ServiceNow to acquire Attivio’s cognitive search platform

  • Joe Davis
  • 2019
  • About ServiceNow
  • AI and Automation
October 23, 2019

Gartner Magic Quadrant Report

At ServiceNow, we believe everyday tasks at work should be as simple, easy and intuitive as they are in our personal lives. Yet one useful work task, enterprise search, has lagged well behind the consumer world.

To deliver consumer-grade search at work, ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire the cognitive search capabilities of Attivio, an AI-powered answers and insights platform company based in Boston, MA. As part of the transaction, select Attivio R&D talent will also join ServiceNow’s engineering team.

With the addition of Attivio’s search engine, ServiceNow will move beyond keyword-based search to deliver out-of-the-box, conversational AI and search experiences at scale to customers. Attivio’s market-leading, AI-powered search capabilities will help ServiceNow better understand the meaning behind natural language searches on the Now Platform to deliver relevant, personalized results that users can act on right from the search results window.

By integrating Attivio into the Now Platform, we plan to enhance search natively across our IT, Customer and Employee workflows through the ServiceNow Service Portal, Now Mobile app and Virtual Agent chatbot solution.

ServiceNow’s Now Platform includes additional powerful AI and machine learning capabilities that let you deliver intuitive experiences so you can work in ways that work best for you. Attivio builds on our previous AI acquisitions, including transactions with Parlo, FriendlyData and Qlue.


From Search to Solve: Take action with AI-powered search

By integrating Attivio’s functionality into future releases of the Now Platform, we plan to extend the capabilities of today’s consumer search engines so that users can take action from the search results window. Through an answer box feature, ServiceNow users will be able to ask a question and get an answer on the Now Platform that will filter out irrelevant details and return the most relevant information. No longer will users need to click into URLs or search multiple long documents to find what they need. 



Lost laptop

Mock-up of planned Now Mobile search capabilities


Imagine your work laptop is stolen. Today, you might have to call or email IT from your mobile device. If your organization has a mobile intranet, you might search, “laptop stolen.” You are most likely presented with a list of links to your company’s policy and IT documents that may or may not help you replace your device, and that experience may or may not be mobile-optimized.  With the addition of Attivio’s functionality, employees will be able to get help right from the Now Mobile app. The Now Platform will be able to understand the intent behind your request, pull up your laptop’s details and give you the option to replace your device – all in the answer box. 


Mock-up of planned ServiceNow Service Portal search capabilities


Let’s say you’re looking for your PTO balance. You search for “PTO balance” and get a link to the employee policy handbook, which is not very helpful. With Attivio, if you integrate ServiceNow to your company’s Human Capital Management system, such as SAP® SuccessFactors®, you will be able to directly access such systems to show your available vacation time and give you the option to ask HR a question.


Mock-up of planned Agent Workspace search capabilities


In another scenario, a customer support agent opens a client support issue that includes the phrase, “router broken.” The agent might receive a list of all the recent cases containing the word “router,” starting with the most recent case. With Attivio, ServiceNow will be able to show agents a list of similar tickets where a similar problem was resolved and recommend the most relevant case with steps to fix the customer’s issue. 


Make work life like personal life

Making our work lives as simple and easy as our personal lives is the next wave of innovation at work. We are rapidly moving away from manual processes, such as filling in forms and data fields, towards unstructured interactions with machines, such as free‑form text, voice and gestures. Attivio supports this vision as a proven leader in cognitive search with capabilities many Fortune 500 companies are using today to deliver great experiences and unlock productivity.

ServiceNow expects to complete the acquisition by the end of Q4 2019.


Forward‑Looking Statements

This blog contains forward‑looking statements about the expectations, beliefs, plans, intentions and strategies relating to ServiceNow’s transaction with Attivio. Such forward‑looking statements include statements regarding future product capabilities and expected benefits to ServiceNow. These statements reflect the current beliefs of ServiceNow and are based on current information available to the ServiceNow as of the date hereof. ServiceNow does not assume any obligation to update the forward‑looking statements provided to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made. The forward‑looking statements in this blog are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially and adversely from those expressed in such forward‑looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the inability to assimilate or integrate Attivio’s technology into our platform; the inability to retain key employees of Attivio after the transaction closes; unanticipated expenses related to Attivio’s acquired technology; disruption to our business and diversion of management attention and other resources; and potential unknown liabilities associated with Attivio’s business.

SAP® SuccessFactors® is the trademark(s) or registered trademark(s) of SAP SE in Germany and in several other countries.

ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


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