ServiceNow Implements AI with a Blend of Building, Purchasing, and Collaborating

Part of the shift to AI comes internally by building, some come via acquisitions and some come from partnering widely, says VP of corporate business development Philip Kirk. Lara Greden, an analyst at IDC who covers ServiceNow, says going beyond building is a big part of every company’s strategy when it comes to AI. “Like other major waves of technology innovation, breakthrough capabilities in generative AI are coming through entities that have laser focused on the tech itself, in other words: startups. “ServiceNow’s focus has been on integrating generative AI to improve entire workflows, not just single processes or tasks. They also play an important role in guiding customers with best practices around data governance and control.”The Washington release is available starting on Wednesday for all ServiceNow customers.

Every enterprise software company is constantly striving towards implementing more workflow automation and incorporating AI into their platforms. For ServiceNow, this journey has been ongoing for quite some time now. With the massive amounts of data gathered through interactions on their platform, they are continuously refining and developing more advanced models.

According to VP of corporate business development Philip Kirk, the shift towards AI is brought about in various ways. Some of it is achieved internally through development, while others come through acquisitions and partnerships. However, Kirk stresses that the ultimate goal is to build a stronger platform and provide exceptional services to their customers.

“It is like playing three-dimensional chess at the moment to determine whether to build, buy, or partner. Our top priority is to make decisions that will benefit our customers in the long run and set us apart from others in our expertise, which is enterprise automation on our platform,” Kirk explained to TechCrunch.

Lara Greden, an IDC analyst covering ServiceNow, believes that expanding beyond building is a crucial part of every company’s strategy when it comes to AI.

“Acquisitions and strategic partnerships are critical elements of corporate strategy in the era of AI,” Greden told TechCrunch.

She goes on to say that, much like previous waves of technological innovation, breakthroughs in generative AI are often achieved by startups that are solely focused on the technology itself. In other words, startups are often at the forefront of AI innovation. Greden also notes that ServiceNow’s acquisition strategy aligns with their goal to be a leader in effectively implementing generative AI and accelerating its value.

In their latest release, codenamed Washington D.C., ServiceNow has fully embraced generative AI in a way that complements the vast amount of data collected and monitored by their platform. VP of AI products, Jeremy Burns, who joined the company after ServiceNow acquired his previous company Element AI at the end of 2020, explains that they are providing customers with features that leverage generative AI in a customer service setting without requiring them to build it from scratch themselves.

“If we look at the upcoming Washington release, we are offering a wide range of features that companies would not typically develop on their own, or individuals working on AI projects would not have the resources or expertise to create a proof of concept. By building it directly into our platform, it makes perfect sense,” Burns says.

Keith Kirkpatrick, an analyst at the Futurum Group, points out that ServiceNow is making it easier for people with domain knowledge to implement intelligent workflows without needing a developer or workflow expert.

“ServiceNow’s focus has always been on incorporating generative AI to enhance entire workflows, not just tasks or processes. This is what sets them apart, as it allows for intelligent automation of multi-step processes that would have been time-consuming and required switching between multiple applications,” Kirkpatrick explains.

Virtual agents or AI agents are also a significant aspect of the Washington release, which is a logical step considering ServiceNow’s capabilities in assisting customers with inquiries and completing tasks. Just as they are building AI capabilities for their customers, they are also working with partners in areas where their expertise may fall short, Greden mentions.

“Their emphasis on conversational capabilities in Virtual Agent is essential, as getting generative AI to work seamlessly offers enormous potential in terms of ROI for end customers. However, it is a challenging task to get it right,” Greden says. “This is why platform vendors are the go-to strategic partners for organizations in the era of AI. They are equipped to handle the data science aspect of AI and offer valuable guidance on data governance and control.”

The Washington release is now available as of Wednesday for all ServiceNow customers.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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