ServiceNow goes to Washington DC, with a suitcase full of AI

Claims the tech has brought 38 percent improvement to its own dev cycle time

ServiceNow has released its "Washington DC" platform update, and done the very 2024 thing of adding generative AI features. It's also done a slightly less 2024 thing by not just hyping the tech, but sharing the benefits it has enjoyed by actually using it.

The enterprise cloud developer claims its own use of generative AI has improved its development cycle time by 38 percent, and seen 54 percent of employee queries "deflected" from requiring human intervention to resolve.


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Generative AI also increased the "deflection rate" for incoming customer support queries by ten percent.

The SaaS-y workflow house suggested similar outcomes may be available to you – yes, you! – if you adopt the Washington DC release, thanks to its inclusion of a gen-AI-powered assistant that can do things like offer a conversational interface that abstracts policy documents. The Register beheld a demo of an employee chatting with the assistant to source a new smartphone using questions like "What kind of phones are included in our plan?"

That query produced a prose list of phones and a query about how much storage the employee desired.

Answering "the largest" saw the assistant reply by offering the worker a handset equipped with 512GB of storage and arranging its dispatch.

To help ServiceNow users design that sort of interaction, Washington DC includes an enhanced Workflow Studio that uses generative AI to build automations. It also adds a Virtual Agent Designer to – as the name suggests – design the sort of phone-acquisition interaction detailed above.

Some of the gen AI in this release is based on ServiceNow's own domain-specific large language models, which it rates as smaller, faster, and safer than open models. That said, ServiceNow's strategy is to hook its platform into whatever model its customers desire: it's already partnered with OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, HuggingFace, and (inevitably) Nvidia.

The vendor's roots in ITSM aren't forgotten in this release, which adds a Security Posture Control tool that is said to detect gaps in security – such as the absence agents on endpoints – then suggest remedies. Generative AI has also been applied for analysis of error logs, so that they can be summarized to present recommended actions to admins.

Operational technology users have been given a similar experience, with upgraded asset inventory capabilities and security functions making it possible to understand the state of machinery on the factory floor, and devise workflows to keep it working.

ServiceNow has also waded into Salesforce territory, tweaking its Sales and Order Management tools to cover opportunities from quoting, through configuring, to fulfilment.

Moving to Washington DC requires a conscious choice because, unlike other SaaS vendors, ServiceNow gives every customer its own instance and doesn’t automatically add features. ®

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