ServiceNow and Microsoft have expanded their joint efforts to make Microsoft Teams the primary mechanism for end users to engage with IT-related services.
Rather than requiring end users to learn how to navigate help and service desk applications, the goal now is to make it simple to request a service from within Microsoft Teams, notes Matt Schvimmer, senior vice president and general manager for IT service management, IT business management and DevOps business units at ServiceNow. “The objective is to not force the employee to engage in an unnatural way,” he notes.
As part of that goal, ServiceNow has now made available integrations that enable IT services and human resources agents to resolve issues directly within Microsoft Teams. Agents, for example, can invite an employee to a Teams video call directly from a live chat to quickly understand and resolve an issue.
There is also now a Major Incident Management module that enables agents to quickly collaborate in a group using extensions to share critical information that might be affecting an entire organization.
It’s increasingly apparent that Microsoft Teams, as an extension of Microsoft 365, is becoming the way many organizations collaborate. This is especially true in an era when many employees continue to work from home to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That shift, however, also lays a foundation for reengineering a wide range of workflows and processes. In effect, Microsoft Teams is becoming a de facto system of engagement as a universal front end for systems of record such as ServiceNow. Via Microsoft Teams it then becomes possible to surface a wide range of self-service applications that never require direct employee engagement with, for example, HR personnel or an IT staff, says Schvimmer. That level of digital transformation, however, typically needs to be driven from the top down within an organization to ensure processes are implemented consistently, he adds.
Microsoft has already made it clear that it views Microsoft Teams as an extensible platform. With providers of systems of record such as ServiceNow backing that play there may not be much of a need for each provider of an application to construct their own user interface. In effect, the universal user interface for accessing a wide range of what will become “headless” backend services will be Microsoft Teams.
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The Slack Factor
Of course, Slack, soon to be part of Salesforce, would prefer Microsoft’s dream goes unrealized. However, it might be too late. Microsoft is doing everything it can to make sure there is no barrier to adoption for Microsoft Teams. The company’s Windows proliferation ambitions have been transferred to Microsoft Teams. For end users fed up with learning multiple interfaces, there is nothing inherently wrong with that ambition. However, the shadow Microsoft could potentially cast over the software industry may, yet again, bring the company before the U.S. Supreme Court.