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ServiceNow NowForum: Machine Learning, Security Take Center Stage

John Donahoe of ServiceNow

(pictured above: ServiceNow’s John Donahoe on stage at the company’s NowForum in New York City on Oct. 17.)

SERVICENOW NOWFORUM — ServiceNow is hosting a one-day customer event in New York City on Tuesday – one of eight held globally – bringing its CEO, CTO, CIO, partners and customers together to share their experiences of “working at lightspeed” — the ITSM provider’s riff on digital transformation.

At last year’s NYC event, the company hosted 1,000 customers; this year attendance doubled to 2,000. ServiceNow posted $1.4 billion in revenue for 2016 and says it’s on track to reach $4 billion by 2020. That growth will be aided by partners, company senior director of strategy Chris Pope told Channel Partners.

“You help each other,” president and CEO John Donahoe, who joined ServiceNow five months ago from eBay, told the overflow crowd. “There’s a real sense of community.” Donahoe says he’s been on a listening tour, asking more than 300 customers about their concerns and priorities.

“Employees want consumer-grade experiences,” he said, contrasting a consumerized mobile app to the typical complex, bloated enterprise application interface. Donahoe used the example of employee onboarding – combining HR, IT, facilities, training and security departmental functions – into one simple interface.

Execs also updated attendees on progress pulling AI and machine learning technology from Qlue and BuildOnMe into the main ServiceNow platform. The goal: Spot problems before they affect employees or customers. It’s clear that ITSM will be one of the earliest production use cases for machine learning, and for partners, an investment in training on a system like ServiceNow can pay off in freeing up technicians’ time. Donahoe cited some current customer experience stats: 20 percent more self-service, 25 percent fewer P1 incidents with significantly faster response times, and a fourfold increase in time freed up for innovation.

Chief product officer CJ Desai called out the problem of unstructured workflows keeping service providers from meeting SLAs. For cases where specialized workflows are needed, the company is investing in enabling “low code/no code”  application creation. Again, a win for partners looking to focus on particular verticals but lacking development expertise.

“We run in the cloud, and our availability rate is high, 99.96,” said Desai. “We are a multi-instance architecture, so you have flexibility.” Assigning customers dedicated instances also avoids the noisy neighbor problem and allows ServiceNow instance to scale with demand, useful for MSPs.

Jakarta to Kingston

ServiceNow runs a six-month release cycle; the newest Jakarta version includes updates of interest to service providers, including better financial reporting and charging, software asset management and license compliance (Microsoft and Oracle now, Adobe and VMware to come), a native user survey, a visual service-level timeline and easier management of service catalogs.

The upcoming Kingston release will deliver …

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