ServiceNow’s Knowledge17 event has now come to a close, with many exciting new features and developments announced. This year’s was the biggest Knowledge event to date, with 15,000 delegates in attendance—the first event, in 2004, had just 85! The theme for 2017 was ‘Enterprise at Lightspeed’, and this idea underpins the year’s featured products.

New ServiceNow CEO, John Donohoe, was the conference’s first keynote speaker. He brings leadership and vision from his time at eBay and Bain, and his speech outlined how experience in enterprise transformation is informing his vision for ServiceNow’s continuing growth. Donohoe emphasised his role as a servant of customers, staff and partners, with his first 100 days spent on a customer listening tour.

ServiceNow have committed to continuing to provide customers with more capabilities out-of-the-box, better visibility over the product roadmap, improved training for new products, and a better user experience.

Event guests included customers, such as Ashley Haynes-Gaspar from GE, who described their experience of business transformation delivered on a ServiceNow platform.  Ms Haynes-Gaspar shared the insights she has gained from her experiences as an advocate for women in IT, and entertained the crowd in her exchange with executive Dave Schneider, referring to him as a great ‘man-bassador’.

GE plans to consolidate 90 systems to a single platform, as well as enhancing self-service through use of Service Portal on top of Customer Service Management, which Haynes-Gaspar demonstrated for the audience. The solution featured GE service agents as the end users, with tabbed views, a Service 360 view, and a responsive solution that provides suggestions on how to resolve cases. A 10% increase in self-service will deliver an anticipated $10m in benefits.

Knowledge17 focused on the idea that automation will drive growth and productivity for organisations, and highlighted new offerings in key areas.

HR Onboarding

One of the most requested capabilities in ServiceNow has been the ability to deliver HR approval and provisioning workflows out-of-the-box. ServiceNow have now responded with an application introducing a new framework that enables onboarding, offboarding, and change activities to be driven by configuration.

Security Response

ServiceNow are recognising the increasing importance of security to the enterprise, and have identified security response as a key area requiring automation. The growth of IoT and the increasing prevalence of attacks means staff do not have the capacity to respond to security incidents and vulnerabilities without the assistance of automated remediation. ServiceNow Security Operations extends existing SIEM capabilities to provide triage and automated response. It also leverages the policy and compliance capabilities found in GRC to monitor and proactively manage risks in IT.

The Consumer Experience

A fundamental principle underlying ‘Enterprise at Lightspeed’ is that enterprise users are entitled to an experience like that associated with consumer services in our lives outside of work. Central to delivering this type of experience is the Service Portal, which links the intuitiveness and flexibility of the modern web service UI to the power of the ServiceNow platform.

Performance Improvement

Donohoe acknowledged that customers are demanding better performance from ServiceNow. He outlined performance improvements expected from the upcoming release of Jakarta, and committed to continuing to provide improvements in future releases.

Software Asset Management

While ServiceNow has included hardware asset management for several years, IT operations professionals have been screaming for the addition of Software Asset Management (SAM) capabilities. ServiceNow has stepped up, and their new SAM module provides automation for managing software inventories. It features native integration with systems of record such as SCCM, as well as the ability to sync with sources on an ongoing basis. It is a significant improvement for those of us that have been managing true-ups in Excel, because ServiceNow is able to provide a central, automatically-synced record. Where SAM truly shines is in the ability to build intelligent business rules that model your actual licence entitlements, and proactively manage allocations. IT Ops can make real savings, not only by lessening labour efforts, but by reducing software licensing costs.

Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation of IT operations promises to provide greater visibility and proactive management of IT. JDS continues to follow this trend closely, as we have been bringing this capacity to customers for several years via a range of products in the industry. ServiceNow brings a new approach, with a ‘Guitar Hero’-style user interface that maps events onto timelines. The potential is there to provide more meaningful insights for IT, enabling staff to more efficiently manage incidents, problems, and changes in their environment. ServiceNow uses machine learning to provide automated responses to issues based on event and response histories. ServiceNow CTO Dave Wright demonstrated how the approach is capable of raising incidents for future issues that have not yet occurred. Exciting as this is, we will want to take care with this feature in customer environments, to be sure we are not generating unnecessary noise.


Jakarta brings the ability for IT managers to benchmark performance of their operation against peers in industry groups. This will be valuable for organisations that apply a continual improvement approach to their IT operations, and which are mature enough to benefit from a data-driven approach.

Over the next few weeks, JDS will continue to bring you insights into our experiences and learnings at Knowledge17, and what lies ahead for customers—so stay tuned!

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