ServiceNow’s Tokyo release aims to help customers get more value during uncertain times

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez September 21, 2022
ServiceNow has added features to the Now Platform that include Enterprise Asset Management, ESG Management and advanced security measures.

Employee with a running jump from one cliff to another © Ilyafs - Shutterstock
(© Ilyafs - Shutterstock)

Following on from its San Diego release six months ago, ServiceNow has today unveiled a host of new features as part of its latest platform update that aim to help customers quickly deliver value during uncertain macroeconomic times. Tokyo - the name for the new platform release - includes solutions that aim to help buyers better manage their enterprise assets, their people and their suppliers. 

For a deeper understanding of ServiceNow’s strategy, it’s worth taking a read of my recent interview with CEO Bill McDermott, who has said that he is pursuing a platform approach that incorporates the full ‘end to end enterprise environment’. ServiceNow is primarily a workflow and hyper-automation vendor, which aims to make the ‘experience’ of interacting with an organization better for both employees and customers. 

With Tokyo, ServiceNow is doubling down on its priority to deliver value quickly for customers across the Now Platform, as many are struggling to navigate a variety of macroeconomic headwinds - including inflation, supply chain woes, and retaining staff. 

Commenting on the latest release, CJ Desai, chief operating officer at ServiceNow, said: 

Our ServiceNow Tokyo platform release gives customers exactly what they need in this moment - new solutions that deliver immediate value, are easy to implement and use, and help them do more with less. 

Now is not the time to experiment. A platform for digital business is the only way to create great experiences, drive new business value, and accelerate transformation so organizations can focus on growth in our digital-first world.

Reducing risk and delivering results

ServiceNow is responding to the increased pressures facing customers with new purpose built solutions, which it says aim to tackle the current complex compliance and risk management landscape. Tokyo, ServiceNow says, should allow CFOs and COOs to be able to unlock more from their technology investments. 

Speaking with Simon Morris, VP of Solution Consulting for ServiceNow UK & Ireland, he said that customers are in a very different situation than there were even just six months ago. He said: 

The platform's getting so expansive, but there's one thing - one core thing - which is about transforming the way that people work. That's the overarching theme of Tokyo. Of course, at the moment, we're in very different economic times than when we released San Diego six months ago. 

But I think, even in these times, business leaders are really driven to achieve these transformational results - the way to really remove costs and risks in the business is to go through these transformations. 

Tokyo includes the addition of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), which focuses on the full lifecycle of physical business assets - from planning to retirement - for industries such as healthcare, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and public sector. ServiceNow says that the solution helps reduce costs, mitigate risks, and improve strategic planning with visibility into the entire enterprise asset estate. EAM also aims to optimize inventory levels for buyers and operate stockrooms efficiently to better leverage existing assets and maximize asset life.

Commenting on the launch of EAM, Morris said: 

We've had the IT asset management functionality for a long time. It's one of your staples. The expansion into enterprise asset management is the recognition that of course workflow is not just an IT capability, it's a business capability across all domains. 

And we see an enterprises struggle to really understand their operational technology, their operational assets. So we're talking to a manufacturer that builds trains and they sell those trains to train operating companies. Understanding the moving assets, fast moving assets around the country, is a real challenge for them. 

They want to provide great service and they want to differentiate on the after sales service, but these enterprise assets can be hard to track. Coming back to that theme of the economic conditions, one way that businesses can save money is to get more out of their assets. 

Enterprise asset management will be a suite of data models that are relevant to each industry, a set of capabilities and processes and workflows to get the most out of those assets in terms of longevity, but also serviceability, making sure we can service the asset in the best way.

In addition to EAM, Tokyo also includes solutions that aim to support customers grappling with supply chain woes and those seeking to fulfil their ESG commitments. The new solutions are: 

  • Supplier Lifecycle Management (SLM) - aims to change traditionally high-effort supplier engagements that live in email and spreadsheets into modern, digital experiences. The hope is that this will allow teams to reduce operating costs and refocus talent on building a more resilient, diverse, and high-quality supply base. With SLM, suppliers can make use of self-service experiences to get help, deflecting common inquiries into the respective teams.

  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Management - buyers can now establish and document ESG goals and KPIs, track performance, collect and validate audit-ready data, and create disclosures that align with major ESG reporting frameworks, in a single end-to-end solution. Key features include carbon accounting to calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and a user experience that helps companies meet increasing requests for ESG data. 

The people challenge

It has been highlighted time and time again during the COVID-19 pandemic that staff retention is becoming a huge problem for businesses, who are increasingly faced with the challenge of the ‘great resignation’. It’s an employee's market and organizations that aren’t focused on employee experience seriously risk a talent drain. Morris said: 

I'm a manager of people. I have a team that I have to look after. And I really recognize that employee retention is absolutely top of my agenda and many other business leaders’ agenda. So in Tokyo, we have this manager hub, which allows us as managers to know where our employees are in their own personal journey,  to be more attentive and more present for our employees’ needs. 

It's really going to be a big game changer for managers everywhere, regardless of industry, who want to make sure that their employees are happy and engaged. Employee productivity and retention is a key theme that we're hearing from business leaders today.

The Manager Hub in Tokyo is available through ServiceNow’s Employee Center, and provides a single destination for managers to establish and review employee journeys and respond to requests, with the aim of providing ‘personalized resources and training’ to help managers improve as leaders. 

In addition to this, Tokyo also includes: 

  • Admin Center - part of ServiceNow Impact - allows system administrators to discover, install, and configure ServiceNow solutions through a self-service experience. The new Adoption Blueprint provides a guided process that gives admins application recommendations based on instance maturity, increased visibility into application entitlements, and simpler application installation and configuration. 

  • Issue Auto Resolution for Human Resources - this tool expands the capabilities of Issue Auto Resolution for ITSM to HR teams. It applies natural language understanding (NLU) to analyze requests and deliver self-service content that meets employees where they are through channels like Microsoft Teams, SMS, and email. It also identifies urgent HR cases and routes them directly to an employee care representative when a higher level of support is needed.

Enhanced security

Finally, ServiceNow is providing enhanced security capabilities to its customers, with the aim of protecting data and mission critical applications in an increasingly sophisticated threat environment. 

This is being done through the introduction of ServiceNow Vault, which allows buyers to protect business critical ServiceNow applications using a set of premium platform privacy and security controls. Using key management and data clarification to drive data anonymization, ServiceNow said that Vault aims to help organizations protect sensitive confidential data and increase regulatory compliance through native platform encryption. 

Vault also is focused on platform security, with the inclusion of simplified management and protection of machine credentials, as well as validation, authentication and integrity of code being deployed to the MID Server to help ensure no malicious insertion. 

My take

There’s a lot to digest here for customers and it’s clear ServiceNow has been expanding across multiple fronts over the past six months. But what’s clear is that this latest release, more so than ever, takes into account the tough challenges facing employees, customers and organizations globally - and aims to put experience at the center of the solution. 

A grey colored placeholder image