ServiceNow has announced plans to launch a new workplace service delivery product that will help organizations broaden the application of automation capabilities into the wider business, helping more employees benefit from automated business workflows and tasks. ServiceNow is by no means new to the area of workflow automation—the company’s Now Platform has supported business functions such as IT and HR in automating important workflows for many years. The new Workplace Service Delivery product will see the vendor target new business functions, enabling people from additional roles to leverage workflow automation capabilities to work more efficiently and help businesses meet rapidly changing demands.
Helping all employees realize value from automation
Strengthening its broader enterprise value proposition has been an important strategic objective for ServiceNow over recent years. The Now platform has evolved from its IT-centric ITSM heritage into one that provides value to a range of different business functions, including the likes of HR, finance, and IT amongst others. The newly-announced Workplace Service Delivery product further enhances the enterprise-wide platform and will help more employees from across a business to realize value from workflow automation.
ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire the 4Facility assets from App4Mation—a ServiceNow application and implementation partner that develops applications on the Now platform that improve the way employees work. The newly-acquired 4Facility solution, combined with ServiceNow’s workflow automation and mobility capabilities, will be the foundation of the Workplace Service Delivery product. The solution will help more employees benefit from automated workflow capabilities in a range of ways; for example, in helping businesses manage physical spaces and capacity, report on room and workplace occupancy rates and booking behaviors, improve the visitor experience through better personalization services, housekeeping task and maintenance planning, as well as track a diverse set of workplace assets such as keys, chairs, and coffee machines, and even digitize and automate catering services.
These enhancements to the Now Platform are interesting, as they will help enterprises bring a more diverse set of workplace assets and tasks under management, furthering the opportunities to digitize and automate business processes and workflows. These new capabilities will be of particular value to frontline workers—a section of the workforce that businesses are eager to enable with digital technologies.
The workplace has changed, and businesses will need new tools to manage it
As more countries formulate return-to-work plans after the COVID-19 pandemic, technology will have a vital role to play in ensuring employee safety and business alignment with government guidelines such as social distancing. Workplace solutions that can help businesses manage elements such as these and help improve tasks with automation capabilities will likely be in high demand. Over the longer-term, these capabilities will further strengthen ServiceNow’s position as a platform that brings together people, process, and technology from across the entire enterprise. Undoubtedly, one of the key values of the Now platform is in how it is developed on a single underlying information database that acts as a digital glue of sorts that can bind different business units and teams together at the data level. Through plugging into this underlying enterprise data, employees from different parts of a business can quickly develop custom workflows and applications to better serve their specific needs and challenges, all with the common aim of improving workplace productivity.
Enterprise-wide approach to workflow automation can accelerate digitization
Workflow automation is an important digital capability that many different enterprise tools are beginning to offer. For example, many collaboration platforms, industry-specific low-code solutions, and endpoint management solutions now offer some form of workflow automation functionality. The value in ServiceNow’s approach, however, is in how its platform generates and leverages data from across different business functions (e.g., HR, IT, facilities, legal, finance). This data can be further enriched through integrating other applications with ServiceNow, delivering businesses one platform and an underlying data layer on which automated business solutions can be developed. If automation of work tasks and activities is to be truly effective at scale, this broad approach and enablement supported by an enterprise-wide platform will be important. Its recent investments show that ServiceNow undoubtedly recognizes the opportunity it has in being an important enterprise platform that supports the way that work across the entire business can be digitized and transformed.
Adam Holtby, Principal Analyst, Workspace Services