ServiceNow Knowledge14 CreateNow Hackathon Winners – Linium

At Knowledge14
At Knowledge14

I recently attended Knowledge14, ServiceNow’s enormous conference held this year in San Francisco, gathering thousands of IT professionals from all over the world.

The scale of this conference knocked me for six.  The town I live in only has three times as many inhabitants (give or take) as there were attendees at Knowledge14 and we are spread over a much larger area.  The Moscone Center coped admirably with the numbers, but if attendee figures continue to grow at the rate they have, I suspect that in the future ServiceNow are going to struggle to find venues big enough.

The conference was a great success.  The scale to which it ran held the potential for the mother of all cock-ups and yet the smoothness with which it ran was phenomenal and was a massive credit to all involved in the planning and coordination.

I’ve attended a few conferences now and can honestly say that the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced and even with the blowing of the ServiceNow horn and the frequent whooping by the audience during keynotes (which have been known to aggrieve my stoic English sensibilities) I enjoyed myself very much and found it to be a very worthwhile experience.

The CreateNow Hackathon

The CreateNow Hackathon has been taking place at Knowledge since 2013.  The objective is for a team of no more than 5 to create a unique, useful and creative app using the ServiceNow platform in a race against the clock.  Over 700 individuals entered the competition with ServiceNow judges identifying the final teams who then have the opportunity to demonstrate their creations to all attendees.

This years winning app was created by Linium and Xerox and this week I had the pleasure of speaking with team member Sean Caron, Principle Solution Architect at Linium, and Linium’s Chief Technology Officer and Practice Lead, Steve Horvath.

Who are Linium?

Linium is a transformational delivery manager.  We align our customers’ objectives with their wider business through enterprise and IT performance, operations strategy and emerging technologies.

Why did Linium attend Knowledge14? 

As a Preferred Partner of ServiceNow it is hugely important to us have a presence at Knowledge.  Along with our booth we were part of a breakout session (Designing an Automated Enterprise Service Portal) and a panel session (MSP Implementations of ServiceNow) to share our expertise and experience with delegates.

This was Linium’s second year at Knowledge but individually we have been attending for many years and as delegates we have always found it to be an extremely valuable experience.

…and the Hackathon?

There were several reasons that we took part in the Hackathon:

  1. Further awareness of Linium to the public
  2. To demonstrate that we have the “nuts and bolts” abilities that our customers and potential customers require
  3. To show how well ServiceNow lends itself to expanding into the further business

How did you come up with your idea for SchoolHub?

We had a couple of ideas that we discussed one evening over dinner, but decided on Schoolhub because we wanted to create an app that was useful to the largest percentage of people.  As the majority of people out there either are children, have children, have nieces and nephews and/or grandchildren we thought that an app that provides parents and students with important news and information from their school was our best shot.

So what is SchoolHub? 

SchoolHub provides a unique portal for schools to be proactive in providing parents and students with important news and information. We wanted SchoolHub to be a more useful version of a school website with the ability to bring services to users rather than them having to go out and look for information.  For example if a child uses a bus service to get to and from school then GPS can be used to track the progress of the vehicle and a parent could receive a notification when their child is say 5 minutes from home.  The idea for bus tracking actually came from looking at how we can use ServiceNow to track assets within the IT environment.

Another area that we wanted to improve upon was the ability for faculty and staff to be able to define assignments for students without the need for a degree in computer science.

What are your plans for SchoolHub in the future?

The feedback we had from attendees at Knowledge was hugely positive with the common statement being “Wow, I wish my child’s school had that!”.  As a result for the next twelve months we will be looking to use SchoolHub as a basis to build an app to sell as SaaS, with possible developments in using QR codes in areas such as book and hardware lending, as well as operating lunch money schemes and notifications to parents and carers in cases of emergency.

…And for Linium? 

Our next target is to achieve ServiceNow Master Partner status.

My thoughts

First of all, thanks to Sean and Steve for taking the time to talk with me. Secondly, as a parent of a primary school aged child I can see how SchoolHub could be very useful in the education arena.  The ability to fill in an online form when your child is sick rather than trying to hit that 20 minute period between when the office opens and school starts, pay for school trips online and retrieve homework assignments rather than be deluged with half a rainforest of paperwork each term would make this particular Mum very happy.

You can take a look at SchoolHub here.

Knowledge14, steal like an artist

In this article, I hope to capture my thoughts and experiences from Knowledge14, the ServiceNow annual conference. See an early preview from the first day here [Live from Knowledge14 – ServiceNow preview Kanban visual tasks boards]

Steal like an artist

Fred Luddy, CPO and Founder of ServiceNow, quoted Steve Jobs during his keynote:

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” ~ Steve Jobs

Fred was referring to the creative process and innovation. He stated that in the last decade 70% of the Fortune 1,000 consisted of new companies. The life span of companies at the top is getting shorter, the churn is getting faster.

Big ‘ole corporates don’t stick around like they used to. To survive companies must innovate or die. A key part of the innovative process is to be inspired by, mash-up, and build upon previous work.

Creative Destruction - 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.
Creative Destruction – 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.

The Penny Drops

I attended the ServiceNow London forum last year when Frank Slootman urged us to “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”. For a company whose market valuation and pitch to investors is based on expanding outside IT, the company demonstrated precious little leadership on how a company might actually get there.  It was clearly the customers doing the leading.

In the short time since those forums the penny seems to have dropped. Knowledge included a number of initiatives to empower customers and encourage them to borrow (steal) the best ideas from each other and build solutions outside the IT department:

  • Pointing customers in the right direction with a Service Taxonomy
  • ServiceNow Share – “an online exchange where customers and partners can upload and download applications and development content.”
  • Special interest groups (Human Resources, Portfolio Project Management, Higher Education, US Public Sector and Life Sciences Cloud Initiative)

Freddy Luddy launching 'Share' the ServiceNow App exchange
Freddy Luddy launching ‘Share’ the ServiceNow App exchange 

The Business Engagement Managers Playbook

In terms of new features announced at Knowledge14, my personal highlights were the Kanban visual tasks boards and new features to assist Demand Management.

I can see the Demand Management features being a great toolbox and playbook for Business Engagement Managers or those tasked with direct interaction and responsiveness to business requirements. In theory – you could collect all suggestions and develop them right through to delivered services. But also include the reality check of business impact, risk and resource constraints.

Showcasing demand management - assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk
Business Engagement Managers Playbook: Showcasing demand management – assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk

ServiceNow Partner News

  • Cloud Sherpas delivers cloud services around Salesforce, Google and ServiceNow. ServiceNow is said to be the fastest growing of the three business units (1,000th project completed). The company also announced a further $12M investment in the business.
  • Fruition Partners were showcasing the launch of their App Factory with some specialist solutions for the Healthcare market. The ‘Healthcare Management Suite’ is a set of apps built on the ServiceNow platform with Healthcare standards and compliance in mind. More info here.
  • KPMG stated that they had historically worked with alternative service management software providers but were now a 100% ServiceNow business. To support their growing function the firm announced a ServiceNow centre of excellence in Denver, Colorado.
  • Platf4Mation picked up the ServiceNow 2014 Innovation of the year award for their Facility Management App, as voted for by the Keynote attendees.
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed duded from Plat4mation
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed dudes from Plat4mation

Was it worth it?

As an analyst, it’s all too easy to become cynical of events, marketing hype and stock price hysteria in the technology space. With your nose pressed close to the industry effluent pipe, an observer can become jaded from the sheer volume of bilge.

Whilst Knowledge14 had it’s fair share of chest beating and hyperbole, I found the energy and enthusiasm from the event infectious. Cranky Frank the CEO gave us the company perspective and spoon-fed cute lines to journalists, the main man Fred Luddy entertained us and painted a vision of the future – but for me the main event was the attendees.

There was a genuine energy about the place as IT departments were beginning to realize they could perhaps become an enabler again and take a seat at the table of the business. The realization that ITIL and other frameworks are important, but they should be the wiring under the board – not what the customer experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, the streets of San Francisco were not paved with ITSM gold, organizations attending were still facing the same old incident-problem-change daily grind and curve balls as the rest of us – but there is a light at the end of tunnel.

Was it worth it? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thanks for the ServiceNow team for looking after us at a very well organized event.

Knowledge 15 is April 19 – 23, 2015

PS – I recommend a good book on creative stealing: “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon.)


Live from Knowledge14 – ServiceNow preview Kanban visual task boards

Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, home of Knowledge14

I’m in sunny San Francisco, California for ServiceNow’s annual user conference; Knowledge14.

ServiceNow are expecting a mind boggling 6,000 attendees over the next few days – making it arguably the largest worldwide event in the ITSM field. Knowledge14 also includes 300 specialist breakout seminars and lab sessions and includes an expo hall of 108 ServiceNow ecosystem partners.

The gorilla in the market continues to demonstrate impressive growth with c. $650m+ goal for this year.

5 year growth trajectory
5 year growth trajectory

Eureka Preview

ServiceNow customers can expect a truckload of new products and features in Eureka, the next major release of the platform.

High Level Summary

  • Service Creator
  • Catalog Item Designer
  • Multiple Catalogs
  • Form Designer
  • Demand Management
  • Visualizations
  • Performance Analytics
  • Facilities Service Automation
  • Visual Task Boards
  • On-Call Scheduling
  • Event Management
  • Business Service Map
  • Configuration Automation

My Highlights:

Clearly lots here for customers to dig into for the next release, from my brief preview my two key highlights were:

  • Kanban tasks boards: Visual Task Boards (Think Trello or LeanKitKanban for Enterprise) Anyone benefiting from the kanban style visualisation and scrum team boards will just love this. See a screenshot and brief demo on an iPad below.
  • Germ of an idea to delivered projects: Demand Management Scorecards – Looks very cool at first glance. Good ideas can be captured, services discussed and built by non-IT users, then the business case and resources to build it can be visualized and scheduled.


Knowledge14 continues until May 1st, stay tuned for further updates.

Social Meet Up: 30th April


This social meet up has now taken place. Thanks to all who joined us. We will post information about our next social meet up soon.

Given that the annual IT service desk and support show (SITS) is nearly upon us, I figured it made sense to schedule a social meet up for all the cool kids for straight after the event. Of course some of the cool kids will be in San Francisco for Knowledge14 (our own Martin Thompson and Rebecca Beach included), but I figured there would still be enough coolness in London to make a good get together.

Full details on location, costs and how to RSVP can be found below. Whether you’re a practitioner, vendor, or consultant we would love to have you come along for some informal networking, putting the ITSM and ITAM world to rights, a few tipples, and generally just a fabulous time.

Apologies again to all of our readers outside of the UK (I promise we’re working on getting something to you).


Informal ITSM and ITAM social gathering


Rocco (3-5 minutes walk from Earls Court Exhibition Centre)


Wednesday 30th April, 5pm onwards for drinks. Meal for those who wish to stay on will be circa 6.30pm at the same location.


Cost of your individual meal and drinks will be payable on the night. We recommend budgeting between £20-30 for the evening. Please note that we will not be responsible for the final bill.


Please contact me directly to confirm your attendance.


Image Credit