ServiceNow is a great cloud service. Although it offers some reporting capabilities, many ServiceNow customers have complicated requirements on reporting or business analytics. Either the ServiceNow reporting is not sufficient for them, or their corporate standard is a different BI or reporting solution. Many of our customers use Tableau. It is a leading BI tool, powerful and easy to use. Let’s have a look at how to configure Tableau to use ServiceNow data and to perform some analysis. The same approach would apply to QlikView, SAS Advanced Analytics or SAP Business Objects.
Generally it is not a good idea to connect Tableau to a ServiceNow instance directly (i.e. live) for several reasons:
The solution is rather simple. Replicate the ServiceNow data into a traditional database and connect Tableau to that database (e.g. Oracle, SQL Server, etc.). This guide will show you how to configure SnowMirror with a MySQL database and how to create a simple incident report using Tableau and the downloaded data.
You need a database where the replicated data will be stored. Use a database you like or which one is your corporate standard. SnowMirror supports all widely known DB vendors. In this guide I will use MySQL (in fact MariaDB). It is easy to create a database instance, just do not forget to configure UTF-8 encoding because all ServiceNow strings use UTF-8. You can create a DB user for the database too.
Imagine your goal is to create several reports in Tableau on Incident Management process. Imagine some crosstabs on incidents by assignment groups, trends of critical incidents or even a map with incident locations. That would require you to have data of the following tables:
Data synchronization from ServiceNow into MySQL using SnowMirror is really simple:
You can read more about many SnowMirror features in the User Guide.
So now the data is in your MySQL (or any other) database. It is very straightforward to create a Tableau data source. This is neither ServiceNow nor SnowMirror specific. It is just a standard Tableau way of connecting to a relational database.
On the next screen your goal is to build a data source. Again a standard Tableau way of connecting tables. It only requires you to understand the ServiceNow data model.
Voila! Now you have all the data you need in your local (or corporate) database, the data is being regularly updated, so you can create reports on live data (not only extracts). I have prepared a simple map showing incidents in the U.S. cities. The size of each city is a number of incidents and the colors in the pie chart shows priority distribution.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are ready to help you with any SnowMirror & Tableau related questions.