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ServiceNow adds new RPA features to San Diego release

Doubling down on its RPA initiative, ServiceNow unveiled the San Diego version of its Now Platform that contains an RPA Hub and a complete overhaul of the product's interface.

ServiceNow has rolled out the San Diego release of its Now Platform featuring a complete redesign of the product's interface along with a new Automation Engine that works hand-in-glove with a new Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Hub.

The purpose of the new interface, called Next Experience, is to provide users a place where their most important work is brought together through one consistent experience across all their applications. This makes it easier for them to get to work more quickly, the company said.

Dave Wright, ServiceNow, chief innovation officerDave Wright

"This [Next Experience] offers the chance to not just have something that looks better, but something that makes people more productive," said Dave Wright, ServiceNow's chief innovation officer. "It gives users the functionality they expect from us, but with the look of a consumer-grade product."

The ability to get all the information users need when they need it makes it possible for ServiceNow to build individual workspaces for users, Wright said. The offering features 25 purpose-built workspaces, all of which take advantage of the new visual design, including a new library, iconography and graphics.

"It means we can deliver things like configurable CSM [Customer Service Management] workspace, or configurable dispatcher workspace or HR agent workspace," Wright said. "For different users living in the system all day, it means they don't have to navigate around to find what's most important to them."

An interface that accommodates a wide range of users inside a large enterprise may not only be convenient and make the product easier to use, but it may attract users to the platform who have never used ServiceNow's platform before.

"Like every other tech vendor, ServiceNow wants to get more people using their platform," said Stephen Elliot, a group vice president at IDC. "Whether you are in HR or customer service, you want to see your content in the context that is familiar to you. This will be a journey, but this could grow their user base."

One of the new workspaces to be available in Q2 2022 is the Service Operations Workspace targeting IT service management teams. The new workspace will also be available in this year's second quarter for IT operations management teams.

Typically, these two groups are treated as separate functions within an IT organization, but ServiceNow sees the new offering as a way to bring the two groups closer together, enabling knowledge workers, including service desk personnel and operations teams, to resolve technical issues faster.

ServiceNow doubles down on RPA

With the new RPA Hub, ServiceNow is doubling down on its commitment to that market, which the company entered just one year ago. The RPA Hub offers a centralized command and control center that monitors, manages and deploys digital robots. The offering is designed to make it easier for users to automate repetitive manual tasks and streamline business processes, according to the company.

"The RPA Hub is at the center of the Automation Engine so you can control all the digital bots you plan to build," Wright said. "With the first release, we'll have 1,300 pre-built components with the Automation Engine, including our Desktop Design Studio."

One analyst believes RPA can play an instrumental role in many IT environments today, but that it isn't the only method available.

"RPA is a useful tool in organizations, but it's not the only answer, especially for organizations that have hostile environments," said Will McKeon-White, an analyst at Forrester Research focused on infrastructure and operations. "By hostile environment -- that could be one that doesn't have modern REST APIs. But it does close a specific gap they have, when it comes to chatbots."

ServiceNow expands vertically

In related news, ServiceNow is accelerating its move into vertical markets, namely banking, insurance and technology providers, to provide tools that could speed up digital transformation projects.

For the banking industry, the company has introduced the Deposit Operations for Banking offering that automates checking, saving and certificate of deposit requests to help bank employees process requests faster. A second offering is Client Lifecycle Operations for Banking to help manage onboarding and account updates faster and in a compliant manner.

ServiceNow also debuted its first offering for the insurance business, suited for insurance carriers and their clients. The Personal and Commercial Lines Servicing offering enables policy servicing for both personal and commercial lines of business between carriers and their customers.

ServiceNow launched a couple of vertical offerings over the past year or two, so it is a relatively new initiative. But it's another opportunity for them to work with partners, which again is a way to further expand their user base.
Stephen ElliotGroup vice president, IDC

The company will also make its first offering for technology providers that streamlines customer and ecosystem experiences. One new product is the Technology Provider Service Management offering that combines care and operations with AI-based self-service and support features.

"ServiceNow launched a couple of vertical offerings over the past year or two, so it is a relatively new initiative," Elliot said. "But it's another opportunity for them to work with partners, which again is a way to further expand their user base," he said.

Another analyst sees a stronger move into verticals as a good move, but not necessarily one that will be a game-changer for the company.

"ServiceNow has been wanting to get into the financial markets, and so this is a strategic investment on their part," McKeon-White said. "But I don't think it is going to necessarily be a game-changer for the platform."

As Editor At Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis, and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals.

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