It’s impossible to call out all the highlights from a three-day gathering with some 20,000 attendees and more than 600 events and sessions. We took a stab anyway. Here are key moments and takeaways from Knowledge 2019.
Hide complexity, embrace simplicity: ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe kicked off the main keynote on digital workflows by contrasting the simplicity of apps we use in our personal lives with the often maddening complexity of software and other tools we use in our jobs. Chief product officer C.J. Desai showed how ServiceNow can help bridge that divide with several new features in the New York release, including Integration Hub & Action Designer, which puts consumer-grade apps in the hands of developers and operations teams.
Luddy sees a re-empowered IT: In an on-stage interview on Day 3 with Donahoe, ServiceNow founder Fred Luddy explained why he believes IT will drive business innovation in coming years. “As we become dependent on more and more services, IT becomes more important,” Luddy said. “Their role is the nexus for all of the technology in an organization. They have an intimate understanding of every facet of the business.”
The power of proactive IT: In the IT workflows keynote, Chief Innovation Officer Dave Wright teamed up with Pablo Stern, SVP of IT workflow products. Theyt unveiled exciting new features coming with the New York release. Those include Alert Intelligence, which leverages AI insights to identify root causes faster, and Visual Playbooks, which recommends prescriptive actions to stay on top of security threats across the enterprise.
Managing data at scale: At the Now Platform keynote on Day 3, Pat Casey, senior vice president for DevOps, unveiled innovations for IT pros that increase data usability, scalability and security. Chief among those are the new Database Performance Optimization tool, which lets customers with huge datasets generate analysis and reports faster than ever before; and Instance Key Management, which lets users manage their own data using ServiceNow as a security backstop.
Unifying the customer experience: In the afternoon keynote on Day 1, Farrell Hough, SVP of customer workflow products, shared her vision for how the Now Platform can help companies transform their customer service operations. Tools in the New York release, such as the Guided App Creator, will allow companies to unify all aspects of the customer experience through a single app.
Scrantonicity wins the Knowledge Hackathon: On Day 2, more than 60 developer teams competed in an eight-hour sprint to create the most innovative new apps on the Now Platform. The big winner: Team “Scrantonicity,” five employees of Pathway Consulting Services Group in Scranton, Pa., home of the sitcom “The Office.” Together they built a ServiceNow app that tracks and integrates travel expenses using Virtual Agent, proving that a Hackathon victory is even sweeter than a “Dundie.”
IT and HR: Better together: In every organization, IT and HR must collaborate to win and retain top talent. Too often these two functions aren’t aligned, Blake McConnell, senior vice president for employee workflow products, told the crowd in the Employee Experience keynote on Day 2. Better alignment is coming with the New York release, thanks to tools like a mobile onboarding app and Virtual Agent integrations powered by advanced natural language understanding.
Overnight sensation: Wrapping up the Employee Experience keynote with an eye-popping success story, Sean McCann, CIO of corporate functions at HSBC, explained how ServiceNow helped the global bank undertake a massive HR transformation for its 235,000 employees. “We hadn’t customized our HR systems in 18 years,” McCann said. “But with assistance from ServiceNow, we changed the way our people worked in 66 countries overnight.” Today, 88% of HSBC workers say they are highly satisfied or satisfied with their employee experience.
Into the Hackzone: ServiceNow employees had a chance to strut their stuff in this year’s Hackzone, where they showed off a variety of Now Platform applications built in their spare time. Among the demos that got attendees buzzing: a functional, kinetic LEGO windfarm; a “Kegorator” that measures beer flow and keg temperature (with complimentary pours); and a custom pencil engraver. As much as the Now Platform can make work processes efficient and interconnected, the Hackzone offered a welcome reminder: Work should also be fun.