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Application Creation Index (ACI) gains 1.68% in February. Leading indicators portend weak 2014.


Stephen Wolfram is a deity in computing circles. He's the Oxford-trained British scientist who wrote a Physics dictionary at age 12 and later developed the magnum opus of academic Math programs Mathematica before authoring the controversial and acclaimed book A New Kind of Science. His more recent


work led to the natural language processing (NLP) search engine WolframAlpha which powers Siri and Bing among others.


All of that and Stephen's biggest contribution is yet to be revealed: the Wolfram Language, a new approach to developing software that lets creators think like people. The days of cursed, bleary-eyed keyboard slaves wrestling with semicolons and curly brackets may soon end. In Wolfram Language, for instance, to add data to your app that, say, does a lookup related to the taxonomy of fish, you might just add "fish taxonomy" to your code and the language will sherpa the data into memory. Stephen Wolfram, we raise a (warm) pint to you!


Improving the experience for application creators requires reducing the gap between inspiration and innovation. We're doing our best to spearhead the transformation with tools like the App Creator but, more important, by changing expectations about who can create and what training they need. This month's Application Creation Index (ACI) is a reminder that we're ignoring the real problem: improving the user experience by improving the creator experience.


Case in point: the largest technology companies on the planet are tripping over themselves to arm the world's 20 million developers with tools for building and big iron for hosting apps in the cloud. Trouble is, they're doing it all wrong.


This month, IBM launched BlueMix to make its Frankenstack of apps available on its newly-acquired SoftLayer cloud infrastructure. Yawn. Microsoft is converging its Azure PaaS and IaaS services by adding configurable services to VM clusters. Ugh.

ACI February 2014.png


My friend Lenore in Toronto could care less. She's not measured by how many services her VMs consume or how many cores are in her CPU. She's measured by one metric only: business value. She's too busy trying to improve the accuracy of payroll processing and uptime for Exchange to care about any of the distractions cloud vendors promote as "innovation".


Which brings us back to the ACI. In February, it gained 1.68% to close at 101.68. A slight increase in app dev job postings coupled with headline-grabbers like IBM's BlueMix announcement led to the increase yet the index was outperformed by the NASDAQ which gained 2.20% during the same period. I predict anemic gains until we as an industry galvanize creators around something simpler, something profoundly different, something human. Stephen Wolfram, call me!

Have you created a custom app?  Or do you want to create one?  And get a cool T-Shirt….just for telling us about it?


Then check out this article.

The ServiceNow Dublin release includes a new enhancement around security protecting the WSDL resources on a ServiceNow instance. In the past, you had two options with regard to controlling who could view your WSDL documents. One, you could require a user to authenticate before they could see the WSDL. Two, you could allow anyone to see the WSDL document. All this was controlled by a simple checkbox in the web services security properties page.

To read more about this change and how to work with it, please see:

John Andersen
Passionate fan of Custom Apps, Integrations, and Service Portal Experiences

marketing_events_large.jpgLenore isn't your typical VP of IT. She's a programmer at heart with degrees in Math and Computer Science and a deep disdain for groupthink. She's fluent in three languages, loves strong coffee and adventure travel. Her saint bernard Shep is taller than my six year old. We met last week in Toronto and hit it off like old friends.


Lenore has a young team and an aging Service Management system. She introduced me to Thad, a long-hair from the help desk with the state of Missouri tattooed on his forearm. I watched over his shoulder as he entered tickets. He looked as comfortable as a fish in a net. He scowled at the monitor and asked poignant questions like "why does it take seven seconds to set caller location? Dude hasn't moved in a decade!" I'd slit both wrists before swapping roles with Thad. It shouldn't be that hard. Lenore agreed.


Senior management gave her the Heisman when she introduced the organization to a modern IT platform. Thad nearly quit. Lenore coaxed him back. She had a plan.


Turns out the marketing department needed to replace a Lotus Notes app used to manage events. It was written in Visual Basic in 1997 and looked like a green-screen version of Pac-Man. Georgio, event coordinator, told me "nobody uses it but management pretends we do. We mostly use sticky notes." Lenore saw an opportunity and asked the VP if her team could replace it with an alternative to Notes (both the Lotus and the sticky kind).


Three days later they previewed a new events app developed in ServiceNow with a few simple forms, an Exchange integration for the marketing calendar, an Access integration for venue lookups, an SLA timer, interactive calendar, and Gantt chart. Three days after that Lenore received a bouquet with a hand-written note from the VP of Marketing: "These are for the next three apps I need you to build. My team's productivity just tripled and you saved me $300k on custom development. Thanks!"


Lenore took the note to the Infrastructure Management team that rejected her initial attempt at modernizing ITSM. This time they gave her an hour at the next IT all-hands to demo the events app. She did that... then had Thad show a side-by-side comparison of closing a help desk ticket in ServiceNow vs. the legacy HP system.


In less time than it took to log a call with HP Thad showed how he could create knowledge, update stakeholders on a watchlist, post a solution to the company's Live Feed, and propose a change to a CI that alerted the service owner. He then responded to a cynical question about benchmarking data by creating a custom KPI and adding it to a CIO dashboard. COBOL programmers in the audience rocked in fetal position. Everyone else gave Thad a standing ovation.


That was last year. They now use ServiceNow for Service Level Management, Service Catalog, and IT GRC. Lenore and Thad love work more than ever. And her journey is just beginning.

Steve Jobs once said that he wanted to put a ding or make an impact in the universe.  Which he did in spades by bringing us some of the most innovative products. 

You, our customers are making an impact in your organization by innovating on the ServiceNow Platform and changing the way work is done within your organizations. Every year at Knowledge we celebrate your innovation with the Innovation of the year awards.


Start with this blog Be Inspired by the Innovators of Knowledge 12 and then submit your entry  - you can find the details on how to do so here  ServiceNow Knowledge14 - Innovation 


We hope you will share your story with us and inspire the rest of the community!

I was recently asked to provide a newsletter for several internal teams within our company. The first few months were a pain as I had to use an HTML editor to generate a decent looking newsletter each time I wanted to get the word out on some articles that I have been creating. Finally, I asked myself why I was going through all this pain when ServiceNow would be the perfect platform to build a newsletter application that automates most of the tasks.


Within a couple of days I had a pretty decent application that would allow me to create newsletters with templates, dynamic variables, scripting capability, and article management. Since then, the writing of my newsletters have become much easier to do. Organizing my articles and sending them out to distribution lists are so much better than my copy and paste solution with my previous method.

I’ve decided to share this application with others who would like to take it and implement it within their own instance. It is not perfect, and there are several and him that I would like to perform in the future. However, if you’re not afraid to play with it, I think you will find it to be a great help to you in creating your own newsletters.

For full documentation on the app as well as a demo video and downloadable update set, please visit:  Create and Send Newsletters using ServiceNow

John Andersen
Passionate fan of Custom Apps, Integrations, and Service Portal Experiences

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