Knowledge 2023 keynote recap: Putting yes to work

  • About ServiceNow
  • Laura LeBleu
  • 2023
  • Events
May 18, 2023

Wide view of thousands of people seated to hear the Knowledge 2023 keynote

ServiceNow’s first single, global, in-person user conference since 2019, Knowledge 2023, drew more than 15,000 people. The enthusiasm among attendees was contagious.

The opening keynote of this year’s conference in Las Vegas was standing room only. Against the theme of “Putting Yes to Work,” speakers shared their well-honed insights into the future of ServiceNow, the world of work as we know it, and how companies can say yes to both growing their top line and protecting their bottom line.

Helping nonprofit organizations

Vanessa Smith, president of the newly announced organization, kicked off the conversation. At a time when every dollar counts and businesses are doing more with less, nonprofits are spending too much time on process and not enough on purpose.

Vaneesa Smith, president of was created to support the good work of nonprofit businesses seeking to take on the world’s biggest challenges—and help them say yes to both their business and mission.

“Making the world work better is more than just a tagline—it’s our purpose,” Smith said. She shared how will help nonprofit organizations work faster, simpler, and more efficiently.

RiseUp with ServiceNow in the spotlight

ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott took the stage next, noting that in 2019, ServiceNow was only half the size and had half the products that it does today. With that significant growth comes the need to train people who can work on the Now Platform in support of our customers and partners.

Bill McDermott, CEO at ServiceNow, in front of Knowledge 2023 backdrop

This huge demand for skilled ServiceNow practitioners motivated us to update our RiseUp with ServiceNow global training initiative. McDermott shared that more than 4 million people have already completed Now Platform training and certification programs.

“Talent transformation drives digital transformation,” he added. “This is about bringing new people into the movement.”

AI and the exponential enterprise

With the rapid spread of AI and automation, intelligence will become the primary source of value creation—leading to what McDermott calls the “exponential enterprise.” This represents the difference between old-school, linear thinking and a new way of thinking exponentially about innovation.

This fresh mindset can drive results for companies and create a new era of economic prosperity globally. “The next 18 months will be the most active in business innovation for any time in the world,” McDermott predicted. We’re on the brink of an intelligence revolution, in which we will rethink everything—how we live, work, and build.

“We have a great reprioritization of enterprise systems,” he added. “We are in the midst of a workflow revolution.” To support this shift, McDermott estimates we’ll need to build 1 million new apps on the Now Platform within the next three years. This will be done using nascent AI-driven technologies such as text-to-code, text-to-workflow automation, and text-to-applications.

Debunking the IT vs. business rivaly

Before the keynote came to a close, ServiceNow Chief Digital Information Officer Chris Bedi took the stage to address a persistent myth in the business world that IT and business organizations are at odds with each other. “Today, IT strategy is business strategy,” Bedi said.

Chris Bedi, chief digital information officer at ServiceNow, and Ashley Pettit, chief information officer at State Farm Insurance

To illustrate this, he introduced Ashley Pettit, senior vice president and chief information officer at State Farm Insurance. In her view, IT leaders are responsible for building a bridge to business leadership to demonstrate how IT is integral to the success of the entire business.

“We could be doing so much more if we got rid of this false narrative,” she shared. Organizations should have “one agenda, one strategy” to drive success, with IT and business partnering to achieve a company’s goals.

McDermott left the energized crowd with a mandate to say yes to innovation everywhere. “Get ready for the journey of a lifetime,” he advised. By the looks on faces in the audience, they’re ready to go wherever the future might lead.

Find out more about Knowledge.

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