ServiceNow is rolling out another wave of generative AI additions to facilitate workflow management on its Now Platform.\n\nThe update adds gen AI capabilities for field service workers, chatbot creators, and developers, among others.\n\nIn September the Vancouver release of Now Platform added Now Assist for ITSM, Customer Service Management, and HR Service Delivery \u2014 but one of the company\u2019s biggest workflows, field service management (FSM), was missing from the list.\n\nThat omission has now been fixed, and Now Assist for Field Service Management is now available to all customers, the company announced Thursday.\n\nNow Assist for FSM will draw on data on past incidents, activities, and parts to perform tasks such as summarizing work orders in a form convenient for the mobile devices that field service workers typically use.\n\nThe company is steadily working its way through the biggest workflows to ensure it offers something closely tailored to users\u2019 needs, said Jeremy Barnes, ServiceNow\u2019s VP of AI product. Barnes was previously chief architect then CTO at Element AI, a Canadian deep AI startup acquired by ServiceNow in late 2020.\n\n\u201cWe wanted to avoid releasing something broad across every single one of our personas and users,\u201d he said.\n\nNow Assist is ServiceNow\u2019s sub-brand for its generative AI functionality \u2014 something like Salesforce\u2019s use of Einstein GPT, SAP\u2019s introduction of Joule, or Microsoft calling everything Copilot.\n\n\u201cNow Assist is our branding. Our goal with that is to allow people to identify where in our product that generative AI has gotten a foothold,\u201d Barnes said. \u201cUnder the cover of the same product name there are some deep and fundamental differences in our Now Assist products.\u201d\n\nThose differences include the data used to tune the underlying generative AI models, and the tasks it can assist with.\n\nNow Assist in Virtual Agent: Roll your own chatbot\n\nAnother area that ServiceNow has given the Now Assist treatment is chatbot creation. Now Assist in Virtual Agent is gaining the ability to conduct multi-turn conversations so that users can engage in a back-and-forth to get what they want from the agent without having to provide the details in a specific order.\n\nServiceNow claims it is now possible to create a new chat experience in under 15 minutes.\n\nPeople have been trying to achieve this for ten years or more, Barnes said, but even as recently as a year ago creating a new virtual agent that could respond to employees\u2019 questions about company IT policies, say, would have involved laboriously anticipating and coding all the ways a person might frame their request.\n\n\u201cWe\u2019ve seen companies with hundreds of different phrases that mean \u2018I need a new computer,\u2019 and they\u2019re adding them all the time,\u201d he said.\n\nPreviously with Now Assist in Virtual Agent, chatbot creators could pull in data to answer questions from a company\u2019s knowledge base \u201cwith one check of the box,\u201d Barnes said. \u201cNow we\u2019ve added to that, so with one other click of the box everything in the service catalog is now immediately accessible with no extra setup, no creation of utterances or creation of conversation trees. You just turn it on and it works.\u201d\n\nServiceNow isn\u2019t the only company looking to make it easier to create task-specific chatbots. Last week, OpenAI announced a new service for enterprises to create \u201cGPTs\u201d \u2014 customized chatbots based on ChatGPT \u2014 while yesterday Microsoft announced Copilot Studio, a copilot for creating more copilots.\n\nFlow generation: Low code gets conversational\n\nOf course, understanding users\u2019 requests is no use if the system can\u2019t do anything about them.\n\n\u201cPeople have to create these workflows in order to \u2026 have something for the virtual agent to actually trigger in order to resolve the issue,\u201d Barnes said. \u201cOne of the back-end bottlenecks for our customers is, they just don\u2019t have enough ServiceNow developers to create the flows.\u201d\n\nSo ServiceNow is applying generative AI (this time without the Now Assist label on it) to flow generation, using it to convert plain text to low-code automated workflows.\n\nUsers describe the workflow they want, and the system will translate it into a flow in the visual editor, drawing on ServiceNow\u2019s best practices and the customer\u2019s own coding style.\n\n\u201cThis just makes it massively easier, and doesn\u2019t require as much upskilling to get it right,\u201d Barnes said, adding that users (or their IT staff) will still have to verify the code for themselves, using the platform\u2019s existing automated testing tools.\n\nThe hard part: Integrating for business value\n\nElement AI was set up to build AI applications that could be easily integrated into business processes. But despite the complexities of building and training generative AI systems, Barnes said it was something of a relief when the company was acquired because \u201ca lot of the really hard stuff we would have had to do, building a workflow engine, we didn\u2019t have to do any more\u201d because \u201cit was already done by ServiceNow.\u201d\n\nHe encouraged CIOs to consider that challenge too, as they weigh which of the growing number of generative AI chatbot building tools to use.\n\n\u201cFor any generative AI functionality, if it\u2019s going to go beyond having a nice conversation, \u2026 it needs the power of a platform that can take action underneath it,\u201d he said.