Image by Mike from Pixabay ServiceNow has released the first of its bi-annual releases for its Now Platform. This release, code-named Utah, does not disappoint. ServiceNow has categorised what is contained in Utah within three broad themes. However, as usual, the update has much, much more. The themes are purposeful automation, operational risk minimisation and smarter working methods.

Organisations are being faced with continuous digital transformation being a necessity. Organisations failing to adopt recent innovations risk falling behind, being disrupted in their chosen industry and failing. IDC believes spending on technology will grow eight times faster than the economy in 2023 as priorities shift.

Furthermore, by 2026 40% of total revenue from G2000 organisations will be generated by digital products, services, and experiences. That figure could look conservative as more organisations shift to subscription models.

CJ Desai, chief operating officer at ServiceNow
CJ Desai, President chief operating officer at ServiceNow

CJ Desai, president and chief operating officer at ServiceNow, commented: “Organizations no longer need to choose between speed and innovation, or great experiences and business growth. ServiceNow’s intelligent platform offers fast time to value, continuous net-new innovation, and a simplified and seemingly invisible upgrade experience so customers can do more with less and transform their business models.

“Our latest release is designed for this moment – empowering organizations to maximize efficiency, accelerate ROI on digital spend, and create simplified, connected experiences across their entire value chain.”  

Enterprise Times had the opportunity to discuss elements of the release with Simon Morris, Area Vice President of Solutions Consulting at ServiceNow.

Purposeful automation

Automation is recognised as a must-have rather than a future trend. Mckinsey removed process automation as a future trend in its 2022 trends outlook report as it is “now considered an implication of several trends.”

In another survey, McKinsey found that 70% of organisations were piloting automation technologies. The use cases are there, and ServiceNow is now embedding more of them within its platform, so they have become the norm rather than a new project. With Utah, it has introduced several new AI-powered updates

AI Search

AI Search is now built into ServiceNow’s Next Experience. It allows users to use natural language, with auto-complete built-in, to save time and reduce typos. It will allow service delivery workers to find the right information faster for customers.

Process Optimisation

Process Optimization is now expanded beyond the IT domain. Morris explained, Process optimization originally started in that IT domain. Field Service Management and HR are indicating it’s the employee and customer workflows within our products. We pulled out those two elements as the headlines. It’s process optimization outside of IT.”

Simon Morris, Area Vice President of Solutions Consulting at ServiceNow.
Simon Morris, Area Vice President of Solutions Consulting at ServiceNow.

Enterprise Times asked Morris where it was not available. He answered, “It is not available today for creator workflows, which is something you’d build to solve your own problems on the platform. Because we don’t predict the models of work that customers will invent for themselves in the creator workflow space.”

The solution provides insights into process flows and enables users to optimise the workflows using the ServiceNow RPA solution.

How does it achieve this?

“We’re able to visualise all the implications of a particular business process that says 100,000 routes of the business process. Then we can point to a place in that process. We can recommend you alleviate the bottleneck there through automation or a different type of workflow. By making those recommendations, we’re increasing the value that customers realise using that part of the product.”

However, Morris indicated that a solution for customers to deliver process optimisation across their own workflows is on the roadmap. The inference is that ServiceNow would productise the engine that built the optimisation for ITSM, HR and Field Service and make it available to customers.

Workforce Optimisation

Workforce Optimisation enables organisations to build HR workflows. It gives HR managers a central system where they can understand and manage work across the employee bases. They can understand the quality of work performed by employees, teams, and departments and improve that quality significantly without incurring costs.

Does that mean ServiceNow will look to replace existing HR systems?

Morris replied, “In a way. We are not there to replace core ERP HR systems. We’re there to get more value from your Workday or SuccessFactors implementation. This is about understanding the relationship between skills, availability, and work. We’re trying to connect the right person to the right work with the right skill. When we do that, we are getting people to do their best work because we’re connecting to work that they are most suitable to do.

“In a way, we’re breaking down the very traditional structured Org chart. We have a lot of talent locked away in a part of the organisation where they’re not really considered for work just because of the reporting structure they’re in. The future workforce will be much more about a marketplace of employees with skills able to do the right kinds of work that have acquired those skills.

“Our platform is able to facilitate that because we understand the work the best. Registries of people and skills may be in HR systems. It might be that we can use that data to get more out of that investment. But it’s where people meet the work, where those skills can be applied the best, and that’s on the ServiceNow platform.”

Document Intelligence

The Utah release improved Document Intelligence in two ways. It includes a better user experience and can extract data from larger documents to expedite payroll, finance, and procurement processes.

ServiceNow Impact

Utah adds Impact Accelerators to ServiceNow Impact. ServiceNow Impact helps organisations accelerate the ROI for their technology investments. According to the press release, they allow platform owners to track system health and accelerate the implementation of dashboards. I asked Morris to go into a bit more detail.

He answered, “The accelerators are a set of benchmarks for your particular industry around key metrics. This week, I met with an executive at a luxury car manufacturer in Woking. I told them, “In your cohorts, you currently perform in the top quartile of your peers on this particular service metric. It could be around first-time resolution, the cost of change, the number of changes automated or the number of requests for the field.” It gives industry leaders benchmarks for where they are and recommendations about how to move around in that cohort.”

Operational Risk Minimisation

With business disruption occurring ever more frequently, organisations must adapt and manage risks better. Utah contains several features that will enable organisations to do that.

Health and Safety Incident Management

Health and Safety Incident Management brings tools that help organisations resolve H&S incidents and assign corrective and preventative actions whilst connecting silos and reducing direct and indirect costs.

This is Morris’s favourite feature in the release. He commented, “I love that ServiceNow impacts real people in a meaningful way. With our health and safety workplace, we’re going to be able to reduce workplace accidents and make the workplace safer. I’ve been at ServiceNow for a long time, and making workflow more productive has been great. Now we’re getting into the really interesting mission-critical work about people’s actual safety at work.”

Security Incident Response Workspace

The Security Incident Response Workspace enables security analysts to review and monitor data and incidents from a single location. Built within the ServiceNow Next Experience, customer security analysts can build assessments and analyze reports within one workspace and leverage Process Automation Designer to manage multiple workflows with no-code playbooks.

Operational Resilience Workspace

Also part of the ServiceNow Next Experience, the Operational Resilience Workspace provides an enterprise-wide view of critical risk information. Metrics include:

  • Issues
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Outages
  • Failed controls

The dashboard gives a 360° view of dependencies and resilience metrics, delivering a holistic view across the organisation

Log Export Service

The Log Export Service simplifies security and performance monitoring for Now Platform implementations. It allows organisations to export the ServiceNow system and application logs into their security analytics tool.

Smarter Ways Of Working

Smarter ways of working are not just about automation. They are also about how people work. Utah introduces new features within Next Experience that will make work simpler and more engaging. It leverages analytics to deliver more insights from which people can take action.

Theme Builder

Theme Builder enables customers to quickly brand and personalise their ServiceNow experience. I asked Morris how he saw customers using this.

“Building a theme for your digital experiences is a technical part of being a ServiceNow customer. It’s not our technology being the hero. It should be branded to your corporate brands to make users feel at home. This removes a lot of the design skills needed.

“You don’t need to be a CSS designer or understand the language of the web to get your portal branded really quickly. It’s an opportunity for customers to do it themselves and not have to go and get high-tech. It’s aligned with low-code/no-code rather than pro-code resources, and it’s a really quick way to make your instance feel like your own service experience.”

Enterprise Architect Workspace

The Enterprise Architect Workspace allows users to gain control of app redundancy and limit unnecessary spending as organizations look to do more with less. This workspace provides a consolidated user experience for enterprise architects to make smarter decisions across their app portfolios while reducing risk and cost.

Workplace Lease Administration

Workplace Lease Administration arms facility managers with powerful data and insights to track contracts more effectively and make informed decisions about office space while controlling costs.

There are also enhancements to Workplace Space Management, allowing workplace leaders to redesign workspaces as they reconfigure for a hybrid workforce.

Enterprise Times, what does this mean

Utah is an impressive release. Customers are eager to use the solution, with David Asplund, director of corporate environmental, health & safety at Juniper Networks, commenting, “Prioritizing health and safety should be central to every company’s people strategy, regardless of where employees work.

“We relied on ServiceNow’s health and safety tools to help safeguard our in-office teams throughout the pandemic through vaccination and COVID test tracking. As we move into a new era of work, the health and wellness of our employees remain a top concern, so we’re thrilled that ServiceNow is releasing new health and safety features in the Utah release so we can continue to protect our employees.”

I asked Morris why Utah is important for ServiceNow, and he summarised:

“We don’t stop on the innovation. It’s twice a year, every year. We’re delivering more innovation across the platform. Utah comes at a time when business leaders face a really stark choice. Do I focus on experience? Or do I focus on cutting costs because that choice appears to be one or the other? Our message to business leaders is in this particularly challenging economic time. You can do both. With the right platform choices, you can focus on customer experience and reduce costs.

“In some ways, this is a continuation of our innovation. In the industry, it’s a great time to focus on transformation, improving experience and reducing costs simultaneously. It’s an intersection of the innovation that we bring, and business leaders need this at the moment because of the challenging macro conditions.”


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