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Observations From ServiceNow’s Knowledge Conference

Each year, ServiceNow’s Knowledge conference garners thousands of attendees who are looking to stay up-to-date on the tech industry and enhance their ServiceNow proficiency. The four-day event includes keynote speakers, demos, product training, workshops, and even games and entertainment.

Last week, over 19,000 guests and 200 exhibitors and sponsors made their way to fabulous Las Vegas to connect with the IT community and expand their breadth of expertise. Because there was so much to explore and discover, it was difficult for even the most energized of attendees to keep up with trending topics and major impressions. Luckily, AHEAD’s Content Marketing Manager Jenny Allen was able to catch up with some of our own experts to jot down their Knowledge18 insights in a one-stop shop. Check out their thoughts below:

Erin Luther, Principal Solutions Architect

“The week before this year’s event, I made my own pre-conference predictions, which touched on the key topics I was hoping to see at the conference. Just like previous years I’ve attended, Knowledge18 did not disappoint! I focused mostly on the ITOM/Discoverytrack of sessions and while they were all interesting, over the years I’ve come to notice something really important about attending Knowledge:

  • ‘Breakout’ sessions are largely high-level process conversations about the topic at hand, so if you’re already an expert at ITOM process, a breakout session may not yield any epiphanies for you. They can give you some great industry perspective on the topic, though, as I saw in one session where Carnival Cruise Lines discussed their implementation. It was very interesting to hear how a cruise ship company was able to utilize all that ServiceNow has to offer.
  • ‘Labs’ are for us techie folk. This is where you get to be hands on with the tool, so for me, a long time developer, these sessions are the most useful and the places where I take away the most from Knowledge.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend Knowledge, keep these tips in mind when signing up for your sessions!

My favorite event at Knowledge is always the hack-a-thon. The hack-a-thon is part of the CreatorCon portion of the conference and is essentially a high-skill, low-instruction event where you get to build something cool and compete against your peers. Though I didn’t participate myself this year, I find this to be a great way to network with and watch the top technical minds in the industry in action.

The incredible opportunity to network is my biggest takeaway from every Knowledge conference. Whether its with current clients, prospective clients, old colleagues, or potential future AHEADians, I love the people you meet, the great conversations you have, and the lasting relationships you make within the ServiceNow space.”


Steve Stumpf, Solutions Architect

“This was my second knowledge, so compared to the others on the team, I am a noob. I was able to be a TA (Teacher’s Assistant) for pre-con training (Service Mapping Implementations) on Sunday/Monday, which was awesome! It was great to be able to share my experiences within SNOW with other students and learn some valuable lessons, as well. While it added three days to my trip, it was well worth it, and I look forward to doing training at Knowledge in the future.

On Tuesday, in the lab ‘Using Event Management and Flow Designer to Perform Alert Driven Actions-LAB0341,’ we learned some skills with the new flow designer. The reason I call this out was because during the middle of the class, the instructors took a pause to do some exercise/yoga with the entire class joining in. Pretty entertaining to see a couple of IT guys from Europe getting an entire room (60-plus?) of people up and moving around. In fact, one of AHEAD’s clients from ABC Supply Company was there and he mentioned it as well when I asked him about his knowledge experience during the AHEAD Knowledge Party on Wednesday evening.

During my SecOps-focused day on Wednesday, I encountered one of the coolest labs I’ve done at Knowledge. It was titled ‘Threat Hunting, Awareness and Sharing with Security Operations-LAB0299,’ where they made the whole lab a GAME! Basically, everyone in the class competed against each other to see who could resolve the most security incidents within ServiceNow. This was really cool and something I’d love to see more of in future labs, as it encouraged others at K18 to participate if they had time.”


Chris Meiers, Specialist Sales Engineer

“My main takeaway from the conference this year was how great the pre-conference training was. It’s refreshing to see a company so dedicated to ensuring that their customers will continue their education on the tool to guide them down their journey. Every topic was covered, from ITSM to Event Management, which really speaks to how connected ServiceNow is with their customer base as well as their partners who instruct the courses.”


Nick Minnich, Delivery Manager

“Just about everything was bigger and better than ever this year at Knowledge18. Nearly 20,000 attendees made for a full house at the Venetian. I was excited to see the focus on Agent Intelligence and how it will leverage machine learning to assist in intelligently moving incidents through their lifecycles. This was definitely the most buzzed-about topic as I talked to other K18 attendees and developers. I was also pleased to see the focus being made on Security Operations and GRC. This is a huge opportunity for growth for ServiceNow and I was glad to see the investment being made. Customer Service Management (CSM) also took a major role in keynotes, as well as sessions throughout the week.”


Sean Doone, Solutions Architect

“This year’s Knowledge18 conference had a completely different feel than years past. I guess part of that could’ve been the record turnout or the buzz around the pre-conference (known as ‘pre-con’ to Knowledge veterans) training sessions. Having had the pleasure of serving on the ServiceNow training staff for pre-con the last few years, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Service Portal classes so packed. The conference staff literally had to hand out temporary passes to allow admittance on the first day because the registration lines were out the door. I found out that the Service Portal curriculum was the most sought after pre-con session, since fundamentals and advanced classes filled up weeks before the conference even started! The UI/UX phenomena has people thinking in big ways. In my class alone, I had two potential customers ask me to help solution their persona-based UI in the Service Portal. Role-based behavior—in the way of personalized pages and experiences—are playing a major role in the way organizations want their customers and internal users to interact with ServiceNow.”


Tony Thavisouk, Delivery Manager

“It’s always great to catch up with clients and parters at Knowledge, which I was able to do once again this year. I had a long conversation with one of our client’s Service Desk gentleman regarding all that they were looking to do with ServiceNow. We discussed a lot around self-service and the proper ways to get the company on board with this approach since this is something they are currently not accustomed to. Because of all that was being exhibited and demoed at the event, our client seemed very positive and really understood what we were discussing, which is a testament to ServiceNow’s ability to listen to and communicate with users.

There seems to be a big push towards the Flow Designer functionality, which is a combination of execution plans and workflows. It sounds like this could eventually be a replacement for workflows, but there is a reasonably high learning curve with this functionality. It also seems like there will be a big push for IntegrationHub as opposed to standard integration methods on the platform. This does have a lot of dynamic functionality inside of it to streamline overall integration development. It is based on Flow Designer and also comes with additional licensing costs, so I’m curious to see how this develops as an offering for ServiceNow.

As expected, SecOps continues to be a big push by ServiceNow. They’ve made some significant UI changes as a part of the London release that look like they’ll make usage a lot easier for those who are not used to the standard SN interface.”

Looking to learn more about ServiceNow and SecOps? Check out our webinar below to learn how ServiceNow can be used for real-time monitoring of compliance activities and posture while automating security incident response:

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