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Part 1: Head-to-Head: Jira and ServiceNow - exploring the frontiers of ITSM excellence

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In IT Service Management (ITSM) world, Jira and ServiceNow are two leading platforms designed to streamline business and IT operations. The question is, which one fits your business best?

In this comprehensive comparison, we'll delve into the key features, functionalities, and benefits of Jira and Service now, helping you decide on the ideal ITSM solution for your organization's needs.

What is ITSM (IT Service Management)?

It's worth recalling that ITSM term includes processes, policies, and practices allowing to design, deliver, manage, and improve the quality of IT services in an organization. Such services must be reliable and efficient to meet customer and user (increasingly high) expectations.

ITSM approach involves providing the best practices and frameworks, such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), to optimize service delivery, streamline operations, and enhance the overall customer experience.

The market of ITSM applications is expected to expand to $4.6 billion (in 2023), exhibiting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 2.33%. Growth calculations are based on the ITSM market, encompassing on-premise, hybrid, and cloud implementations.

ITL 4.png

Source: AXELOS, ITIL Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition (2019)

Atlassian Jira (Jira Service Management) for ITSM

Jira is a software developed by Atlassian company. Initially, the project was focused on an issue-tracking and project management tool for software development teams. Later, it evolved into a flexible project management solution with a user-friendly interface. JSM is considered one of the best solutions for ITSM due tto its robust features and customizable workflows, and seamless integration with other Atlassian tools.

Jira Service Management comprehensively meets the requirements of development and business teams. Atlassian (in 2023) has over 250,000 customers. Among them, 83% are on the list of 500 Fortune companies like Twitter, Spotify, BlackRock, and NASA.

ServiceNow for ITSM

ServiceNow is a comprehensive ITSM platform that encompasses various applications and modules. It provides a suite of ITSM features, including incident management, change management, asset management, and knowledge management. ServiceNow goes beyond ITSM to offer solutions for customer service, HR service management, and security operations.As a SaaS ITSM tool, the software meets IT support management needs. ServiceNow clients crossed 12,000, 40% of which are the 2,000 largest (publicly) trade enterprises.

As you can see, both software have strong foundations, and there is no surprise that they are the strongest players in the global market. Nonetheless, these are different. Let's look take a closer look at some key comparison areas and the management of:

  • incidents
  • changes
  • assets
  • knowledge
  • user interface and customization
  • integration and extensibility.

Incident Management

Jira and Incident Management

The software allows users to create and manage incidents, track their progress, and assign them to teams. It's a flexible project management solution with a user-friendly, speedy interface and seamless integration with various Atlassian tools. 

That makes Jira a lightweight and agile incident management approach with customizable approval workflows, change impact and risk assessments as well as schedulling, communication, and collaboration features.

ServiceNow and Incident Management

The tool has many useful functions, e.g., automatic incident detection, categorization, prioritization, and assignment. It also includes SLA management and automated escalation for timely resolution. The solution is a more enterprise-focused ITSM tool.

Jira incident.jpg

Source: Deviniti

incidents ServiceNow.png

Source: AT&T Cybersecurity (

Change Management (Enablement)

Jira's change management capabilities focus mainly on integrating project management and agile development workflows. The tool eases change intake with an intuitive service desk and automation for risk assessment and approval routing. Jira reduces the downstream effects of changes with service configuration management for better visibility into the dependencies between services and infrastructure.

ServiceNow provides advanced features like change approvals, calendars, and risk assessments. It seamlessly integrates with the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to track configuration item changes.

Asset Management

Jira Service Management product offers asset management functionality. The solution provides visibility into dependencies to manage assets and configuration items (CIs), troubleshoot incidents quickly, and minimize the risk of changes.

ServiceNow provides a comprehensive solution with features like asset discovery, inventory management, software license management, and hardware asset tracking.

Knowledge Management

Jira's knowledge management functionalities mainly revolve around Confluence, creating and managing knowledge articles. It's tightly integrated with project management and agile development features.

In other words, Jira leverages the power of Confluence, enabling teams to create and curate articles directly within Jira Service Management projects.

ServiceNow's knowledge base module offers advanced capabilities such as creating knowledge articles, reviewing workflows, and integrating incident and change management. It provides various HTML or Wiki styles depending on the service type.


Knowledge Management in Jira. Source:

knowledge-management servicenow.png

Knowledge Management in ServiceNow. Source:

User Interface and Customization

Jira offers extensive customization options, adding flexibility to different teams and workflows. Its interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Jira integrates well with other Atlassian tools and offers numerous third-party integrations.

ServiceNow provides various integrations, including popular IT tools like Microsoft System Center and VMware vRealize Operations. It also offers APIs and development tools for customization and extension.

Jira vs. ServiceNow: approaches and differencies

ITSM and the business approach

ServiceNow for business

The tool is specifically developed to cater to the needs of the entire organization. Team members can implement additional industry-specific or scope-specific modules or applications to meet the requirements of different service-providing teams. 

While ServiceNow offers extensive configurability (along with increased maintenance costs), its primary focus is not on whether you can do something but on whether it is necessary.

Business processes and Jira Service Management

Based on a DIY (Do It Yourself) approach, 
Jira expands Atlassian's functionality within the extensive DevOps project management offerings.

When discussing Jira Service Management, it's essential to consider the various alternatives available. Depending on the specific needs of different core teams, options such as Jira Software, Confluence, Bitbucket, Opsgenie, and similar tools may be chosen. These tools provide significant documentation, which many customers find advantageous.

Another benefit is the ability to increase the level of complexity as the team grows, with these options adapting and evolving alongside them. With its focus on rapid deployment, Jira Service Management empowers users to establish a functional service desk in a few days. 

Alternatively, they can opt for a more intricate solution to support multiple teams or develop a comprehensive service catalog within 1-3 months.

Self-Service in ITSM

Self ServiceNow

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ServiceNow Servive Portal. Source: ServiceNow

 offers a fully customizable portal that delivers an impressive user experience, supporting seamless mobile functionality and strongly emphasizing knowledge availability. 

Interestingly, both Jira Service Management and ServiceNow have similarities regarding knowledge management, particularly in accessing the knowledge base and promoting self-service. 

For example, specific modules are available for HR, facilitating easy requests for pay time off or information on leave policies.

As a tool built on Angular, ServiceNow provides various options to configure the overall appearance and interface, including widgets and virtual agents integrated within the chat system.

Jira and Self Service Management


Jira Service Management and Theme app, as an example of self-service approach

The Atlassian tool features a convenient customer portal. Although there may be fewer customization options available in the Cloud version, users can still control elements such as titles, the appearance of the banner and logo, and other similar aspects. 

The Jira user interface (UI) is state-of-the-art, resulting in a relatively fixed interface. It seamlessly integrates with Confluence, and its self-service feature is specifically designed to encourage users to utilize the search function.

Furthermore, users are presented with various knowledge-based articles as suggestions, allowing agents to prioritize more critical tasks. Additionally, the tool includes built-in metrics and reports to evaluate the effectiveness of the self-service knowledge-based articles in assisting users with their queries.

For those looking for customization options, the extensive Atlassian Marketplace apps offer various choices, particularly for self-hosted solutions, where the theming capabilities are currently the most comprehensive.


Stay tuned for the second part of this article, where we will continue our analysis of Jira vs ServiceNow and provide a comprehensive comparison to help you choose the right tool for your business needs. 👩‍💻 🧑‍💻



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