10 ServiceNow Cloning Best Practices

Cloning is a great way to save time and effort when setting up new ServiceNow instances. However, there are some best practices to follow to ensure a successful clone.

ServiceNow is a powerful tool that can help organizations automate their business processes. One of the key features of ServiceNow is its ability to clone records. This can be a great time-saver when you need to create similar records with only a few changes.

However, cloning can also lead to problems if not done correctly. In this article, we will discuss 10 best practices for cloning records in ServiceNow. By following these best practices, you can avoid common mistakes and ensure that your cloned records are accurate and up-to-date.

1. Use a naming convention to identify cloned records

If you don’t use a naming convention, it can be very difficult to tell cloned records apart from each other. This can lead to confusion and mistakes, which can be costly and time-consuming to fix.

A good naming convention for cloned records should include the date of the clone, the name of the person who created the clone, and a brief description of what the clone is for. For example, you might use the following naming convention: “clone_yyyymmdd_firstlast_description.”

Using a naming convention will help you keep track of your cloned records and avoid any potential problems down the road.

2. Create a clone task record for each cloning activity

When you create a clone task record, it creates a snapshot of the data that was cloned at the time the clone task ran. This is important for two reasons.

First, if there are any issues with the data after the clone, you can use the clone task record to roll back the changes. Second, the clone task record provides a full audit trail of what was cloned, when it was cloned, and by whom.

This is vital information to have on hand in case you need to troubleshoot an issue or track down who made a change.

3. Clone from the base system table whenever possible

When you clone from the base system table, you are essentially taking a snapshot of the ServiceNow instance as it was when the base system table was created. This means that any changes made to the instance after the base system table was created will not be reflected in the cloned instance.

For example, suppose you have an instance with a custom field that was added after the base system table was created. If you clone from the base system table, the custom field will not be present in the cloned instance. However, if you clone from the current system table, the custom field will be present in the cloned instance.

Cloning from the base system table is therefore the best way to ensure that your cloned instance is an accurate representation of the ServiceNow instance as it was when the base system table was created.

4. Do not use the clone option on forms that have multiple tabs

When you clone a form with multiple tabs, the cloned form will only have the first tab populated. The other tabs will be empty. This can cause confusion for users, as they may not realize that there is additional information they need to fill out.

It’s best to create a new form from scratch when cloning forms with multiple tabs. That way, all of the information will be correctly populated and there won’t be any confusion for users.

5. Avoid using the clone button in lists when there are many records to be cloned

When you use the clone button in a list, ServiceNow will create a new record for each row in the list. So, if you have 100 rows in the list, ServiceNow will create 100 new records. This can cause performance issues, and it’s not very efficient.

Instead of using the clone button in lists, you should use the Clone Records action from the Actions menu. This action will allow you to select the number of records you want to clone, and it will only create those records. It’s much more efficient, and it won’t cause any performance issues.

6. Use the clone button sparingly

When you clone a record, ServiceNow creates an entirely new record with all of the same information as the original. This can be helpful if you need to create an identical record, but it can also create duplicate records that can clutter up your system and make it more difficult to find the information you need.

If you only need to create a similar record, it’s often better to use the copy button instead. The copy button will create a new record with some of the same information as the original, but you can then edit the new record to add or remove any information that you need.

Using the copy button instead of the clone button will help you avoid creating duplicate records, and it will also make it easier to find the information you need in your ServiceNow instance.

7. Always check the clone source before you start cloning

When you’re cloning data, you’re essentially taking a snapshot of the source data and copying it over to the target system. If there are any problems with the source data, those same problems will be copied over to the target system as well.

For example, if you’re cloning data from a production system to a test system, and there are errors in the production data, those same errors will be present in the test data. This can cause problems when testing, and can even lead to data loss.

Therefore, it’s always best to check the clone source before starting the clone process. This way, you can be sure that the data you’re copying is clean and free of any errors.

8. Test your clones thoroughly

When you clone an instance, you’re essentially taking a snapshot of that instance at a specific point in time. If there are any issues with the data in that instance, those issues will be carried over into the clone. That’s why it’s so important to test your clones before using them in production.

Testing can help you identify any issues with the data in your clones, and it can also help you verify that the cloning process worked as expected. To test your clones, you can use a tool like ServiceNow’s Data Explorer. This tool allows you to query the data in your clones and compare it to the data in your production instance.

If you find any discrepancies between the two, you can investigate and resolve them before using your clones in production.

9. Document all of your cloning activities

If you don’t document your cloning activities, it will be very difficult to track down the source of any errors that may occur. Additionally, if you need to roll back a clone for any reason, you’ll have a hard time doing so if you don’t have a record of what was done.

Documenting your cloning activities doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple text file or spreadsheet will suffice. Just make sure to include the date, time, and details of each clone operation.

10. Be careful with scripts and business rules that run after cloning

If you have a script or business rule that runs after cloning, it will run on the new record as well as the old one. This can cause problems if the script or business rule is not written properly. For example, let’s say you have a business rule that updates a field on the cloned record. If the business rule is not written properly, it will also update the field on the old record. This can cause data corruption and other problems.

To avoid this problem, always test your scripts and business rules thoroughly before using them in a clone operation.


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