Managed services News
ServiceNow To Acquire G2K In Workflow AI Play
Joseph F. Kovar
‘They have the platform for IoT and AI monitoring and observability in the real-time world. We have the workflows. We are bringing the two together. And if you look at the industry today, there’s nobody who offers one short end-to-end workflow solution. Everybody’s stitching this together with very different parts and different technologies,’ says Karel van der Poel, senior vice president and general manager at ServiceNow.
Digital workflow platform developer ServiceNow Friday said it is planning to acquire G2K, developer of an artificial intelligence-powered platform that enables businesses to connect real time data across physical locations including storefronts to build a complete view of operational data.
The acquisition, for which no dollar value was provided, is slated to close by late second quarter or early third quarter of 2023, subject to German regulatory approval, given G2K is based in Munich, Germany.
G2K’s AI-powered platform fits well with ServiceNow’s other AI-based applications and its overall Now digital workflow platform, said Karel van der Poel, senior vice president and general manager at ServiceNow and head of Now X, a program looking at new technologies to add to the Now platform. Now X also looks at potential acquisitions, van der Poel told CRN.
“Now X is basically the place where new products and new offerings for ServiceNow have been born over the last six or seven years,” van der Poel told CRN. “My job is look at acquisitions who are organically building products and to keep expanding the ever growing portfolio of ServiceNow.”
G2K, which has more than 200 employees, fits in well with ServiceNow’s Now platform, van der Poel said.
“ServiceNow has always been in the field of monitoring digital environments, like we do with ITOM (IT Operations Management) and our Lightstep [observability technology] acquisition, where we can observe and understand what’s going on in a client’s digital landscape, and then based on the anomalies we see, we kick off workflows,” he said. “That then that fuels IT Service Management, ITSM management. G2K offers operation management observability for the real world, including an IoT platform that takes any kind of data feeds, aggregates it, and detects anomalies in the real world, and then kicks off physical workflows.”
G2K offers an IoT AI-powered platform that allows businesses to monitor and observe what’s going on in the real world and if it detects anomalies, uses AI models to then start workflows to streamline customer experiences in retail, field service management, and similar use cases, van der Poel.
“They have the platform for IoT and AI monitoring and observability in the real-time world,” he said. “We have the workflows. We are bringing the two together. And if you look at the industry today, there’s nobody who offers one short end-to-end workflow solution. Everybody’s stitching this together with very different parts and different technologies. We’re looking to re-platform the G2K technology to make it part of the ServiceNow platform so we have an end-to-end seamless platform for real-world management of workflows.”
The first work case will be retail-focused store operations, van der Poel said.
“G2K has an award-winning solution for retail where they monitor shop floors, spillage, misplaced products, crowded zones, all that kind of stuff, they can detect that and then kick off the appropriate workflows,” he said. “We already do these workflows for some of the largest retailers in the world, but the alerting and the triggering of the workflow is not automatic. But with a combined offering, we can now make it seamless.”
van der Poel said he expects ServiceNow to need most of 2024 to re-platform G2K for its work platform, with the first commercial activity from the addition of G2K to Now expected to happen in 2025.
G2K is not ServiceNow’s first acquisition of an AI-based platform company, van der Poel said.
This included the late 2020 acquisition of Element AI, which developed technology to help businesses better use AI, as well as its June 2022 acquisition of Hitch Works, which developed AI-powered skills mapping and intelligence technology.
“So there’s AI across the Now platform in various places,” he said. “It’s a pretty large footprint.”
G2K is different because of privacy concerns, van der Poel said.
“For IoT, it’s important that the AI lives on the edge, and not in the cloud, including for privacy reasons,” he said. “The AI technology and the models that we have today are typically all centralized in the cloud, and so that’s not a workable solution. These models need to be sitting on the edge or sitting close to a device, and then determine locally whether it should actually send an alert and anomaly detection up to the cloud to kick off a workflow when you can’t have a write AI running into the cloud because then you need to send all the data.”
That level of privacy is built into G2K because it was developed in Germany, which has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world, van der Poel said.