Lyncing ServiceNow

Roderick De Guzman - 18th December 2012

I'm still alive and yes, it's been a while since my last blog (April to be exact) and seeing it is the season of giving and the fact that I have a bit of time on my hands at this time of the year, thought I'd share a series of "art of the possible" around ServiceNow and its capabilities. This is one of many that I will be publishing over the next couple of weeks.

The Situation

One of our Solutions Advisors, Dr. Tuuli Sutinen (yup, that's right, DR!) provided me with some of her perspective around Social IT. She stated that the social dimension of any management tool cannot be ignored regardless of its functionalities. Sharing ideas and experiences in a social setting can build employees’ commitment to the company,1 and create new innovations more efficiently across departments.2

I totally agree and having spent the last 12 months talking with CIO(s), Heads of, VP(s) and Directors of Innovation, applying Social IT is becoming more and more important on how IT departments/services communicate with their customers and with each other internally.

If you are familiar with ServiceNow and its capabilities, you will know that the following currently exist:

  • Ability for an End User/Customer to initiate a Chat Session with a Service Desk analyst (via ESS);
  • Ability to post or reply to messages to a Live Feed either across the entire organisation or in a controlled group which is very familiar if you are a user of Facebook/Twitter;
  • Ability to create Chat Rooms within a Task, in particular an Incident, which allows organisations to create virtual situation/war rooms especially for discussion/resolving Major Incidents;

The above examples are all great ServiceNow capabilities, but what about being able to initiate a Chat session by the Service Desk/Incident analyst to an End User/Customer?

Several of our customers have asked if its possible to actually initiate a chat from an Incident ticket, but it triggers their Corporate communication tool (eg. MS Lync). Short of developing a bridge using the Lync SDK, there had to be an easier way of being able to do this. So here is an art of the possible....

Art of the Possible

Below is a short video showing how to open a new Lync conversation from ServiceNow, facilitated by a UI macro in ServiceNow combined with Lync URL protocols. The macro utilises SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to connect to a person specified by URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)3.

Be mindful that this example is not a polished or complete solution, but shows what is possible without necessarily having to spend days/weeks bridging both platforms together.

The Solution

In summary, a UI Macro is added and referenced within the Incident > Caller's Dictionary Attribute field.

So below is a snapshot of the UI Macro called 'popup_chat'.


xmlns:g="glide" xmlns:j2="null" xmlns:g2="null">


title="Invoke Chat" image="lync.jpgx"/>


Get your own Lync icon (16x16 works well) and add it to the ServiceNow image library (but make sure you reference it correctly in your UI Macro script).

Once you have added your icon into your image library, go ahead into the Incident form. Within the Incident form, right click on "Caller" and select "Personalize Dictionary". In the "Attibutes" field, add "popup_chat" so that "Attributes" field looks like this ref_contributions=user_show_incidents;popup_chat

We have provided a reference link to the available SIP commands for Lync. Feel free to experiment and see what the others do!


  1. Beech, N. and MacIntosh, R. (2012) Managing Change: Enquiry and Action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  2. Kilduff, M. and Krackhardt, D. (2008) Interpersonal Networks in Organizations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  3. Lync 2010 HTML URL Protocols for HREF tags - Tom Kisner, The Lync.