Zendesk vs. ServiceNow

Brenda Gratas August 9, 2022
- 17 min read

Are you struggling to decide between Zendesk vs. ServiceNow for your IT Service Management (ITSM) needs? In today's fast-paced business landscape, where IT operations play a critical role in overall efficiency and success, choosing the right ITSM platform is paramount.

In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into both platforms. We'll explore their strengths and limitations to help you make an informed decision tailored to your organization's unique needs.

However, what sets this ITSM tools comparison apart is the option to explore an alternative solution, one that may prove to be the perfect fit for your ITSM endeavors: InvGate Service Desk. This robust service desk software offers compelling features meticulously designed to streamline service delivery and empower your organization to meet its ITSM goals efficiently.

Table of contents



  • Zendesk offers robust features and customization but has pricing and customization limitations.
  • ServiceNow provides integration and AI capabilities but struggles with customization, costs, and support.
  • In contrast, InvGate Service Desk provides streamlined ITSM solutions with flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and a focus on both ITSM and Enterprise Service Management.
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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 prioritize certain features that meet their organization's needs. Understanding these desired features can help you make an informed decision. 

Let's take a look at the basic features that potential buyers often focus on when comparing ITSM tools.

  1. Ticket Management solution - Buyers place great importance on having a comprehensive Ticket Management system within their help desk software. This feature enables effective tracking, assignment, and resolution of customer inquiries and support requests.

  2. Scalability - Organizations that undergo growth and have evolving needs prioritize solutions that can easily adapt to their expansion and allow customization. The solution must provide the ability to create custom fields, workflows, and extensions/plugins, allowing them to tailor the solution to their specific business requirements.

  3. User experience and interface - Buyers consider the user experience and interface of the platform, focusing on how user-friendly it is and how it enhances user adoption and productivity. They appreciate an intuitive interface that promotes efficient interaction with the software. Moreover, for organizations with remote or mobile workforces, mobile accessibility is a key factor to consider.

  4. ITIL compliance - Many organizations adhere to ITIL best practices for IT Service Management. Buyers may prefer solutions supporting ITIL processes, such as Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, and Asset Management, as these processes align with organizational standards.

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

  6. Customization and flexibility - Buyers favor software solutions that provide customization options, allowing them to adapt the platform to their business needs. This flexibility ensures that the software aligns with their unique workflows and processes, enhancing user satisfaction and overall effectiveness.

  7. Support automation and Workflow Management - Buyers actively look for software solutions that offer automation capabilities to streamline routine tasks like ticket routing, approvals, and escalations. These automation features contribute to increased efficiency and productivity.

  8. 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, offers visibility into available services, and facilitates effective service delivery management.

  9. Seamless integration capabilities - Integration with other systems and applications is critical for buyers, as it ensures smooth data flow and process automation. Integrating with existing tools and platforms is highly valued for improved efficiency and a unified user experience.

  10. 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.

  11. Insightful reporting - Buyers seek 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.

  12. Pricing and support - Buyers evaluate 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 influences their decision-making process.


What is Zendesk?

Example of Zendesk's interface.

Zendesk for Service is a powerful solution created to meet the needs of IT Service Management in businesses. 

Zendesk Inc. is a software company that specializes in customer service solutions delivered through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The platform offers organizations a range of tools for individual customer interactions, predictive analytics for common customer questions, data collection, customer engagement, and valuable insights. It serves customers worldwide across different regions, such as Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and North America.

What users like from Zendesk

Customers have pointed out several benefits of Zendesk, as evidenced by reviews from respected sources such as Gartner. Here are some of the benefits that have been identified.

  • Comprehensive feature set - Zendesk has introduced various valuable features, including multichannel messaging, workflow management through the flow builder, and advanced knowledge management tools. The Admin Center streamlines configuration tasks, making the platform's complexity more manageable.
  • Remarkable customizability - The user interface stands out for its exceptional customizability, empowering businesses to tailor the platform precisely to their unique requirements.
  • Extensive app marketplace - The platform offers a marketplace of over 1,200 third-party applications and integrations. It's a valuable resource for organizations looking to expand their ITSM capabilities.
  • Multichannel support - The tool excels in multichannel ticket management, seamlessly integrating with social media, chat applications, and traditional channels like email. This integration ensures agents have a unified workspace for efficient operations.
  • Comprehensive reporting and analytics - Zendesk Explore provides a comprehensive suite of reporting and querying options, facilitating informed decision-making and robust performance tracking.

What users don’t like from Zendesk

While Zendesk has many strengths and positive attributes, customers have also raised criticisms and concerns about certain platform elements. These concerns have been identified through reviews conducted by sources such as Gartner. Here are some of the negative aspects that have been highlighted.

  • Price concerns for different business sizes - Zendesk's pricing structure may be challenging for small to mid-sized businesses, with a starting cost of $49 per agent per month and higher-cost plans required for access to enterprise-level features.
  • Restricted dashboard customization - Full dashboard customization is restricted for users on lower-tier plans, as it's primarily available at the Enterprise tiers. This limitation can hinder the ability to tailor analytics views to specific needs.
  • Reporting and analytics limitations - While the platform's Explore tool offers a range of reporting options, dashboard customizations are notably limited for users on an Enterprise plan. Users consider Zendesk could enhance this aspect, particularly its pricing structure.
  • Integration and compatibility considerations - The software seamlessly integrates with third-party applications and its own CRM solution, Zendesk Sell. However, to fully leverage these capabilities, users often need higher-tier plans.

What’s Zendesk’s argument over ServiceNow?

Zendesk offers a range of advantages that distinguish it from ServiceNow, as highlighted by customer feedback and reviews. These benefits include.

  1. Comprehensive feature set - Zendesk stands out with its comprehensive feature set, which includes valuable elements like multichannel messaging, workflow management via the flow builder, and advanced knowledge management tools. The Admin Center further simplifies configuration tasks, making navigating the platform's complexity easier.

  2. Exceptional customizability - Zendesk's user interface excels in customization, allowing businesses to tailor the platform to their specific requirements. This flexibility ensures that organizations can adapt Zendesk to suit their unique needs.

  3. Extensive app marketplace - Zendesk offers an extensive app marketplace with access to over 1,200 third-party applications and integrations. This marketplace serves as a valuable resource for organizations seeking to expand their IT Service Management capabilities, providing a wide array of tools and options.

  4. Multichannel support - Zendesk shines in multichannel ticket management, seamlessly integrating with various communication channels such as social media, chat applications, and traditional channels like email. This integration creates a unified workspace for agents, enhancing operational efficiency and customer support.

  5. Comprehensive reporting and analytics - Zendesk's Explore feature provides a comprehensive suite of reporting and querying options. This empowers users to make informed decisions and robustly track performance, ensuring that organizations can continuously improve service delivery.

What is ServiceNow?

Example of ServiceNow's interface.

ServiceNow ITSM is a cloud-based platform designed to simplify and automate IT Service Management and digital workflows for organizations. Their primary goal is to make IT operations more efficient, enhance customer experiences, and facilitate digital transformation for businesses. 

ServiceNow, founded in 2004 and based in Santa Clara, California, provides a wide range of cloud-based solutions tailored to suit the various operational needs of enterprises. These solutions cover diverse areas such as IT Service Management, IT Operations Management, IT Business Management, Customer Service Management, Human Resources Service Delivery, Security Operations, and more. 

In addition, ServiceNow has established strategic partnerships with renowned companies like NVIDIA and Juniper Networks, further enhancing their presence and expertise in the market.

What users like from ServiceNow

ServiceNow has received customer commendations for various positive aspects, as recognized by reputable sources like Gartner and G2. Here are some of the advantages that have been highlighted.

  • Integration capabilities - ServiceNow provides tools and features that facilitate seamless integration with other systems and applications. This capability enables efficient data exchange and workflow automation, ultimately improving overall customer operational efficiency.
  • Cloud-based infrastructure - ServiceNow's platform operates in the cloud, allowing organizations to expand their operations quickly, adapt to changing requirements, and access the platform from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Versatility across multiple domains - ServiceNow extends its value beyond IT Service Management. Customers have found benefits in using the platform for diverse areas such as Human Resources (HR), Customer Engagement Center (CEC), Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), as well as IT Operations Management (ITOM).
  • Continuous product improvements - ServiceNow consistently enhances its offerings by acquiring new technologies and developing new features. Customers appreciate the transparent product roadmap that provides insight into upcoming enhancements and features.
  • Thriving user community - ServiceNow has gained significant prominence in the industry and boasts a rapidly growing user community. Many customers discover and gain expertise with the platform through recommendations from their peers.
  • Built-in AI capabilities - ServiceNow harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to offer integrated AI capabilities. This includes features like virtual Agent chatbots and predictive intelligence, which enhance the platform's functionality and user experience.

What users don’t like from ServiceNow

Despite its many strengths, ServiceNow has also received customer feedback about specific concerns and dislikes. Here are some areas of dissatisfaction mentioned, based on reviews from reputable sources.

  • Challenges in customizing workflows and processes - The platform may have limitations in flexibility and customization options, making it challenging for organizations to tailor it to their specific needs and unique business processes.
  • Steep learning curve and complexity for new users - Some users have encountered difficulties with ServiceNow's platform, particularly in mastering advanced features. The system's complexity may necessitate additional training and resources to harness its capabilities effectively.
  • High licensing costs and potential additional expenses - ServiceNow's extensive functionality and advanced features come with a hefty price tag, consisting of substantial licensing fees. Additional expenses for customizations or specialized modules can contribute to a high overall cost of ownership.
  • Implementation difficulties and delays - Organizations may face challenges during various implementation phases, including configuration, data migration, and integration with existing systems. These issues can lead to extended implementation timelines and potential frustrations.
  • Mixed feedback on customer support - Some users have expressed concerns about response times and accessibility when seeking support from ServiceNow, indicating inconsistencies in the quality of customer support.
  • Renewal leverage concerns - ServiceNow's dominant position in the market can affect customers' ability to negotiate contracts and renewals without compromising existing discounts or concessions.
  • Limited presence in emerging markets - ServiceNow has a limited presence in certain emerging markets, with fewer local offices and limited hosting options in regions like the Middle East. This limitation can hinder accessibility and support for organizations operating in those areas.

What’s ServiceNow’s argument over Zendesk?

ServiceNow offers a host of advantages that distinguish it from Zendesk, as attested by customer feedback and reviews. These advantages include.

  1. Integration capabilities - ServiceNow provides robust tools and features that enable seamless integration with various systems and applications. This capability facilitates efficient data exchange and workflow automation, improving overall customer operational efficiency.

  2. Cloud-based infrastructure - ServiceNow's platform operates in the cloud, allowing organizations to expand their operations rapidly, adapt to evolving requirements, and access the platform from any location with an internet connection.

  3. Versatility across multiple domains - ServiceNow extends its value beyond IT Service Management into various domains. This broad applicability makes ServiceNow a versatile solution suitable for diverse organizational needs.

  4. Continuous product improvements - ServiceNow is committed to ongoing product enhancements, achieved through the acquisition of new technologies and the development of new features.

  5. Thriving user community - ServiceNow has achieved significant industry prominence and has a rapidly growing user community. Many customers discover and build expertise with the platform through recommendations from their peers, emphasizing its value as a widely embraced and supported solution. 

  6. Built-in AI capabilities - ServiceNow leverages AI and ML to provide integrated AI capabilities. These include virtual Agent chatbots and predictive intelligence, enhancing the platform's functionality and user experience. ServiceNow's AI integration sets it apart from Zendesk by offering advanced automation and intelligence capabilities.

Considering InvGate Service Desk as an ITSM solution alternative



While Zendesk and ServiceNow are well-established competitors in the ITSM industry, exploring alternative solutions that better meet your organization's unique needs is essential. In this context, InvGate Service Desk emerges as a compelling option that deserves thorough consideration. 

Let's take a closer look at the beneficial features of InvGate Service Desk that make it a valuable choice for your organization's ITSM needs.

Streamlined configuration and setup

InvGate Service Desk offers a simplified configuration and setup process, utilizing a no-code/low-code approach. This approach allows both novice and experienced users to implement the system without requiring extensive technical expertise. The platform expedites setup by providing straightforward configuration options, enabling organizations to harness its potent 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 various sectors and industries.

Outstanding user experience


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

Robust Ticketing and Incident Management

Example of the Ticket Management view on InvGate Service Desk.

InvGate Service Desk excels in providing robust capabilities for Ticketing and Incident Management. It simplifies ticket tracking, collaboration, and resolution, empowering IT teams to handle and prioritize incidents efficiently. With features like automated ticket routing, customizable workflows, and SLA Management, InvGate Service Desk enhances the efficiency of incident resolution processes.

Powerful self-service capabilities


InvGate Service Desk includes robust 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's customizable dashboard view.

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.

ITIL-certified readiness

InvGate Service Desk has obtained the prestigious 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 attractive choice for organizations seeking affordability without sacrificing capabilities. Compared to alternatives like Zendesk and ServiceNow, InvGate Service Desk balances cost and functionality.

Purpose-built for ITSM, perfect for ESM

InvGate Service Desk is purposefully designed for ITSM while seamlessly extending its capabilities to Enterprise Service Management (ESM). It empowers operational departments to improve their processes and fully embrace the advantages 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.

Fast ROI and ongoing innovation

InvGate Service Desk ensures a rapid return on investment through efficient implementation processes. Within weeks, organizations can start realizing the benefits of this robust ITSM solution. Additionally, regular feature updates keep users at the forefront of technology without incurring additional costs.

Next steps

Selecting the ideal ITSM solution is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact an organization's efficiency and overall success. When comparing Zendesk vs. ServiceNow, both platforms offer valuable features and capabilities for IT operations. 

However, if you're open to exploring other options, InvGate Service Desk is a compelling alternative - a robust, easy-to-use solution ready to streamline your Service Management processes.

To assist you on your journey to implementing an effective ITSM solution, download our free ITSM implementation checklist. This resource will guide you through the crucial steps and actions required for a successful implementation, ensuring that your chosen ITSM platform aligns seamlessly with your organization's goals and requirements.

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