“What if our lives at work could be no different than our lives at home?”
With that question, ServiceNow CEO and president John Donahoe kicked off the company’s annual Knowledge conference with a keynote address to more than 20,000 ServiceNow customers, partners, developers and employees from 78 countries.
It’s a question that speaks to the heart of ServiceNow founder Fred Luddy’s original mission: use leading-edge digital technologies to make people’s lives on the job far easier, more productive and more meaningful. “Fred deeply believes that it is technology in the service of people, and not the other way around,” said Donahoe.
The annual Knowledge conference is a grassroots incubator for knowledge sharing across ServiceNow’s customer base. Knowledge 2019 features 600 learning sessions over three days, 90% of which will be taught by customers.
Donahoe invited participants to consider the stark contrast between the complexity of our work lives and the simplicity of our experiences at home. “In our lives at home, mobile technology allows us to get what we want, when we want and how we want it,” Donahoe said. Underlying those easy experiences are digital systems and workflows whose complexity is invisible to users.
By contrast, business applications and systems tend to leave much of that underlying complexity exposed to end users. In order to provide the great experiences that customers and employees expect, they must “take that complexity and tame it,” said Donahoe.
Companies can use the ServiceNow platform to offer the same simple, intuitive experiences that we get from consumer apps. Chief Product Officer C.J. Desai highlighted several new features that will launch with ServiceNow’s New York release in the third quarter of 2019: They include:
Desai said ServiceNow customers can already benefit from platform innovations in the current Madrid release, including better systems integration and voice-assistance functionality. He also charted ServiceNow’s roadmap beyond the Q3 release, hinting at more transformative features in the works for the Orlando and Paris releases, coming in the first and third quarters of 2020.
Next, Desai introduced Linda Jojo, executive vice president and CIO at United Airlines. United, which served 160 million passengers last year, is teaming with ServiceNow on companywide digital transformation.
“Running an airline is one of the most complex jobs in the world because so many things can go wrong.,” said Jojo. “We’ve armed 60,000 of our employees with mobile technology. Our employees needed more tools in their toolkit, and ServiceNow is helping us empower them.”
Virgin Trains CIO John Sullivan shared a similar success story with ServiceNow. CIO John Sullivan described how Virgin, which transports 100,000 passengers daily in the U.K., is working with ServiceNow to connect employees and customers with proactive, end-to-end service features.
Employees who were previously siloed in different departments can now connect and share integrated data via a mobile app. They can report a maintenance issue or incident and contact other team members directly from the app using voice commands. Using machine-learning capabilities, the system automatically suggests workflows that resolve issues without impacting customers.
“It’s all about monitoring systems and preventing issues before they occur,” Sullivan said. Virgin Trains’ consumer-facing mobile app is also helping the company deliver a great customer experience with automated self-service features that use ServiceNow’s Virtual Agent technology to manage train cancellations and other travel issues in real time.