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ServiceNow wants to be the cloud for IT

Brandon Butler | May 17, 2013
Many enterprise IT shops may be reluctant to jump head first into cloud computing. After all, there are a variety of concerns that come with using the cloud, from security to integrations with existing systems, and perhaps most scary: What the cloud will mean for your IT job.

The provisioning tool sits on top of a tool like VMware vCenter, which actually handles the under-the-covers VM provisioning through its hypervisor. The cloud provisioning tool is meant to sit above that software as a way to manage multiple cloud resources, and user functionality through a single management console. IT is no longer an inhibitor to cloud use by the company, but a broker.  

Application creator
One of the other main features of ServiceNow's cloud is the ability to create customized applications on the platform. Initial iterations of this were geared towards IT workers, who could create apps to manage a range of tasks. One app could automate the setup process for onboarding a new employee, for example. ServiceNow's App Creator, launched this week, aims to make that process of creating customized apps easy for anyone in the business.

It uses information already in the ServiceNow cloud to create databases, tables, charts, graphs and workflows. These can then be adjusted and rearranged, populated with new information or selectively deleted to create new workflow automation apps. It doesn't require the ability to code, but there are options to program in JavaScript.

ServiceNow says more than 1,000 apps have already been created by IT pros using its cloud. At the conference this week ServiceNow highlighted Target, which created an app within ServiceNow's cloud that directs customer service requests in its stores directly to the person best suited to handle the problem. "This is not an app core to IT, it's for retail satisfaction management," says ServiceNow CTO Arne Josefsberg. Many of these line of business apps are similar to apps IT departments would create: There's a problem, so a workflow is created to manage the resolution. These apps can automate that process. As another example, GE used the platform to manage its field personnel doing service calls on wind turbines, Josefsberg says.

ServiceNow iPad app
Through a new HTML5 application, IT workers can now control their IT services through a touch-screen-enabled app. Basically, anything that can be done through the ServiceNow web portal can now be done through the iPad app.

The moves are part of a broader transformation at ServiceNow during the past few years. The company, which was founded in 2004 and is based in San Diego, has been refining its strategy and brought on a new executive team. Frank Slootman, a former VC executive whose company Data Domain was purchased by EMC, was brought on as ServiceNow's new CEO in 2011, along with a handful of other top-level executives who migrated from EMC as well. Attempting to build up its cloud chops, that same year ServiceNow added Josefsberg, the former GM of Microsoft Azure's infrastructure. Alan Leinwand, the former infrastructure chief at Zynga, who helped build one of the most advanced hybrid clouds at the time, recently came on board to ServiceNow as well.


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