ServiceNow adds new digital transformation for COVID era in Paris release of its Now workflow automation platform

Highlights include six new products, four of which are vertically focused around telcos, legal and financial services. A new Service Graph Connector programs for integrations is also part of the release.

Business Continuity Management in ServiceNow

Digital workflow provider ServiceNow has launched the Paris release of their flagship Now platform. The twice-a-year platform refresh has over 600 enhancements in the Paris release. The big news here though is six new products added to the platform to expand the range of connected workflows.

“This release is all about agility and resilience, which is being driven by this whole COVID economy, and how best to get things done in an optimized way,” said Dave Wright, ServiceNow’s Chief Innovation Officer. “How do we get a whole company to be able to work as closely as possible with all these resiliency paths mapped up, in a way that frees up people’s time and provides new automation capabilities. It kind of all builds out from the Safe Workplace apps we released, which now has 670 organizations on it.”

While ServiceNow began as an IT service management software provider, it has expanded into providing a full range of enterprise digital management offerings. Its strength has always been the single architecture on their born in the cloud platform. The COVID pandemic and the distributed workforce environment has accelerated most enterprises’ digital transformation efforts, and made it imperative to increase platform automation and resilience further.

“What COVID has done is accelerate the need for those conversations with customers, and we are leaning in with massive amounts of innovation that partners can translate into value for customers,” Wright said.

The six new products start with Business Continuity Management.

“Business Continuity Management shows how to do business continuity planning and crisis management,” Wright indicated. “This fits with COVID, but organizations understand that this won’t be the last time something like this happens. People are more aware of the fragility of companies.”

Business Continuity Management provides modern, automated business impact analysis, business continuity plan development, and crisis management leveraging context within the ServiceNow platform. The goal is to enable operational resilience, to overcome operational disruptions and minimize their impact and their duration.

“With the introduction of Hardware Asset Management, Paris now manages hardware assets as well as software,” Wright said. It automates the IT asset lifecycle by tracking the financial, contractual, and inventory details of hardware and devices to make smarter decisions from purchase to disposal.

The remaining four new products all have a heavy vertical focus, with two being oriented around telcos, one on financial services, and one on legal.

The two telco ones are Telecommunications Service Management and Telecommunications Network Performance Management.

“These vertically-focused products are something we have not had before,” Wright stated. “The telco ones are a very good example of highlighting how we think the world of customer service will develop. By linking this network performance side with the customer service side, we have this unique view. If we see a telco asset having an issue, our unified platform means we know how customers will be affected. Being able to tie into the operations side lets as look at what root of the problem is as well, so it frees up resources.”

The new Legal Service Delivery product provides legal operations the visibility they need to make decisions fast and enhance productivity by eliminating manual emails and phone calls, while Financial Services Operations helps banks connect teams and systems in the front, middle, and back office to more quickly serve customers. It digitizes core workflows, such as payment and credit card operations.

Enhancements to how the platform analyzes and optimizes processes in the release also increases efficiency.

“When you roll systems out like this, it lets customers make better business decisions and increases their agility,” Wright said. “They can see how long it takes to get specific processes done and see where people are. You can look at any process in the ServiceNow system and be able to mine that process – to see the  difference between what was desired and reality. It lets people see if they have defined the process correctly. Playbook design lets is also provided, with out of the box playbooks for common things like onboarding, and handling complaints.”

Additional AI capabilities were the dominant feature of the previous Orlando release, and they have been further enhanced in Paris.

“Predictive Intelligence Workbench allows people to get quick access to AI-powered recommendations, and we give them out of the box templates to start with,” Wright noted.

While new features are always nice, the main appeal of new releases to channel partners is often around new integrations, and there is a lot here in Paris for them. It begins with the ServiceNow Service Graph Connector Program, which helps customers streamline internal processes by seamlessly connecting new and old tools to prepare for a new way of working. The Connections are to ServiceNow vendor partners, a flurry of whom have already announced integrations through the program.

“Service Graph Connector allows partners to give us information that allows a much richer CMBD [Configuration Management Database] than before, and stops having to find things with a magnifying glass,” Wright said.

“This will be really exciting for partners because they will be able to leverage the connections and develop their own connectors,” said David Parsons, ServiceNow’s Senior Vice President, Global Alliances & Partner Ecosystem. “They can use this program to leverage their services development and delivery strategy to improve time to value for customers.  Partner always look at that kind of tech integration where they can build and create and compose workflows that will matter. That’s the first thing partners look to with a release.”

New partner integrations were also announced with Microsoft and Twilio. This latest Microsoft integration is around cloud insights

“It works to streamline recommendations, and put them into practice with a ServiceNow workflow,” Wright said. “Microsoft Azure Advisor might recommend patches be installed, and we can add that to the workflow.”

The extension of ServiceNow’s relationship with Twilio integrates Twilio into messaging code.

“It lets the customer use their preferred channel, and allows implementing a really quick conversation,” Wright indicated.

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