ServiceNow announced the general availability of the Vancouver release of its Now Platform on Sept. 20, providing a series of new capabilities designed to improve IT operations.
The Now Platform is ServiceNow's flagship offering; it which tends to have one major milestone release each year, with multiple incremental updates along the way. The new Vancouver release follows ServiceNow's Tokyo update that came out in September 2022.
With the Tokyo update, the focus was on expanding IT operations and IT service management. In contrast, the new Vancouver update is infused with a strong dose of generative AI.
"With the Now Platform Vancouver release, we are integrating generative AI across ServiceNow workflows and releasing comprehensive automation tools on the Now Platform," Amy Lokey, senior vice president of product experience at ServiceNow, said during a press briefing. "The Now Platform Vancouver release is about giving our customers exactly what they need to meet this moment with new capabilities that scale automation and help protect businesses and lower their operating costs."
Key features in the Vancouver release include:
- Now Assist for ITSM, CSM, HRSD, and Creator: New generative AI workflows to provide summarization, self-service, and answers for IT service management (ITSM), Customer Service Management (CSM), Human Resources Service Delivery (HRSD), and code development (Creator).
- ServiceNow Zero Trust Access: Security feature that provides granular authentication policies.
- Third‑Party Risk Management: Module is being enhanced to improve visualization and management of security threats from outside organizations.
- Clinical Device Management (CDM): Simplifies how healthcare providers install, service, manage, and maximize the life of medical devices.
- Accounts Payable Operations (APO): Automates the accounts payable process, allowing teams to digitize the invoice receipt, reconciliation, and payment process.
- Software Bill of Materials (SBOM): Streamlines the processing and ingestion of software component inventory.
Now Assist Embeds Generative AI into User Workflows
With Now Assist, ServiceNow aims to integrate generative AI capabilities into users' workflows for enhanced productivity and efficiency gains.
"This is all about, how do you expose GenAI and take advantage of GenAI while taking advantage of what ServiceNow is really, really good at?" Jon Sigler, senior vice president at ServiceNow, said during the briefing.
One particular use case of Now Assist for ITSM is to help customer service beyond just the use of bots. Sigler noted that there's nothing more frustrating than interacting with the bot, and the bot saying, "Oops! I can't help you." Then the bot turns the conversation over to a human, and that human starts from the very beginning, asking all the same questions that the bot asked.
"What this allows us to do is summarize that chat between the bot and the end user," Sigler said. "So the agent doesn't have to ask all of those questions and is immediately up to date on where we are with the end user."
Automation Is Core to Now Platform Update
Beyond the new generative AI-powered Now Assist services, the Vancouver release also includes new security, automation, talent management, and platform capabilities.
Lokey provided many details on new non-AI capabilities in the Vancouver release, including improved security. New innovations in the Vancouver release will help improve customers' data and cybersecurity infrastructure, she said. Updates include ServiceNow Zero Trust Access, which Lokey explained as adhering "to the highest levels of compliance required by the U.S. federal government, and it gives customers a proactive and resilient security approach." Additionally, she said ServiceNow is expanding third-party risk management to help customers prepare for modern threats.
Lokey also highlighted new automation tools for critical industries. Regarding healthcare solutions, she noted that Clinical Device Management revolutionizes the costly and complex process of managing all of the clinical devices that often divert clinicians' energy away from patient care to doing paperwork.
For finance updates, Lokey stated that Accounts Payable Operations allows teams to digitize the invoice receipt, the reconciliation, and the payment process.
On talent tools, Lokey said the new Employee Growth and Development module will help leaders better meet the needs of their workforce while optimizing for the future of work.
Overall, Sigler emphasized that while there's a lot in the Vancouver update not about generative AI, that's the part that will help push digital transformation forward.
"Generative AI is the transformational thing that we're talking about, and it will transform the way you interact with our products and services for a long, long time," he said.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.