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Knowledge17 Recap: We Came | We Saw | We Wore our Red Shoes

The AHEAD crew wrapped up a very successful and fun Knowledge17 conference last week. Welcome back to work all those of you who joined us in Orlando this year. For those we spoke to, those we didn’t, and those who were unable to make it, here are a few of our key takeaways from this year’s conference.

 General Conference Notes

We thought the conference was very well run this year and were particularly impressed with the lab sessions. The topics and depth the labs offered were significantly better than what we have seen at other conferences, so kudos to the ServiceNow team on putting those together.

As always, the sessions were valuable, as was the pre-conference training. The increased number of customer-led sessions and panels were also insightful. Finally, the social aspect of meeting with customers and partners was great, and taking advantage of the great Orlando attractions at the closing party was amazing. 



We set up several different demonstrations in our booth, showcasing some of the user stories we encounter on a regular basis at AHEAD, however, this year we chose not to simply focus on the core ServiceNow ITSM components, but rather on some of the intersections between ServiceNow with Cloud and Security.

 As an organization, we remain focused on some of the core ServiceNow capabilities including HR, Knowledge Base, Facilities, and others, but felt these user stories demonstrated real aspects of what makes AHEAD unique (and the attendees agreed).

Demo 1:  Service Catalog w/ Automated Cloud Provisioning

Our first demonstration set was around the requesting and fully automated provisioning of cloud-compute resources.

You may recall some of these from AWS re:Invent last year, but at Knowledge, we added some new UI elements and extended our capabilities to show the provisioning of Azure cloud resources. We also had several productive conversations with conference attendees around how we were placing the ARM template parameters directly in ServiceNow, instead of just using the option for an API call.  

We are excited to see some of the new capabilities announced in the ServiceNow Jakarta release. Many attendees thought our booth was being driven by a Jakarta beta and were surprised to hear we were showing this type of automation and integration on the Helsinki and Istanbul releases, as we have been for over a year.

Demo 2: User Onboarding Process

Our second set was an enhancement to our user onboarding process, which integrates both the HR aspects of new user account provisioning, but also the fully automated provisioning of a VDI instance, leveraging AWS Workspaces.

Again, this was an enhancement to some of the re:Invent demonstrations, with an even more streamlined process to enable HR or hiring managers to provision without the need for manual IT action.

Demo 3: Security Operations w/ GRC

Finally, we introduced a new set of user stories around Security Operations (SecOps) and the intersection with Governance, Risk, and Compliance. Our demonstration triggered an automated security incident, which was assigned to an individual for analysis.

We added custom security response playbook workflows on top of the Security Operations module and showed how this can assist the analyst to achieve faster and more consistent remediation. As the incident was moved into a final review stage, a Risk was automatically generated, and fed into the reports in the GRC module, showcasing the end to end lifecycle of a security incident across multiple groups.

Closing Thoughts and Looking AHEAD

This year marked a significant increase in AHEAD’s presence and attendance at the conference, and as an individual and speaking for the group, we felt it was an investment well spent. We have a few items from the conference still to come, including publishing video samples of the above demonstrations on this blog, so be on the lookout for those in the next week or so. We will also begin working on Jakarta instance upgrade planning for our customers and our internal instances.

Our next major event is our own annual conference, Looking AHEAD 2017, which will be hosted in Chicago on June 22. We invite you to attend! You will see more of what we are doing with ServiceNow and with helping our clients develop their Enterprise Cloud stories. We will be showcasing the above demonstrations, along with several more on stage and in our booth. Of course, we’re always glad to meet with our clients and prospects individually and give you a personalized discussion as well.

If you are interested in connecting with us at our Looking AHEAD conference or have an interest in meeting with our team, please let me know and I’d be happy to help facilitate. Hope to see you at #LookingAHEAD2017!

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