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ServiceNow cut its teeth in IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM). The platform helps streamline the process of reporting and resolving IT problems. A significant update to the core platform, called the Now Platform Tokyo release, takes a major step toward the broader realm of enterprise service management (ESM) to respond to issues at a business level rather than just an IT level.
Monish Mishra, VP for service line markets and strategic engagements at Mindtree, told VentureBeat, “By adopting ESM, enterprises can leverage service management capabilities and framework throughout the organization.”
For example, ServiceNow is adding new solutions for enterprise asset management (EAM), supplier lifecycle management (SLM), and environment, social, and governance (ESG) management. It also includes new tools for improving experience and engagement for customers and employees. A new ServiceNow Vault also promises to centralize data security and privacy management across the Now Platform.
Promoting digital first
It is all about helping businesses to become digital first. At a practical level, this means simplifying the underlying platform and the business processes built on top.
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ServiceNow chief innovation officer, Dave Wright, told VentureBeat, “When implemented well, a single platform, like ServiceNow, should touch far-reaching corners of the company, seamlessly connecting disparate systems, breaking down data silos and making things easier, everywhere, for both employees and the business itself.”
Now Platform Tokyo was designed to help businesses focus on improving experiences rather than just service levels. For example, the new Manager Hub provides a single destination for leaders to create learning and development plans for their teams and get personalized training.
The new release also improves connectivity between disparate systems to simplify complex processes. For example, this can help companies move from an SLM process based on emails and spreadsheets to an automated process spanning employees and suppliers.
Start at the process level
When executives sit around the conference table, they may start with vague goals like improving the use of assets like buildings, factories and expensive equipment, enabling supply chain resilience, or becoming net zero by 2030. Turning each of these goals into measurable outcomes requires the coordination of people, processes and equipment.
New purpose-built features in the Tokyo release take a first stab at aligning high-level goals for EAM, SLM and ESG with business processes running across multiple apps. ServiceNow started with these solutions to help enterprises address some of the most pressing challenges facing customers.
“We are simplifying complex supply chains, automating asset management and delivering investor-grade sustainability data so our customers can more effectively safeguard their businesses and manage risk and compliance,” Wright said.
Wright said they also fill an important gap with their expanded ESG management capabilities. Most solutions focus on individual areas of ESG or even singular goals like reducing carbon emissions. But the United Nations has identified 17 broad sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 measurable targets.
The danger in pursuing individual targets lies in compromising others in the process or adding additional work. A broader approach like ServiceNow’s new ESG Command Center for managing multiple simultaneous targets and the processes for achieving them will be required to increase all of them in tandem. It combines ESG management and reporting with enterprise risk management and strategic project management.
ServiceNow steps up collaboration
ServiceNow is collaborating with leading systems integrators like Mindtree, NTT DATA Corporation and RSM US LLP to customize these new capabilities for each enterprise. This will help enterprises implement and fine-tune the latest release for their specific goals. Systems integrators believe the new solutions will be essential in meeting broader enterprise goals.
NTT DATA head of ServiceNow business, Tomoyuki Azuma, told VentureBeat, “ServiceNow is a complete breakthrough in terms of the way software development is made and in terms of the conventional wisdom of efficiency.”
Azuma says it will play a significant role in creating the employee experience required to collectively drive ESG goals. Most businesses he works with struggle with a sustainability dilemma in which the extra work necessary to manage new KPIs drags down financial sustainability. A better ESG management experience will help employees identify ways to assess minor changes to achieve the optimal state of business processes.
“The ESG Management solution empowers our clients to shape the future of our society with sustainability in a way they can measure the ROI, manage the risk and demonstrate the impact to their local and global footprint. Awareness of the benefits of ESG will spread overall participation and innovation in ESG,” NTT DATA’s VP ServiceNow practice, Marci Parker, said.
The update also includes new tools for improving employee experiences for common workflows. All these build on ServiceNow’s recently launched Next Experience UX.
Manager Hub provides a single place to review employee journeys and respond to requests. The tool lets managers create personalized experiences for each employee. They can edit tasks, add mentors, include AI-based learning recommendations from learning posts and integrate satisfaction surveys to understand how employees feel about their experience and journey at the company.
Admin Center allows system administrators to discover, install and configure ServiceNow solutions. Previously, ServiceNow administrators relied on their account managers when administering new applications or manually sorted through apps or ServiceNow Knowledge Management resources. With Admin Center, system administrators can now discover, install and configure ServiceNow solutions in one place.
Issue Auto Resolution for Human Resources applies natural language understanding to analyze requirements and deliver self-service content. Issue Auto Resolution was previously available for ITSM to help IT agents resolve routine incidents much more quickly by proactively deflecting them to an AI-powered virtual agent. The new capabilities for HR teams automate common HR inquiries like PTO requests, HR policy or benefits enrollment questions, and payroll issues.
Privacy and security controls
Enterprises often spread data across dozens of separate applications, databases and workflows. A new ServiceNow Vault promises to centralize privacy and security control. It includes a tool for simplifying the management and protection of machine credentials and validating the authenticity and integrity of code being deployed to ensure no malicious insertion.
Wright said the Vault applies to all apps and data running on the Now Platform. However, it does not manage data from other apps.
Cautious optimism for EAM, SLM and ESG
Yugal Joshi, partner at Everest Group, an advisory firm, told VentureBeat that the addition of new solutions for EAM, SLM and ESG indicates ServiceNow’s persistence in moving out of its ITSM and ITOM heritage to become an enterprise platform for clients for solving complex business problems. These new solutions have the potential to help IT leaders enhance their positioning and working relationships with business teams.
However, Joshi cautions new customers to do a thorough analysis before committing. This should include a cost analysis of subscription, integration, maintenance and upgrade factors. “Leaders need to understand the functionalities of these newer offerings and their relevance to their environment,” Joshi said.
It’s also essential to evaluate the maturity of these solutions. Everest research suggests that enterprises aren’t fully satisfied with the maturity of newer ServiceNow launches and the service partnerships to implement and scale them.
“This will be important for the CIO organization engaging with ServiceNow as a strategic platform vendor,” he said.
In addition, enterprises will need to understand the licensing policy. Everest research suggests enterprises struggle with ServiceNow licensing.
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