ServiceNow positions Now Platform as workflow engine

ServiceNow made a move to become a major player in the DevOps market by gearing up its Now Platform as a workflow engine that creates cloud-based applications quickly.

Building on the workflow capabilities of its Now Platform, ServiceNow debuted Enterprise DevOps, an AI-flavored offering that enables users to create software more easily by integrating the Now Platform with several external developer and operations toolkits.

Announced at the company's Knowledge 18 conference, this rollout represents a new development methodology and accompanying technologies for ServiceNow. The company hopes both result in smoother communication and collaboration between IT and corporate developers to create a continuous software development cycle.

"Developers now take requirements from users, build code and then throw it over the wall to operations, who have to run it, maintain it and generally keep it alive," said Allan Leinwand, CTO at ServiceNow, based in Santa Clara, Calif. "We hope that time is coming to pass."

ServiceNow's mission is to sell the Now Platform as an application development orchestrator for any enterprise application and "the go-to workflow platform for DevOps," Leinwand said. "We think our platform can orchestrate not just the workflows, but the application development, as well," he said.

For example, users can begin the development process on ServiceNow to plan the application framework and scaling, and then pass that along to the GitHub open source repository, where the coding comes together. Then, users test the application along the Jenkins continuous integration and automation pipeline and complete configurations using Puppet.

The upcoming release of ServiceNow's Now Platform will house a dashboard that allows systems administrators to follow the progress of the application process from start to finish.

A common development issue for organizations is how to efficiently coordinate the several separate teams that work on an application project, each coding in a silo and none with a global view of progress, Leinwand said.

This is something they should have done six to 12 months ago when there was this huge buzz around DevOps.
Meaghan McGrathsenior analyst, Technology Business Research

"Users have told us they want their app dev teams to move faster, but they also want some visibility and control over the [development] process to ensure the quality and to see if the release cycle is on schedule," he said.

The DevOps offering represents a viable strategy, but ServiceNow is behind some of its competitors.

"This is something they should have done six to 12 months ago when there was this huge buzz around DevOps," said Meaghan McGrath, senior analyst with Technology Business Research Inc. in Hampton, N.H. "As a budding platform, I thought they would have emphasized it sooner."

ServiceNow will slowly roll out the technical pieces of Enterprise DevOps over the next two releases of its Now Platform, which are code-named London and Madrid, respectively. London is due in 2017's third quarter, and it will include the company's Scaled Agile Framework 4.5 and Agile Development components, as well as a developer collaboration capability through its Slack integration.

The Madrid release, expected in the first quarter of 2019, will add integration with Atlassian Jira, an Agile planning and tracking tool; Git, the underlying technology for GitHub; and Jenkins. Madrid will also support Slack and Microsoft Teams for collaboration.

The Enterprise DevOps offering in the London release is available to users who have licensed the company's ITBM or ITSA Unlimited package.

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