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How ServiceNow Orchestration Works in the Flow Designer Era

Follow these three steps for automating IT and business processes with ServiceNow's Orchestration application.

Ever since the introduction of Flow Designer and IntegrationHub in the Kingston release, ServiceNow has been taking functionalities that were exclusive to Workflows and bringing them into the future with Spokes. Orchestration is not a very well-known application in ServiceNow, so here is a guide on how to get started with Orchestration, whether you are using Workflow or Flow Designer.

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Minding Your Orchestration Credentials

The first step in getting started with Orchestration is getting your credentials straight. There is a big difference in how to set up your credentials when you are using Flow Designer compared to Workflow. When using Workflow, an error that I kept getting while trying to use the Orchestration workflow activities was “Authentication error with the local mid server service credential.” This was due to not having the proper credentials set up on the Management, Instrumentation and Discovery (MID) server itself. Here’s ServiceNow’s explanation for how to solve this issue. ServiceNow explains how to solve this issue

For Flow Designer, setting up credentials is a bit different. It requires using “Connection and Credential Aliases” in the IntegrationHub application. Check out ServiceNow’s website for more information about Connection and Credential aliases.

Orchestration for Employee Onboarding

Now that the credentials are taken care of, let’s investigate what most people use Orchestration for in the first place: employee onboarding.

For Workflow Editor, there is one option for user creation in Active Directory (AD) and it is to use the “Create AD Object” workflow activity. Flow Designer also has a “Create AD Object” activity with all the same input fields. The key difference is that the Workflow Activity requires you to specify a domain controller for the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server you are using. With Flow Designer, there is not an input for an LDAP server because that is taken care of in the Connection/Credential record mentioned earlier.

Here’s where Flow Designer excels beyond what Workflow Editor can offer: There is a whole collection of actions for user management in AD specifically. This includes its own dedicated “Create User” action. This action includes, essentially, any field you would need to create a complete user profile in AD. If you were using Workflow Editor, you would need to build your own JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) object in order to insert user data other than the user ID.

More Workflow Activities on Tap

Flow Designer also includes actions specific to object management, password management, computer management and the earlier-mentioned user management. In total, we are talking about 30 AD actions possible with Flow Designer as opposed to 12 workflow activities in Workflow Editor.

You can read more about all capabilities of Flow Designers Microsoft AD Spoke here.

In conclusion, Flow Designer is the future of AD Orchestration. It has more than twice the capabilities of the Workflow Editor and will be supported well into the future of ServiceNow with more great stuff coming.