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Knowledge 2019: Day 3 highlights


What’s new on the Now Platform
 

A year ago at Knowledge 2018, Pat Casey asked customers for their feedback on the Now Platform. Casey, ServiceNow’s senior vice president for DevOps, got an earful. The apps weren’t as cool or fun to use as consumer apps, they said. “Make it like Uber” was a common refrain.

Another request was to improve scalability. With exponentially more data pouring in to businesses every day, customers needed the ability to manage thousands or millions of data points in real time. And on the privacy front, customers wanted tighter controls over their data. 

ServiceNow listened and came back with an array of new features and capabilities. At the Now Platform keynote on Day 3 of Knowledge 2019, Casey unveiled Now Platform innovations designed to help customers deliver consumer-grade mobile apps with increased scalability, security, and usability.

All of the following will be available in this fall’s New York release:

  • Siri shortcuts. This tool will offer multiple ways to simplify and customize voice interactions with mobile apps. Users can build shortcuts for common actions, such as open an incident, show to-dos, or request a day off.

  • Natural Language Understanding: Building on NLU technology from the AI startup Parlo, which ServiceNow acquired in 2018, the platform will offer a no-code tool to create mobile voice-to-text shortcuts. Starting with the Orlando release in 2020, the Natural Language Query tool will enable customers to create customized virtual agents for mobile.

  • Database performance optimization: This will let customers with large datasets generate reports faster than ever before. In a demo, Rani Hamdi, VP of quality engineering, showed how the current platform took 28 seconds to run a report for a million-point dataset. With the new DPO tool, he was able to run a report in a mere three seconds that analyzed 10 times the amount of data.

  • Instance data replication: This will allow customers to replicate data from different instances, synced in real time. Previously, companies had to build out data replication manually. Now, with a simple configuration, you can sync data between instances with no-code implementation.
  • Data residency and compliance. This new compliance tool helps customers keep up with rapidly changing data privacy and security regulations in countries around the world.
  • KYOK (Keep Your Own Key): With Instance Key Management, customers can take control of their own data, with ServiceNow serving as a secure backstop. And while your data is safe in the cloud, it will remain encrypted so that ServiceNow itself can’t access your data unless you request it. “We’re excited to put the keys to your data privacy in your hands,” said Mike Lents, VP of service engineering.


Josh Kahn, vice president and GM of ServiceNow’s Platform business unit, then took the stage to show how customers can harness the new capabilities of the Now Platform.

Kahn outlined two broad categories of applications that customers are creating on the Now Platform. The first is productivity apps that are purpose-built to automate specific business workflows such as vacation requests, customer feedback and loaner equipment requests from IT.  “While productivity apps automate small, simple processes, their business value adds up the more you add to the platform,” said Kahn.

 

 

On the productivity app front, David Record, division chief at the U.S. Department of State, demonstrated a vacation request app that replaced an older, paper-based process. The old process had multiple approval layers and took 15 days to process each leave request. Record’s team built a ServiceNow mobile app that drove processing time down to 10 minutes. Using the Now Platform’s no-code development tools, they got the new app up and running in just three weeks from concept to launch.

The second category is transformation apps, which optimize core processes that create significant business value for the company. These core processes are often highly complex and cut across multiple departments in an organization. Examples include employee recruitment, contract management, patent tracking, employee mobility and many more.

To highlight transformation apps, Kahn introduced Sandra Tartol, VP of enterprise business operations for Optum Rx, a large prescription management company with 65 million customers worldwide.  OptumRx processes $91 billion in prescription spending every year. Tartol explained how the company used ServiceNow to transform unstructured prescription management processes, saving tens of millions of dollars last year alone.

Other Day 3 highlights

At the CreatorCon Spotlight, Marcus Torres, head of product for ServiceNow’s platform business, walked developers through new tools to manage the work of  developers and builders within ServiceNow.

Guided App Creator makes it easier to import data from outside sources like spreadsheets so that it can be manipulated within the Now Platform and more quickly deployed into workflows.

The Now UI Builder allows non-developers to assemble reusable workflow components in a drag-and-drop interface to create working dashboards. Finally, DevX creates a workspace which pulls all these elements together, regardless of whether the user wants to work at the code level or manipulate the components as drag-and-drop objects. 

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