ServiceNow expands Microsoft partnership as Rome platform release focuses on hybrid work support

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez September 16, 2021 Audio mode
ServiceNow’s latest platform release - Rome - includes a new Employee Center, which integrates with Microsoft Teams, and ties together services across multiple departments.

Colleagues working at laptop on office pod space © StartupStockPhotos - Pixabay
(© StartupStockPhotos - Pixabay)

Workflow cloud vendor ServiceNow has today announced its latest Now platform release - Rome - which aims to help customers as they transition to permanent hybrid work models in the Vaccine Economy. 

As employees navigate between remote and office locations over the long-term, employee services and system stability have come to the fore as a priority for companies. Both of these are clearly priorities in the latest Now platform release. 

With this in mind, ServiceNow says Rome aims to focus on ‘moments that matter', using AI and personalization to tie together cross-functional services for employees in a new ‘Employee Center'. There are also new AIOps features that support the system stability point. 

The vendor has also announced an expansion of its partnership with Microsoft today too, which integrates Microsoft Teams into the Employee Center, with the aim of allowing users to get their work done in one place. 

Let's take a look at the key announcements that are included in the Rome release, which include: 

  • Employee Center - a new ‘digital command center/ for the hybrid workforce. ServiceNow says that this is a single, connected interface for employees to quickly and easily find personalized information, complete tasks, get help and request services across departments - including IT, HR, facilities, procurement, and legal - all in one place. The aim is to reduce the time it takes employees to look for help and reduce "application fatigue" by integrating necessary information in one place. Organizations will be able to curate information and services into "dynamic, personalized topic pages" that make it easy for employees to find the answers they need. 

  • Employee Journey Management - ServiceNow says that this  will guide employees through the "moments that matter" for cross‑departmental journeys like onboarding, work transitions, and offboarding. It claims to also enable HR teams and managers to personalize resources, plans, and needs - all in one place. 

  • Automation Discovery - identifies the top ten opportunities for automating work from more than 180 topics with ServiceNow applications, such as Virtual Agent, Auto Routing, and Agent Assist.

  • Health Log Analytics Enhancements - aims to help detect issues before they occur and impact users, as well as automates issue resolution, by using ITOM Predictive AIOps. This extends ServiceNow ITOM Predictive AIOps - previously launched with the Now Platform Quebec release - and is built on the recent acquisition of Loom Systems' technology.

  • Mobile App Builder - will allow developers to build and configure mobile apps for iOS and Android with a single interface, enhanced functionality, and guided experiences.

We got the chance to speak with Nerys Mutlow, Evangelist within ServiceNow's Chief Innovation Office, where she spoke about the role of the Employee Center as companies adapt to these hybrid work models over the long term. She said: 

We've obviously had HR portals, ITportals, we have had Employee Service Center before, but this is about creating that unified front-end, that regardless of whether it's IT, HR, facilities, legal, you have that single pane of glass to go to.

And I think the important piece around that as well, is that it's not a static intranet type thing, this is all about serving up personalized and contextual content, so that you can do your job better. 

And using things like machine learning, which we have as standard on the platform, be looking at not only that individual but what others with the same sort of role are interested in. Serving up that proactive content.

As noted above, ServiceNow has also expanded its partnership with Microsoft this week, part of which includes the integration of Teams into Employee Center. Mutlow added:

We're seeing so many of our customers over the last 18 months using Microsoft as that digital workplace where they spend an awful lot of their day. So, how do we truly meet people where they are? We want to give them that same experience that they get if they go into the Service Employee Center by a browser, but bring it into Teams. So we've made sure that this is accessible in Teams as well, so that you've got that choice and you're not having to navigate away.

The partnership with Microsoft also will see the two companies carry out dual investments, innovation projects and go-to-market efforts to more closely integrate ServiceNow workflows and Teams. 

My take

Cloud vendors update their platforms regularly, as well all know. ServiceNow has had a lot of traction with buyers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies have doubled down their efforts to fix processes and make ‘work flow better' through their companies, which are now often highly distributed. We look forward to speaking with some customers about how the new Employee Center is used in practice. The integration with Teams makes sense, given any friction that can be reduced between where and how employees get work done is a good thing. Although it will be interesting to see whether ServiceNow expands these efforts beyond the Microsoft ecosystem to other collaboration vendors.