ServiceNow adds AI to productivity tools in latest enterprise push

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ServiceNow Inc. is super-charging the intelligence in its automated productivity tools.

The San Francisco-based company, a provider of cloud-based workflow automation software used to improve productivity at companies, on Wednesday announced a new computing platform that adds artificial intelligence and machine learning.

ServiceNow’s Orlando platform, for example, will let the MGM Macau casino resort use a virtual agent, or bot, to automate and handle repetitive requests.

“Orlando is our biggest product launch in a decade,” ServiceNow Chief Executive Bill McDermott told MarketWatch in a phone call. “This platform is unique for digital transformation, in terms of predictive analytics.”

McDermott, who joined the company late last year after running SAP AG SAP, +5.82%  for five years, inherits a company on a roll. ServiceNow NOW, +7.09%   recently reported a 33% jump in annual revenue to $3.46 billion, and subscription sales growth of 34% to $3.26 billion. And in the weeks leading to its product announcement, ServiceNow acquired AI startups Passage AI and Loom Systems, underpinning its commitment to the technology, say analysts.

“The biggest advantages to the Orlando release are in providing predictive and prescriptive guidance via virtual agents that should provide productivity improvements for IT and help desk support staff,” David Schubmehl, research director for IDC’s Cognitive/Artificial Intelligent Systems and Content Analytics, told MarketWatch in email. “The use of virtual agents will provide employees with 24×7 support experiences when human staff is unavailable.”

The inclusion of AI and machine learning is “huge” because it lets companies enhance service in real time based on up-to-the-minute accurate data, Joe DeKonty, IT director of service management at International Business Machine Corp.’s IBM, +5.91%  Red Hat division, told MarketWatch.

ServiceNow shares have steadily climbed the past few years — they’re up 31% in the past 12 months — on the “massive tailwind” of the cloud, former CEO John Donahoe, who now heads Nike Inc. NKE, +4.98%  , said in a one-on-one interview last year. With Inc. CRM, +6.70%  , Workday Inc. WDAY, +5.13%  and other software vendors, it is leading a digital revolution across businesses that are “hiding all the complexity of work,” he said.

See also: ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe wants clients to embrace digital transformation

The inclusion of AI in ServiceNow’s newest platform enhances automation for enterprise companies, with, for example, better information and analytics, according to Ellen Daley, a former Forrester analyst who is now CEO of consulting agency Acorio, which works with ServiceNow.

“If Donahoe put a consumer polish on ServiceNow, McDermott really understands enterprise software, and deeply embedding it within corporate environments,” Daley told MarketWatch in a phone interview.

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