ServiceNow Makes Striking Advances into Both the Enterprise and

ServiceNow Makes Striking Advances into Both
the Enterprise and Operations with Eureka
Returning from Knowledge14 at the end of April 2014 provided a striking
set of insights into new directions for the ServiceNow platform in the
latest release – Eureka. Most of these were substantial but evolutionary. For
instance, an expanded window on supporting enterprise services through
application creation and new process flows; however, one area—integrated
operations (what ServiceNow called IT Operations Management or
ITOM)—was substantially new. Collectively, the advances in Eureka help
to clarify a more balanced view of where and how the ServiceNow platform
will show value in the present, as well as how it will continue to evolve.
Collectively, the advances
in Eureka help to clarify a
more balanced view of where
and how the ServiceNow
platform will show value in
the present, as well as how
it will continue to evolve.
ServiceNow: The Next Generation
Perhaps the first thing to say about ServiceNow is that it has grown dramatically—nearly doubling in
revenue every year from 2009 to 2013—so that by 2015 it should easily cross the billion dollar a year
mark. This growth has been fairly evenly matched in customer and employee growth, as it has shifted
its base from what were originally mid-tier enterprises seeking the ease of SaaS deployments, to a
more solidly enterprise and MSP foundation for customers who recognize the value of SaaS-delivered
scalability in function and scope.
A second point worth noting is that ServiceNow has an impressive array of partners such as Apptio,
Blazent, BDNA, Fruition and FireScope, just to name a few. These span a wide range of capabilities
such as (in order of the above) advanced analytics for optimizing the business of IT; unique analytic
power to ensure CMDB data accuracy and trusted source comparisons; analytic reconciliation for
optimizing IT assets and asset interdependencies; distinctive services and application innovation to
empower true service management across IT and the enterprise; and truly cloud-based Business Service
Management with fast time to value and distinctive analytic power.
The focus on analytics in the above list was not by chance. Up until the acquisition of Mirror42 last year,
analytics had not been a particular ServiceNow focus. But with the advent of an integrated resource for
what ServiceNow calls “Performance Analytics,” and some dramatic product enhancements targeted for
mid-May, that is about to change.
Eureka—A Quick Summary
Eureka is the fifth in a biannual, five-step march forward following Aspen, Berlin, Calgary and Dublin.
It is also in some respects the most ambitious and platform defining. While a close look at Eureka
functionality is beyond the scope here, a quick peek would include the following:
t Advances in creating and cataloging service-related applications and process flows. These may
include enterprise as well as IT services.
t Significant new strengths in what ServiceNow calls “business management,” including “Performance
Analytics” integrated and enhanced from its Mirror42 acquisition. Eureka also introduces a unique
project management visualization with easy navigation for viewing project landmarks in time, and
orchestrated visualizations of “demand” for critical IT actions and initiatives.
t New areas of service automation include Facilities Service Automation, for optimizing facilities
in terms of available space and maintenance were introduced at the show. ServiceNow partner
Fruition also introduced a capability for healthcare service workflows.
t The Eureka release will enhance the configuration automation application introduced in Dublin
by adding support for Chef. ServiceNow is also introducing a more interactive Business Services
Management (BSM) Map visualizer. In addition to displaying business
services and their dependencies, the new UI can be dynamically updated
ServiceNow is also introducing
by events coming in from various performance and availability tools.
a more interactive Business
The end result is that service composition as well as operational status/
Services Management
health can be more easily understood in terms of both context and
(BSM) Map visualizer.
impact so that more effective decisions can be made.
t Finally, Eureka is introducing a new capability for assimilating
events from various monitoring systems, including event filtering and correlation. Perhaps most
importantly, these events can be mapped to configuration items in the CMDB and automatically
generate prioritized calls to action. This is admittedly a first step in integrating ITSM and operations,
but it also offers some distinctive advantages—most notably in linking change automation with
performance and availability insights. This is a natural fit for ServiceNow, as well as for the industry
as a whole, and something that EMA was very happy to see.
EMA Perspective
Among the leaders in service management and related technologies, there are generally two classes of
vendors: technology innovators and leaders in market growth. The two do not necessarily coincide,
in large part because technology leadership often comes from unique visionaries lacking in come-tomarket skills. However, in the case of ServiceNow, this balance has been well struck through a decidedly
incremental approach to seeking both market growth and technology breadth and depth.
ServiceNow has done this through a combination of innovative partners, building on its core code base,
leveraging its strengths in service modeling, focusing on the dynamics of service request and fulfillment,
and listening to its customers. The new announcements, especially enterprise service creation and
support and operations-integration for service availability and performance, take the ServiceNow
platform several steps forward into a clearer, sharper and wider range of value.
Enterprise and Operations
Both options are also especially telling in positioning the ServiceNow platform in the future. The
need/opportunity to integrate enterprise service workflows and offer effective catalog-representations of
enterprise services is, based on EMA research, an extremely high growth area for IT Service Management
(ITSM) organizations and vendors. Moreover, if it can be done natively and with relative incremental
ease, this helps to redefine IT’s role toward a “value provider” rather than a “back office cost center”—a
transformation has never been more urgent or critical now that cloud service providers are offering well
marketed alternatives to in-house IT organizations.
Integrated operations in general, and in particular for incident and problem management, have become
the number one requirement for ITSM and service desks, based on EMA research (The Changing Role
of the Service Desk in the Age of Cloud and Agile, EMA and CXP, April 2013). Interestingly enough,
integrated user experience management (for internal customers), integrated operations for automating
configuration and change management, and integrated user experience management for external
customers round out the top four. (The fifth was cross-domain asset management, which ServiceNow
is well positioned to take on with its inherent asset management strengths, partner integrations, and
process creation and automation.)
All of these argue for a common base across ITSM and operations with strong process workflows and
automation support, as well as analytics. ServiceNow is distinctly strong in workflow and integrated
automation. On the other hand it is, even in its own estimation, at phase one in leveraging operations
analytics—which it can currently harvest as sources via event management and service modeling. How
the company continues to invest in this area will be well worth a closer look.
A Unique Chance to Advance the Service Management Industry
What is particularly striking in this mix is that ServiceNow has already invested in what it calls
“Performance Analytics” via its Mirror42 acquisition, which leverages primarily ITSM and potentially
business KPIs optimized for trending and planning. However, this foundation could easily be extended
to support operational KPIs, and true user experience metrics such as usage and outcome, transaction
latencies at the endpoint, time to paint the page, or even keystrokes required to complete a critical
business transaction. Combining this with insights into incidents opened and closed, CI and CI
owner dependencies, and cost related data would be a first not just for ServiceNow, but for the service
management industry as a whole.
EMA has long noted that the “silos” prominent in domain expertise in
operations, often overshadow the traditional “silos” between the service
desk, ITSM and operations, as well as development. These are both cultural
and organizational silos that still have something of a tribal nature to them
in most IT organizations, with not only a lack of shared technologies,
but divergent attitudes toward process, best practices and “who owns
what.” If ServiceNow can (ever so gently) step into this breach with
incremental options for unifying and improving efficiencies across these
groups, its continued market growth should be assured. Perhaps even more
importantly, it will provide an exclamation point to the industry as a whole,
announcing that traditional enclaves really can work together in new ways
without requiring a Draconian forced march—but instead through shared
interests in incremental innovation.
If ServiceNow can (ever so
gently) step into this breach
with incremental options
for unifying and improving
exclamation point to the industry
as a whole, announcing that
traditional enclaves really can
work together in new ways.
About EMA or