Think about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities on something as ubiquitous as search. We all use search in our everyday lives, and our preferred search engine responds with pages and pages of highly relevant information, definitions, reviews and recommendations, history, and so much more.
But this type of consumer-life use case can be miles away from how we use search in the enterprise. In that context, what may seem simple gets a lot more complicated. That’s because the same terms in our consumer lives can have very different intent in our work lives.
For example – a search of “Everest.”
Enter “Everest” into your normal everyday search engine, and you get all sorts of information about the world’s tallest mountain, films about the peak, and traffic levels (or lack thereof, thanks to the pandemic). But type “Everest” into the ServiceNow Employee Portal, and you’ll find out whether a six-person conference room in our Santa Clara, Calif., office is available for your next meeting.
It’s the artificial intelligence – defined here as systems that learn from data to make better decisions, actions, and experiences, and that improve with time – that distinguishes what results we get at home vs. at work.
At ServiceNow, we see AI as another way to deliver value to our customers. That’s why today’s announcement about ServiceNow acquiring is so important. AI is a critical piece of how we’ll infuse more value into our customers’ digital transformation efforts.
There are a lot of innovations happening in AI, and an enterprise AI system can offer up important predictions and recommendations. However, these predictions and recommendations need to be translated into actions through workflows in order to drive business value. Most enterprises today struggle in this “last mile” of AI, trying to connect the predictions from disparate, external AI tools to the platform where work actually happens.
The Element AI team will immediately add value across ServiceNow’s portfolio by improving the ability to learn more efficiently from smaller datasets, improving the quality of existing AI capabilities like content and language understanding, and expanding new capabilities like image recognition and, you guessed it, contextual search.
Turning reasoning into action
Element AI will allow ServiceNow to offer purpose-built AI for our customers’ enterprise-specific use cases. Things like enterprise search, more intelligent chat bots, text understanding, answering questions, and summaries. Because we understand how customers use the Now Platform, we can apply AI to their specific content, conversations, and logs, and use our understanding within a customer’s context to derive their intent and come back with an intelligent next step to kick off a workflow on the backend.
Here’s an example: Let’s say I score a great Black Friday deal on a new coffee pot. But when it’s delivered to my house, there’s a Crock-Pot in the box. Big difference. I want quick help, so I visit the company’s website. They have a virtual agent chat bot that tells me to describe my problem, so I type “wrong item.”
The company’s recommendation engine understands the intent of what I’ve typed because of powerful natural language understanding (NLU) technology. With my name and a little bit of extra information, it finds my order and understands that instead of a coffee pot I was sent a Crock-Pot. It also finds my address on file and knows I’m in the loyalty program.
All of this triggers a back-end digital workflow, which connects me to the appropriate customer service agent and recommends the agent offer free overnight shipping for my replacement item, as well as a 25% off coupon for my next order. I accept, and new tracking information is emailed to me. My coffee pot arrives the next day.
This is the power of the smart, AI-powered workflows happening behind-the-scenes, in this case, for customer service. Better automation, increased productivity, and reduced cost of handling low complexity, high volume tasks improve business ROI. ServiceNow customers can look forward to Element AI delivering better and smarter experiences, built right into the Now Platform.
“Update: ServiceNow completed the acquisition of Element AI on January 8, 2021. The Element AI team is now part of ServiceNow.”
Use of Forward-Looking Statements
This blog contains “forward-looking statements” about the expectations, beliefs, plans, intentions and strategies relating to ServiceNow’s acquisition of Element AI. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding future product capabilities and offerings and expected benefits to ServiceNow. Forward‑looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on potentially inaccurate assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected or implied by the forward‑looking statements. If any such risks or uncertainties materialize or if any of the assumptions prove incorrect, our results could differ materially from the results expressed or implied by the forward‑looking statements we make. We undertake no obligation, and do not intend, to update the forward‑looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in any forward‑looking statements include, without limitation, the inability to assimilate or integrate Element AI’s technology into our platform; the inability to retain key employees of Element AI after the transaction closes; unanticipated expenses related to Element AI’s acquired technology; potential adverse tax consequences; disruption to our business and diversion of management attention and other resources; and potential unknown liabilities associated with Element AI’s business. Further information on factors that could affect our financial and other results is included in the filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time.
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