ServiceNow is updating its Now Platform with a series of capabilities that the company announced this week at its Knowledge 2023 conference in Las Vegas.
ServiceNow's original focus was largely on IT service management (ITSM) but has expanded in recent years to IT operations management (ITOM) and enabling IT across multiple digital workflows including development, observability, and workplace management.
At Knowledge 2023, the company announced new features that expand the workflow capabilities into new areas and revealed new cloud observability capabilities. Much like every other enterprise IT vendor in 2023, ServiceNow also revealed its plans to make extensive use of generative AI.
New features announced this week by ServiceNow include:
- Finance and Supply Chain Workflows: A new set of workflows helps automate essential processes such as procurement and accounts payable, enhancing speed and value.
- ServiceNow Cloud Observability: Cloud Observability assists organizations in effectively handling the expanding scale and intricacy of cloud infrastructure.
- Employee Growth and Development: A new solution will leverage AI-powered skills intelligence to drive talent transformation, bridge skills gaps, and enhance the overall employee experience.
- Generative AI: Partnerships with generative AI leaders including Microsoft, OpenAI, Nvidia, and Hugging Face will bring both generalized and domain-specific models to ServiceNow.
In a session with analysts at the Knowledge 2023 conference, ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott said a reprioritization of IT goals, with a clear focus on rapid digital transformation, is happening in the enterprise.
"Today, CEOs are engaging with us more than ever. We're getting market pull now from CEOs where just a few short years ago they were trying to figure out what it is that ServiceNow does," McDermott said. "They knew we were good because their IT personnel told them, but they really didn't understand the platform."
ServiceNow Brings Knowledge to Finance and Supply Chain Workflows
The concept of a workflow, where different industry verticals and use cases get a purpose-built technology, is a growing part of the ServiceNow platform.
Back in March with the Utah release of ServiceNow's flagship Now Platform, the company added a series of new workflows including field service management and workforce optimizations. At this week's Knowledge event, ServiceNow announced the new Finance and Supply Chain Workflows to further extend its reach into use cases beyond just ITSM.
ServiceNow's Finance and Supply Chain Workflows utilize AI to help modernize critical processes such as sourcing, procurement, and supplier management. According to ServiceNow, the goal is to enable streamlined operations, resilient supply chains, and improved compliance. These workflows complement ServiceNow's existing solutions, including Technology, Employee, Customer, and Creator Workflows.
"ServiceNow’s Finance and Supply Chain Workflows broaden our portfolio to help meet the unique needs of modern business leaders and organizations, including CFOs, procurement professionals, and supply chain executives," said Josh Kahn, senior vice president of Creator and Finance and Supply Chain Workflows at ServiceNow.
Cloud Observability Takes a (Light)Step Forward
Another big announcement at Knowledge 2023 was the new Cloud Observability service. The goal with the new service is to provide full visibility into cloud application delivery and operations.
The Cloud Observability service has its roots in a pair of technologies that ServiceNow acquired in recent years. ServiceNow acquired observability vendor Lightstep in 2021 to provide IT visibility and incident management services. In 2022, ServiceNow acquired Era Software, which had been building out cloud-native logging capabilities.
In addition to having cloud-native logging, the Cloud Observability service integrates a service graph connector. The connector can pull data from cloud metrics tooling including the popular open source OpenTelemetry technology into ServiceNow's ITOM.
"Historically, managing cloud and cloud-native applications in enterprise environments has been complex, as many organizations are dependent upon traditional infrastructure and legacy services," said Ben Sigelman, general manager of Cloud Observability and co-founder of Lightstep. "With a unified, scalable cloud-native observability solution connected to the Now Platform, we are helping digital businesses seamlessly integrate observability into their most essential operations."
Why Generative AI Is a 'Catalyst' for ServiceNow's Platform
ServiceNow is also integrating generative AI capabilities into its platform via a series of partnerships with leading vendors in the space. Partnerships include one with Nvidia for domain-specific AI workflows and one with the Microsoft Azure OpenAI service.
The basic idea behind the integration of generative AI is to help accelerate workflows and make it easier for enterprises to get things done.
"I 100% believe that generative AI is a catalyst for our platform," CJ Desai, president and chief operating officer at ServiceNow, said during the analyst session. "It's an augmentation of our platform, and you can deliver better workflow results using gen AI."
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.