Over eight days, ServiceNow packed more than 500 sessions, keynotes, and workshops into the digital Knowledge 2021 experience. Here are the top themes and updates we are excited about. The new phrase "let's workflow it" was shared many times, acknowledging the company's ability to solve any problem — from vaccine distribution to bank loan automation — by breaking down the process and rebuilding to a more streamlined and automated workflow that ultimately makes life easier and more efficient for everyone.
The Now Platform: "The Platform of Platforms"
During Knowledge21, ServiceNow continued to focus on the importance of empowering "citizen developers" with their low-code, no-code capabilities. On the heels of being named a Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Low Code Application, the organization highlighted the ability for the application to allow professional developers to focus on more challenging business processes, therefore, speeding up digital transformation. App Engine Studio and Integration Hub were highlighted as one of the most innovative tools in the platform.
Another hot topic was predictive AIOps to proactively address IT issues before they impact the end-user or customer. ServiceNow is continuing to focus its efforts on Artificial Intelligence.
What's New with ITSM?
Knowledge21 highlighted a lot of the upgrades made in the recent Quebec release. In the IT Service Management (ITSM) module specifically, there was a major focus on automation and process optimization and the Now Platform's focus was continuing to address bottlenecks in request management with automation and virtual agents.
A key new feature is Process Optimization. The Process Automation interface was modeled after Waze or Google Maps for owners to find the "best route" for their process. The interface identifies latencies in the system that could slow your process down. The new feature gives users a birds-eye view of the process as well as an in-depth view of individual nodes and arcs that make up the process. The dashboards also identify any problem processes and their records and can compare each process side by side to determine which is more efficient.
Additional updates to Virtual Agent, self-service, and AI capabilities in ITSM were a huge talking point at Knowledge21. One notable update is the ability to integrate ServiceNow's Virtual Agent with platforms outside ServiceNow (without the need for costly custom integrations) including Microsoft Teams, Slack, and so on. There were also significant updates to ML and NLU technology with predictive topic clusters and intent language. AI Search is being added to Virtual Agent so end users can search words throughout the Knowledgebase. While putting some topics such as easy-to-solve problems like VPN connection, password resets, etc. into auto-resolution processes, freeing up human agents for more important tasks.
The pandemic showed businesses that they cannot rely on manual processes and expect no disruptions. The need for digital transformation became clear. A specific use case for this would be when masses of customer service agents were sent home during the pandemic. The transition was costly and frustrating for businesses holding onto a manual customer service process.
"A lot of this work has traditionally been done manually via swivel chairs, emails, and phone calls by agents and middle-office workers with tribal knowledge. The result is a slow, inconsistent process that leaves customers frustrated."
The new Customer Service Management (CSM) features include automated workflows, reducing traditional manual CSM tasks by more than 80%, and integrated/internal workflow to improve communication between departments and fulfill customer service requests quickly.
Enhanced Employee Experience
ServiceNow introduced Employee Journey Management that addresses the unique challenges of an employee's journey from changing departments, being promoted, offboarding, and so forth. Like we see in all ServiceNow's offerings, this feature seamlessly connects with other relevant departments such as legal, IT, and HR.
- Journey Accelerator: Provides specific tasks to employees to help them excel in their roles and career.
- Listening Posts: Provides real-time feedback from employees with surveys.
- Learning Posts: Upskills employees to be successful in their roles and beyond.
- Lifecycle Events: Simplifies workflows for complex events such as offboarding and onboarding.
New FSM Features
The pandemic greatly impacted operations for field services as employees could not go out to job sites or conduct customer visits. This was the catalyst for new FSM integrations with leading technologies like smart glasses, drones, and AR to understand a problem live, while still remote, to offer exceptional customer experience and solve problems quickly. These features are already available to customers of ServiceNow Quebec.
- Dispatcher Workspace: Schedules and tracks tasks, technicians, and locations in one place.
- Capacity and Reservations Management: Creates scheduling rules for teams and contractors to prioritize work and adhere to contracts.
- Dynamic Scheduling: Automatically assigns technicians to tasks based on skills, availability, location, customer preference, and contracts.
- Contractor Management: Manages 3rd party contractors in every step of the project from onboarding to project completion.
- Offline Access: Provides the info technicians need, even without internet access.
- Native Asset Management: Manages stock and inventory, and views history, including the last time something was serviced.
New Manufacturing Solutions
It was announced at Knowledge21 that ServiceNow is diving deeper into the manufacturing space to apply its automation and streamlined workflows to the complex processes of manufacturing. The official product is called Operation Technology Management (OT Management) which provides manufacturing business secure digital solutions and an enhanced digital experience for shop-floor workers and more visibility into operations for managers.
As industry 4.0 and 5.0 become more widely adopted, only innovative, digital-first companies will hold their advantage. The new OT Management features are slated to be released in Q3 of 2021.