ciao Knowledge11 ... looking forward to Knowledge12

About 400 customers, partners and ServiceNow employees gathered in Frankfurt earlier this month to attend Knowledge11 and share experiences on the ServiceNow platform.

Fred Luddy, ServiceNow founder, presented the coming enhancements to the platform and, more particularly, automation, archiving and the new scalability of the architecture. These new features will allow IT organizations to manage larger volume of incidents or requests while optimizing performance; this is especially important as there are 20 million end users using ServiceNow to interact with their IT organizations.

My take-aways from this conference:

  • some organization using ServiceNow as a Platform As A Service are also developing their own awesome applications. For example, Verisign is able to view their datacenter setup directly in ServiceNow so they know exactly where each server is physically located in their datacenter; and CERN is using ServiceNow for all types of requests, even non-IT request such as hotel reservations or car rentals.
  • cloud is key for IT organizations, but strong guarantees are needed around security, scalability, performance. The SaaS solution provided by ServiceNow is aligned with this view by providing a reliable platform without customers needing to worry about the infrastructure
  • social IT Service Management is on the way with chat and feeds. Interaction with IT users will be simplified by allowing them to exchange via their usual channels such as Facebook or Windows Live Messenger.

automating tasks using the CMDB

If there were one particularly intriguing take-away from Knowledge 11, it would be the SwissRe presentation on task automation using the Configuration Management DataBase (CMDB – the database that stores relationships between the configuration items).


SwissRe is standardizing their workflows for incident, change and service request management, in order to have only one dynamic workflow in ServiceNow per defined ITSM process. Depending on the information provided by the requestor (incident, request, change), the different tasks to be performed will be automatically populated following the tasks associated to the Configuration Item (CI). The tasks associated to this CI would be the responsibility of the Service Owner.

This is a very interesting approach. The main challenges that I see would be the level of granularity of the CMDB (the more tasks you will have to define and maintain) and the willingness of the service owner to automate tasks on their service portfolio. Are people ready to spend time to detail their own activities and to detail the tasks associated to the services they provide? And what needs to be done in the CMDB (structure and granularity) in order to limit the Service Owners’ level of effort and to keep the CMDB and tasks updated through the change process?

What were your take-aways from the event? If you weren’t able to attend, ServiceNow has published the presentations from the event on

photo credit: Sue Berry
diagram credit: ServiceNow

Nicolas Jacquey
Sebastien Rivory

Service Management Consultant for Orange Business in Switzerland  with over 10 years’ experience in service management and IT outsourcing, my experience in IT operations allows me to understand customer challenges and issues to deliver the best service management solution. I am leading service management consulting in Switzerland including ServiceNow implementation. I hold an engineering degree and an MBA from HEC Montreal. I am ITIL V3 expert certified