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LeanIX and ServiceNow

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LeanIX and ServiceNow, how do they fit together? Are they synonymous? How do they complement each other? Lately we have been consulted more and more regarding these questions and so in this article we want to briefly explain what we think the relationship of the two tools is and how they might be best used together.


Until recently ServiceNow was the market leader for IT Service Management and a standard for all large enterprises. Moreover in the last 10 years ServiceNow on the NowPlatform has grown significantly not only within, but also beyond IT operations. 

LeanIX has been known for some time predominantly in the Enterprise Architecture Management area, but now it is also developing in Saas Management, Cloud Management and DevOps Management and conquering several other areas in a very good and appealing way. 

If you compare ServiceNow modules and applications in the IT workflow with the LeanIX products, you can see that the biggest overlaps with LeanIX are currently in the areas of Application Portfolio Management and Cloud Management. Such areas as Vendor Risk, Security, and Vulnerability, which are on the LeanIX roadmap, have already been present in ServiceNow for several years with the SecOps and GRC modules.

AReas of application of the two tools

80 % of the Fortune 500 and 42% of the 2000 largest companies worldwide use ServiceNow. Most of these customers use it as an IT Service Management tool. But the platform today offers additional modules that cover all workflows and IT Service Lifecycle Management tasks. Within IT Operations, they've also introduced automated updates to the CMDB through Discovery and Service Management and things like Event Management. NowPlatform offers similar layouts and forms and similar supporting functionality for each of the modules. So a lot of ServiceNow IT Service Management customers in need of more IT capabilities are faced with the choice to introduce the additional modules of ServiceNow and fully “exhaust” the platform or to choose market leaders that are specialized in certain areas.

As an example, let’s take a closer look at the APM. Application Portfolio Management plays a big role in large IT organizations especially today when companies are growing in different areas and countries, have many organizational units and use different systems for the same business capabilities. What is often missing is the transparency about the current status in the company and consequently a unified planning. So, one needs APM to reduce costs by eliminating applications that are no longer needed. 

If you look at it holistically, on the one hand APM has traditionally been a very laborious business, because the application owners often have to gather all the information about the application themselves. Today it naturally makes sense to use functionalities such as Discovery, which enable the automated recording of the current status of all important IT components and, with the Service Mapping that is based on this, also the assignment of these components to the application.

There is no doubt about the benefits of APM in the company. But how to implement it? LeanIX, offers it as one of the core functionalities, which is available there through Data Model dashboards, reports and other features ready to go for the enterprise architect. In ServiceNow, traditionally a Service Management tool, one needs an extra module for APM. It has separate licenses and must be installed via a plugin. In addition, a few more plugins and settings are needed to connect it to GRC, for example. This has to be done by someone who has knowledge of APM and who can set it up and customize it. LeanIX, as a Software as a Service solution, is specialized in APM and with it one can start right away.

Even though ServiceNow also started out as Software as a Service, it developed more and more into a Platform as a Service. It's a very powerful platform, but you need to set it up properly to get what you want out of it. So being able to use a tool like LeanIX is quite beneficial, because Time to Value or Time to Market is definitely much lower in this case. 

data model overview (compatible?) 

Are the data models of LeanIX and ServiceNow compatible? The answer is definitely yes. 

Common Service Data Model ServiceNow

The Common Service Data Model 3.0 from ServiceNow, which exists in principle since the version Kingston in 2.0, consists of three domains or Service Types out-of-the-box. This is the Business Service for the users deploying and supporting one or more Business Capabilities. Then the Technical Service - as the name suggests, it is best suited for Service Owners and typically underpins a Business or Application Service. And last - Application Services, which is ultimately a logical representation of provided Application Stacks. The Foundation Domain, which was added last and that’s why not in the provided diagram, represents tables that contain base data referenced from or to objects in the other CSDM domains and thus is important for planning.

LeanIX Data Model

In LeanIX it already looks very good and compatible, at least on a conceptual level because in principle, the focus is on Technology Architecture, Information and System Architecture, and Business Architecture. This means that the wording is a bit different here and there, but the underlying model is the same. 

Overview of the scopes of LeanIX and ServiceNow

The provided overview demonstrates how well the two tools can interact. Business Process Architecture stands apart as other tools, such as Signavio or BOC Adonis, make more sense here. Business Capabilities Architecture, Application Architecture and Integration Architecture belong to the core competencies of LeanIX, which they map very well and have a very good handle on, whereas for Software Technology Architecture, Productised Infrastructure Services and Hardware Architecture you would go with ServiceNow, maybe with the exception of Software Technology Architecture, because it is often provided in-house. If the plan is to introduce both, one must think how to efficiently assign the areas depending on other tools already in place.

So the Data Models are compatible. In LeanIX, the Application has relationships to the Fact Sheets, IT Components, Hardware, Software and Technical Stack. That maps, so to speak, to the Hardware and Software Models, Model Categories in Servicenow, which in their turn are “fed” from the installations that are there, that is from the detailed level that we can assign in Software Asset Management and through Service Mapping. The whole thing has to be set up and maintained a little bit, because the models, especially Software Models, have to be well-defined, so that one can transfer them to the right level of detail as well. A good mapping allows the data exchange between ServiceNow and LeanIX to work extremely well.

Talking about the integration of both tools - what to connect to whom and how - it is relatively easy performed via Rest API, via the tables. LeanIX even offers a standard integration that is available via the ServiceNow Store.

our view of things  

In the area of transformation, it is definitely advantageous to work with both tools and simply take the tools for what they are actually intended. Namely, LeanIX is great to control, manage, understand and also communicate the transformation from a higher-level perspective. ServiceNow on the other hand is best to contribute to up-to-dateness, correctness, completeness to give you the ability to understand what the picture looks like before the start, where your standpoint within your project or program is and ultimately helps in the execution of change management.

LeanIX as a SaaS gives you very good tools out-of-the-box which you can really jumpstart with and realize the value very quickly, usually in a couple of weeks. This is a mature product with a good UI/UX, which has already collected much experience and feedback as a specialist in a field. ServiceNow as a PAAS ensures that many recurring things work smoothly. ServiceNow is an all-rounder, which covers almost all areas, but for obvious reasons on a less deeper level.

LeanIX can be set up quickly, whereas ServiceNow is very well-integrated (with other modules of the platform and other tools) which is the de facto standard in this area. LeanIX is more on the planning level and has many graphical representations of time horizons (roadmaps), while ServiceNow is more on the operational level, that is, offers an operations view with a lot of data. While LeanIX has a strong focus on the architecture, but also offers many other possibilities, especially in the direction of collaboration, ServiceNow helps you to feed everything that can or should be done in LeanIX with the right data and information. LeanIX uses collaboration as a measure to collect the data and evaluation of applications; it is a very open and simple tool, where everyone can contribute. ServiceNow is more workflow-based with defined roles and processes, requests and approvals. Here, too, you have to see what fits best your company, its needs, structure and approach you have in your professional field.



Then watch our on-demand webinar "LeanIX and ServiceNow: Seamless Integration of ITSM and EAM", available for free upon registration.

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