Lauren McManamon

3 minute read

Process Automation Designer, or PAD as it is typically abbreviated to, came on to the scene in during the Paris release, making Vancouver it’s 7th iteration. Sitting “on top” of Flow Designer, PAD acts as an intermediary between IT and the business, allowing process owners the ability to organize their content in a unified, digitized fashion that can be further automated. The visualizations of these processes, utilized by agents, are called “Playbooks.”

Join me as we explore all of the changes made to Process Automation Designer, starting with general enhancements.


Migration to the Store

First and foremost, PAD has been migrated from a family plugin to a store app in Vancouver. While on the surface level, this may seem minor, it will have a dramatic impact on the product moving forward. This change is important because it will enable ServiceNow the ability to deliver new PAD features on a more flexible schedule outside of the typical six-month window. So, expect more improvements at a greater frequency.

Click Here to Access Process Automation Designer’s Store Page


Accessibility from App Engine Studio (AES)

In addition to moving PAD to the store, PAD is also newly-accessibly from within App Engine Studio. When in a specific custom App’s scope, PAD Processes in the same scope will be visible from AES under the Logic tab. New Processes can be created from this tab as well, further limiting the need for developers to go back and forth between AES and PAD when designing an application.


Playbook Mobile App Accessibility

And finally in the list of general enhancements, we’ve got something special for the agents using Playbooks. Agents now have the ability to interact with their Playbooks on their ServiceNow mobile app - NOT just the mobile browser. This will help agents quickly interact with the issues assigned to them regardless of location and device. This is also wise for developers to be cognizant of, as it adds another area of consideration when designing the experiences of their applications (see below for more details).

Click Here for Mobile Web Screen Configuration Instructions


Now, on to the shiny new thing…

New Features

Process Automation Administration

By far the most significant change made to Process Automation Designer comes in the form of added administration capabilities. Previously, the only way to cancel renegade Process Executions was to use a background script (cancelPlaybooksByParentRecord). Not only was it a bit messy (it would cancel ALL Processes associated to that record), but it wouldn’t track why the cancellation was being made NOR inform anyone it had happened. Cancellations of any automated system should be systematic themselves, so that is what was produced for Vancouver.

You now have the ability to enable a cancel Playbook button (action) that, when pressed, kicks off a series of events. The biggest change is that the person cancelling must provide a reason for doing so. This reason is added as a bright yellow banner to the Playbook itself so the agent is immediately aware this has happened.



Check back here later for a full video tutorial on the administration of Processes!

Click Here to Learn How to Add the Cancel Playbook Action

Parting Words

We hope you enjoy these updates and new features made to Process Automation Designer! If you would like more information on PAD in general, please visit the Docs site to learn more. To see additional content coming out about the Vancouver release, please visit our content calendar here.