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ServiceNow Ups AI, Security, Mobile Capabilities With ‘Orlando’ Release

“The ongoing pace of thought leadership and innovation allows our partners to go back to our ITSM clients and have a very strong, business-relevant conversation around value that allows them to accelerate their business transformation journey,” ServiceNow’s senior VP of global alliances and channel told CRN.

ServiceNow’s latest update out Wednesday is giving partners advanced AI tools, more mobile capabilities, and new security and analytical features that will give them “strong, business-relevant” reasons to call on customers, said David Parson, ServiceNow senior vice president, global alliances and channel ecosystem.

Parson told CRN that the excitement for the features that are debuting in this update is high among partners for a few reasons.

“The ongoing pace of thought leadership and innovation allows our partners to go back to our ITSM clients and have a very strong, business-relevant conversation around value that allows them to accelerate their business transformation journey, but also begin to increase the level of value they return to the company,” he said. “For partners it’s an opportunity to grow their services practice in places and add new managed services offerings. It’s a win-win-win.”

The new Orlando release of the Now Platform -- the first of two expected this year -- features Now Intelligence, a new set of AI and analytics tools, which help employees work faster and smarter by “surfacing context-aware recommendations, predictions and insights.” They also help teams move with more agility and provide better self-service with virtual agents so customers and employees can get to what they need, and drive better business decisions through observing real-time patterns and trends across an organization.

“Our major value propositions is really streamlining work, but also integrating all the silos, and legacy systems,” Kevin Murray, vice president of product marketing at ServiceNow told CRN. “We are able to digitize simple and complex workflows across the workplace.”

The goal of digital transformation in any organization is to make the employee and customer experiences “amazing,” Murray said. He said consumers already have this. Whether they use a ride hailing app or a food delivery app, the complexity of it is hidden behind an easy-to-manage user interface. However, that’s not always the case at work in the enterprise, he said.

“All that complexity is still at the forefront of how people get their jobs done,” Murray told CRN. “That’s a hornets nest of complexity and we design the workflows that remove that complexity.”

ServiceNow has been adding more mobile capabilities to its platform with every release. With the Orlando release – which has more than 800 enhancements -- the company said it’s also focusing on Now Intelligence and fusing a combination of AI and analytics into IT and customer workflows while hiding the underlying complexity.

“If you look at the work we’ve done around our mobile agents, which is the way most people get help in an enterprise, they want to be able to open up their phone and maybe use their voice to say they need help, or a new laptop, or something’s broken in a conference room,” Murray said. “That complexity is hard in most enterprises. What we do with AI and the analytics is make it very easy for people to operate in the enterprise as they would in their home experiences. The mobile enhancements get the mobile experience on par with what the consumer-grade experience is like, but it’s available for the enterprise.”

Murray said ServiceNow customers also expect solutions that increase an organization’s efficiency and better leverage its spending. So for Orlando, the company is rolling out cloud cost optimization.

“It’s helping customers understand the impact of spinning up and spinning down cloud resources,” he said.

Murray said that while ServiceNow offered provisioning in the past, it did not offer insights into the cost implications of spinning up cloud servers and letting them persist and sprawl. Cloud Insights gives users a dashboard view of the different costs associated with different cloud actions among the various cloud vendors.

“That’s driven by AI,” he said. “So what we’re also doing is providing recommendations on certain types. You have certain capabilities that may cost a premium, when what you really need is something simpler, like a little bit of compute power on a server. Instead of paying the full premium, we say ‘Actually, all you need is this.’ And advise folks on the type of cloud resources, not just the cost.”

He said the AI and advanced analytics built into the product tells users how much cloud capacity they need to develop applications or provide services in the enterprise, and compares prices based on cloud provider.

“It gives you a comparative. If you have multiple cloud providers, it shows you if you are spending more on one provider than another,” Murray said. “That’s what our customers want. They want to be able to compare and make the best investment decision based on the cloud resources that are performing the best for them. So, indeed, they can compare across cloud types.”

There are also new security features, built for the enterprise, Murray said. The Advanced Risk Assessment tool can scan an entire organization to determine where threats exist and how best to mitigate them, including managing risk around employees bringing in personal cell phones to use advanced ServiceNow features.

“Making sure the proper security controls are on that phone, such as an agent that allows for two-factor authentication, or some other security control the enterprise needs in order to allow employees to use their own device,” he said. “We look across workflows and silos and departments to make sure that certain things are not going to provide exposures. Just being able to understand what kind of data access a person has in an enterprise is available as something that we can flag, as you don’t want to give your general population access to customer databases, or something like that.”

Parsons said updates like these are a “gift that keeps on giving,” for well-positioned partners, creating sales opportunities by giving their customers a business value and accelerating the client’s digital transformation.

“It’s huge,” Parsons said. “These partners thrive on thought leadership and innovation coming out of our R&D engine, and the pace and the scale that we continue to invest, leveraging our balance sheet. You look at the services, delivery, practices and managed service offerings, partners want to build on top of our technology, and around our technology. This is just yet another services opportunity to go create great value and build on a world-class ITSM imprint, and continue to cross-sell and up-sell and accelerate their growth.”

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