What's New at ServiceNow's Knowledge12?
For the past five or six years, we have been monitoring the growth of ServiceNow. An early Cloud player in IT Service Management, ServiceNow has steadily and patiently acquired functionality and customers and respectability under entrepreneur and founder Fred Luddy's management. In the past year or so, however, ServiceNow has made a considerable leap.
This year's Knowledge12 user conference is double the size of last year's with nearly 2000 in attendance. What accounts for this? Two key hires, CTO Arne Josefsberg (ex-Microsoft) and President and CEO Frank Slootman, bring market insight and deep experience to ServiceNow that have nicely complemented Fred Luddy's original vision and execution. Let's look closer.
Slootman is a consummate salesman who breathes, eats and sleeps airline miles en route across geographies from customer to customer. As CEO of enterprise data backup vendor Data Domain, he took a tiny startup from under $2 million in sales to a $2.1 billion acquisition by EMC. Meanwhile, Josefsberg spent 22 years at Microsoft beginning in the systems trenches and rising to GM of Infrastructure Services. Both are well-respected industry veterans, but why the spike in growth?
For some time now, the Cloud has been crying out for enterprise respectability – not just as a nice-to-have platform for apps on the margins, but as a platform worthy of core solutions. One of the key missing pieces has been a service management environment for Cloud and hybrid solutions. CIOs rightly have been skeptical, despite recently announced offerings from Dell, HP and salesforce.com.
Today's ServiceNow announcement (via Arne Josefsberg at the analyst breakfast) of the rollout of the GENERATION2 system architecture – featuring advanced high availability, and regional redundancy and mirroring in near real time via dedicated lines with local backup and restore – unveils a Cloud platform for systems management and disaster recovery to address the key concerns of most CIOs. For example, one innovative feature is the way ServiceNow implements software upgrades via the mirror site, uses failover to move workloads to the mirror and then upgrades the primary site, assuring the CIO that the ServiceNow mirroring and failover capabilities are reliable and will work as advertised when required.
Where is ServiceNow headed next? Frank Slootman's keynote was an understated, but insightful view into how ServiceNow sees the evolution of the systems management function:
- From Help Desk to IT Service Automation (via Consolidation and "Zero Touch" Self Service) and then to Enterprise Service Automation.
- Enterprise Service Automation extends service management beyond IT to the shared services functions, such as HR, Facilities and GRC, and also to line-of-business (LOB) functions such as insurance claims, services requests, scheduling, resource provisioning and other business functions.
Using ServiceNow as a platform for LOB application development and deployment is potentially a game-changer for ServiceNow and for its new partner KPMG.
The KPMG partnership announced today is a third key element in the ServiceNow claim to a new level of credibility. Longtime integration partners like Fruition will need to recalibrate their business models, but the KPMG services play will be primarily at the business strategy level, leaving implementation opportunities to partners like Fruition.
Tomorrow I will address the platform and services aspects of ServiceNow's bid for mainstream status in the enterprise. This is clearly an ambitious strategy, and the devil is always in the details, but Josefsberg, Slootman and KPMG are proven winners in this industry, and it will be instructive to see how this enterprise strategy rolls out.