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.