ServiceNow conference highlights its platform play

LAS VEGAS — Anyone who still believes that ServiceNow is merely a service desk company would have had that notion dispelled with a vengeance at the company’s annual conference, Knowledge, here last week. The more than 20,000 attendees saw everything from mobile HR apps to accounting products as ServiceNow continues to reposition itself as a platform company whose focus is on digitizing workflows.

Those products yielded $2.6 billion USD in revenue in 2018, representing 36 per cent year over year growth. In the first quarter of 2019, subscription revenues were $740 million, with a 98 per cent renewal rate. The goal for 2020 is $4 billion in revenue.

President and CEO John Donahoe said during his keynote that he thinks we’re now at a tipping point at which digital life at work must change to include the great experiences that consumers already receive at home.

“We are on the precipice of technology fundamentally changing our lives at work,” he said. “We are very motivated to help enable that future of work. In fact, it’s at the very core of our purpose as a company. We make the world of work, work better for people.”

ServiceNow President and CEO John Donahoe said in his keynote that consumer expectations are triggering a tipping point for the workplace experience.

Over the course of four days, the company made a series of announcements designed to do just that, including new features available now and others coming in the Q3 2019 release dubbed New York (ServiceNow names its twice-yearly releases after cities; the current one is Madrid, and after New York, in Q1 2020 comes Orlando).

The New York release will include enhancements to the Virtual Agent, released last year, a new IT Operations Management (ITOM) function, and the ability to integrate data from external systems. Two new portals are in the offing: Operator Workspace, and Service Owner Workspace. A third, Agent Workspace, is available now. All three offer unified views of everything the operator, agent, or service owner needs to do his or her job, including providing reporting, analytics, and recommendations where appropriate that are generated by AI. New York also contains a batch of new low and no code development tools, opening app creation to business users as well as programmers.

A strategic partnership with Google Cloud aims to make the Now Platform fully multi-cloud, with the first joint solution expected to be ServiceNow IT Operations Management (ITOM) for Google Cloud. The Now Platform will benefit from Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, which will allow dynamic translation in ServiceNow’s IT Service Management (ITSM) solution beginning in the New York release. Service desk personnel will be able to choose their language of choice and have tickets translated into that language in real time, enabling true follow-the-sun support.

Deloitte, which has been a ServiceNow partner since 2014, has also upped the ante, signing a strategic agreement that will have the companies jointly develop, coordinate, and bring to market solutions built on the Now Platform.

“We’re excited to take our relationship with ServiceNow to a whole new level,” said Janet Foutty, Chair and CEO, Deloitte Consulting LLP, in a statement. “This collaboration will pair Deloitte’s business process transformation, organizational change management and technology implementation expertise with ServiceNow’s platform to create new enterprise solutions that help drive every part of our clients’ digital transformation efforts.”

Added Dejan Slokar, global ServiceNow alliance leader at Deloitte Canada; “We are one of the largest customers of ServiceNow ourselves. I think it speaks to our commitment and to the relationship and to the platform, and recognition of the impact that the platform can have within the enterprise and our relationship with ServiceNow.”

Mobility featured large at the conference. ServiceNow unveiled a mobile onboarding app for HR that walks new hires through 40 of the necessary processes on their smartphones, from signing NDAs through watching orientation videos and choosing benefits, using a voice assistant and AI; it will arrive in the New York release. And days after the end of the event, the company further bolstered its mobile AI capabilities with the acquisition of the in‑app mobile analytics platform and R&D talent of Appsee, an Israeli applications analytics company.

In Canada, ServiceNow GM Marcus LeCuyer said his business is growing according to plan. He now has teams in place to address each of his key markets: public sector, major enterprise, mid-enterprise, and commercial, and customers are moving from individual transactions towards strategic thinking around the platform.

“We’ve been involved with a lot of inspiring engagements,” he said. “(Now) people say, ‘Hey, we’ve got this investment, things are going great, we’re getting the value that we always believed we could have from the ServiceNow investment, but in the IT realm of things. We believe now based on what we’ve seen and heard that we want to look at the art of the possible.’ What I’m excited about is a conversation gone from project-based work, which is just, ‘I need a thing’, to now a more strategic thing where people want to look at a three- to four-year investment roadmap where we’re going to go bigger.”

He’s been having a lot of discussions about mobile strategies, noting that many customers think they need to mature existing applications first before making the move.

“I said ‘If you want to solve for a great employee experience or customer experience, let’s design for mobile right this second. You could put mobile in the hands of an employee or customer, you can give them the same feeling that they get at home. And continue to work on the stuff that you’re doing today to mature it out, because that is a totally different thing,'” he said. “We saw a lot of people’s light bulbs go off and say, ‘Holy cow, you’re so right. Why don’t we just do mobile right this second and we can we can bring our users into a new universe?’ It’s kind of cool.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.

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