ServiceNow Continues Vertical Industry Push With OT Management Solution For Manufacturing

ServiceNow is applying its digital workflow and IT process management technology and expertise to the manufacturing sector, following its earlier expansion into banking and telecommunications.


Accelerating its expansion into specific vertical markets, ServiceNow Tuesday debuted its first software for the manufacturing industry for managing operational systems within manufacturing environments.

The new ServiceNow Operational Technology (OT) Management solution, unveiled at ServiceNow’s Knowledge 2021 virtual customer, partner and developer event, creates service and co-development opportunities for ServiceNow’s ISV and systems integration partners

ServiceNow’s flagship Now Platform is used to develop and automate digital workflows to improve organizational efficiencies and effectiveness. The company’s software is often a key component of digital transformation initiatives within businesses and organizations.

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Beyond the core Now Platform ServiceNow also offers software for developing IT workflows, including processes around IT management, DevOps and cybersecurity, and workflows for employee management and customer service.

In January 2020, ServiceNow unveiled a strategy to develop workflow solutions for specific vertical industries with the first offerings targeting the telecommunications and banking industries. Today’s announcement, the first of a series of solutions for manufacturers, is the next step in that strategy. A line of service management solutions for the healthcare and life sciences industries is also in the works.

“It’s really key that we think about having an industry strategy and be able to tailor our products and capabilities to the needs of any specific industry and their customers and their employees,” said Marshall Tyler, vice president of industry solutions at ServiceNow, in an interview with CRN.

“What we’re doing here in manufacturing – and overall [in] vertical strategies – is really critical to what we think is the foundation of our company in the future. This is a really big deal for us,” he said.

The first solution for manufacturing, ServiceNow OT Management, takes many of the workflow software ServiceNow developed for IT operations management and applies it to manufacturing and operational production systems. That recognizes the increasing convergence of IT and OT, said Abhijit Mitra, vice president and general manager of industry products at ServiceNow, in the interview with CRN.

ServiceNow OT Management specifically addresses manufacturers’ need to ensure the availability of their critical systems, according to ServiceNow.

The new solution specifically creates an inventory of manufacturing system assets and provides a unified view across IT and OT systems and their connections and dependencies. It maps manufacturing processes across OT systems to help avoid downtime and improve response and recovery workflows and change management processes. And it provides proactive and reactive security workflows for managing manufacturing system security.

Like ServiceNow’s other process workflow modules and industry-specific offerings, OT Management is built and runs on the core Now Platform, sharing its workload engine and common data model.

A major driver for the new ServiceNow manufacturing software is the need to capture institutional and process knowledge and expertise as a wave of older employees age out of the manufacturing workforce, Tyler said. It also fits with what some call “Industry 4.0” or “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” – the automation of traditional manufacturing processes and practices using IT, machine-to-machine communications and the Internet of Things, according to a Wikipedia definition.

The OT Management solution will be generally available in September when ServiceNow is scheduled to release the next major update to the Now Platform. The company shipped the “Quebec” update of its software in March.

The new manufacturing software is being used on an early-adopter basis by Siemens Energy, which is running it with Siemens Energy’s own Managed Detection and Response technology to create a cybersecurity system to protect digital operating environments.

ServiceNow OT Management is the first of what’s expected to be a complete line of workflow solutions for the manufacturing industry. “We will be going deeper into core manufacturing operations in the future,” Mitra said.

ServiceNow’s channel efforts are focused on ISV partners who develop applications on the Now Platform that complement the vendor’s own offerings and systems integrators, including Deloitte and Infosys, that work with ServiceNow software as part of their business process management and digital transformation practices.

Deloitte Consulting, for example, has built a global ServiceNow practice that provides consulting, implementation and management services around ServiceNow and the company develops turnkey solutions based on the Now Platform, said Stephen Laaper, principal and Smart Factory leader at Deloitte, in an email exchange with CRN.

Deloitte is also using ServiceNow internally to streamline business processes in ITSM, compliance, security, customer service, finance and talent management – resulting in 40 to 60 percent productivity gains in IT support, Laaper said. “ServiceNow is a key component of Deloitte’s global growth strategy, both around enabling our clients’ success and around empowering our internal operations,” he said.

Mitra said ServiceNow tapped into the expertise of partners as it developed ServiceNow OT Management. “A lot of the industry-specific knowledge is definitely being captured within the industry practices of our big SI partners,” he said.

“Almost all of our partners go to market by industry,” Tyler said. “By adding vertical capabilities, we can be even more powerful in relation to our partners and jointly helping transform customers together.”

Laaper said ServiceNow OT Management fits with Deloitte’s Smart Factory portfolio of services and solutions. “Convergence of information technology and operations technology in order to solve enterprise issues promises to be the next frontier for global organizations with interconnected operations,” he said.

On the ISV side partner Atos has built its Atos Product Quality Inspection on the Now Platform to help manufacturers manage product quality and reduce supply chain risk. Fujitsu, another partner, has integrated its Smart Factory solutions with ServiceNow OT Management to provide visibility, security and predictive maintenance information for production systems.

At Knowledge 2021, ServiceNow also unveiled updates to its Workplace Service Delivery solution, including the new Safe Workplace Suite to assist companies as employees return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic.