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ServiceNow bulks up intelligent workflow prowess with Element AI acquisition

ServiceNow bulks up intelligent workflow prowess with Element AI acquisition

Vendor's fourth AI-focused acquisition this year

Credit: ServiceNow

Digital workflow software vendor ServiceNow is aiming to bring a little more intelligence to its intelligent workflow platform with the acquisition of Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Element AI.

Based in Montreal, Element AI launched in 2016 with, in the company’s own words, “a unique vision: to democratise AI with a non-predatory and totally collaborative model for commercialising cutting-edge research”.

According to ServiceNow, Element AI claims world‑class scientists and practitioners who, it is hoped, will bring expertise in applying modern AI to text and language, chat, images, search, question response and summarisation, and will accelerate AI innovation natively in the Now Platform. 

Broadly, Element AI is expected to “significantly” enhance ServiceNow’s efforts to further build out its intelligent workflow platform and capabilities.

The move comes at a time when ServiceNow is seeing strong demand for its AI‑powered products, such as IT Service Management Pro, Customer Service Management Pro, and HR Service Delivery Pro. 

"AI technology is evolving rapidly as companies race to digitally transform 20th century processes and business models," ServiceNow chief AI officer Vijay Narayanan said. "ServiceNow is leading this once‑in‑a‑generation opportunity to make work, work better for people. 

“With Element AI’s powerful capabilities and world class talent, ServiceNow will empower employees and customers to focus on areas where only humans excel – creative thinking, customer interactions, and unpredictable work. That’s a smarter way to workflow,” he added.

The deal will also see Element AI co-founder, Dr. Yoshua Bengio, winner of the 2018 Turing Award, serve as a technical advisor for ServiceNow, while the vendor will create an AI Innovation Hub in Canada to accelerate customer‑focused AI innovation in the Now Platform. 

"Element AI’s vision has always been to redefine how companies use AI to help people work smarter," Element AI founder and CEO Jean‑Francois Gagné said. "ServiceNow is leading the workflow revolution and we are inspired by its purpose to make the world of work, work better for people. 

“ServiceNow is the clear partner for us to apply our talent and technology to the most significant challenges facing the enterprise today,” he added.

The acquisition, which is ServiceNow’s fourth AI-related purchase in 2020, represents the company’s latest investment in accelerating the AI capabilities in its Now Platform. 

In March, the vendor hired Narayanan to oversee all of its AI efforts while launching Now Intelligence. ServiceNow expects to complete the acquisition in early 2021.

In May, ServiceNow introduced a raft of expansions to its partner programs and solutions, including a new partner marketplace, a new app framework and a new “success methodology” for partners to draw upon.

The new marketplace put on offer by the vendor, dubbed ‘ServiceNow Partner Industry Solutions’, was designed to showcase partner solutions and address the industry-specific workflow and digital transformation needs of the company’s joint customers.


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