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Technology / Cloud

Knowledge17 Lightspeed Recap: Intelligent Automation, Cloud Management & Security

The message was clear from new ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe as he held the stage at the Knowledge17 conference; the cloud company wants to serve the entire enterprise, not just IT.

While the first day was focused on strategy and future vision for the company, the second day was dedicated to showcasing the technologies the company hopes will help fulfil that enterprise-wide ambition. Tapping into the “Work at Lightspeed” tagline of Knowledge17, CBR brings you direct from Orlando the biggest announcements in a light speed recap.

 

Intelligent Automation Engine

One of the biggest announcements of the show had all the makings of buzzword bingo – machine learning, automation, cloud etc. However, ServiceNow upped the stakes with ‘intelligent automation’ and a solution promising to tackle some of the biggest problems in IT today.

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Billed as a game-changer by the enterprise cloud company, the Intelligent Automation Engine was the result of  massive amounts of contextual operational data, huge R&D investmentand a team of leading data scientists.

The engine looks to address four big challenges for today’s IT organisations – preventing outages, automatically categorizing and routing work, predicting future performance and benchmarking performance against their peers.

In keeping with the company’s ambitions to serve the entire enterprise, the Engine will be part of the Now Platform, which powers cloud services for IT, Security, HR and customer service. The company’s goal,  as the platform evolves, is for all departments and applications to benefit from intelligent automation. By automating both routine and complex processes and predicting outcomes, every organisation can reduce costs, speed timetoresolution and deliver consumer-like experiences for employees, partners and customers.

Intelligent automation heralds a new era in workplace productivity,” said Dave Wright, chiefstrategy officer, ServiceNow. “We have embedded intelligence across our Platform, trained with each customer’s own data, ServiceNow is enabling customers to achieve a quantum leap in the speed and economics of their business.”

 

Software Asset Management

Claiming to make vendor audits painless, ServiceNow announced what they claim to be is the industry’s first software asset management solution. 

Aiming to help IT navigate the minefield of compliance and complex software contracts, the Software Asset Management solution combines catalog, procurement and orchestration all in one system of action. With a few simple clicks, enterprises can quickly and easily allocate and reclaim software licenses to address non-compliance and avoid the pains associated with vendor audits.


Software license and maintenance costs account for nearly one-third of IT budgets and 
complexity goes beyond just the software installed on end-user devices. The growth of software-as-a-service means that organisations need to adopt a way to measure and manage consumption of cloud software, especially with the rise of shadow IT.

ServiceNow’s Software Asset Management allows businesses to automate software license spend, enabling businesses to take control on the software request and allocation process across the business. Available via the Now Platform, Software Asset Management also gives businesses a real-time view of its licensed software compliance position, meaning companies can get a clear picture of all their licensed software and how they are being used. Another big benefit of the solution is its ability to eliminate software waste and optimise licence usage, giving businesses an insight into employees’ actual usage of software.

“As software drives greater innovation across the enterprise, it also demands more strategicoversight and powerful levers to optimize its use,” said Karel van der Poel, vice president andgeneral manager, ServiceNow. “With ServiceNow Software Asset Management, CIOs have the means to master the management of software licensing and proactively support the business. They can make vendor audits painless and under reporting of software use a thing of the past.

 

Cloud Management

ServiceNow used the show to showcase enhancements to its Cloud Management application, with the updates geared towards giving employees more control and access to cloud resources.

A new Cloud Agnostic Blueprint Designer reduces the hours of work it takes to create and deploy cloud services. ServiceNow has simplified the design of cloud services by auto-generating an execution plan that brings together all the up-to-date elements of the blueprint, and automatically generates corresponding service catalog items. These blueprints are not tied to a single cloud provider, giving organisations flexibility in their choice of cloud provider.

Another update geared towards empowering cloud end users is the new Cloud User Portal, which gives users a single-pane of glass to manage both business and operational aspects of their cloud resources through the Now Platform. From a central location, the user can easily access their personalized service catalog to launch new services, manage the lifecycle operations of stacks or individual resources and manage the consumption against costs, usage and quotas. 


“As more enterprises are becoming cloud-first, they need cloud resources that are enterprise
grade, enforcing consistent governance and control regardless of the underlying cloudprovider,” said Mike Nappi, VP, ITOM, ServiceNow. “With Cloud Management, employees getthe freedom to access cloud resources and IT the power to stay in control. “

 

Enterprise Onboarding and Transitions

Trying again to showcase capabilities for departments outside of IT, ServiceNow also announced Enterprise Onboarding and Transitions. Looking to transform time-consuming and frustrating HR processes, ServiceNow is applying automation to free HR staff from repetitive, transactional tasks. For the first time, the company claims, enterprises can easily set up and manage employee lifecycle events across multiple departments on a single service delivery platform. The new application orchestrates and automates employee onboarding, offboarding, relocation, leaves of absence and other processes that begin in HR but span multiple systems and departments such as IT, facilities, finance and legal.

“The new hire onboarding experience is a critical first impression for incoming employees,” saidDeepak Rammohan Bharadwaj, General Manager of Human Resources Product Line, ServiceNow. “ServiceNow provides a system of action for organizations to streamline and automate the complex services needed from multiple departments beyond just HR to give employees the onboarding experience they deserve.”

 

Trusted Security Circles

It wouldn’t be a tech conference if cyber security was left out of the mix, with ServiceNow announcing Trusted Security Circles. The cloud-based application gives enterprises the ability to share and receive hyper-relevant threat intelligence in near real-time.

The idea behind the application is all about sharing – sharing information about threats among peers, suppliers and partners. Organisations can control the way they share, what they share and whom they share with — including being fully anonymous. Enterprises can beforewarned of targeted attacks and can contribute to the safety of the community. 


“Securely and anonymously sharing active threat data with trusted peers has simply not been
possible,” said Sean Convery, general manager, Security Business Unit, ServiceNow. “Now,security analysts are no longer alone. ServiceNow enables enterprises to apply the power ofcollaboration to proactively avert attacks.”

Also announced at the show was Vendor Risk Management, a new cloud-based application enterprises can use to automate third party risk, onboard new vendors more quickly and gain visibility of their overall risk posture.

 

Communities

With the customer taking such a key role in the company’s vision for the future, it came as no surprise to see the roll-out of a product tailored to the customer. ServiceNow Communities provides a personalised, self-service experience for every customer. Profiles, cases, products, services, and notifications are available for real-time access with customers able to get the information most relevant to them by engaging with peers, experts and contextual search. A customer-specific activity stream ensures they only get desired updates. Now, ServiceNow claims, companies can reduce case volumes, obtain new perspectives into product use or customer needs, and expand overall reach to new prospects.

“Communities are key to driving loyalty,” said Abhijit Mitra, general manager of the Customer ServiceManagement business unit, ServiceNow. “But not all communities are equal in their ability to engagecustomers. With ServiceNow, every customer gets a community of experts and peers, and a personalized,integrated experience enabling companies to build much-desired, long term relationships.”

Managed forums, curated topics, support for multiple content types, moderation, and granular permissions are all available via Communities. 

The new application sits in ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management solution, which was also upgraded in two strategic areas. The first area was in Dynamic scheduling for field service, which optimises technician assignments to reduce travel times, cut costs, and to ensure the best utilisation. Secondly, cost management capabilities have been enhanced, designed to help customer service leaders to understand the true costs of the services their companies deliver. Customer Service Management is integrated with the ServiceNow ITBM CostTransparency application enabling monitoring and analysis of service costs by customer account,channel, product version, product line, contracts, and more.

 
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