Connecting ServiceNow to Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server (TFS)

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One of the neat things about being so focused on SLI and DevOps integration in its various incarnations for the past decade stemming back to Mik’s PhD thesis is that we’ve seen more than nearly any other company in what it takes to be successful in making DevOps in the enterprise a reality. Note that when we talk about DevOps, we aren’t just talking about Continuous Delivery popularized by Jez Humble but actually the complete holistic view of DevOps which includes all activities in the software lifecycle from planning to development to testing to production.

This holistic view has allowed us to create a set of common DevOps integration patterns. In this blog and accompanying video(s), I’ll focus on one integration pattern, the Help Desk Incident Escalation pattern. Envision an organization who has an Operations team who uses ServiceNow for their help desk / ITSM solution to track and resolve customer support tickets. This may be internal or external customer support tickets. The same organization’s Development team uses Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) to schedule and track its work.

As we show in this video (see below) recorded a few weeks ago during one of our weekly demo sessions, Tasktop Sync will create a bi-directional synchronization between the Operations team that uses ServiceNow and the Development team that uses TFS. Many of the incidents and problems that come into ServiceNow have nothing to do with software applications built in-house but rather things like “my laptop has a virus” or “my screen is cracked” or other IT related tickets. However, if in the course of triaging customer tickets, the Ops teams uncovers a defect that requires the development team to spring into action (e.g., related to a internally developed piece of software), Sync will synchronize the ticket in ServiceNow as a defect in TFS so that the developers can work to remedy that defect. The status of the defect in TFS can by synced back to a custom field on the ticket in ServiceNow so that the Ops team knows what is going on at all times and can keep the customer apprised on any progress of the ticket.

Alternatively, the status field in each repository can map directly to each other. We didn’t show this in this specific demo video but many of our customers also have HP Quality Center (QC) for their testing infrastructure. If the Dev systems and QA systems are also connected via Tasktop Sync, Ops can also see if that defect fix has been successfully verified and tested by QA. The really cool thing is that some of our biggest customers follow the ITIL cookbook in their Operations department (and even more fun are the ones who “sort of” follow the ITIL cookbook).

Regardless, the neat thing is that Sync, in these cases, allows our friends in Operations to follow their ITIL processes (following the ITIL transitions from incident to problem or change request) while not forcing the ITIL processes visibly onto their colleagues in Development, who may react poorly to such “heavy weight process” imposed on them. Recording of Shawn’s recent ServiceNow / TFS Video: