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New ServiceNow apps automate organizational productivity

ServiceNow rolled out applications for the Now Platform that assists IT shops with organizational productivity planning and building flexible hybrid work environments.

ServiceNow has updated its Now platform with three applications that increase user productivity by accelerating the automation of customer services.

The offerings -- Automated Service Suggestions, Service Request Playbook and Workplace Scenario Planning -- are specifically designed to use the new capabilities of the latest release of the Now Platform, code named Tokyo, including simplified order management and scheduling.

The updates are part of the company's goal to improve productivity with purpose-built applications that automate processes, according to Jeff Gore, ServiceNow's vice president of product marketing.

The Workplace Scenario Planning offering is an example of a purpose-built application that helps organizations optimize physical workspaces to meet employee and business needs. This is becoming a pressing issue for many large organizations that face the challenge of accommodating a hybrid work environment as many employees prefer working from home.

"This product gives those responsible for facility services and corporate real estate a way to make better decisions about workspaces going forward for the people still coming into the office," Gore said.

As companies continue making adjustments to very fluid hybrid workplaces, CIOs and heads of IT departments are becoming more involved in the decision-making process. They often have to weigh in on technology purchasing decisions that best accommodate hybrid work environments.

Stephen Elliot, group vice president at IDCStephen Elliot

"Since CIOs make important decisions that empower hybrid work, they now have a seat at the table along with those responsible for commercial real estate," said Stephen Elliot, group vice president at IDC. "They often have to revisit what the company is spending now on technology compared to pre-pandemic, oftentimes leading that discussion."

Automated Service Suggestions, which are available to users through the company's Service Mapping Plus service, uses machine learning to analyze the network traffic across an enterprise and suggest practical entry points for business-critical services, according to ServiceNow. It permits IT administrators to more quickly pull together a service map of infrastructure and middleware as well as produce more accurate enterprise-wide mapping.

As one example, Gore noted, if enterprise email servers suffer an outage, the Service Mapping tool helps IT admins quickly locate other systems that power those servers. This results in getting to the source of the problem and resolving the issue quicker.

Not every organization has the resources to stand up functions like organizational productivity planning or assess how a new office layout will work. It's hard to know the best way to leverage existing investments which requires dedicated staffing many organizations don't have or can afford.
William McKeon-WhiteAnalyst, Forrester Research

The Service Request Playbook, built on the company's Public Sector Digital Services offering, lets organizations deploy pre-packaged applications that digitize and automate non-emergency service requests. One such example is making 311 requests that people use to find information about town services or to register complaints.

The primary role of Playbook is to guide users through the process of resolving problems with a particular service. It ensures users "respond to inquiries the right way the first time" and do so in a compliant way, Gore said.

"It gives users full visibility to follow a parent ticket that has multiple case tickets to better understand the problem," he said.

The closest head-to-head competitors ServiceNow faces in the platform enhancement market is Salesforce and ZenDesk. But many of the enhancements each of these companies offer for their respective core platforms are difficult to compare to the new Now Platform apps.

For instance, if an enterprise has invested in Salesforce platforms but is missing an ITSM tool, they could buy into Salesforce's ITSM instead of another established ITSM player like ServiceNow, said William McKeon-White, an analyst at Forrester Research. But as the features and functions of those products grow, so do the number of competitors and the complexity of defining direct competitors.

While the platform enhancement market remains niche, it figures to gain more appeal given the introduction of greater automation and as IT budgets tighten during the ongoing economic downturn.

"Not every organization has the resources to stand up functions like organizational productivity planning or assess how a new office layout will work," McKeon-White said. "It's hard to know the best way to leverage existing investments which requires dedicated staffing many organizations don't have or can afford."

The new offerings are available only through ServiceNow's online store.

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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