Knowledge18 is kicking off in Sin City next week and I’m beyond excited to head out to ServiceNow’s flagship conference for the third year in a row. While I don’t anticipate any major product releases (like Service Portal in years’ past), ServiceNow has always been on the cutting edge of technology, so I wouldn’t put it past them to reveal a few surprises during the four-day event.
While I don’t want to date myself, I’ve been working with ServiceNow since the Aspen release and it’s been incredible to see the growth AHEAD’s partner has made over time. Coming on the heels of AHEAD’s Silver Services Partner designation, I’m thrilled to have another #Know18 conference under my belt. With over 300 breakout sessions, 120-plus hands-on labs, and 18,000 attendees(!!!), this year’s conference is not to be missed.
With that said, let’s talk about some key trends and topics I anticipate will be a huge focus at this year’s ServiceNow Knowledge event.
Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)
GRC is going to be a huge focus at Knowledge18, especially since a lot of companies are concerned about risk management and auditing to track what everyone is doing at a high level. This way, they can go back if they get audited and are able to prove that they’re doing everything within a compliance framework. The fact that ServiceNow is bringing that in is significant because, obviously, that’s been really important for users and they haven’t provided that ability in past years. This is particularly important to the government sector, along with the financial services and healthcare industries.
For those unfamiliar, ServiceNow has five main applications for GRC:
- Policy and Compliance Management
- Risk Management
- Audit Management
- Vendor Risk Management
- Performance Analytics for GRC
I think what’s key with these applications—and this functionality will be discussed heavily at Knowledge18—is that organizations can set up the policies and data rules that apply to them specifically. So, the apps pull in standards, procedures, and regulations, and they have the ability to “talk” to external regulations, like GDPR compliance. With these apps, a user will be able to assess risks, respond to them, create plans, and run audits.
For instance, this applies to AHEAD since we’re a vendor for our clients. Using the Vendor Risk Management tool, our clients can set up their vendor portfolios to ensure each one is compliant within their organization.
Performance Analytics for GRC will also be a hot topic. The dynamic reporting functionality is incredible, especially given the app is woven into ServiceNow’s suite of products. Essentially, with Performance Analytics for GRC, you could run an entire business strictly on the ServiceNow platform. The metrics, reporting, and graphs that it’s able to generate are mind-blowing and it’s not just about a bunch of tables—it’s about what that data shows an organization visually and, in the end, how a user can make their business more efficient. It’s a giant improvement that ServiceNow has made in reporting over the years, so it will certainly open a lot of doors for organizations who drive their business based on metrics and reporting. The entire suite of apps is really a one-stop shop that I anticipate will receive a lot of buzz this year, and the functionality and integrations continue to grow and grow over time.
I think ServiceNow is incredibly wise to shift their focus to data security, particularly since cybersecurity will always be a necessity across all industries. The quality of the data is going to be key and I think if people are going to utilize SecOps, along with the vulnerability management and threat intelligence that comes with it, their data will need to be clean and well-fleshed out in the instance. As such, users will be able to utilize a lot of the various components that come with the SecOps app, particularly since it integrates with their external applications. Because, at the end of the day, everyone wants to keep their data secure, as well as prevent risk and breaching.
ServiceNow is definitely on the right track with NVD compliance. It’s extremely timely that they’re looking to these external guidelines that industries are running their businesses by because, after all, people aren’t going to adopt ServiceNow if they aren’t compliant with a certain level of security. I think we’ll hear a lot about the fact that, not only are they giving us the tools to manage vulnerability with SecOps, but they’re aware that there are industry standards—and they’re taking them seriously and into consideration.
Cloud Integration, Management, and Automation
The AWS integration with ServiceNow will be an enormous focus at Knowledge18. AWS has really taken off and the ability to integrate that into ServiceNow and utilize the benefits of both is game-changing. I’m working on an AWS integration with a client now and I’m excited to see what updates they’ll have at the conference.
Cloud management is another place where ServiceNow is making a smart move since everyone is going to the cloud now. Gone are the days where we were only discovering data off of hard servers in a data center. A lot of organizations are getting rid of this process, particularly for maintenance and budget reasons. It’s definitely a huge step forward for ServiceNow and it’s clear they’re really listening to where the industry is going.
Utilizing DevOps and automation in AWS and Azure via ServiceNow’s Discovery tool will also be a trending topic. The ability to build out workflows that bring services up or down in an automated fashion is game-changing since it removes the need for users to do this manually. I’m working with a client now where we’re finding configuration items on the cloud in AWS and bringing those items into ServiceNow through Discovery. Instead of going out to a hard server in a data center, we’re going out to the cloud and running a similar process, and the efficiency and scalability is a huge step forward and a good indicator of where the industry is going.
ServiceNow has seen explosive growth over the years and I attribute that to the fact that they really listen to their users. They’re pulling in the spaces in IT that are important (and at the right times). Between their ITOM, ITSM, Asset Management, and HR offerings, they’ve been incredibly successful in building out a robust suite of products that have staying power—and aren’t just a fad.
Stay tuned for AHEAD’s post-Knowledge18 wrap-up and check out our ServiceNow SecOps webinar to take a deeper dive into the platform.