Need to track IT kit? Business continuity? Legal? ServiceNow has a package of satellite apps for you... now

Biz is not going to make any impact in core areas – but there's much more to life than HR, supply chains, accounting, analyst tells us

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ServiceNow, the workflow company home to humble-bragging CEO Bill McDermott, on Wednesday launched a package of tools to help organizations scratch an itch incumbent management software suites may not be able to reach.

For example, in IT asset management, ServiceNow promises its latest software can track the financial, contractual, and inventory records of company hardware to improve purchase and disposal decisions. It is also targeting business continuity and legal services with these new workflow tools, all designed to tackle problems beyond the usual purview of management software: HR, supply chains, accounting, and the like.

Neil Ward-Dutton, veep of AI and automation practices at analyst IDC, said the move was a logical extension of ServiceNow's strategy toward IT service desk management and employee on-boarding, though he expected to see the outfit slam into its rivals' offerings.

"They're tackling lots of different use cases," he said. "When you look across the whole landscape of business, some of these are already quite well-addressed with competing systems – for example, Pegasystems, which has a massive footprint in the telecoms market."

There are lots of satellite processes and workflows that sit around the edges where, for whatever reason, the major vendors have never really managed to make it happen

The arrival of these six tools are part of a now generally available core platform upgrade dubbed Paris, which also includes a drag-and-drop process automation designer that allows users to build their own processes using a visual low-code or no-code approach.

Chris Pope, ServiceNow veep for innovation, said all this stuff can seem "complex and architectural" to users. "You don't need expensive developers," he insisted though. "You can federate this out to the business process owners who can drag and drop their process in and test it and go through due diligence. You suddenly exponentially increase the team that are available to you to put those new processes live on the platform."

While ServiceNow's strength lies in its ability to build workflows from the user's point of view, Ward-Dutton said its reach will be limited by incumbent enterprise application vendors such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Workday.

"There are core processes where ServiceNow, at least in the short to medium term, is not going to make any impact," said the IDC exec. "They are accounting, core HR, and supply chain management, for example. However, there are lots of satellite processes and workflows that sit around the edges where, for whatever reason, the major vendors have never really managed to make it happen."

As should be clear, there is a lot of competition in the workflow market, though for now ServiceNow has an edge in the way it has packaged and presented its product. "All that sales and marketing is very, very smooth and easy to consume," Ward-Dutton said. ®

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