Problem Management: ServiceNow - Manage Outages in ServiceNow (System Status)

This article is an overview of the Outage Management tools in ServiceNow.

This article will help you complete the following:

Outage Types

  1. Outage: An unplanned disruption that prevents users from using a service or makes a service inaccessible. This type of outage should always be associated with a problem record, but not all problems require that an outage be created. If a problem does not affect usability, then an outage may not be necessary at all.
  2. Degradation: An unplanned disruption that renders a service only partially usable or at operable but at reduced capacity. A problem should always be associated with this type of outage.
  3. Planned Outage: A scheduled maintenance event that temporarily renders a service unavailable or available but at diminished capacity. This type of outage should always be associated with a change record, but not all change records require that an outage be created. If a change does not affect usability, then an outage may not be necessary at all.
  4. System Note: This type of outage is meant to alert users that a service offering is undergoing maintenance but with no noticeable affect on usability. A change record is almost always associated with this type of outage but a problem record could also be in some rare circumstances.

Who Should Create an Outage and When

ServiceNow does not restrict who can create an outage, but the responsibility to create an outage record belongs to the service owner, help desk managerproblem manager or problem coordinator. In the case of a planned outage, once the change request has been approved an outage record should be created. In the case of an unplanned outage or degradation, an outage record should be created once the scope and nature of the disruption has been ascertained.

Creating an Outage

The instructions below can be used to create outages. 

  1. An outage should always originate from a problem or change record, depending on the type of outage.
    • Planned Outages typically originate form a change record.
    • Unplanned Outages and Degradations should typically originate from a problem record.
  2. Click the Additional Actions (hamburger) menu on the problem or change form header and select Create Outage.
    Arrow pointing towards Additional Actions menu, menu is open with Create Outage option highlighted.
  3. Select the Type of outage (see above for a description of each type).
  4. Enter a brief, customer friendly Message to describe the nature of the outage to end users.
  5. Verify the Start Date but do not enter an End Date - that will be specified when the outage actually ends.
    • If you wish to provide an estimate of the outage duration, do so in the Message field.
  6. When you are finished, click Save & Go. You will be returned to the problem or change form depending on which form you were viewing when you created the outage.

Updating an Outage

  1. Navigate to the Problem or Change Record containing the outage you wish to update
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the record and click the tab for Task Outages (there should be a number in parenthesis, if not, no outage exists)
  3. Click on the label under Type to open the Outage Record
    Outage highlighted
  4. Update the Message field and then click Save

The message will update the Service Status page

Ending an Outage

When the service is no longer being affected by the maintenance or disruption, the outage may be ended.

  1. Navigate to the relevant change or problem record.
  2. Scroll down to the Current Service/TechnologyOutages or the Task Outages list/tab and select the outage.
    task outage screen
  3. On the outage form, click the End Outage Now. The End date field will be automatically populated with the current date and time.
  4. If an outage record was created in error you may cancel an outage, click Cancel Outage.
    • NOTE: cancelling an outage will set the outage Type field to 'Cancelled' and in order to maintain accurate reporting it should only be used in situations where the outage was created erroneously.

How to Find Out About Outages

There are primarily two sources of information about outages in ServiceNow: The outage modules in the Application Navigator (left-hand menu) or the Service Subscription Gauges.

  • In the Application Navigator menu on the left-hand side of the ServiceNow interface, select Self-Service > IT Service Status to view a number of modules setup to filter the various current and scheduled outages (see above for a description of each outage type). "Active" is defined as an outage with a Begin date at some point in the past and an End Date in the past.
    • All Affected Services: All currently-active outages, regardless of type. This includes planned outages that are in effect at the present time.
    • Degraded Services: Services currently experiencing degraded performance or capacity.
    • 30-Day Maintenance Preview: Planned Outages and System Notes that are currently active or scheduled to occur within the next 30 days.
    • Service Outages: Outages of the "Outage" type that are currently active.
    • Recent Service Activity: Outages of all types with a Begin or End date in the previous 60 days.
      it service status drop down selected
  • With the Dashboards feature in ServiceNow, you can add gauges to custom dashboards that show the health of a particular Service Offering. To add Availability Gauges:
    • Edit your dashboard
    • Select the Service Offering widget
    • Select your desired Service Offering
    • Click Add Widget.
      widget menu with service offerings selected