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A week of learning: my Knowledge17 recap

Written by Michel Meulen

Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.

-Xun Quang (in Xunzi)

Another day another trans-continental flight. It’s been an intensive but fantastic week earmarked by a cavalcade of experiences. Looking back on the past week, it’s not easy to quantify the things I’ve done and learned, but the scope of my knowledge (heh!) has certainly been expanded beyond what would have been reasonable to expect… and there was some servicenow stuff too.

Jokes aside, it has been a genuinely interesting week, and one that showed me just how much there is left to learn on servicenow as a platform. From passionate speeches about success stories at various big-name companies to experimental projects people dedicated their own time to, to highly re-usable knowledge I sponged up from the vast range of available classes, the array of available sessions and classes at knowledge was, frankly, dizzying. While there are many sessions I would have loved to take that had to be pushed out of my schedule, I don’t regret my choices. Highlights include great pre-conference classes that showed me just how open a platform the Service Portal is during the pre-conference, integrating Spotify into servicenow (and consequently hearing some forty students accidently start playing music during the class before immediately jumping for the mute button on their computers) and seeing someone operate servicenow with the power of their mind during a 15-minute presentation that had me walking in a sceptic, and exiting the lecturing hall hoping that it wouldn’t be too long until this technology has advanced far enough to be genuinely usable.

On the topic of learning things, Jakarta certainly seems to open a few doors in that regard. In fact, it took the metaphorical doors and switched them all out for automatically opening sliding doors. Highlights revealed during the storm of presentations include revamped functionality of service portal access rights (which I swear is more interesting than it sounds), and the inclusion of machine learning that could in theory allow the solving of problems that don’t even exist yet. A concept that, while I reserve some degree of skepticism, I’m very eager to see in action. Considering the theme of this year’s knowledge was “working at lightspeed,” it was a highly appropriate reveal. One that made the first of the series of daily morning keynotes difficult to match.

The venue itself matched the grandeur of the event. The orange county convention centre’s rather large size was well-utilized, with 15000 people crawling the colossal hallways running on coffee and snacks to keep them awake enough to learn. Perhaps I have running from one side of the centre to the other side between every session to thank for not gaining any weight during the sometimes slightly… ahem… American diet we subsisted on.

As I write this post, I’m still recovering from my journey across the world, a process that will likely take a few days, but there’s not a second that I regret going along on this journey and giving it my very best to learn as much as I could. While I am exhausted, I feel that I’ve gained a newfound enthusiasm for servicenow not just as a business solution, but as a platform on which new ideas can thrive.