The Road to Kingston: Announcements (Part 1 of 3)

In this 3 part series, we’ll take a deeper look into the new Service Portal features found in the ServiceNow Kingston release.

Part 1 – Announcements
Part 2 – Route Maps
Part 3 – Order Guides

Link to official ServiceNow Kingston Service Portal Release Notes


Announcements for Service Portal

One of the new features Kingston has to offer is the out-of-box support for announcements in Service Portal. No longer do you need to hack together your own implementation of a News Knowledge Base category to display within the Service Portal. The new Announcements feature gives you a extensive control over the look and feel of an announcement, as well as the content and routing for that announcement. In the rest of this article, we’ll go through the new configuration records for Announcements, as well as some of the cool configuration settings that are included.

When To Use Announcements

There are a number of use cases for announcements, such as informing employees of:

  • A critical outage
  • New employee health benefits information
  • An upcoming planned maintenance window
Feature Highlights
  • Standard styles: Style announcements by creating custom style records where you can set the background color, foreground color, etc.
  • Announcement window: Provide From and To date fields to determine the lifetime of an announcement
  • Portal specific announcements: Select which portal you’d like the announcements to display on
  • Configurable links: Add a link to an existing portal page or custom URL
  • Configurable dismissal: Control whether users have the ability to dismiss the notification

New Configuration Records

The following configuration records have been added to ServiceNow to provide support for the new Announcements feature:

New Tables
  • Announcement [announcement] – Stores announcement information
  • Announcement Style [announcement_style] – This table stores a few out-of-box styling configurations for the Announcements widget and allows users to create their own styles
  • Announcement Consumer Type [announcement_consumer_type] – Stores the Consumer Type values of Banner and Widget
  • Portal Announcements [m2m_announcement_portal] – Stores mapping between Announcement record and Portal record
  • Dismissed Announcements [m2m_dismissed_announcement] – Stores mapping between User record and Announcement record
announcement-schema
Table Schema Map with Announcement Table in Focus
New Module
  • Announcements [Service Portal > Announcements]
Announcements Module
Announcements Module
New Role
  • announcement_admin – Maintain Service Portal Announcements including creating and deleting.

Exploring The Announcement Form

Announcement Form with Test Record
Announcement Form with Test Record

Most of the fields are self-explanatory but there are a few things worth mentioning:

  • Type field: Contains a watchlist for Announcement Consumers. This is used to tell Service Portal where to render the announcement.
  • Display style field: A reference to the Announcement Styles table, where you can define the look and feel of an announcement by creating or modifying existing styles.
  • Click target field: This field is used to determine if the announcement is clickable, and if so where the user will be routed to. Options include a Service Portal Page record or a custom URL.
  • Dismiss options field: Used to determine if a Service Portal user can dismiss the announcement.
  • Portals related list: If there is no Portal record associated with the announcement, by default, the announcement will show on all portals. If a Portal record is provided, the announcement will only show on those Portals that have been specified.
An Example Announcement using the Out-of-Box Style Record
An Example Announcement using the Out-of-Box Style Record
Consumer Types

When it comes to displaying announcements in the Service Portal, administrators have 2 options. The first option is the Announcements banner feature and the second option is the new out-of-box Announcements widget, where you can define exactly where in a page the Announcement should be displayed. Given the nature of an announcement, this is generally what you’d like the user to see first, which is why it is included in the header for the Portal. The image below shows the 2 display options, which are references to the same Announcement record.

Announcement Being Displayed in 2 Separate Locations
Announcement Being Displayed in 2 Separate Locations
Announcement Styles

Looking to change the default blue announcement background to a color that matches your company’s color palette? This can easily be accomplished by creating a new Announcement Style record, which is where you can define the following configurations:

  1. Background color
  2. Foreground color (text color)
  3. Alignment (left aligned or center aligned text)
Custom NewRocket Announcement Style
Custom NewRocket Announcement Style

Final Thoughts

Although it’s a little frustrating that the Announcements feature cannot be modified since it’s injected behind the scenes before the header of the Service Portal, overall it’s a step in the right direction. The Announcement Styles and Portal related list on the Announcement record was a great architectural decision.

What We Like
  • Flexibility of Announcement styles
  • Control over the display of an Announcement by the Portal related list on the Announcement record
  • From and To fields for an easy-to-maintain announcement lifespan
  • User dismissal options
What Could Be Improved
  • The Announcement banner is injected above the top of the page, so you have no control over the placement and limited options for styling
  • The ability to provide an Angular template would have been a nice added feature

10 comments

  1. As always it you point the good things! I look forward to Kingston and Announcements. Oh hey one other thing I am excited about is the new plugin — Service Portal – Service Catalog v2 “Service Catalog widgets for Service Portal” I’m very happy about the Now Order Guides Widget! This would be a good topic too 🙂

    1. Thanks Matt, and yes completely agree. The new Order Guides are sooooo much better. I will add that to the list of topics!

    1. I’m familiar with the plugin, but I haven’t used it with Service Portal as I think there are other plugins better suited for working with Angular.js.

  2. Hi Nathan,

    Is there possibility to link the new announcement feature to email announcements so users can fill in one form and it would display the announcement and also send an email to a list of users?

    We use our portals to be customer facing and this is on our road map to try and implement. It maybe the OOTB new features would work if we could achieve this.

    Also is it possible to relaunch the announcement banner whenever an update is done to a notification?

    Thanks

    Sam

    1. Would you be able to create a Business Rule to handle this use case? In other words, whenever an active announcement goes live (relative to the “from” field), an event is trigger to send an email notification. Would that work?

  3. Thanks for the above, I can see how that would work.
    Do you know if there is an option to add an update to a banner so that the banner would re-appear for a user?
    Example – we put an announcement on to explain we have an outage
    User dismisses the announcement so it no longer appears at the top of the page
    we then want to add an update to the announcement
    we would want the announcement to reappear with the update

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