DIY Automation: Changing How Work Gets Done

I’m going to bet that you’ve checked your email inbox within the last five minutes. Outlook or Gmail is likely open on your desktop right now…it is on mine.  Working asynchronously via email, spreadsheets and other 20th century tools has become ingrained in our day-to-day business life. It’s hard to keep track of what you have done, where you are in a process, the status of what you’re working on, or have any contingency for who looks after things when you are not around. It’s ineffective at best, chaos at worst! Frank Slootman has blogged about living life in email hell.

While the cloud gives us a new way to automate manual tasks and tap into self-service (think: online banking and Amazon), many business users typically lack the technical skills to actually automate their workflows in the cloud. There’s nothing DIY (do it yourself) when associated with the phrase, ‘technical skills’.

Business really must focus on changing the way it gets work done. And what if IT was the engine to effect change throughout the organization?

This notion of empowering IT to become a change-agent for the enterprise is why I am so excited about the next release of our cloud-based software that transforms the way we work. The bottom line is you should never use email to manage your business. You can read more about our Eureka announcement .


With this release we have delivered a number of new service automation apps that are simple enough for non-technical workers to create. This allows the rest of the workforce to not be reliant upon IT to do what should be basic, quick tasks, such as adding a service to a self-service catalog. This not only empowers the end users, it allows IT to be more effective by focusing on the more strategic tasks.

Available today are intuitive new software-as-a-service apps that enable non-technical staff to:

I’m already seeing customers solving business challenges with DIY automation. For example, the IT team at
Vitamix empowered its HR department to create a collection of apps to automate processes in the employee lifecycle – from onboarding to separation. Together, these business teams at Vitamix have converted dozens of manual processes into cloud-based automated ones.

Similarly, Lennox, a worldwide provider of home and commercial heating and cooling systems, sees that they can enable their business users as ‘citizen’ developers. In effect, they’re growing their development team.

Carolyn Hollingsworth, senior manager of service delivery at Lennox told us about the benefits to the IT team. “Enabling our line-of-business users to build solutions themselves creates leverage for the IT department which sometimes cannot keep up with the demand for new applications. Service Creator is, in effect, a ‘do-it-yourself’ business automation service managed by IT.”

We talk a lot about the necessity for IT to become the backbone of the modern enterprise. The power within this new release will give IT the tools to move their colleagues to an automated service-oriented enterprise, becoming more efficient and strategic in their operations.

DIY automation should provide synchronous service experiences, and the best part – these Service Creators will most likely not know that they are now managing services at all. This is about making their work life better. Actually it’s more than that, this is about changing how works gets done.

So what hit your inbox while you were reading this? What is it that people want you or your team to do? And what about that email you are about to send – are you actually asking someone to do something for you, and do you ask for the same thing each week? It’s funny when you take a step back and realize just how much of it could be automated or blown away completely!

Dave Wright
Dave Wright joined in December 2011 and currently serves as ServiceNow’s Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to joining ServiceNow, Wright spent over six years with VMware, Inc. as Vice President of Technical Services for EMEA. From 2003 to 2005 Wright headed up the technical division for Northern and Southern Europe at Mercury Interactive. Prior to that he spent six years at Peregrine Systems, Inc., where he held a variety of senior technical and marketing positions. Wright has also worked for Boole & Babbage, Inc. and Candle Services (later acquired by IBM).

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