Bamboo vs Jenkins, lead image.
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Management systems for DevOps have grown in popularity over the years as many organizations have brought software developers, IT and DevOps under a single roof. Platforms like Jira Service Management and ServiceNow allow companies to gain a competitive advantage and manage customer support requests (internal and external), among other things, for a better outcome. We’ll compare two of the large players in this field: ServiceNow and Jira Service Management, pitting the two tools head-to-head and determining which is the best for your organization.

Jump to:
What is ServiceNow?
What is Jira Service Management?
ServiceNow vs. Jira Service Management feature comparison
Common features of Jira vs. ServiceNow
Choosing between ServiceNow and Jira Service Management

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What is ServiceNow?

Image: ServiceNow. ServiceNow Insights Dashboard.
Image: ServiceNow. ServiceNow Insights Dashboard.

ServiceNow is an enterprise-focused toolkit that provides a one-stop shop for organizations to manage their IT infrastructures, developer operations, hardware and software procurement, internal and external customer management and more. It is extensible through APIs and third-party integrations with other tools that your organization may integrate with or use for other operations tasks.

What is Jira Service Management?

Image: Atlassian. Jira Service Management incident details.
Image: Atlassian. Jira Service Management incident details.

Jira Service Management is a tool that adds functionality to an existing Jira installation. It includes tracking customer requests and issues, configuration management, change management and knowledge management for public or internal-facing customers. Because Jira Service Management is built on top of Jira, it integrates well for organizations already using other Atlassian products and services but can also integrate with third-party tools to supercharge the DevOps workflows.

ServiceNow vs. Jira Service Management feature comparison

Features Jira Service Management ServiceNow
SLA management
Deployment gating Some plans
IT procurement management
On-call management
Heartbeat monitoring Some plans
Deployment tracking
Audit logs Some plans
Chat
Knowledge base and self-help

Common features of Jira vs. ServiceNow

Collaboration

If you already use Atlassian products, then the Jira Service Management solution will feel right at home and integrate neatly into existing pipelines for developer ticketing and management. Incidents can easily be assigned to developers for further investigation without leaving the Atlassian ecosystem. However, if you use a ticketing system other than Jira, you’ll be relying on third-party integrations to allow for collaboration flow.

While ServiceNow deals with IT ticketing, it’s less engaged with developer-level ticketing, so collaboration between IT/DevOps and development teams will be done with third-party integrations with GitHub Issues, Jira or other ticketing systems your organization may use.

Where Atlassian beats ServiceNow is by providing multiple tools for an organization to easily collaborate from code-level ticketing to customer-level ticketing, and everything in between.

Auditing, governance and compliance

Both Jira and ServiceNow allow for the use of audit logs for changes performed and the ability to gate specific deployments until a specified number of approvers have been reached. The only difference is that while these features are included for ServiceNow, Jira only offers some of these features on only certain plans.

ServiceNow edges out Jira because it includes automated data collection and connections between multiple systems to ensure all governance information is completed before deployments can happen, and all of these features are included out of the box.

Procurement management and tracking

Procurement and asset tracking is a vital IT management task. Jira Service Management only allows for tracking of IT assets and doesn’t offer built-in procurement management systems or self-service procurement. Jira allows for general service requests that can be used for procurement, asset management and tracking complete with serial number and warranty expiry information.

ServiceNow has a much more full-featured procurement system allowing organizations to build service catalogs, build procurement workflows, create and manage procurement orders and purchase orders, and a received-assets flow that can integrate with stock rooms when receiving assets from shipments.

In procurement, ServiceNow beats Jira, allowing for full procurement management, order tracking and customizable workflows.

HR integration and onboarding

Jira has features that can allow for the onboarding, off-boarding and change requests for staff as well as facility, legal and customer service management templates that can be used to initiate tickets for IT and DevOps employees to fulfill. Integrations can be added to extend the functionality of these tickets or even automate some of the tasks.

ServiceNow can integrate with supported HR systems to allow for the onboarding, off-boarding, background check, e-signature and tax form features of the service; however, it requires that you use one of the supported platforms or have a third-party system integration available.

Jira edges ahead in this regard as it has built-in support for these task templates and can integrate with other platforms, while ServiceNow relies on integrations with HR partners for HR-related tasks.

Community- and customer-focus

Image: Atlassian. Jira self-service dashboard.
Image: Atlassian. Jira self-service dashboard.

Both Jira and ServiceNow offer the ability to create knowledge bases that can facilitate self-service for internal and external customers, troubleshooting steps and general Q&A.

ServiceNow has processes for creating, categorizing, reviewing and approving articles. It integrates with Microsoft Word for authoring and provides knowledge base analytics so you can know which issues your users are having the most difficulty with.

Image: ServiceNow. ServiceNow knowledge base with user feedback.
Image: ServiceNow. ServiceNow knowledge base with user feedback.

Jira’s knowledge base is powered by Confluence, another documentation tool offered by Atlassian, which offers its own integrations that can allow for extensibility through third-party platforms and services.

Integrations and automation

Both Jira and ServiceNow have API integrations that allow for custom enterprise applications to integrate with the two systems and perform tasks or integrate in-depth with other services used by the organization, including but not limited to CI/CD, HR systems, legal systems, e-signature systems and more.

Choosing between ServiceNow and Jira Service Management

ServiceNow offers solutions catering to more enterprise-oriented organizations, and the user interface denotes this as well. Many users may find the ServiceNow system confusing or difficult to navigate and may require training for setup and usage. However, ServiceNow provides in-depth solutions not found in other platforms and detailed documentation to help your organization through integrating it into the various workflows.

Jira Service Management is a friendlier solution compared with ServiceNow and integrates with Jira, the leading developer ticket solution, which many organizations already use in their day-to-day software development. Business users may already be familiar with how this system works, so it may require less training compared with ServiceNow.

If your organization is smaller and already uses Atlassian products for day-to-day operations, then Jira Service Manager is the best solution because it already integrates with the existing solutions and can provide additional collaboration built in.

Larger organizations, especially enterprises and those requiring more auditing, legal and HR functionality, will want to check out the offering from ServiceNow. It has a complete solution that, while training may be required, will provide your organization with more complete DevOps tools.