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COVID-19 highlights the need for a platform of platforms approach - it’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity

Chris Pope Profile picture for user Chris Pope September 18, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in old value chains. Now is the time to embrace a workflow revolution underpinned by a platform of platforms approach, writes ServiceNow’s VP of Innovation Chris Pope.

Image of someone working with a mask on during COVID-19
(Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay )

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year of fundamental and all-encompassing change, forcing us to rethink the way we live and the way we work.

At the enterprise level, this process has driven many technology initiatives from the aspirational to the foundational. What was a medium- or long-term strategic goal, has now in so many cases become a short term imperative.

I mention this backdrop as a necessary contextual rationale in order to welcome the Paris release of the Now Platform this autumn 2020.

Our work as a strategic digital transformation partner for organisations in every vertical means that we represent an increasingly vital cross-platform integration engine around which customers can centralise their application and data services. We are, if you will, the platform of platforms.

The platform of platforms

It's a term we don't use lightly. Being the platform of platforms means that we streamline work by breaking down silos and digitising complex workflows and processes across organisations.

It means we can take data from all other platforms and create a meaningful workflow underpinned with machine learning, artificial intelligence, utilizing data insights to provide a great experience for the consumer or employee.

Being the platform of platforms also means we need to task ourselves with constantly thinking about the future. That future-facing outlook means continued investment in the automation of workflows, machine learning, chatbots, predictive analytics, and natural language processing.

As we now unwrap Paris, we are looking at the hundreds of customer-led integrations over the last couple of releases, and think about how users will operate in the ‘new normal'. Stemming from customer functionality requests, these enhancements ensure that the ServiceNow development roadmap continues to be tightly aligned to real-world requirements.

A new trajectory for growth

What the post-COVID-19 era is showing many organisations is that they have weak links in their old value chains. As these weaknesses are exposed, these same organisations are seeing more clearly why they are struggling to deliver cross-functional workflows.

In order to track a new trajectory for growth, companies need to use the power of workflows to achieve a new speed in the market.

This might sound tough, but the pre-millennial ‘business process evolution' is already obsolete. The web, the cloud, the service-based computing revolution and the AI renaissance have already happened.

What we're looking at now is the ‘workflow revolution' where the Now Platform streamlines a course for new value chains and transforms experiences across siloed systems and functions. It provides one architecture, one data model, one born-in-the-cloud platform and one defined route to great workflows and experiences.

The Paris highlights

By now you've seen the announcement with all the updates and enhancements in our Paris release. For me personally, I would like to call out what might be my top five updates on the Now platform at this point in its development:

  • Change Management - a function that accelerates work with automated change approvals. Based on change success scores, it enables easier scheduling with a consolidated view of conflicts, and streamlined hardware changes with in-record updates.
  • Process Automation Designer - technology that enables business process owners to manage complex cross-enterprise workflows by creating no-code playbooks. It connects multiple workflows, systems and actions into a single end-to-end to process.
  • Analytics Center - a one-stop shop for users to access the analytics content that matters most to them and get answers on the spot with Analytics Q&A.
  • Predictive Intelligence Workbench - a tool that empowers process owners to implement machine learning-based automation without any prerequisite knowledge.
  • Knowledge Authoring with Microsoft Word Online - allows knowledge authors to create and edit articles with Microsoft 365 Word by leveraging native comment and collaboration functionality.

Relentless customer focus

During the global pandemic, ServiceNow has not skipped one beat in terms of commitment to its customers. We pivoted overnight to remote working and delivered the Paris release on schedule that our customers had been expecting. So much so in fact that work on our Quebec release continues to be on track and is already well underway.

Throughout all of this, what we've been doing with our customers provides some of the most fascinating insights of all.

Zoom has been seeing exponential growth with usage rocketing to 300 million daily meeting participants in April 2020. The company has worked with ServiceNow to build intelligent workflows into its business.

Zoom deployed ServiceNow's Customer Service Management (CSM) to scale its customer service operations and enable critical communications capabilities for its global community. Once again, we have been the platform of platforms that has allowed Zoom to build new robustness and achieve agility.

Once-in-a-generation transformation

Looking back (okay, I know 2020 isn't over yet, but we all feel like we've aged more rapidly this year, right?), we will hope that this year has been a once-in-a-generation experience at many levels.

What we have done with the Paris release of the Now Platform is to consolidate upon the engineering we have been building into our technology for the previous decade.

We have done this because we want a once-in-a-generation upheaval year to also represent a once-in-a-generation transformation year where organisations use digital workflows to get back on track and ease people back to the workplace where it is safe to do so.

The Paris release is helping enterprises drive new levels of business agility and resilience to fuel growth and enable them to thrive in the post-COVID economy.

You can hear more about Paris in our Now at Work digital event on 6th October. Register here to attend.

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