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How Machine Learning and AI are Finding a Home in ServiceNow


According to the latest market research on Artificial Intelligence, the overall AI market is expected to stand at USD 16.06 Billion by 2022.


Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been a hot topic of conversation in every industry. Be it retail, banking, and finance, pharma, healthcare, education, technology (of course)…the growth of AI over the last couple of years has been exponential. AI, the technology that gives machines the capability to self-learn and improve, has been put to use in most of these industries to improve business outcomes and productivity of the workforce by aiding error reduction, completing mundane and repetitive tasks, and fast-tracking data exploration processes. It helps in improving the predictive capabilities of organizations in this data age. The benefits of AI have been tangible, and given the diversity of information at our disposal in the form of data, AI is being integrated into business processes for better productivity, improved decision making and ultimately a positive impact on the company bottom line.

Along with AI, the past few years have also seen the great digitization move. Almost all organizations across the globe have become digital enterprises. Those who have not, are at some stage or the other of this move. It is established now that repetitive manual processes no longer have their place in the enterprise of today and of the future. Business processes and workflows are getting increasingly automated to increase workforce efficiencies and to promote collaboration between teams – especially the geographically displaced teams. Automating workflows and business processes assume all the more importance to reduce information slippages that lead to missed opportunities. Today, structured and automated business processes, well-defined workflows that allow collaboration, and accountability are becoming norms of the digital organization.

ServiceNow has been one of the leaders of this workplace revolution and has helped its customers across the globe increase the efficiency of their enterprise by transforming their workflows and processes by making them simpler, easy to use, and collaborative. Now ServiceNow is adding ‘intuitive’ to this list of benefits.

ServiceNow is increasing the capabilities of its Now platform using the Intelligent Automation Engine built with technology from ServiceNow’s DxContinuum, a company that ServiceNow acquired in January. The Intelligent Automation Engine brings enhanced machine learning capabilities to the Now platform and will help customers automatically route service requests, help its customers prevent outages, and predict and benchmark IT performance. At present, many machine learning and AI efforts are offered as add-ons to cloud services. However, ServiceNow intends to tailor the Intelligent Automation Engine according to the specific needs of its customers. ServiceNow CTO Allan Leinwand states, “We’re not building a piece of AI that everyone shares and we’re not using a data lake. We’re taking individual data out of customer instances, shipping it to a training engine, building a model and putting it into that instance….Once the model is in the instance it is in memory.”

Why the Intelligent Automation Engine is good news?

According to a study by ServiceNow, 86% of companies surveyed state that they will need to increase the level of automation to get work done by 2020. Approximately 1,874 global executives state that they believe that the pace of work has increased by 20% in just the last year and as a result of that business leaders are spending 16 hours working on manual processes as only 42% of business processes are automated. 91% of skilled employees are spending too much time on completing administrative tasks. Allan Leinwand also mentioned that “Businesses spend a lot of time on basic, mundane tasks like referring PTO (paid time off) requests to HR” and that areas such as Customer Service and HR are now ripe for taking the automation leap.

With the Intelligent Automation Engine, ServiceNow can apply machine learning algorithms to each of their customer’s data set and can train their machines to “route IT, HR, customer service or other requests with a high level of accuracy.” With this engine, ServiceNow plans to utilize the machine learning capabilities in the following avenues:

Outage Prevention

The Intelligent Automation Engine employs its anomaly detection capabilities to identify patterns and outlier instances that could possibly lead to an outage. These anomalies can also be correlated to past events and workflows to achieve greater precision in identifying these possible outages.

Routine Work Categorization and Routing

The machine learning algorithms compare past patterns and use it to categorize tasks, route them accordingly and also predict the outcomes for the same. This makes tasks such as assessing risks, owner assignments and categorization simpler and faster.

Performance Predictions

The algorithms of the Intelligent Automation Engine work with ServiceNow’s real-time Performance Analytics applications to set performance goals and data profiles. This helps organizations assess the timelines by when these performance goals will be achieved such as identifying the response times to call desks.

Benchmarking

Instead of depending on guesswork, the analytical and predictive capabilities of the Intelligent Automation Engine will help organizations compare companies to their industries and peers in order to gauge their efficiency, will provide recommendations to improve the same. However, the machine learning techniques for this Benchmarking application are not done using DxContinuum technology but using data that ServiceNow customers have agreed to share with other users of the company’s product. The data, of course, will be anonymized to protect confidentiality and to ensure compliance.

One of the greatest advantages that ServiceNow customers will have with the Intelligent Automation Engine is that they do not need to rewrite the product to sit on the platform to ensure that it is a match for “multiple products and multiple companies tied together with replication” and is not based on loose integrations. According to ServiceNow Chief Strategy Officer Dave Wright, “This is a single system of record sitting on a single platform and that is the biggest differentiation we have.”

Clearly, ServiceNow is keeping the future story of their customers in mind while developing their capabilities. The Intelligent Automation Engine is a sure step in that direction and can surely emerge as the backbone of the enterprise of tomorrow.

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