ServiceNow Washington, DC Release Goes Deep On AI, GenAI

'We’ve had 115,000 generative AI conversations, and that number is going to grow exponentially as we move forward in not years, but weeks and months, as we get things turned on, as it matures, and as users get used to what it means to interact with generative AI,’ says Jon Sigler, senior vice president of the Now Platform.

Digital workflow technology leader ServiceNow Wednesday released its Now Platform Washington, D.C. release, a new version of its workflow platform that now emphasizes intelligent automation thanks to a health application of generative AI.

With the Now Platform Washington, D.C. release, ServiceNow is looking to capitalize on investments it and its customers have made in GenAI, an area where spending could add up to about $4.4 trillion to the global economy, the company said.

The new release is the first of two major updates to the Now Platform that ServiceNow releases every year. The name “Washington, D.C.” is part of Santa Clara, Calif.-based ServiceNow’s standard naming practice which uses the name of large cities for its releases, and changes them alphabetically. The Washington, D.C. follows the Now Platform Vancouver release unveiled last September.

[Related: ServiceNow President Desai: Generative AI Technology Strong Out Of The Gate]

AI and GenAI are already key drivers of ServiceNow’s growth, and will only continue to grow in significance, ServiceNow Chairman and CEO Bill McDermott told analysts in January.

“We are in fact in a new era of business transformation powered by AI,” McDermott said. “This is unlocking massive opportunity in the enterprise software industry. And ServiceNow is extremely well positioned not only to lead this movement, but to define it. 2023 was the latest successful milestone on this journey. And we intend to make 2024 an even greater success. To say we're fired up would be an understatement.”

Simplification To Increase Value

The Now Platform Washington, D.C. release addresses several areas of the digital workflow process related to simplification and increasing value, said Amy Lokey, ServiceNow’s senior vice president of product experience during a pre-release press conference.

The first is adding more intelligent automation into the platform, which ServiceNow is doing in part with the introduction of Workflow Studio, which Lokey said improves productivity by letting employees focus on more complex tasks instead of manual ones.

“Workflow Studio unites existing capabilities in this intuitive visualization, allowing people to review and modify process flows and automations, drill deeper into those individual flows and integrations, and quickly create decision trees based on business logic,” she said. “And now even better, building new automations has never been easier thanks to analysis and generative AI. All you have to do is simply describe the process that needs to be automated, and Workflow Studio will visualize and create that workflow.”

The second is to help customers better take advantage of intelligent automation across their business and to track performance against goals via ServiceNow’s updated Platform Analytics, which provides a secure and simple interface to report, monitor and manage KPIs across the entire Now platform and create visualizations and dashboards very easily, Lokey said.

“Users can create dashboards with data from multiple data sources, aggregating important insights in one place,” she said. “And if you don't like a particular visualization, it's really easy to change how that data is displayed on the screen to visualize it in the most helpful way. Data segments in one chart can be clicked on and used as a filter to slice and dice data. And of course, classic filters continue to be available to drive that data refinement. And this is real time data getting put to work here to help people make immediate decisions and accurate decisions to drive outcomes.”

Platform Analytics also easily connects into Workflow Studio, Lokey said. “That helps customers create condition-based triggers based on data seamlessly going from insight into action and workflow,” she said.

The third area is helping customers accelerate revenue and drive top line growth while simplifying customer experiences with its new Sales and Order Management, or SOM, Lokey said.

SOM helps sales and customer service teams manage the entire sales and order process from pre-sales management to post-sales engagement all from a single platform, she said.

“Sales and order fulfillment agents can see a holistic view of the customer, their products that they're using, and their orders that are in process,” she said. “It includes a lot of other information that helps agents to upsell or cross-sell when they're engaging with the customer. Agents can also process change orders and upgrades, with beautiful visual timelines and tasks to create and better manage orders.”

ServiceNow also introduced Security Posture Control, a new tool in the company’s Security Operations portfolio aimed at making it easier for companies to identify and fix security gaps, Lokey said.

“SPC builds on customers’ existing ITOM (IT Operations Management) Visibility and Service Graph Connector capabilities,” she said. “Customers get more visibility into critical gaps such as missing endpoint agents, and SPC will recommend how to remediate those gaps.”

Underlying much of how the Now Platform is changing is GenAI, said Jon Sigler, senior vice president of the Now Platform.

“We continue to focus on generative AI as part of our core platform and expose that to our products,” Sigler said.

ServiceNow works with partners like Nvidia and machine learning technology developer Hugging Face to build out its responsible AI and large language models, he said. The company also uses GenAI in its own development of the Now Platform, he said.

“I think we have 20-plus projects that are going on internally leveraging our models in one way or another,” he said. “We’ve had 115,000 generative AI conversations, and that number is going to grow exponentially as we move forward in not years, but weeks and months, as we get things turned on, as it matures, and as users get used to what it means to interact with generative AI.”

As an example, ServiceNow is now using GenAI to create virtual agents that group together all the logs and alerts generated by a case, which are often cryptic, and turns them into readable English, Sigler said.

“This allows you to create custom chat interactions so that you can have different types of help in interaction with the LLM and different types of questions are asked, and how they are answered,” he said. “[There’s] a very intuitive drag and drop visual designer to help you do that. We are shaving the time it takes to get value from something like Now Assist in Virtual Agent.”

That is already starting to happen, said Paul Webb, Global ecosystem lead for ServiceNow at EY, the London-based global consultant and ServiceNow channel partner.

While AI and GenAI are still in the early stages, what ServiceNow is doing shows the possibilities, Webb told CRN.

“If you look at service management, the more we can streamline that, the more productive everyone can be, and the more value we can deliver,” he said. “It will take time. It takes a cycle or two to get customers up and running. ServiceNow is theoretically plug-and-play. But the reality is, it takes time to embed GenAI in things that need to get done.”

ServiceNow’s use of GenAI in areas such as ITOM and human resources lets businesses consolidate an entire case into easy-to-understand elements that tie everything needed to know about an account, Webb said.

“Once a service call gets to the L2 or L3 techs, there’s already been a lot of interaction,” he said. “Customers need a way to send that information up as the case escalates. We expect to see shorter call times and employees become more productive.”

Everything ServiceNow is doing with the Now Platform Washington, D.C. release, especially its user interface and user experience enhancements, all help EY and its clients, Webb said.

“ServiceNow in the past provided a service desk-type user experience,” he said. “Now it’s a portal experience. ServiceNow is making it easier to interact with technology, which is super valuable because it increases the productivity of the users. Customers want simplicity, and are saying, ‘Just give me the information I need to do my job.’”