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Jira Service Management vs. ServiceNow: the pros and cons

If you’re looking to implement a service desk solution, you may well have asked yourself the question: Jira Service Management or ServiceNow?

Well ponder no more – here’s the lowdown on both solutions…

Jira Service Management and ServiceNow: an overview

Meet Jira Service Management

Jira Service Management is the only customer service software built on Jira, and can be extended via the 1,800+ apps available on the Atlassian Marketplace to fit your needs.

  • Created in 2013, the 1.0 release puts the power of Jira in the hands of service desk teams
  • 25,000+ customers use Jira Service Management worldwide
  • You can get started in minutes with out-of-the-box business templates. The average implementation takes 1.2 months.
  • The license fee is based on the number of agents, not users. It costs $20/agent per month with a Cloud subscription.
  • Jira Service Management Data Center provides advanced high-availability architecture and redundancy

Discover ServiceNow

ServiceNow is an ITSM solution that offers a plethora of modules and full ITSM/ITIL capabilities.

  • Created in 2004 as the first modern SaaS ITSM tool
  • According to the company itself, “ServiceNow is the third biggest SaaS company on the planet”
  • The tool boasts 3300+ customers worldwide with a renewal rate of 97% in October 2016
  • ServiceNow’s offering completely covers ITSM/ITIL capabilities
  • The average implementation takes 4.2 months
  • Its license fee is $100/agent per month
  • ServiceNow provides advanced high-availability architecture and redundancy

Jira Service Management or ServiceNow?

Features: pragmatic solution or full ITIL coverage?


ServiceNow offers full ITIL coverage with a plethora of modules specific to service desks: incident and problem, change, CMDB, service level, service portfolio, service catalog and request, social IT: chat and live. Jira Service Management has the most important features out-of-the-box: great service level agreement, queues, request types, reports, workflow, permissions, roles and more.
ServiceNow only has basic reporting and dashboard capabilities. Customers in search of business value-based reporting must purchase third-party solutions. Jira Service Management has all-in-one ticketing, reporting, filtering, dashboards and more.
200 apps from 118 partners complement the ServiceNow offering. The Atlassian Marketplace provides over 600 extensions for Jira Service Desk.

Pricing: Jira Service Management is much cheaper


ServiceNow’s license fee is $100 per user per month. Jira Service Management starts at $10 per year for up to three agents.
ServiceNow’s customers with fewer than 35 agents require a partner-delivered solution. Jira Service Management can be implemented by yourself, whether you have a one or 10,000 agent instance.
Organizations without in-house developers and capabilities struggle to manage implementations and configurations, and may have to pay for third-party assistance Easy to manage and configure, you don’t need expert assistance to kick-start Jira Service Management.
ServiceNow could cost hundreds of thousands! Even the unlimited license tier for Jira Service Management is only $49,500 (for 250+ agents).

Ergonomics: screenshots speak for themselves


Service Now’s user interface isn’t quite as modern. Plus, with menus, submenus and options everywhere, it’s not quite as intuitive as Jira Service Desk. The customer portal uses sleek icons and a natural language that non-technical end-users can understand.

Jira Service Management’s admin interface is extremely powerful, flexible and configurable to support the IT team.

Another win for Jira Service Management! Atlassian’s product offers a simpler and more intuitive interface.

Platform: heavyweight vs Agile


ServiceNow releases a new version twice a year. Jira Service Management provides three to four major releases per year (plus several bug fixing releases).
For every ServiceNow customer instance, three machines are spun up –  one database and two application servers. Jira Service Management can run on a single server!
ServiceNow has been a leader in the ITSM field for over 10 years. Atlassian has only four years experience as an ITSM provider (but capitalizes on 10+ years of success in ALM).
ServiceNow is only available on cloud. Jira Service Management is available on cloud and on premise.

And what about DevOps?

As a major player in ALM, Atlassian offers a tightly integrated experience for IT and Dev teams with its two flagship products: Jira Software and Jira Service Management. Tickets created by IT teams in Jira Service Management can easily be linked to Jira Software tickets seen by the development team, thus leading to a better collaboration. It is a major advantage for teams wishing to go the DevOps way!


So… which one to choose?

If you’re looking for a full ITIL coverage (whether it’s because you want to be compliant, please your CIO, or because you believe it will allow you to leverage industry best practices), then ServiceNow is the way to go.

At Valiantys, we believe that sometimes less is more, and that having a solution that offers only what you truly need at an affordable price is probably a better choice (especially as experience has shown us that most ITSM customers only use a small portion of the features of bloated ITSM solutions).

Want to discover more about Jira Service Management? Get in touch!


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