The Key Themes of ServiceNow’s Knowledge 16 Conference

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Shawn McCoy | 06/06/2016 | Cloud and Operations | Events

ServiceNow’s annual end user conference, Knowledge 16, took place this year in Las Vegas May 15-20. The conference has been growing every year with over 11,000 participants in 2016, nearly double the attendance of just two years ago. Hundreds of companies in various markets and industries were in attendance, with end-users of the ServiceNow tool coming together to learn, share and deepen their understanding of how the ServiceNow platform can help them better handle services across the enterprise.

Although there were hundreds of breakout sessions, including case study reviews and labs in addition to keynotes, the overarching theme of this year’s conference was Service Revolution, an intentionally thought provoking conversation about moving IT services beyond IT to embrace service management across the enterprise. This theme maps to a broader conversation in the IT industry and encapsulates a shift in thinking from IT Service Management to Enterprise Service Management.

Shifting the IT Service Experience to an Enterprise Perspective

Enterprise Service Management is not a new idea, but many organizations using the ServiceNow platform view it primarily as an ITSM tool rooted in ITIL practices. This is not inaccurate. ServiceNow is sold as an IT-based solution for managing services. However, ServiceNow sees itself as more than ITSM platform and always has. Now client messaging is catching up to the longer term vision.

It’s critical for IT to view the services it provides from an enterprise-wide perspective, with emphasis on the end-user experience. For example, consider employee onboarding. IT provides services in connection with bringing a new employee onboard with a company, from issuing equipment to setting up accounts to managing accessibility. However, IT is only part of the employee onboarding process—Human Resources, Finance, Facilities and so on are all part of the experience, and also require services. When enabling services and making them available to end users it’s important to look at the entire lifecycle and how services impact all the involved groups.

The importance of enterprise-wide thinking about services was re-enforced throughout the Knowledge 16 conference. While it’s easy enough to understand the idea, enterprise services can be complex and challenging to implement due to their increasingly cross-functional nature. ServiceNow demonstrated that it is continuing investment in developing its platform to simplify management of the entire services lifecycle. They continue to author additional applications that consider teams other than just IT, such as Human Resources, Partners, Customer Service Finance, and so on.

The Continuing Importance of Accessibility and Mobility

The availability of services to end users was another key theme covered at the Knowledge 16 conference. In research conducted by ServiceNow, it was discovered that what mattered most to employees engaging work applications was ease-of-use, convenient information access, productivity, collaboration and increased access. One of the key takeaways was the importance of cross-device availability of services.

Employee behavior is not limited to working from a PC and hasn’t been for years. As usage of mobile phones and other devices such as tablets, wearables and IoT devices increases, so has the need for services to those devices. ServiceNow demonstrated the importance of mobility and what the platform is doing to meet demand for services to mobile through responsive design and the general broadening of devices supported.

Growing Need for Better Security

Finally, Knowledge 16 gave quite a bit of attention to security this year and specifically how the ServiceNow platform can help in reducing the time it takes to spot a breach. During one of the keynotes, it was shared that the industry average to spot a breach is 206 days, with another 69 days on average to contain it. With numbers so high, it is no wonder that many people are concerned about security. The attention and importance ServiceNow gave to security issues was reassuring. ServiceNow made it clear that they want the platform to help organizations identify and solve security-related challenges.

There are many other takeaways from Knowledge 16. As with all Knowledge events there was no lack of information being shared, but these particular areas were most interesting because they are challenges that have presented across most companies and affect enterprises as a whole. By broadening the import of its messaging, ServiceNow showed how the platform can help manage or even eliminate challenges that exist in each of these areas.