ServiceNow Rome: our look at the top new features

It only seems five minutes ago we were discussing the arrival of ServiceNow Quebec but it’s now six months on and we are welcoming ServiceNow’s latest release: Rome. As expected in this ‘mid’ year release there are not so many big features to discuss but there are a lot of quality-of-life improvements and enhancements, expanding on previously released capability like Playbooks, Process Automation Designer and the Now Experience framework.

The work to consolidate several organically developed Integrated Development Environments (IDE) into a similar look and feel is welcome, and the introduction of App Engine Studio creates a single place to go to access them all. If you’re a customer who has store apps installed, then you’ll be receiving lots of notifications about the latest versions that are available to you so you can benefit from these updates.

To re-iterate there are a lot of enhancements across the platform, so please do read the release notes to ensure you’re making the most of them.

Here are our picks of best things we’ve seen in Rome:

Employee Service Center

This feature used to be exclusive to HR Service Delivery but now is available by default. The concept of having one portal to rule them all is not that new, and as an employee of any organisation will tell you having to go to a variety of systems to access different services is a real pain. But if you’re a customer whose ServiceNow platform supports multiple business units and functions then by introducing Employee Service Center you can start driving immediate consistency of delivery, user interface and features across your user community.

Be mindful there are two versions, with the Employee Center Pro providing more features with an additional subscription

App Engine Studio (AES)

As a company that specialises in building custom applications, we’ve seen how the platform has evolved in providing a usable and intuitive environment for development to take place. While AES supports ServiceNow’s drive to ensure it caters for to the creation of no-code and low-code applications it still has a place in the pro-code landscape. Making some of the common tasks such as building tables more streamlined and having a single place to launch Catalog Builder, UI Builder, Mobile Builder and Flow Designer is a real benefit.

For those just getting started there are some templates for common custom application use cases that you can use to get you going. While we’re pretty sure AES will keep evolving it’s good to see the various development UI’s starting to get the same look and feel.

Mobile App Builder (MAB)

This feature is a big improvement over the previous Mobile Studio. Using the Studio IDE interface to try and surface all the components you needed to build a comprehensive mobile app just didn’t work out, it left you still having to go into the backend to polish things up.

Now we get nice visuals that give you a layout of how your app is configured and a mock-up of what it would look like on a mobile device. The saying a ‘picture speaks a thousand words’ never seems to lose its relevancy. Once again, the look and feel is consistent with the other development environments and while there will be more to come this is definitely a significant step in the right direction.

IntegrationHub error handling

Integrations are now fundamental to almost every customer using the platform. I heard in a recent podcast there are now over 3,500 actions available in IntegrationHub, quite remarkable in a feature that’s only been around two years. ServiceNow continues to excel in providing capability to build integrations quickly and in adding this error handling feature you can now make them more robust.

Previously in your flow you’d have to cater for your specifi

c action failing if you wanted something to happen, which could result in many additional steps. Now you can specify in a single place what you want to do when your flow comes across an error, including an option to ignore and carry on.

IntegrationHub import

Continuing with the IntegrationHub theme another new feature is IntegrationHub Import. This again takes advantage of the Now Experience UI look and feel to provide a graphical interface for mapping the data you receive from your integrations.

Using a simple three step process and the same robust transform engine found in the IntegrationHub ETL this means you no longer need to use import sets and transform maps. Mapping data is achieved using the now familiar pill-picker and you have the same transform features as with flow designer on the inputs, very nice!

Headless browser for Automated Test Framework

For those who use ATF extensively this will be a welcome new feature, the ability to run tests without the need to manually open a browser session to capture the results for user interface tests. The feature is available on both Linux and Windows and, while there is a bit of set-up involved, it is far outweighed by the benefits if you’re scheduling a lot of tests.

Customer Service Management enhancements

I’m going to bundle a number of new features that fall under Customer Service Management as they show the investment that ServiceNow continues to make in a product that is almost unrecognisable from the first versions:

  • Message Service: You can now communicate with customers via SMS.
  • Guided decisions - next best actions: Provide your agents with the next recommended steps based on contextual information.
  • Conversation autopilot: Allows agents to invoke Virtual Agent during agent chat conversations when they’ve found it can handle the end user’s request.
  • Customer data models for B2B2C: Support complex business models by easily configuring multi-level B2B2C customer relationships. Enable partners and contacts to create cases for end consumers.

Enhancement to ‘assign to me’ UI action

I’m putting this in from a purely selfish perspective, because it’s finally allowed me to retire a nine year old update set that I used on every greenfield implementation I’ve done in that time to fix the original version.

The concept of using a single button to assign a task to you was great, reducing a three click process to just one. The problem with the original version was that while this set the assign to field to be you, the assignment group could remain one that you had nothing to do with. This could be very confusing and certainly didn’t help with data integrity. The updated version now does a check to see if you are a member of the current assignment group, and is only available if you are. I guess some things are worth waiting for!

About the author

Justin Loftas

Written by:

Justin Loftas
Technical Director

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