ServiceNow launches major new features for cloud IT service management

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ServiceNow, a pioneer in cloud-based IT service management, has announced several significant solutions to improve service operations management, low-code governance and government services. These include:

  • Service Operations Workspace, which consolidates service and operations data into a single experience to provide shared visibility into issues across teams. 
  • App Engine Management Center, which consolidates governance for low-code development. 
  • Public Sector Digital Service, which improves service delivery for government organizations. 

Consolidating service management and operations

ServiceNow has grown to become a leader in two distinct, but related, fields of IT service management and IT operations management. IT service management (ITSM) is the outward-facing help desk that fields calls for problems and provides help for common challenges like resetting passwords. IT operations management (ITOM) oversees the back-end technical infrastructure required to support services. 

The tasks of these teams sometimes overlap, such as when an operational issue affects user experience. But the ITSM and ITOM teams have traditionally used different tools focused either on tracking and resolving user complaints or associating log data with operational issues. 

The new Service Operations Workspace allows both roles to look at problems from a single experience to work on the same problem at the same time and solve issues faster. This reduces downtime, improves customer satisfaction, increases productivity and drives efficiencies across multiple groups.

“We are helping to bring together what is happening on the back end operational side and front-end communication engagement side to make sure there is shared knowledge across those teams,” ServiceNow’s general manager for operations management, Jeff Hausman, told VentureBeat.

Aligning different architectures

Stephen Elliot, vice president of infrastructure and cloud Operations and devops at IDC, told VentureBeat this is part of a larger trend around helping enterprises align their technology and business architectures. Operations and service management teams want the same outcomes, such as great customer experience, high level of system reliability and customer satisfaction, but are judged by different metrics. 

The new Service Operations Workspace helps teams communicate and act faster, using common data that flows across integrated workflows by compressing, integrating and automating the processes and workflows between the teams and stakeholders. These dashboards enable faster communications and allow different stakeholders across teams to enter the workflow when required without losing context for the overall problem.

“It is a pretty big deal because it’s hard to do,” Elliot said. 

Almost every vendor in this space has some kind of dashboard and reporting capability, but getting value from the same data for different IT and line of business stakeholders is hard to do. These groups did not have to work together in the past, but now increased collaboration is critical for success. 

This update required extensive work with customers to discover what kinds of workflows and experiences brought the most value across the respective interfaces. 

“This is a long time coming for operations and service management teams. Customers will appreciate this big step forward,” Elliot said.

The pandemic was a big driver for increased collaboration across service and operations teams. Employees had to work remotely, which increased the complexity of internal services and the infrastructure to support these. 

In addition, many companies had to adjust their business models and the way they engage with customers. Examples include taking planes off runways, reducing pilot headcounts, increasing web-based applications to drive sales, or empowering employees with secure access to collaboration tools and core applications. Underpinning all these changes is a technology architecture.

The better operations and services are aligned, the better the business grows and adapts. “It’s not easy to do, but we are seeing companies make these moves and create sustainable competitive advantages,” Elliot said. 

Improving low-code governance

The App Engine Management Center (AEMC) helps to consolidate low-code application governance into a single experience that works in concert with the App Engine platform. AEMC works with App Engine and has some integration into ServiceNow’s RPA offering called Automation Engine.

“Low-code has been a great tool for businesses, but they need the right level of governance and oversight at scale,” said Marcus Torres, general manager and vice president of App Engine business at ServiceNow.  

Platform admins can set guardrails, apply standards, enable co-innovation between business and IT and check for compliance in a single place without any friction. Additionally, AEMC helps centrally manage all aspects of low-code app dev, from app intake to collaboration requests to pipeline monitoring and deployment tasks. The new tool also comes with best practices baked in for testing new apps, which enterprises can customize for new use cases or local regulations.

According to Neil Ward-Dutton, vice president of automation, analytics and AI Europe at IDC, these new management and governance capabilities are not unique. Other vendors as diverse as Pegasystems and Mendix have offered similar capabilities for a while. 

“However, these features are absolutely crucial for any vendor that wants to be able to credibly support large-scale adoption of their low-code application platform in a business,” he said. 

Without these kinds of features, it can be difficult to keep track of and govern the work of multiple teams working on numerous applications. The new offering means ServiceNow is a much more serious candidate as a provider of a platform that could be used at scale across dozens of projects in different parts of a business. 

Streamlining government

The last new offering, Public Sector Digital Services, provides governments with a digital foundation to deliver consumer-grade experiences from request to resolution. The new service comes with prebuild public sector data models and workflows to help governments speed innovation, deliver better experiences and resolve requests faster.

This promises to help government streamline complex processes that traditionally involved office visits, paper forms and securing additional documentation from other government offices.

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