Policy). Testing items from start to finish (not just the user form) is a must!

If you would like to know more about Catalog Builder, look out for my presentation titled Accelerate The Self-Service Experience Using Catalog Builder at digital Knowledge22, where I will be sharing all my tips and tricks for success using this new capability.

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