ServiceNow San Diego release emphasizes increased productivity from Next Experience interface redesign

San Diego also upgrades the Now platform’s RPA bots, and introduces three new out-of-the-box solutions for specific verticals

Today digital workflow vendor ServiceNow is announcing its Now Platform San Diego release. While the number of enhancements is relatively small, one in particular, a new interface which the company terms the Next Interface design, is extremely important. They also announced new Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities, and three new out-of-the-box solutions, for banking, insurance, and technology providers.

“This release is split into three themes, with the biggest focus being on productivity,” stated Dave Wright, ServiceNow’s Chief Innovation Officer. “The biggest change in this release is the context of the Next Experience – a complete refresh of the interface. We have had a team of people working on it for a long time now.”

The goal of the new interface is to accomplish something that Wright said should be the top priority with such things, but seldom is.

“Its reality is to drive production for the people who work on it, but there is never a lot of focus on the people who have to live on the system every day,” Wright stated. “They spend 8-10 hours a day on the system in the back end, bouncing around from screen to screen because they need access to all this different information at the same time. With an automated history that shows where they have been that day, we could create workspaces where they could get everything they need. So we built about 25, for groups like customer service agents to field agents, to HR agents, all on one platform.”

What made the old interface ‘unmodern’ wasn’t being dated or visually dull, since it was neither, but the way it compelled users to interact with the system.

“The concept required being able to navigate around systems, so you would have multiple browser windows open,” Wright said. “Users would also have to go to admins to get customization done, as the system didn’t have the personalization capabilities that San Diego has.”

Wright said a lot of people were devoted to the Next Interface redesign.

“As the company gets bigger from a UI perspective, so do the resources,” he noted. “When I joined ServiceNow about 11 years ago, we had one person doing this work. Now there are over 500 people, and this involved extensive discussions with customer design people.”

The Next Experience design includes a completely redesigned component library, new iconography, typography, and illustrations.  It also delivers enhanced personalization, such as accessibility preferences, information density and layout preferences, and a choice between light or dark mode.

Dark mode, Wright said, has become more popular because of changes in the way that many knowledge workers use it.

“It’s because of changes in the way people work,” Wright said. “People would increasingly have to go on calls at night and didn’t want to be using a bright white screen.”

Not all the 25 purpose-built workspaces are new for this release, but all of them now have the Next Experience visual design, as well as surface insights with dashboards. Next Experience also helps platform users immediately get the information they need and move priority tasks forward more quickly.

The new workspaces include CSM Configurable Workspace, Dispatcher Workspace, HR Agent Workspace, and Hardware Asset Manager Workspace, and Cloud Operations Workspace. Also new is Service Operations Workspace, initially available for IT Service Management teams, and expected to be available for IT Operations Management teams in Q2 2022. While these two groups were historically treated as separate functions within the IT organization, Service Operations Workspace brings them together to deliver more proactive, seamless employee experiences.

ServiceNow makes its own RPA bots and those have been enhanced with new capabilities.

“We reached the point where if we wanted to do something external or data  transfer between two systems, it would be cool to build a bot to do that,” Wright indicated. “A year ago in March, we acquired RPA firm Intellibot for additional technology here. Bringing in our own native RPA advances the concept of hyperautomation, and things working together to provide more value.”

One new capability is Automation Engine, a complete automation and integration solution that combines the existing Integration Hub with all-new RPA capabilities, delivering an average of 3X faster time to value. Automation Engine helps create turnkey solutions that are easily accessible with no learning curve for ServiceNow developers

Automation Engine also features the brand-new RPA Hub.

“This gives you the capability to build your flow design or capability – and then monitor if they are being effective or not,” Wright said. “It provides alerts if bots fail or get lost or aren’t running the way they used to. Think of it being like a control tower for thinking about automation.”

The San Diego release also adds three new out-of-the-box solutions for specific industries, bringing the total number to five.

“These only started two releases ago,” Wright pointed out. “Customers asked us if we could improve things in their core business that drives revenue for them, and we started with banking and telco initially. San Diego has enhancements to some of the banking workflows.” These include New Deposit Operations, which speeds up bank work by automating common checking, savings, and certificate of deposit requests, and Client Lifecycle Operations for Banking, which improves both speed and compliance around onboarding, account updates, KYC updates, and notice of death processes.

“We also created a new solution around insurance, as we hadn’t written any bespoke workflows for insurance before,” Wright said. “Personal and Commercial Lines Servicing capabilities now enable policy servicing across personal and commercial lines of business between carriers and their customers, policyholders, and distribution partners

The third new targeted solution is for technology providers, to allow them to launch new services quickly so they can keep up with the pace of change and increasing demand for cloud-based and managed services.

“They wanted to be able to build a portal through which services could be procured,” Wright said. “They also wanted to link systems with their customers who were also our customers. Technology Now Service Provider Management links them together.” Order Management for Technology Providers also helps grow revenue by launching and delivering products and services quickly and with greater control.

The Now Platform San Diego release is generally available from today.