SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Jim Kaskade, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Greg Ness, Sean Houghton

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Easing the Road to Service Management

Latest ServiceNow update makes turning any awkward process into a managed service available to more workers

IT service management (ITSM) has long been a huge benefit to complex and exception-rich IT operations by helping to standardize, automate and apply a common system-of-record approach to tasks, incidents, assets, and workflows.

ServiceNow has been growing rapidly as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of ITSM, but clearly sees a larger opportunity - making service creation, use, and management a benefit to nearly all workers for any number of business processes.

It's one of those rare instances where IT has been more mature and methodological in solving complexity than many other traditional business functions. Indeed, siloed and disjointed "productivity applications" that require lots of manual effort have been a driver to bring service orientation to the average business process.

Traditional applications in any business setting can soon reach their point in inflexibility and break down and therefore don’t scale.

Just as in IT operations and performance monitoring, traditional applications in any business setting can soon reach their point in inflexibility and break down and therefore don't scale. Despite human productivity efforts - via shuffling emails, spreadsheets, phone calls, sticky pads and text messages - processes bog down. Exceptions are boondoggles. Tasks go wanting. Customers can sense it all through lackluster overall performance.

So ServiceNow this week launched its Eureka version of its online service management suite with new features aimed at letting non-technical folks build custom applications and process flows, just like the technical folks in IT have been doing for years. Think of it as loosely coupled interactions that span many apps and processes for the rest of us.

Available globally

Now available globally, the fifth major release of ServiceNow includes more than 100 changes, new modules, and has a new user interface (UI) that allows more visualizations and drag and drop authoring and is more "mobile friendly," says Dave Wright, Chief Strategy Officer at ServiceNow, based in Santa Clara, CA.

"Enterprise users just can't process work fast enough," says Wright. "So our Service Creator uses a catalog and an new UI to allow workers to design services without IT."

IT does, however, get the opportunity to vet and manage these services, and can decide what gets into the service catalog or not. Those of us who have been banging the SOA drum for years, well predicted this level of user-driven services and self-service business process management.

I, for one, am very keen to see how well enterprises pick up on this, especially as the cloud-deployed nature of ServiceNow can allow for extended enterprise process enablement and even a federated approach to service catalogs. Not only are internal processes hard to scale, but those work flows and processes that include multiple companies and providers are also a huge sticking point.

Systems integrators and consultancies may not like it as much, but the time has come for an organic means of automating tasks and complexity that most power users can leverage and innovate on.

Systems integrators and consultancies may not like it as much, but the time has come for an organic means of automating tasks and complexity that most power users can leverage and innovate on.

With this new release, it's clear that ServiceNow has a dual strategy. One, it's expanding its offerings to core IT operators, along the traditional capabilities of application lifecycle management, IT operations management, IT service management, project management, and change management. And there are many features in the new release to target this core IT user.

Additionally, ServiceNow has its sights on a potentially much larger market, the Enterprise Service Management (ESM) space. This is where today's release is more wholly focused. Things like visualization, task boards, a more social way of working, and use of HTML 5 for the services interface, giving the cloud-delivered features native support and adaptability across devices. There is also a full iOS client on the App Store.

Indeed, this shift to ESM is driving the ServiceNow roadmap. I attended last month's Knowledge 14 conference in Las Vegas, and came away thinking that this level of services management could be a sticky on-ramp to a cloud relationship for enterprises. Other cloud on-ramps include public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS)hybrid cloud platforms and management, business SaaS apps like Salesforce and Workday, and data lifecycle and analytics services. [Disclosure: ServiceNow paid my travel expenses to the user conference.]

Common data model

But as a cloud service, ServiceNow, if it attracts a large clientele outside of IT, could prove sticky too. That's because all the mappings and interactions for more business processes would be within its suite - with the common data model shared by the entire ServiceNow application portfolio.

The underlying portfolio of third-party business apps and data are still important, of course, but the ways that enterprises operate at the process level - the very rules of work across apps, data and organizations - could be a productivity enhancement offer too good to refuse if they solve some major complexity problems.

Strategically, the cloud provider that owns the processes solution also owns the relationship with the manager corps at companies. And if the same cloud owns the relationship with IT processes - via the same common data model, well, then, that's where a deep, abiding and lasting cloud business could long dwell. Oh, and its all paid for on an as-needed, per user, OpEx basis.

As a cloud service, ServiceNow, if it attracts a large clientele outside of IT, could prove sticky too.

Specifically, the new ServiceNow capabilities include:

  • Service Creator -- a new feature that allows non-technical business users to create service-oriented applications faster than ever before
  • Form Designer -- a new feature that enables rapid creation and modification of forms with visual drag-and-drop controls
  • Facilities Service Automation -- a new application that routes requests to the appropriate facilities specialists and displays incidents on floor plan visualizations
  • Visual Task Boards -- a new feature to organize services and othervtasks using kanban-inspired boards that foster collaboration and increase productivity
  • Demand Management -- a new application that consolidates strategic requests from the business to IT and automates the steps in the investment decision process
  • CIO Roadmap - a new timeline visualization feature that displays prioritized investment decisions across business functions
  • Event Management - a new application that collects and transforms infrastructure events from third-party monitoring tools into meaningful alerts that trigger service workflows
  • Configuration Automation -- an application that controls and governs infrastructure configuration changes, enhanced to work in environments managed with Chef data center automation.

For more, a blog post on today's news from Wright.

You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the ...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to th...
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...