SolarWinds vs. ServiceNow

Brenda Gratas October 17, 2022
- 18 min read

SolarWinds vs. ServiceNow: Which IT Service Management (ITSM) solution reigns supreme? If you're in the midst of an ITSM tool comparison, you've come to the right place.

In today's fast-paced business landscape, organizations constantly seek ways to optimize their service delivery and enhance operational efficiency. Selecting the right service desk software is pivotal in achieving these goals.

In this blog post, we'll delve deep into the comparison between SolarWinds vs. ServiceNow – two industry-leading contenders in the realm of ITSM. But here's the exciting part: if neither of these platforms fully meets your requirements, we've got an alternative solution that might just be your perfect match – InvGate Service Desk. This robust ITSM solution offers a compelling set of features designed to streamline your service delivery and empower your organization. Buckle up and get ready for an enlightening exploration of these help desk software powerhouses.


Table of contents


  • SolarWinds offers extensive ITSM features with a user-friendly interface, providing customization and efficiency gains. Nevertheless, users encounter challenges in the initial setup, integrations, workflow complexity, and reporting.
  • ServiceNow stands out for ongoing improvements and robust integrations, yet encounters hurdles in high licensing costs, a steep learning curve, workflow customization, and implementation delays.
  • InvGate Service Desk offers a streamlined ITSM setup, flexible deployment, robust ticketing and incident management, and self-service capabilities, with a focus on cost-effectiveness and innovation.
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We tried to be as thorough as possible, but if you don't have enough time to read it through and through, here's (another) TL;DR: InvGate Service Desk can do everything we say here, and you can test it right away for free for 30 days.


Most looked-at features by buyers

When evaluating ITSM solutions, buyers give priority to specific features that match their organization's needs. Understanding these desired features can aid in making an informed decision. 

Let's explore the essential features that potential buyers commonly focus on while comparing ITSM tools.

  1. Support automation and Workflow Management - Buyers actively seek software solutions that provide automation capabilities to streamline routine tasks such as ticket routing, approvals, and escalations. These automation features contribute to increased efficiency and productivity.

  2. Ticket Management solution - Buyers attach significant importance to having a comprehensive Ticket Management System in their help desk software. This feature enables effective tracking, assignment, and resolution of customer inquiries and support requests.

  3. Scalability - Organizations that experience growth and have changing needs place importance on solutions that can easily adapt to their expansion and allow for customization. It is crucial for the solution to offer the ability to create custom fields, workflows, and extensions/plugins, enabling them to tailor the solution according to their unique business requirements.

  4. User experience and interface - Buyers take into account the user experience and interface of the platform, focusing on how easy it is to use and how it enhances user adoption and productivity. They value an intuitive interface that is user-friendly and promotes efficient interaction with the software. Additionally, for organizations with remote or mobile workforces, mobile accessibility is an important factor to consider.

  5. Self-service portal and knowledge base - Buyers highly value the inclusion of a self-service portal as it allows end-users to independently resolve common issues and find relevant information without requiring direct assistance.

  6. Streamlined IT service catalog - Organizations often require a service catalog that allows users to request specific IT services or resources. This feature simplifies service requests, provides visibility into available services, and facilitates effective service delivery management.

  7. Customization and flexibility - Buyers appreciate software solutions that offer customization options, enabling them to tailor the platform to their specific business needs. This flexibility ensures that the software aligns with their unique workflows and processes, resulting in enhanced user satisfaction and overall effectiveness.

  8. Seamless integration capabilities - Integration with other systems and applications is a crucial requirement for buyers, as it ensures smooth data flow and process automation. The ability to integrate with existing tools and platforms is highly valued for improved efficiency and a unified user experience.

  9. Efficient Asset Management - Users prioritize software that offers robust IT Asset Management capabilities to help them maintain accurate inventories and optimize resource utilization within their organizations.

  10. Insightful reporting - Buyers look for help desk software with powerful reporting tools like dashboards and reports, which provide valuable insights into their IT operations and performance. This data-driven approach facilitates informed decision-making and continuous service improvement.

  11. ITIL compliance - Many organizations follow ITIL best practices for IT Service Management. Buyers may prioritize solutions that support ITIL processes such as Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, and Asset Management, as these processes align with their organizational standards.

  12. Pricing and support - Buyers assess the cost-effectiveness of the solution, including licensing models, subscription plans, and any additional costs associated with features or users. The availability of customer support, documentation, and training resources also significantly influence their decision-making process.

What is SolarWinds?

SolarWinds Corporation is a company that creates and builds software for managing IT systems. Their main product, SolarWinds Service Desk, is an IT Service Management platform that operates in the cloud. It offers features such as automation, self-service capabilities, IT Asset Management functionalities, and integrations to simplify IT operations and boost productivity. The platform consists of modules for handling incidents, problems, releases, and changes and a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Additionally, it allows users to generate customized reports for gaining operational insights.

What users like from SolarWinds

Example of Solarwind's interface.

Customers have shared various positive aspects of SolarWinds Service Desk, which reputable sources like Gartner have acknowledged. Let's examine some of the advantages customers and experts have emphasized.

  • User-friendly interface and experience - Users consistently praise the user-friendly interface and ease of navigation in SolarWinds Service Desk, making it accessible for both technical and non-technical users.
  • Comprehensive ITSM features - Users appreciate the wide range of features the platform offers, including Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Asset Management, and service catalog. The platform's comprehensive nature is highly regarded.
  • Efficiency and productivity improvements - Users report that SolarWinds Service Desk has enhanced efficiency and productivity by streamlining IT operations and providing effective incident resolution.
  • Effective ITAM - Users highly regard the Asset Management capabilities of the software, allowing them to track hardware, software, licenses, and contracts effectively.
  • Customization and integration options - Users value the customization options available in SolarWinds Service Desk, enabling them to tailor the platform to their needs. The integration capabilities with other tools and services are also praised.

What users don’t like from SolarWinds

Although SolarWinds Service Desk has numerous strengths and positive attributes, customers have voiced specific concerns and dislikes regarding the platform. Let's delve into some of the criticisms that have been highlighted through the analysis of reputable sources like Gartner.

  • Reporting functionality limitations - Users desire improved reporting capabilities and in-depth analytics within SolarWinds Service Desk.
  • Limited customization options - Some users mention that the customization options in the platform are limited and could be expanded.
  • Integration with third-party apps - Users feel that there is room for improvement in supporting third-party integrations within SolarWinds Service Desk.
  • Complex workflow - Some users find the workflow within the software to be complex or cumbersome.
  • Search functionality limitations - Users note limitations in the SolarWinds Service Desk search functionality.
  • Challenges in initial setup and implementation - A few users mention that the initial setup and implementation process of SolarWinds Service Desk can be time-consuming, particularly when importing existing inventory.
  • Localization and language support - Some users suggest that SolarWinds Service Desk could improve support for multiple languages and enhance localization features to cater to a more diverse user base.
  • Additional features - Users desire additional features to be added to the tool, including a calendar booking system, webhooks for integration purposes, and enhanced functionality on the mobile app.

What’s SolarWinds’ argument over ServiceNow?

While ServiceNow offers several advantages in the ITSM space, SolarWinds presents unique strengths that make it a viable alternative. Understanding SolarWinds's arguments over ServiceNow can provide valuable insights for organizations evaluating ITSM solutions. Here are some key points highlighting SolarWinds's advantages.

  1. User-friendly interface and ease of use - SolarWinds Service Desk is known for its user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation, making it accessible to both technical and non-technical users. The platform's simplicity and ease of use contribute to a shorter learning curve, enabling organizations to quickly onboard and utilize the system.

  2. Efficient incident resolution and productivity enhancements - Users report that SolarWinds Service Desk streamlines IT operations, enhancing efficiency and productivity. The platform provides effective incident resolution functionalities, enabling IT teams to prioritize and resolve issues promptly, thereby minimizing downtime and improving overall service delivery.

  3. Strong Asset Management capabilities - SolarWinds Service Desk excels in its ITAM capabilities, allowing users to track hardware, software, licenses, and contracts effectively. 

  4. Customization and integration options - SolarWinds Service Desk offers customization options that enable organizations to tailor the platform to their specific needs. Users appreciate the ability to personalize workflows and processes, ensuring the system aligns with their unique business requirements. Additionally, the platform supports integration with other tools and services, promoting data exchange and interoperability.

  5. Cost-effective solution - SolarWinds Service Desk provides a cost-effective ITSM solution without compromising functionality. Organizations can benefit from comprehensive ITSM features at a competitive price point, making it an appealing choice for those seeking affordability.

What is ServiceNow?

Example of ServiceNow's interface.

ServiceNow is a prominent provider of cloud-based solutions that optimize IT Service Management and streamline digital workflows for organizations. The company is dedicated to simplifying and automating IT operations, enhancing customer experiences, and facilitating digital transformation across businesses.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, ServiceNow offers a comprehensive range of cloud-based solutions tailored to meet diverse enterprise requirements. Their offerings encompass IT Service Management, IT Operations Management, IT Business Management, Customer Service Management, Human Resources Service Delivery, Security Operations, and more. ServiceNow has strategically established partnerships with renowned companies such as NVIDIA and Juniper Networks, further strengthening its influential presence in the market.

What users like from ServiceNow

Customers have expressed numerous positive aspects of ServiceNow, as acknowledged by reputable sources like Gartner and G2. Let's explore some of the benefits customers and experts highlighted in their analyses.

  • Cloud-based architecture - ServiceNow's approach to operating in the cloud enables organizations to scale their operations effectively, offers flexibility, and ensures accessibility from any location.
  • Thriving user community - The platform enjoys a growing and vibrant user community. It holds a highly respected position in the industry, and many customers discover and gain knowledge about the product through recommendations from their peers.
  • Robust integration capabilities - The tool provides strong features that facilitate seamless integration with other systems and applications, promoting smooth data flow and enabling interoperability.
  • Continuous product enhancements - ServiceNow consistently introduces improvements to its products through a combination of acquisitions and internal development. They provide customers with a transparent product roadmap, ensuring visibility into upcoming features and enhancements.
  • Built-in AI capabilities - The system incorporates the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into its platform, offering native AI functionalities. These include virtual Agent chatbots and predictive intelligence, greatly enhancing the user experience.
  • Expanded usage across domains - Customers not only utilize ServiceNow for ITSM but also extend its usage to other areas such as Human Resources (HR), Customer Engagement Center (CEC), Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), and IT Operations Management (ITOM).

What users don’t like from ServiceNow

While ServiceNow is acknowledged for its numerous strengths and positive attributes, customers have raised specific concerns and dislikes regarding the platform. Let's explore some of the criticisms users have highlighted by analyzing reputable sources such as Gartner and G2.

  • Steep learning curve and complexity for new users - Some users find ServiceNow's platform challenging, particularly when utilizing its more advanced features. The system's complexity may require additional training and resources to ensure users can effectively leverage its capabilities.
  • Difficulties and delays during implementation - Organizations may encounter difficulties during the configuration, data migration, or integration stages, resulting in longer implementation timelines.
  • Challenges in customizing workflows and processes - The platform may require more flexibility and customization options, making it difficult for organizations to tailor the system to their specific needs and unique business processes.
  • High licensing costs and potential additional expenses - ServiceNow's comprehensive functionality and advanced features come at a significant cost. Licensing fees can be substantial, especially for organizations requiring capabilities beyond ITSM. Additional expenses may arise for customizations or specialized modules, further increasing the overall cost of ownership.
  • Renewal leverage concerns - ServiceNow's dominant market position may limit customers' ability to renegotiate contracts without compromising existing discounts, raising concerns about renewal leverage.
  • Mixed feedback on customer support - Some users have expressed concerns about response times and accessibility when seeking assistance from the platform's customer support.
  • Limited presence in emerging markets - ServiceNow has a limited presence in certain emerging markets, with fewer local offices and a lack of hosting options in regions such as the Middle East.

What’s ServiceNow’s argument over SolarWinds?

While ServiceNow and SolarWinds have their strengths and weaknesses, ServiceNow has positioned itself as a robust and comprehensive solution that addresses many of the concerns raised by users. Here are some arguments in favor of ServiceNow:

  1. Extensive integration capabilities - ServiceNow provides robust features that enable seamless integration with various systems and applications. It offers a wide range of pre-built integrations, allowing organizations to streamline their workflows and improve data flow between different platforms.

  2. Enhanced customization options - While SolarWinds offers some customization capabilities, ServiceNow goes a step further by providing more flexibility and extensive customization options. Organizations can tailor the ServiceNow platform to their specific needs and unique business processes, ensuring a better fit for their requirements.

  3. Stronger ecosystem and community - ServiceNow has a thriving user community and a well-established ecosystem. It holds a highly respected position in the industry, with a wide range of resources, forums, and knowledge bases available. The community-driven approach facilitates knowledge sharing, best practices, and support, enabling organizations to make the most of the ServiceNow platform.

  4. Broader scope and expanded usage - While SolarWinds primarily focuses on ITSM, ServiceNow extends its usage to other domains, such as HR, CEC, GRC, and ITOM. This broader scope allows organizations to consolidate their operations and leverage a single platform for multiple functions, promoting efficiency and synergy across departments.

  5. Continuous innovation and product enhancements - ServiceNow has a strong track record of introducing regular product updates and enhancements. Through acquisitions and internal development, ServiceNow ensures that its platform remains at the forefront of technology, offering customers a transparent product roadmap and visibility into upcoming features.

Considering InvGate Service Desk as an ITSM solution alternative

While SolarWinds and ServiceNow are recognized competitors in the ITSM industry, it is crucial to explore alternative solutions that align more closely with your organization's specific needs. In this regard, InvGate Service Desk presents a compelling option that warrants careful consideration. 

Let's delve into the advantageous features of InvGate Service Desk that make it a valuable choice for meeting your organization's ITSM requirements.

Robust Ticketing and Incident Management

InvGate Service Desk excels in providing robust features for Ticketing and Incident Management. It facilitates efficient tracking, collaboration, and resolution of tickets, empowering IT teams to handle and prioritize incidents effectively. With features such as automated ticket routing, customizable workflows, and SLA Management, InvGate Service Desk enhances the efficiency of incident resolution processes.

Example of a Ticket Management view on InvGate Service Desk.

Streamlined configuration and setup

InvGate Service Desk offers a simplified configuration and setup process, employing a no-code/low-code approach. This approach allows both new and experienced users to implement the system without extensive technical expertise. The platform facilitates a swift setup by providing straightforward configuration options, enabling organizations to harness its powerful ITSM capabilities quickly.

Customization and flexibility

InvGate Service Desk offers flexible deployment options, allowing organizations to choose between on-premise or cloud-based solutions. This flexibility ensures that the platform can cater to the specific requirements of different sectors and industries.

Outstanding user experience

InvGate Service Desk prioritizes delivering an exceptional user experience through meticulous design and adherence to UI/UX best practices. Its intuitive interface promotes quick adoption, reducing the need for extensive training and enabling users to be productive.


Powerful self-service capabilities

InvGate Service Desk includes powerful self-service functionalities, such as a user-friendly portal, an extensive IT service catalog, and a knowledge base. These capabilities empower end-users to independently resolve common issues, access a wide range of IT services, and utilize self-help resources, thereby reducing the burden on IT staff.


Comprehensive Asset Management

By integrating InvGate Service Desk with InvGate Insight, organizations gain a comprehensive view of their IT ecosystem, leading to improved service delivery and reduced downtime. InvGate Insight offers a range of features, including IT Asset Discovery, Inventory Management, Software License Management, and maintenance schedules.



Extensive reporting and analytics

InvGate Service Desk offers comprehensive reporting and analytics functionalities, enabling organizations to gain valuable insights into their IT operations and performance. The platform provides ready-to-use reports and customizable dashboards, empowering IT teams to analyze data, identify patterns, and make informed decisions to enhance their services.

InvGate Service Desk's customizable dashboard view.

ITIL-certified readiness

InvGate Service Desk has obtained the esteemed ITIL4 certification from PINK Elephant, demonstrating its commitment to upholding ITSM excellence. Whether organizations are embarking on their ITIL journey or managing complex operations, InvGate Service Desk provides a user-friendly and feature-rich experience that aligns with industry best practices.

Cost-effective solution

InvGate Service Desk delivers a cost-effective solution without compromising functionality. It offers a comprehensive range of ITSM features at a competitive price, making it an appealing choice for organizations seeking affordability without sacrificing capabilities. Compared to alternatives like SolarWinds and ServiceNow, InvGate Service Desk strikes a balance between cost and functionality.

Fast ROI and ongoing innovation

InvGate Service Desk ensures a fast Return On Investment through efficient implementation processes. Within weeks, organizations can start reaping the benefits of this robust ITSM solution. Additionally, regular feature updates keep users at the forefront of technology without incurring additional costs.

Purpose-built for ITSM, perfect for ESM

InvGate Service Desk is designed specifically for ITSM while seamlessly extending its capabilities to Enterprise Service Management (ESM). It empowers operational departments to improve their processes and fully embrace the benefits of digital transformation. With a primary focus on ITSM and strong performance in ESM, InvGate Service Desk enables streamlined workflows and comprehensive digital transformation initiatives across all departments.

Next steps

Making an informed decision when choosing an ITSM solution is crucial for maximizing your organization's IT services and overall efficiency. With various options available, carefully evaluating SolarWinds vs. ServiceNow is essential to find the solution that best aligns with your needs and goals.

InvGate Service Desk presents a compelling alternative with its simplified configuration, customization options, powerful ticketing and Incident Management, exceptional user experience, and comprehensive Asset Management. It enables organizations to enhance their IT operations and fully embrace the benefits of digital transformation.

Explore our live demo to experience how InvGate Service Desk can enhance your business operations. 

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