Jira vs ServiceNow A Detailed Head-to-Head Comparison

Jira vs ServiceNow: A Detailed Head-to-Head Comparison

Jira and ServiceNow are well-known names in issue tracking and service delivery. Each service desk software offers tools to streamline business processes, foster collaboration, and improve service efficiency.

The benefit of an ITSM platform is easy to imagine:  It can help IT teams swiftly detect and tackle incidents, capture change requests, release product or service upgrades, and improve service efficiency and delivery. 

However, choosing just one is tricky, and you want to be very sure of your choice before you put in the effort of implementing a platform. To help you make a strategic choice, we bring you a Jira vs. ServiceNow comparison that dissects the strengths and weaknesses of each ITSM platform.

We also share alternatives that promise the next level of IT service excellence.

What is Jira?

Jira Service Management dashboard
Jira Service Management dashboard via Atlassian

Jira is an issue and project tracking software developed by Atlassian. It was initially designed to aid agile software development teams but evolved to cater to different industry requirements. Teams across many industries use Jira for planning, tracking, and managing their workflows and processes.

Among the many products and services offered, Jira Service Management is an IT Service Management (ITSM) tool. Formerly known as Jira Service Desk, Jira Service Management connects developers, IT, and business teams for faster goal achievement. 

Jira Service Management pricing

The monthly pricing for cloud deployment of Jira Service Management for a team of three agents is as below:

  • Free: $0
  • Standard: $22.05 per agent
  • Premium: $49.35 per agent
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

What is ServiceNow?

ServiceNow ITSM dashboard
ServiceNow ITSM dashboard

ServiceNow is a comprehensive platform for managing customer experience, improving cybersecurity, boosting employee experience, and transforming digital operations. Simply put, it is a productivity tool to help teams achieve business objectives.

Like Jira, ServiceNow offers a variety of products and services. For the purpose of this blog and parity in our comparison of ServiceNow and Jira, we will be focusing on the IT Service Management (ITSM) product from ServiceNow. ServiceNow IT Service Management comprises several features similar to Jira Service Management.

ServiceNow IT Service Management pricing

Custom pricing

Jira vs ServiceNow: Features Compared

Both ServiceNow and Jira Service Management have some features in common. At the same time, they also carry distinct features typical to a specific platform. We’ll compare the features of both through the lens of similarities and differences to make this Jira vs. ServiceNow comparison as comprehensive as possible.

ServiceNow ITSM vs Jira Service Management: Common features

Let’s start with the commonalities. These include:

Request Management

A typical service request workflow
A typical service request workflow
via Manage Engine

Both ServiceNow ITSM and Jira Service Management come with request management to handle, process, and fulfill employee, user, or customer requests. The key common elements include:

  • Service catalog: Users or customers can select from this library of predefined products and services
  • User portal: A user-friendly, self-servicing portal where users can search for solutions or submit and track their service requests
  • Categorization and prioritization: Classification of requests based on urgency, type, or any other criteria to facilitate effective handling
  • Workflow automation: Task automation with configurable workflows with requisite steps and approvals required
  • Tracking and Reporting: A mechanism to track the status of the requests and report on overall request handling performance

They also feature AI-powered tools—a chatbot embedded into the user portals for ServiceNow ITSM and virtual agents integrated into the Jira Service Management solution. These leverage technologies like NLP (Natural Language Processing) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to deliver conversational intelligence in request handling.

Incident Management

A typical incident management workflow
A typical incident management workflow
via Tech Target

Incident management involves a structured series of ITSM processes for identifying, logging, prioritizing, and resolving unexpected disruptions. Both platforms feature dedicated tools to manage incidents effectively. These include:

  • Incident identification and logging: Users can log incidents across multiple channels, such as emails, self-service portals, etc., to capture information related to the incident, such as its nature or impact
  • Categorization and prioritization: Not all incidents require equal attention. Hence, this feature classifies incidents based on their nature, impact on operations, and other parameters. High-priority incidents are auto-assigned to mitigate their impact
  • Collaboration and communication: These tools allow IT teams to collaborate and communicate to expedite incident resolution. They may also use these collaboration and communication tools to inform and educate customers or stakeholders
  • Incident workflow management: Configurable workflows define the end-to-end incident management cycle, from initial logging to investigation to diagnosis to resolution. They offer structure to incident management and help assign tasks or track incidents efficiently
  • SLA management: Service Level Agreements (SLAs) ensure that incidents are resolved within a predefined timeline and as per service quality standards

ServiceNow ITSM takes incident management to the next level with AIOps integration to reduce incidents using built-in machine learning and contextual help to resolve incidents with minimum latency.

Problem Management

Problem management
A problem is a collection of recurring incidents
via Science Soft

While incident management focuses on a specific event and its quick and efficient resolution, problem management evaluates the root cause of recurring incidents and underlying problems. Problem management on Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM involves the following key aspects:

  • Problem identification: Detect patterns of recurring incidents or significant issues that may highlight a deeper problem. Automated monitoring systems, incident analytics, and users often contribute to problem-logging and identification
  • Root cause analysis: IT professionals conduct a thorough investigation to identify the root cause of a problem. Such investigation may involve cross-functional collaboration, multi-faceted diagnostic tools, detailed documentation, etc., to zero down on the root cause
  • Known error database: This database contains a list of known errors and their resolutions. It acts as a contextual knowledge base and a single system of record for support teams to identify and address incidents linked to a problem quickly
  • Change management integration: Since problem resolution may trigger changes to the IT environment or workflows, change management ensures that such changes are implemented in a controlled and coordinated manner to minimize risks

In addition to the above, Jira Service Management offers workarounds using Atlassian products like Confluence.

Change Management

A typical change management workflow
A typical change management workflow
via ServiceNow

Change management is a well-defined process for planning, implementing, and controlling changes to an IT system or service. Effective change management injects resilience and adaptability into the IT development process, which seeps into the end product or service.

Here’s what Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM offer within the ambit of change management:

  • Change request creation: Users, IT professionals, or service teams can submit a change request by proposing modifications to IT services, systems, applications, and configurations. The request will contain information such as the reason for the change, primary purpose, potential impact, etc.
  • Change approval workflows: Customizable workflows that guide change requests through predefined stages such as submission, review, approval, and implementation to process them in a controlled manner. It also ensures that the change request has obtained requisite permissions before implementation
  • Impact analysis: Service teams perform impact analyses to evaluate the potential effects and consequences on the existing systems, configurations, and systems to enable risk assessment and planning
  • Release management: Both platforms support release planning and management for the coordinated and controlled release of large-scale or multi-stage changes. 

Apart from this, ServiceNow offers distinct and comprehensive change management capabilities, which we’ll discuss in the differences between Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM.

Configuration Management Database

Configuration Management Database
A CMDB contains comprehensive details on various CIs
via Pink Elephant

Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is a centralized repository of all configuration items (CIs) of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Such a unified, single platform offers a holistic view of all the IT assets and their particulars.

CMDB supports ITSM processes using the following features:

  • Configuration items: CIs are records of individual items in the IT infrastructure, such as software applications, networking devices, servers, etc.
  • Relationship mapping: It contains information on how two distinct CIs are related to each other
  • Impact analysis: It evaluates the potential impact of changes or incidents on different CIs within the environment
  • Dependency tracking: It identifies dependencies between different CIs to illustrate their interconnected nature
  • Versioning and history: It keeps track of all the changes and maintains a history of configurations
  • Integration with business processes: Integration of CMDB with different business processes supports workflows and activities like change management, incident management, problem management, service mapping, etc.

Both ServiceNow ITSM and Jira Service Management come with robust CMDB to establish a single source of truth. However, it is worth noting that CMDB is only available in the Premium and Enterprise plans of the Jira software.

Asset Management

Asset management best practices
Follow best ITAM practices to keep tabs on all your assets via ITSM Docs

ServiceNow ITSM and Jira Service Management offer asset management for the systematic tracking, optimization, and maintenance of companies’ IT assets throughout their lifecycle. Effective asset management helps organizations become profitable, productive, cost-efficient, and compliant through the following features:

  • Asset discovery: Identify and catalog all IT assets, including hardware devices, software applications, and configurations
  • Inventory management: Maintain a centralized inventory of IT assets for monitoring. The database also keeps track of details such as ownership, location, and ownership of the asset
  • Configuration management: Manage configurations of the IT assets to ensure that they meet the requirements and standards of the organization
  • Software license management: Monitor and handle software licenses to ensure compliance, optimize usage, and mitigate risks
  • Lifecycle management: Track the asset throughout its lifecycle, from procurement to disposal or retirement. Such information can also be invaluable in optimizing asset usage and carrying out regular maintenance

Once again, Asset Management is available only in the Premium and Enterprise plans of the Jira software.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management
Knowledge management is discovering value to use and reuse
via Invgate

Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM leverage knowledge management capabilities to empower users and service teams. It involves the systematic creation, organization, and sharing of information and insights using a centralized repository for documentation, solutions, articles, etc.

The key features include:

  • Knowledge base creation: Author, create, and compile knowledge articles using a built-in editor to document best practices, problem solutions, and troubleshooting steps with the help of all stakeholders
  • Content organization: Organize all knowledge articles into logical categories and topics to facilitate easy navigating, search, and retrieval
  • Version control: Deploy versioning to track changes to the knowledge articles and ensure that the information is accurate, relevant, and up-to-date
  • Collaboration and contribution: Involve different teams to work together in creating or improving knowledge articles to foster an environment of continuous improvement
  • Self-servicing: Integrate knowledge base with self-servicing portals to empower users and customers to locate solutions independently and reduce the volume of support requests

Both platforms leverage technology like AI and ML to make knowledge accessible, available, and understandable.

ServiceNow ITSM vs Jira Service Management: Notable differences

Similarities aside, let’s examine how ServiceNow ITSM and Jira Service Management are distinct.

Change Management (Winner: ServiceNow ITSM)

We’ve already talked about the change management capabilities of Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM.

Jira Service Management offers the typical features—change requests, risk assessment, approvals, automation, deployment tracking, change plans, and change calendar. However, ServiceNow ITSM takes a more detail-oriented approach to making changes a reality. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

  • Change success score: A numeric score based on which low-risk changes can be automated for timely and efficient change management
  • Change Advisory Board: Set up a Change Advisory Board (CAB) workbench to meet and deliberate on high-risk changes
  • Risk intelligence: ML-based algorithms to make data-driven risk predictions while managing changes
  • Concurrent change management: Orchestrate or view changes using an interactive timeline calendar to schedule blackouts, maintenance schedules, and planned changes

Such features put ServiceNow ITSM a step ahead of Jira Service Management.

Artificial Intelligence Implementation (Winner: ServiceNow ITSM)

Both Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM leverage AI tools in some capacity. The former uses Atlassian Intelligence, available on the Atlassian Marketplace, to integrate proprietary and OpenAI technologies. The latter uses Now Assist, a generative AI tool, to aid IT service management, customer service management, HR service delivery, and more.

Naturally, the scope and applicability of Now Assist is broader than Atlassian Intelligence. As a generative AI solution, Now Assist can help with case summarization, content creation, and code development. As such, they empower agents, employees, customers, and dev teams simultaneously.

In contrast, the AI-powered virtual agent on Jira Service Management is primarily used to address customer questions and resolve issues. This grants ServiceNow an edge over Jira Service Management.

Enterprise Service Management (Winner: Jira Service Management)

Individually, Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM are powerful and equally capable enterprise service management solutions. They can be useful for multimodal operations management across business teams, be it HR, finance, legal, marketing, customer service, etc.

To maintain such versatility, they offer out-of-the-box modules for the different service domains so that customers can expand their capabilities. The unified platform lends consistency to business operations management regardless of the team or department.

However, Jira Service Management takes the cake for organizations that follow Agile methodologies or DevOps practices. It also helps that Jira Service Management integrates seamlessly with the larger Jira ecosystem to cover more products and services from the Atlassian marketplace for smoother project management.

Ease of Use (Winner: Jira Service Management)

To compare the ease of use of Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM, we turned to various third-party review websites to capture first-hand experiences. For reference, we’ve used Gartner, G2, and Capterra for a well-rounded and well-informed assessment. We selected the ‘ease of use’ or ‘user interface’ filter, wherever available, to get an idea of the learning curve involved.

Reviewers on Gartner hailed ServiceNow ITSM for its ease of use, while Jira Service Management received comparatively mixed reviews, although leaning on the positive end of the spectrum. On G2, ServiceNow ITSM users were largely happy with the UI, but some expressed issues, calling it complex and difficult to navigate. For the UI of Jira software, the response on G2 was resoundingly positive.

Finally, ServiceNow ITSM attracts a lot of flak from reviewers on Capterra, primarily due to the learning curve and the lack of intuitiveness of the UI. On the other hand, Jira Service Management wins customer favor on Capterra.

In essence, the Jira ITSM tool appears to be more user-friendly and easy to use than its ServiceNow counterpart.

Pricing (Winner: Jira Service Management)

Jira Service Management is a clear winner, considering how the ITSM solution has openly and transparently displayed its pricing and plans. Even though ServiceNow ITSM promises to tailor its quote depending on organization size, requirements, etc., the fact remains that the platform fails to divulge any detail on the pricing and the plans. 

And so, Jira wins in this ITSM space.

Integrations and Customizations (Winner: Tied)

Jira Service Management integrates seamlessly with the Atlassian ecosystem and other third-party platforms and applications.

You can visit the Atlassian Marketplace and select the third-party tool of your choice. It also grants a wide range of customization capabilities to create customer workflows, screens, intake forms, etc. As a developer-friendly platform, Jira makes its documentation and API readily available for customization and integration.

ServiceNow ITSM is equally loaded with integrations due to its built-in connectors for enterprise systems and compatibility with third-party platforms. The ServiceNow Store is a marketplace for apps and integrations. The main USP of ServiceNow ITSM lies in its ability to offer low-code customization. By making the development environment more visual and interactive, ServiceNow ITSM democratizes the development process.

Such comparable performance makes it tough to choose a winner.

Community Support and Ecosystem (Winner: Tied)

Both Jira and ServiceNow host a thriving community of users and experts.

The ServiceNow Community boasts over 560,000 members and nearly 2.5 million posts. The community is further divided into product hubs, industry groups, and user discussions for quick navigation.

Jira has an Atlassian Community that serves the entire Atlassian product suite, including Jira Service Management. You can post questions, participate in discussions, and learn from articles and videos.

Since both communities actively engage with users, there is no clear winner between ServiceNow ITSM and Jira Service Management.

Jira vs. ServiceNow on Reddit

Finally, we took to Reddit to understand what end users think of Jira and ServiceNow.

Here’s a paraphrased version of what we found about Jira on the ITIL sub:

The upgraded Jira Service Desk, now Jira Service Management, addressed the previous limitation by offering built-in ITIL compliance and streamlined processes. While it’s free for small teams and supports easy adjustments, it has limited out-of-the-box reporting with complexities in setting up more advanced configurations. Although one can tackle it with specialized expertise.”

Someone who has used Jira for five years had this to say about the tool on the IT Managers sub:

Having used Jira Service Management for IT and customer service, the platform is extremely versatile, especially when it comes to automation. Despite a few limitations on time-based functions compared to pricier alternatives, Jira effectively manages multiple functions within a single project using custom workflows and issue types. The only major setback is that each project has only one email address associated with it, but there is a workaround for it. Would definitely recommend it above software like ServiceNow and Zendesk.

When a user posted a query on the sysadmin sub on why people use ServiceNow ITSM, the top comment was this:

Because I have to, and no I don’t!

It needs an awful amount of time, money, and expertise, and then again to keep it maintained, to set it up so that is useful. Sadly this happens far too rarely! The only people I meet who think it’s good are the people who made the decision to buy it!”

When you look for a comparison between the two, you will find that Jira Service Manager is favorably received primarily because of its cost-effectiveness.

Users also like the agility Jira Service Management injects into business operations. Cost is a major turn-off for adopting ServiceNow ITSM, and it might suit only large enterprises with the budget and bandwidth to engage dedicated resources to manage ServiceNow.

Meet ClickUp—The Best Alternative to ServiceNow and Jira

Now that we’ve taken a long and hard look at the ITSM solution, it is time to explore the alternatives to Jira Service Management and ServiceNow ITSM.

Let us present ClickUp—a powerful project management and productivity tool with IT Service Management capabilities. Here’s an overview of its many features that extend such capabilities:

Rich, Interactive Dashboards

ClickUp 3.0 Dashboard Simplified
Get meaningful insights from ClickUp’s rich and engaging dashboards

ClickUp sports rich and interactive dashboards that allow service and dev teams to gain a high-level view of the project and its key metrics. With over 50 widgets to customize the ClickUp Dashboard, it is a single platform for gaining meaningful insights. Have your dashboard your way!

Multiple Project Views

Project Milestones in ClickUp Gantt View
Visualize your project the way you want with ClickUp

With ClickUp, you get to view your project in multiple ways. From Gantt Charts to Timeline to Board Views to Calendars, such different project views adapt according to the varying requirements of the IT team and other stakeholders. The heterogeneity lends versatility to ITSM.

Actionable Intake Forms

Conditional Logic in ClickUp Forms Product Feedback Example
Interactive intake forms on ClickUp for you to customize

Since request management is an integral part of ITSM business processes, ClickUp simplifies it using actionable intake forms. With the ClickUp Form View, you can prepare customizable forms to capture specific information related to your ITSM workflows. By lending structure, context, and coherence to incoming requests, ClickUp makes request management, issue tracking, and incident management much easier.

Workflow Automation

ClickUp custom automation example
Set up rule-based automation on ClickUp

ClickUp Automation empowers ITSM teams by taking care of repetitive and routine tasks. Such automation reduces dependence on human agents, reduces manual efforts, and increases productivity and efficiency. You can tailor the workflow automation by defining trigger actions, rule-based conditions, and other variables to ensure routine processes, approvals, and notifications execute without any hitch. 

ClickUp AI

ClickUp AI Product Requirements Document Example
Generate IT product requirements in seconds using ClickUp AI

ClickUp AI uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make data analytics, trend identification, predictive analysis, etc., smarter and data-driven. In addition to addressing potential issues, optimizing resource handling, and improving service performance, ClickUp AI has generative AI capabilities that expand its scope beyond ITSM.

Template Library

ITSM templates for teams to get started

ClickUp hosts a rich template library that contains pre-built, configurable templates for common ITSM workflows and processes. Such ITSM templates from ClickUp are an excellent starting point for businesses as they no longer have to set up workflows, tasks, or projects from scratch. Simply make the required adjustments and let ClickUp set up the rest.

Also see: Customer profile templates

With such rich and value-loaded features, ClickUp is miles ahead of Jira and ServiceNow. The platform hits all the right notes—it is more feature-rich than Jira and can empower ITSM teams.

On the other hand, it offers more transparent (and affordable) pricing than ServiceNow which makes it accessible to small and medium-sized businesses too. So get started with ClickUp to supercharge your ITSM teams!

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