Companies House embrace flexibility and control with ServiceNow and Jira integration

Unifii integrated ServiceNow and Jira for Companies House, increasing end user collaboration and developer efficiency.

Companies House is an executive agency of the UK government, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The organisation incorporates, and dissolves, limited companies, as well as registering company information and making it available to the public.

There are currently more than 3.5m limited companies registered in the UK, with 500,000 new companies incorporated each year. To manage this, Companies House employs around 1,000 people in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and London.


The Challenge

Companies House came to Unifii for help in applying the control of ITSM with the flexibility of DevOps to their Change and Problem processes through integrating Jira with ServiceNow. Jira is used to storyboard development iterations, bug tracking, as well as managing daily development reports and tasks. It was being primarily used by the developers, whereas the business team were using the ServiceNow platform.

Unifii was brought in specifically to implement a new, best-practice REST integration between ServiceNow and Jira. Part of the challenge was bridging a gap between the two teams whilst keeping the best from both applications. The integration, was a way of allowing ServiceNow to automate the management of work queues in Jira – a necessary addition due to a need for more effective problem and change management tracking.

Although it is fairly complex, Jira is a popular platform with developers. Companies House attempted the integration internally but ran into issues owing to a deprecated integration method (SOAP) and a recent version release from Atlassian. Companies House had worked with other ServiceNow partners before approaching Unifii.

“We engaged with Unifii to help us with our Jira and ServiceNow integration. By doing so, we have seen significantly improved communications and efficiency between our business and development teams.”

Leanne Peters, Continuous Systems Improvement Manager

The Solution

The integration proceeded with the following  key implementations:

  • Bidirectional information sharing of ServiceNow Problem and Change Management tickets with Jira to better align development teams with other teams within the business. The benefit is a team that’s more streamlined, more unified and more efficient.
  • A transaction table to track both inbound and outbound updates. This makes it easier to monitor updates and re-process tickets in Jira.
  • Dynamic field mapping which enables the client to apply future updates without code changes. This gives them the tools to run without needing third-party expertise in the future.
  • All functionality configured within ServiceNow, with no Jira updates needed. All updates automatically go from Jira into ServiceNow. This removes the need for Jira development experts and, with all information now stored in one place, means it can be managed by one team instead of two.


The Benefits

The project was completed in 10 working days, headline benefits to the client include:

  • Time saved by the business teams, who no longer need to manually update Jira as ServiceNow represents a single point of management. Previously tickets had to be raised manually on Jira.
  • Significantly improved efficiency and communication between business and development teams, due to mirrored updates between Jira and ServiceNow.
  • Reduced reliance on Jira development experts.
  • On-going ability to apply future updates without third-party help.

“Unifii listened and understood the business challenges we were facing. The integration they performed, between ServiceNow and Jira, was completed in 10 days and has saved our internal teams valuable time. The Unifii consultants are very professional. The integration they performed between ServiceNow and Jira means we are seeing increased business efficiencies. I feel a valuable relationship and trusted partnership growing between our organisations.”

Leanne Peters, Continuous Systems Improvement Manager

Get in touch

If you’ve liked what you’ve read here, get in touch with one of the Unifii team to discuss how we can help you.

The Unifii TeamCompanies House embrace flexibility and control with ServiceNow and Jira integration
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Improve Customer Service & Increase Automation across the Enterprise

In partnership with ServiceNow, our recent ITSM event was a rare opportunity for attendees to see first hand how ITSM is evolving and what the upcoming ServiceNow releases have in store for the user.

As well as looking at the future of ITSM, the expert-led sessions focused on optimizing performance and accelerating implementation of the ServiceNow platform. We were also joined by Multiplex who delivered an indepth review of their own ServiceNow journey, exploring the biggest challenges and the lessons learnt during their Helsinki integration.

Our host and Director of Unifii, Stephen Mamelok, opened the floor with an introduction to Unifii and the professional and managed services we offer. Touching on technology innovation, Stephen’s opening words led nicely into the first session of the day, ‘The Future of ITSM’ – a session delivered by ServiceNow’s Damien Davis, ITSM Product Management.

The future of ITSM

Damien provided an insight into the ServiceNow ITSM roadmap over the next 18 months. Focusing on the importance of delivering a consumer-led experience for the enterprise, Damien addressed the expectations of the modern worker, looking at how we engage with consumer platforms such as Amazon and Netflix – both providing examples of consumer driven service catalogues and advanced machine learning.

Throughout 2017 ServiceNow acquired a series of companies to assist with the introduction of a ‘consumer-led experience’ into the service management space. These included DX Continuum, Qlue, Telepathy and Skygiraffe – each bringing expertise in either machine learning, virtual agents, digital design and native mobile capability. By bolstering their internal expertise, Damien explained that ServiceNow are focused on developing three key areas:

  • User experience
  • Service intelligence
  • Service experiences

While Damien touched on other exciting developments and news in the ServiceNow space, you’ll need to follow them at Knowledge18 to get the full scoop.

Performance analytics with ITSM

Following on from Damien was James Walters, Solutions Consultant from ServiceNow, delivering a talk on Performance Analytics with ITSM. Opening his session with a quote from the Scottish poet Andrew Lang:

“He uses [data] in the same way a drunkard uses lamp posts… for support rather than illumination.”

James identified that while most customers have implemented performance analytics in their ServiceNow platform, many were underutilising it’s capabilites – with some not using it at all.

Since more analytic solutions for business users are becoming embedded in other core applications (up to 90% over the next 5 years according to a Nucleus Research study), leveraging analytics will soon become an integral part of IT operations.

As explained by James, this will not only create greater visibility, it will deliver real-time insights and provide actionable observations for ServiceNow users. As a result, you’ll be able to:

  • Prioritise resources
  • Improve resolution times
  • Deliver automation and self-service
  • Drive toward continuous service improvement
  • Align services with overall business goals

Unifii accelerated ServiceNow implementation

Following an impressive lunch spread, Myles Molloy, Head of Consulting at Unifii, kicked off the afternoon’s session: ‘Accelerated Implementation’. Drawing on previous client work, Myles described how Unifii helped a client replatform two legacy ITSM platforms onto a single ServiceNow platform.

Myles explained leveraging strong data management principles, senior business support and adoption of scrum and sprints as reasons of the success of the project – since they allowed for early visibility of progress, quick delivery and a collaborative partnership. Overall, the benefits included a successful implementation that enabled and drove business process effiencies, and offered an improved service to distinguish their offering in the market, within 10 weeks from inital kick-off meeting.

Multiplex journey: ‘A good time to reset’

This session was followed by Scott Bailey, who took us through the ServiceNow customer journey of Multiplex where he is Global IT Service Manager. Scott went into detail about how he managed the ServiceNow implementation, placing emphasis on the challenges he faced and the lessons learnt.

Key takeaways include:

  • Work with your partners and invest in the relationship
  • Don’t rush an investment decision
  • Use an RFP Process – competiton is a good thing!
  • NowForum’s and networking events are valuable​
  • Regardless of the Partner investment, a significant level of effort is required on Business Change and internal Administration, Ownership and Sponsorship
  • User Master Data – it drives everything​
  • Ensure Business Sponsorship & Operational requirements match the solution target outcome​
  • Keep it simple

ITSM & ITOM, better together

Last to the floor was Mark Revill, Advisory Solution Consultant for ServiceNow. Mark covered the fundamental reasons why ITSM and ITOM are better together. Starting with the CIO top priorities, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and Cloud Adoption were noted as the key drivers for change – with the following challenges providing the biggest obstacles to delivering Services that enable these changes across IT:

  • Operating in silos
  • Erratic service availability
  • Poor user experience

Mark went on to note the strategic advantage of connecting Service with Infrastructure, looking at added automation and intelligence as well as delivering greater visibility and agility in IT operations.

By aligining ServiceNow ITSM and ITOM, Mark identified the business benefits to be a decrease in outages, time savings in priority response, an increase in efficieny gains and considerable annual savings. This was supported by a demo focusing on the automated and integrated approach to managing outages using the ServiceNow ITSM & ITOM solutions.

Get in touch

Although there was a lot to cover over the day, the roundtable format encouraged attendees to be involved from the go, asking company-specific questions and being involved in live-demonstrations of ServiceNow features still in their beta-stages.

If you missed our London event, be sure to keep an eye on our website, where we’ll release details of future events.

If you’ve liked what you’ve read here, get in touch with one of the Unifii team to discuss how we can help you

The Unifii TeamImprove Customer Service & Increase Automation across the Enterprise
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Join Unifii this April for an interactive seminar

On April 24th, we will be running an interactive seminar looking at how to enhance customer experience whilst improving service management delivery across the enterprise. This event is free to attend, but places are limited so be sure to register now to secure your spot.

With a host of experts on hand to offer advice about overcoming common challenges in creating your ITSM roadmap and share customer success stories, this is an event not to be missed. Speakers include representatives from Unifii, ServiceNow, Timico and Multiplex.

Taking place at Bounce, 241 Old Street, London, this seminar* will be split into two sessions. If you’re only available to join one of the sessions, you’re welcome to attend the one most relevant to you.


Our morning session will cover:

10:15-10:45 Registration     

10:45-11:00 Introduction to Unifii – Stephen Mamelok, Director, Unifii

11:00-11:45 The future of ITSM – Damien Davis, Product Management ITSM, ServiceNow

11:45-12:00 Unifii accelerated ServiceNow implementation – Myles Molloy, Head of Consulting, Unifii

12:00-12:30 Improving the customer experience with ServiceNow – Martin Riley, Technical Director, Timico

12:30-13:00 Performance analytics with ITSM – James Walters, Advisory Solution Consultant, EMEA, ServiceNow

13:00-13:30 Break for lunch


Our afternoon session will cover:

13:30-13:45 Aligning ITSM with DevOps – Mike Glock, Director, Unifii

13:45-14:15 Multiplex journey: A good time to reset – Scott Bailey, Global IT Service Manager, Multiplex

14:15-15:00 ITSM & ITOM, Better Together – Mark Revill, Advisory Solution Consultant – EMEA Alliances and Channels, ServiceNow

15:00-16:00 Wrap up and table discussions

16:00-late Networking, drinks, and the chance to discuss your specific IT processes with our team


This is the perfect event to hear about other clients’ ServiceNow journeys, gain insights about how to best utilise the ServiceNow platform and talk directly to experts and customers who have successfully implemented it in their businesses. You’ll also be able to discover how the ServiceNow platform can transform the speed and agility of your IT, help you gain control of your processes and full visibility of your business.

So, if you want to learn directly from industry experts, hear customer success stories and network with peers, register now to secure your spot.

*the Agenda may change. We will update on this blog and on the event page any changes if / as they occur.

The Unifii TeamJoin Unifii this April for an interactive seminar
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Applying the Controls of ITSM with the Flexibility of DevOps

As an IT leader, you want to speed up your service delivery whilst ensuring process compliance, right? Well, have you thought about using ITSM and DevOps together?

Many people think that ITSM and DevOps are incompatible: Traditional ITIL processes and DevOps practices are incompatible. Meeting the DevOps goals of shorter development and release cycles does not work with ITIL Change & Release Management.” We disagree. We believe the two actually work well together, playing to the strengths of your different tools and processes – and meaning better business.

In fact, using ITSM and DevOps together can enable your business to respond faster to market and customer needs, by accelerating controlled IT service delivery. Unifii has been demonstrating this, partnering with businesses of all sizes, across industry sectors, to implement ServiceNow using agile DevOps techniques.

By applying the controls of ITSM with the flexibility of DevOps, your business can tune up its processes and add automation as well as orchestration to become more streamlined, more unified and more efficient. What’s more, this approach can also help ensure you have compliant, audit-friendly processes, so if an auditor knocks on the door and asks for specific evidence, you’re fully documented.


Why DevOps?

DevOps is not a new concept: development and operations have been around for a long time. But it’s one of the latest and most talked about labels for the process of uniting Dev and Ops teams, with best working practices and a broad range of tools, to accelerate and scale software development.

Some of the current focus around DevOps centres on smaller teams or clusters, carrying increasing workloads, who are looking to automate more of the process – and accomplish more – in a quick and scalable way. To do this, they’re harnessing the range of popular open-source and fremium-style tools, which enable them to quickly build their own ecosystems.

It also means they don’t need to face lots of centralised control functions or cross team/department standards. A major problem is that solutions owned by individual teams or small clusters, with no standards, are harder to unify into a coherent strategic operating model.

We find this with a lot of our clients, a prime example being in the investment banking industry. Teams who deal with Commodities may work in one way, and the ones who deal with FX another. But they have to come back together to standardise to a change tool that has a strict way of doing things, and this throws up compatibility issues and complications.

Using ITSM and DevOps together streamlines your software development lifecycle, making your tools and processes unified, helping to solve your standards incompatibility issues.

Using ITSM and DevOps together

So how do you successfully use DevOps alongside ITSM? It’s worth noting that whilst facilitating different business needs, there is natural compatibility between the two approaches.

The core components of ITSM are Plan (Service Strategy) and Build (Service Design) – which are Dev activities; and Release (Service Transition) and Support (Service Operation) – which are Ops. Furthermore, both approaches support Continuous Improvement processes.

Taking ITIL as the most common ITSM framework (though there are others such as COBIT and ISO20000 which can still work alongside DevOps), ITIL processes chime with a number of processes that DevOps teams touch on. Things like Demand, Release, Change, Incident, Problem and Request Management.

Consequently, it’s important to get your process design and alignment right. You need to agree what can be shared between DevOps tools and ITSM tools, to minimise the need for double keying or rework, and ensure they fit the right risk profile.

Among the advantages of using ITSM with DevOps are a higher level of process automation, and the ability to utilise your whole range of existing tools. For example, as part of a change process you can have different tools for your log, validate, approve, implement, and review stages, with DevOps pulling the right information together in the change ticket. Bringing DevOps into the mix also gives operations teams better visibility of the environment, and integrated tools to reduce time between incident detection and resolution.


Unifii and ServiceNow

Unifii is a team of enterprise service management and automation professionals. We’re aligning DevOps with service management using our ITSM platform of choice, ServiceNow, which has the automation capabilities to make the Integration between DevOps and ITSM a reality.

ServiceNow is a platform that’s massively growing in popularity, becoming one of the leading ITSM solutions, particularly for Discovery and Orchestration.

ServiceNow can act as a key coordination system and integration layer between the different systems involved in the DevOps lifecycle. It offers a range of applications that can help ensure a smooth and effective integration between your ITSM and DevOps processes: such as Change, Release, Project and Test Management; SDLC; and IT Orchestration.

The aim is to provide more visibility and auditability for the business by linking processes and tools together sensibly. The result, is improved alignment of your technology and business goals to improve your bottom-line.


Looking to streamline your software development lifecycle?

If you have questions about integrating DevOps and ITSM, or need support, whether you are an ITIL or non-ITIL house, feel free to talk to us. We can help you get the best from your tools and processes, and help you achieve a good balance between speed of delivery for the business, and process compliance.

Myles MolloyApplying the Controls of ITSM with the Flexibility of DevOps
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5 things you need to know before upgrading ServiceNow to Kingston

The Kingston release of ServiceNow is upon us and with it, the deprecation of support for Helsinki. In practice, this means a lot of businesses are upgrading from Helsinki to Kingston and dealing with the big changes between these versions, which include machine learning, refined end-user experience and major incident management.

In the past we’ve helped many clients to upgrade, ranging from small to global organisations in various sectors. In this way, we’ve gained a real depth of knowledge about the practicalities of upgrading to the latest version of ServiceNow, from Fuji to Istanbul, Geneva to Jakarta, and so on.

Here are our 5 top tips for upgrading ServiceNow to Kingston:


1. Get everyone on board

Early, clear communication across the business is vital to the success of any upgrade. You need to explain what is happening and why, in order to set expectations for resource requirements, particularly for people to assist in process testing the platform, along with anticipated outages and what’s coming in the way of new features.

The key is to ensure that internal resources are planned in and available, and to maintain regular and clear communications between developers, the technical team and BAs with regards to requirements and timeframes. Upgrading is a significant piece of work but it doesn’t have to be long-winded.

Our top tip: Keep the timeline for the upgrade as short as possible, to ensure fewer outages and less disruption for the business. Smaller organisations should be planning for around two weeks, while larger businesses are looking at a maximum of one to two months.


2. Don’t overcomplicate things

Keep things simple. Our experience of lots of upgrades of various sizes is that there’s no need to test everything – only the things that have impact. Concentrate on new functionality and don’t spend time worrying about bug fixes to your existing system – this is a real time waster.

We also find that keeping things straightforward is also the best approach when it comes to Release Notes analysis. You simply need to work out what’s changing and whether anything needs turning off (e.g. new functionality the business may not be ready for).

Our top tip: Skip logs of items you’ve previously customised can run to thousands of items and can be both time consuming and tedious.The best tactic is to split the logs into sections so they are easier to manage. Ignore any reports, notifications and form layouts and focus on the business logic, such as Business Rules and Script Includes.


3. Get your testing right

Having a solid plan in place for testing is crucial. The best approach is to undertake the initial unit testing by both developers and BAs. Following this, business testing by process owners or the already agreed business resources allocated to the task.

In both cases, fixes should be implemented afterwards by developers before moving on to the next round of testing. It’s also important to manage regression testing packs and ensure they are up to date.

Our top tip: Implement a process to carefully segregate existing defects in your configuration from those introduced by the upgrade. Without this, you can spend more time on triage of existing defects than on actually doing the upgrade.


4. Plan your development freeze early

Freezing development while upgrading is essential because as soon as you change something you make the testing you’ve done so far redundant. The key is to get the business on board early with a full understanding of the situation, otherwise they will be clamouring for BAU changes in the middle of the upgrade.

Before upgrading, clone back from Production to ensure all your environments are synced. Good communication around exactly when this will occur is vital – people will lose work if they aren’t expecting it.

Our top tip: We recommend running a minimum of three instances – Dev, Test and Prod. After upgrading, maintain a pre-upgrade version to refer back to if there are issues and to remove the pre-existing defect noise.


5. Take the opportunity to revert

Ensure there is time for technical teams to revert updates back to OOTB where possible. Analysis and testing of this requires planned effort but the savings realised increase with every upgrade undertaken.

Learn the lessons about which processes are more critical than others (not every item needs to be tested), and those areas where you were short on time and others where you had more than enough. Ensure you include feedback from both the business and internal developers, BAs and the technical team.

Our top tip: Upgrades are a fact of life and there will always be another on the horizon. Record what went well and what didn’t – and why – and use that as the basis of your next upgrade plan.


For more information or advice on your upgrade plans, contact us today – we’re always happy to share our experience and expertise.

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7760 7513


Ellie Kleinworth5 things you need to know before upgrading ServiceNow to Kingston
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Who We Are

We are your lifecycle partner, delivering accelerated service delivery.

We are a team of Enterprise Service Management and Automation professionals. We’re dedicated to aligning your technology with your business goals. We develop innovative solutions, implement and integrate them successfully to improve your bottom line.

As full lifecycle ServiceNow Partners, we have been managing ITIL, ITSM, SIAM and ESM ServiceNow projects since 2010.

The Unifii TeamWho We Are
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