What have the Romans ever done for us? In ServiceNow’s new Rome release, replaced intranets, for one

ServiceNow has loosed the new “Rome” release of its SaaS workflow platform on a waiting world.

This one’s very much a “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” affair as it doesn’t diverge markedly from ServiceNow’s current strategy of providing a platform that creates and orchestrates workflows. But there’s also a bit of an “All roads lead to Rome” flavour to it, if you substitute “Rome” for apps that try to make sense of running a business at a time when people no longer come to the office every day.

In ServiceNow’s take on the “new normal”, hybrid work is perfectly possible, but in its view needs some additional tools to replicate the office experience.

“We have lost the tribal knowledge to speak to someone in the corridor to learn how to get things done,” ServiceNow chief innovation officer Dave Wright told The Register.

In the absence of being able to ask colleagues where to find staples, or how to accomplish particular chores, ServiceNow suggests using its own new “Employee Center” that connects people to the businesses processes that matter in their working days.

Wright was keen not to characterise Employee Center as a post-COVID intranet, citing its ability to initiate workflows and track their progress – so not just being told how to requisition staples, but also to stay on top of that process until they’re loaded in your stapler.

Employee Centre can also be embedded into Microsoft Teams, an arrangement that’s the fruit of an expanded strategic relationship between ServiceNow and The Beast Of Redmond.

For the IT department, ServiceNow’s home turf, Rome adds AI-infused log file analyses that it claimed will enhance IT operations management (ITOM) capabilities.

Another new AI-driven inclusion is “Automation Discovery”, a feature that observes how ServiceNow is being used and suggests opportunities for automation.

Wright said the tool is designed to detect if, for example, the service desk regularly receives a particular task and responds to it with the same output. Such a scenario suggests investment in automation could be apposite.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed we described Automation Discovery as an “inclusion”, not an addition. That’s because it’s been available for some time as a component on the ServiceNow store. Rome makes it a part of the platform.

Another Rome feature, the Mobile App Builder, also builds on an existing ServiceNow offering. Now that it’s baked into the platform, the tool adds the ability to build apps based on custom workflows created by users, whereas its predecessor only worked with workflows pre-built by ServiceNow.

ServiceNow is unusual among SaaS providers in not just delivering all the functions of its new platform to every customer, but rather pushing out a dedicated instance of the platform to each user. Upgrades are instead an opt-in affair. ®

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