Review: ServiceNow: the Now Platform® Orlando Product Release Broadcast

Last Thursday the latest ServiceNow version Orlando was officially launched. Here you will find the most important information in case you were not able to attend or want to read the content again.

In the latest release Orlando, ServiceNow introduced more than 800 new features. The most important ones I would like to introduce you briefly:

  • Now Intelligence
  • Analytics Q&A
  • Mobile Branding
  • Mobile Analytics
  • Now Experience
  • ServiceNow Extension for VS Code

Now Intelligence

In the new release, everything is about intelligence. AI is still an unfulfilled promise. Everyone is talking about it but nobody knows how to address the topic. So ServiceNow has fulfilled that promise. True to the motto ‘Intelligence done right: Making work better for you’. Now Intelligence is now behind most applications.

Analytics Q&A (limted access)

What do you think when you read this? Q&A to the Analytics Application? That’s wrong. Analytics is a very interesting topic for the high management level, which needs fast reports and has no time to create them.

The trick is, you enter what information you are looking for in a search field and the Analytics Q&A application generates the required report.

Mobile Branding

With the Orlando release ServiceNow has responded to many customer requirements. One if the requirements is to adapt the available mobile applications. Not only the mobile theme colors can be customized, but also the app name, app description, app icon and splash screen image. With the new release, MAM (Mobile App Management) support is available.

Mobile Analytics

With the new release ServiceNow also introduces a possibility to check user data of mobile applications and thus further improve the stability and performance of the applications.

The ServiceNow Mobile Analytics application provides dashboard views to monitor key performance indicators for mobile application users created with the ServiceNow mobile platform. Visualize metrics and interactions to better understand the user experience and create more intuitive trips for your users.

Now Experience

Today the experience of the employees is broken. Employees have to navigate across several departments to do simple things.

The IT department is responsible for things like connecting to the Internet, needing a new device, resetting the password and much more. The HR department provides policies, changes the address and updates contact information. Facilities organizes office moves, books meeting rooms, a new desk. The Legal Department is responsible for providing evidence of compliance, reporting risks to the Board of Directors. The finance department takes care of payment problems, company credit cards, purchase of various utensils.

ServiceNow Employee Workflows transform the employee experience. How? ServiceNow combines everything in one platform – not only via website, but also via smartphone. This makes it easier for all employees to get things done, find information or whatever needs to be done.

ServiceNow Extension for VS Code

ServiceNow already provided an extension for Microsoft Visual Studio Code in the past. With the new release, this extension has been further improved.

From now on you can develop offline. As soon as an internet connection is available, the changes can be applied.  The extension also provides a 2-way-sync between VS Code and the ServiceNow instance. Furthermore, the extension provides code suggestions to use the correct syntax.

What is ServiceNow?

ServiceNow is an aPaaS (Application Platform as a Service) model and is the fastest growing enterprise cloud platform. It provides the customers a modern platform with extensive functions and several integrations. With the modern platform, workflows can be easily created to automate several business processes to make work easy. 

Now Platform®  

The Now Platform® delivers a System of Action for the enterprise. Using a single data model, it’s easy to create contextual workflows and automate any business process.  

Anyone, from the business user to professional developer, can easily build applications at lightning speed. Any application user on the Now Platform® can make requests through the service catalogues, find information in common knowledge bases, and be notified about the actions and information they care about the most. Departments, work groups, and even devices can assign, prioritize, collaborate, get down to root cause issues, and intelligently orchestrate actions. Now, makes your business move faster. 

ServiceNow key products 

  • IT Service Management: With the IT Service Management (ITSM) solution you are able to manage and deliver services to your users through a modern, single cloud-based platform. The ITSM suite offers features used by your IT Service Desk to manage the ITIL processes such as Incident Management, Change and Release Management, Problem Management, Service Level Management, Service Catalog, Knowledge Management, and Configuration and Asset Management along with features like reporting and administration, which are extended across other features as well.

Applications: Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Release Management, Asset Management, Cost Management, CSI Management, Walk Up Management

  • Customer Service Management: Customer Service Management (CSM) is the pendant to the ITSM application. While ITSM is used for internal purposes, CSM is used for external use. CSM is used to resolve complex issues end-to-end. Problems can be fixed proactively and drive action to solve common requests more quickly and efficiently.

Applications: Customer Service Management, Communities, Field Service Management

  • Intelligent Applications: Intelligent applications are self developed applications, custom apps. This is now included in the Now Platform®. This solution includes Service Portal Designer, Studio (the developer interface), Delegated Development and Automated Testing.

Applications: Service Portal Designer, Studio, Delegated Development, Automated Testing

  • HR Service Delivery: HR Service Delivery is one of the key trends of ’20. With HR Service Delivery, ServiceNow wants to improve the employee satisfaction and make work more efficiently. Most of the HR employees are burdened by manual processes. Onboarding and Transition is a important topic as well. In this application all departments of the onboarding process are involved to improve the overall experience.

Applications: Case & Knowledge Management, Onboarding & Transition, Employee Service Center,  Employee Document

  • Security Operations: ServiceNow Security Operation brings incident data from your security tools into a structured response engine that uses intelligent workflows, automation, and a deep connection with IT to prioritize and resolve threats based on the impact they pose to your organization. So it provides your company a solution for security incident response, work through quickly and process all incoming signals onto a heatmap. You can also ask a anonymous community (trusted security circles) of several companies to solve your security issue. You are also able to discover all your systems to get data for current patches, event management and libraries to check whether a new patch is available or not.

Applications: Security Incident Response, Vulnerability Response, Threat Intel, Trusted Security Circles

  • Governance, Risk & Compliance: With this suite, automation of policies and live cycles of several services is possible. You can respond to business risks in real time, connect security and IT with an integrated risk program offering continuous monitoring, prioritization, and automation. Vendor management is possible as well to manage live cycles of the vendors and weight up how reliable a vendor is.

Applications: Vendor Risk Management, Audit Management, Policy & Compliance Management, Risk Management

  • Software Asset Management: ServiceNow started in this area three years ago and it’s the only solution which really saves costs. With Software Distribution, License Change Projections and Software Asset Management, every installed and licensed software can be identified on every client or server. With this information, companies are able to identify how many licenses are used, used to much or not exhausted at all. Unused licenses can be returned to the vendor to save those costs.

Applications: Software Distribution, License Change Projections, Software Asset Management

  • IT Business Management: ITBM is the most flexible/agile solution of ServiceNow. This suite will soon be renamed to Enterprise Portfolio Management. EPM is a more suitable term since it better describes the functions. Project Management isn’t only relevant for IT but for the entire company, for this, ITBM or soon EPM is used. All important parts of the classic project management is included and is strongly oriented towards agile project management.

Applications: App Portfolio, Demand, Resource, Project Portfolio, Agile Dev, Test Management, Financial Planning,  Financial Modeling & Charging

  • IT Operations Management: The ITOM suite is the heart of ServiceNow, right after the Now Platform. With this suite, you are able to discover every system in your network environment and map services. Now you are able to understand processes, the correlation between assets and the whole infrastructure. This is the base for event management. So if for example outlook doesn’t work anymore on a device, you can identify all systems involved to detect the error and resolve it. Also with Cloud Management you can for example provision Microsoft Azure resources or identify cost factors.

Applications: Event Management, Operational Intel, Service Mapping, Discovery, Orchestration, Cloud Management

  • Now Platform: The Now platform is the real heart of ServiceNow. ServiceNow is based on a CMDB. The CMDB is filled by discovery. With this CMDB you have a single source of truth where all CI’s are managed. But the Now Platform offers out-of-the-box several features as well.  Some of them are Virtual Agent, Notifications, Push-notifications, mobile Apps, Visual task boards, Flow Designer, Workflows and much more.

Applications: Service Portal, Virtual Agent, Knowledge Management, Notify, Push, Mobile, Guided Tours, Supervised Machine Learning, Anomaly Detection, Actionable Analytics, Time Series Database, Peer Benchmarking, Connect, Visual Task Board, Service Catalog, CMDB, Orchestration, Integration Hub, Flow Designer, Workflow

Capabilities 

  • Authentication: Single sign-on (SSO) feature is the essence of any tool and ServiceNow is no different. This tool has multiple provider SSO features. An organization can use several SSO IDPs (Identity Providers) to manage authentication. SSO enables a user to login into the application without providing any UserID or password. Hence it uses the Windows ID and password. 
  • LDAP: Companies can use Active Directory for various purposes. Be it providing access to applications or maintaining Outlook Distribution list; there are many. The LDAP integration is a piece of cake for ServiceNow tool, and the part is that you do not have to code anything. Everything is a simple configuration. 
  • Orchestration: ServiceNow provides the capability of orchestrating or automating simple or complex tasks on remote servers. One Orchestration is implemented in an IT company, the entire work requires less skill and labor. It can automate systems which are listed in the Integrations section. 
  • Web Services: The Platform provides the capability of publishing or consuming API at the same time. SOAP, WSDL or REST API are protocols supported. You can either create codeless API or scripted ones. 
  • Enterprise Portal: One of the most important requirements for any organization is to have a web portal where users can request for access, service or support. ServicePortal has the capability of giving wings to different organizations. Today Enterprises are developing their ServicePortal to showcase their ServiceNow capabilities. ServicePortal also replaces CMS site which was the old version of portal but it does not have a capability like a Service Portal.  
  • Mobile Ready: Today most of the people would want an enterprise application/service/solution to be mobile enabled. They need the ability to make changes on the go. ServiceNow makes it possible. ServiceNow forms and applications are mobile friendly and can be published directly to the mobile without specific development done for mobile. ServiceNow provides the web-based application for the mobile and a mobile native app for iOS and Android. 

Integrations 

Integrations are licensed by different packets. 

  • API 
  • REST 
  • SOAP 
  • SSH 
  • PowerShell 
  • JDBC 
  • XML 
  • JSON 
  • Microsoft Teams 
  • Workplace by Facebook 
  • Azure DevOps 
  • Docker 
  • Jira 
  • Kubernetes 
  • Twitter 
  • Google Cloud translator 
  • Microsoft AD 
  • Microsoft Azure AD 
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 
  • Microsoft Exchange 
  • Adobe Experience Platform 
  • Microsoft SCCM 
  • Salesforce 
  • … 

Q2’20 SAP: 

  • Ariba 
  • Business Suite 
  • Fieldglass 
  • S4/Hana 
  • Concur 
  • … 

Hosting 

The customer instances are hosted in ServiceNow’s own datacenters which are shown in the image below. Two datacenters are combined to a datacenter pair for reliability. For a small number of customers with special requirements, an onsite implementation is possible. 

The German datacenters are located in Dusseldorf and Frankfurt Main.