ServiceNow Development Report 2021 – Newly Released

Table of Contents

The Quality Clouds 2021 ServiceNow Development Report is out! This year’s report is more comprehensive than ever before, with brand new stats and more in-depth trends. With data from over 127 different instances, the report takes a deep dive into industry trends, highlights common ServiceNow platform issues and provides a view of the average instance.

With 2020 being the year of the rise of remote working, SaaS platforms like ServiceNow became more important than ever before, taking on a central role against challenges such as COVID-19. In our analysis below we’ll take a brief look at some of the most interesting trends to emerge from the report!


Platform Growth

Despite everything, ServiceNow platforms actually grew on average compared to last year. The average increase was 58,000 lines of code. Which is even more impressive when put into the context, that that’s an average increase that is up nearly 20,000 on last year’s amount added. This is something that ServiceNow teams should rightly be proud of, having put in significant effort to keep critical business operations running at a vital time for their companies.

Having said that, the range of both increases and decreases in functionality was up enormously on last year. While some instances grew 3 times more than anything we saw last year, others cut back on functionality by around 3 times more than last year as well. 2020 was certainly a year which saw a lot of change on a larger scale.


Technical Debt

So if growth was up, how about platform quality? This is a mixed picture. Among those not tackling quality issues at source, we saw a 33% increase in technical debt. This is also then reflected in the maintenance of such instances increasing at a similar rate. If you do not already have solutions in place for both monitoring and preventing this increase, this is something you may want to keep in mind.

On the other hand, the majority of our customers were seeing some much more promising trends. Though their platform growth was up 52%, they saw only an average of 18 hours of technical debt added. Nearly a third of the instances scanned actually saw decreases in their technical debt. Especially those who made heavy use of our real time code checking functionality saw.


Security Vulnerabilities

One alarming discovery we found was around open source libraries. 60% of the instances we scanned had taken advantage of open source libraries. While properly managed they can certainly prove a useful tool. Anecdotally however, we have run across examples of platform owners being unaware of their existence in the past until they appeared on one of our scans. Given that they are so accessible to the public for exploits, this lack of knowledge is concerning.

What is more concerning is that of the instances using open source libraries, 90% of them aren’t up to date. In fact, 50% of them haven’t been updated since 2014. Some were as far out of date as 2010. The security implications of this cannot be overstated. These are some very public vulnerabilities which seem to be affecting a large number of instances. We’d recommend all ServiceNow teams review this matter as a top priority.



These are just a few of the highlights you will find in the full The Quality Clouds 2021 ServiceNow Development Report. You’ll find information on trends such as out of the box deviation, release adoption speeds, and most ignored ServiceNow best practices. There’s also a lot more, with in-depth charts and tables. With them, you can plan ahead for the year and benchmark yourself against your contemporaries.

To get these insights into how ServiceNow platforms developed in 2020, you can download the full report here.


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Quality Clouds was created to address a significant gap in the tech industry: the challenge developers face with Salesforce and ServiceNow deployments. Identifying the risks of working on unknown systems, our founders sought to empower developers with essential insights for quality and governance in SaaS projects.

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