ServiceNow Keynote NowForum 2017 Economies Of Intelligent Automation For A Services-Scale Future

ServiceNow staged the London leg of its NowForum conference and exhibition series today, with sister European events also being held in Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt. With digital transformation such a prevalent initiative in so many firms, ServiceNow is working to provide not just ‘economies in scale’ for enabling technologies, but economies of intelligent automation in services-driven firms working as web-scale enterprises at all levels.

GM & VP of sales for EMEA Philip van der Wilt kicked off proceedings by clarifying how the NowForum series augments ServiceNow’s annual knowledge event h

eld in North America as a regional chance to share, connect and crucially learn, on the same level.

He highlighted: “We’ve broken down this event’s sessions with tracks focusing on IT, HR, Customer Service and Security, plus a new track for the Public Sector track. The registration numbers have been outstanding.”

ServiceNow original vision

ServiceNow CEO John Donohoe explained how ServiceNow was founded on a principal of building “a cloud-based platform that would make normal [non-technical] users’ lives better”… and this guiding principle has been fundamental in terms of the way the ServiceNow platform has developed ever since.

Explaining that there’s a very logical reason why ServiceNow names its event Knowledge, Donohoe made it clear that the company’s expertise in IT Service Management (ITSM) and its wider ecosystem of technologies and applications work in a unified method to create what is the essentially extensible ServiceNow platform.

“We don’t just think of you as customers, we think of you as a connected community of users that we can also learn from as we work to develop technologies that impact the way people work in the modern connected workspace with progressive enterprise technologies,” said Donohoe.

What the customers are saying

Looking at the types of customer feedback his management team is typically fielding on a day to day basis, Donohoe noted three cornerstones of customer feedback that the company is now using to further direct its own development roadmap:

  • Customers say that ServiceNow needs to provide more help in making implementation and upgrades easier. They want more out-of-the-box functionality and so want products to be more preconfigured in that same sense. They want to be able to take advice from ServiceNow on the fastest way to get to time-to-value when using the software that the firm works so hard to develop.
  • Customers say that ServiceNow could still provide them with even more consumer-like experiences in terms of the technologies they use on an everyday basis.
  • Customers say that ServiceNow needs to share its roadmap more openly because they don’t want to spend time working to develop an application only to find that ServiceNow has launched that very same type of functionality in an similar app 18 months down the road.

“I have also spent a lot of time talking to customers about what their biggest priorities are and how we can use technology to drive forwards and build a new digital workspace,” said Donohoe. “We also know that now, CEOs are looking around the C-suite and asking for technically-literate people to help drive the move to digital transformation. This means that IT is now being more and more clearly regarded as an enabling function in the enterprise.”

Product roadmap

Finalizing this NowForum London keynote section was Dave Wright in his role as Chief Innovation Officer at ServiceNow. Noting that most work today in the majority of companies is unstructured, slow and hard to optimize, Wright drilled into an overview of some of the major upcoming features in the ServiceNow Kingston release.

“We know that customers need a system of action. They need a way of linking the services they create to the people that need the service. This is the ServiceNow System Of Action provided by the ServiceNow platform. What we have done with the forthcoming Kingston release is start to engineer Artificial Intelligence into the platform; this way users can start to automatically auto-route work and make their lives easier,” said Wright.

Wright also focused on how much ServiceNow is making sure the product works better. If you look at each release (with Jakarta as a current example) you will see around 30 new features and around seven full new products.

Experian experiences

Also featuring as part of this event’s opening address was a session welcoming Jon Hayes, VP of Global IT Service Excellence from Experian, the global information services company. Detailing how the company has worked to implement a services transformation journey across its entire operational base, Hayes explained how the organization has now united behind a services-based approach.

ServiceNow has worked to bridge islands of technology at Experian with complete Salesforce integration. Overall, ServiceNow’s integration capabilities were a critical decision-making factor for the Experian team, particularly bringing together the silos of Service and CRM, which previously operated separately.

Rather than simply finding replacement systems, Experian knew it had the opportunity to drive service transformation right across the business. Choosing ServiceNow was a conscious decision to move away from standard tools to adopt a single platform that would power the seamless delivery of services for every business function.

Bringing this opening plenary session to a close, ServiceNow has clarified how today, nearly every aspect of business can be expressed as service. In this essentially services-driven world of connected computing we can now apply new economies of scale to businesses that embrace and adopt the advantages that intelligent automation and services management can bring forward.

Adrían Bridgwater
Technology Journalist tracking 'developer' for Computer Weekly, Forbes, The Register & Internet of Business.

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