JIRA Service Desk vs ServiceNow: the pros and cons

Posted by
Julie d'ANTIN

November 1, 2016

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

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

Jira Service Desk and ServiceNow: an overview

Meet JIRA Service Desk

JIRA Service Desk is the only customer service software built on JIRA, and can be extended via the 1,800+ add-ons 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 Desk worldwide
  • You can get started in minutes with out-of-the-box business templates, the average implementation takes 1,2 month.
  • The license fee is based on number of agents, not users 
  • JSD 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 per user per month
  • ServiceNow provides advanced high-availability architecture and redundancy

Jira Service Desk or ServiceNow?

Features: pragmatic solution or full ITIL coverage?

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ServiceNow offers full ITIL coverage with a plethora of modules specific to service desks: incident and problem, change, CMDB, service level, service portfolio, service catalogue and request, social IT: chat and live. JIRA Service Desk 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 Desk 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 Desk is much cheaper

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ServiceNow’s license fee is $100 per user per month. JIRA Service Desk 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 Desk can be implemented by yourself, whether you have a one or 10,000 agent instance.
Organisations 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 kickstart JIRA Service Desk.
ServiceNow could cost hundreds of thousands, or into the millions! Even the unlimited license tier for JIRA Service Desk is only $45,000 (for 250+ agents).

Ergonomics: screenshots speak for themselves

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

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

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

Platform: heavyweight vs Agile

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ServiceNow releases a new version twice a year. JIRA Service Desk 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 Desk can run on a single server!
ServiceNow has been a leader in the ITSM field for over 10 years. Atlassian has only three year’s experience as an ITSM provider (but capitalises on 10+ years of success in ALM).
ServiceNow is only available on premise JIRA Service Desk is available on cloud and on premise

So… which one to choose?

If you’re looking for a full ITIL coverage (whether it’s because you want to be compliant to 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 your 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 Desk?