The CIO Imperative: Driving Enterprise Velocity

Velocity is everything. How fast your company moves will determine its survival. I use the word “survival” on purpose: Competition is brutal in every industry.

In the business world, the slow and steady tortoise doesn’t win the race. It gets left behind. About 88% of the Fortune 500 from 1955 don’t exist today. And it’s estimated that 40 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies on the S&P 500 will no longer exist in 10 years.

Velocity is a competitive advantage and a strategic imperative. Companies have invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours on ERP, SCM, CRM (add your favorite technology acronym). Why does everything still feel too slow? Especially when compared to the speed we can operate in our consumer lives?


In our recent global survey, “Today’s State of Work: The Service Experience Gap”, we found that managers rate consumer services 103% higher than workplace services. And our research last year found that about 2 days per week are spent on low-value administrative tasks. For the US alone, this would be the equivalent of $575 billion of labor going to administration.

I believe IT is in the eye of the storm. We are uniquely positioned to help our companies achieve the next level of velocity by service enabling everything. IT platforms drive every business process, employee interaction, and customer experience. IT leaders have the privilege, and responsibility, to lead their companies to a service orientation and achieve the highest levels of speed and productivity.

IT is the foundation for every business function that ultimately leads to servicing our customers. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to spend cycles convincing my executive colleagues of this fact. My CIO peers don’t often have this luxury. My recommendation is to show, don’t tell. Let the improvement results speak to the value.

There are a lot of research articles and industry analyst lists talking about CIOs’ top priorities. Most of them are the same generic lists that haven’t changed for the last five years. I try to simplify. As CIO, I take responsibility for:

  • The velocity of the business
  • The efficiency of every process
  • The productivity of every employee

These influence my priorities, which are focused on driving business outcomes and strategies for growth, efficiency, security, analytics, and building a strong team.

Not surprisingly, I use ServiceNow to accelerate our business. And we’ve faced a few challenges. We needed to scale for rapid revenue and employee growth. We set off applying service management disciplines to streamline and automate a number of areas, leading to significant year-on-year improvements. Here are a few highlights:

  • Onboarding – IT processing for new hires went from 65 minutes to 10, resulting in a labor savings of 85%.
  • Finance close process was automated, eliminating roughly 4500 hours of manual work using email and spreadsheets, increasing finance productivity by 45%.
  • ITSM team productivity has increased 83% because of automation and self help tools allowed them to increase incident volume throughput without having to grow staff.
  • Partner portal consolidation, from more than 10 partner portals down to one, increasing deal registrations by 33%.
  • Asset management – We integrated the CMDB with fixed asset records within SAP so we could automatically report property tax for all assets based on their location. This resulted in a $500K savings and 23% tax savings exposure.
  • Development – We reduced major product release time by 50%, from 1 month to two weeks, resulting in a $980K savings.
  • Customer Service Using Knowledge Base and Self Service Catalogue Automation, we increased productivity 78% in addressing customer issue reduction.

There are more tangible results across every department in the company. Our business is moving faster. However, accelerating enterprise velocity is a continuous motion. You are never done and need to continue to set the bar higher. We are in a constant cycle of analyzing, automating, iterating, and improving.

What should you do when setting out to service-enable your business?

  • Be bold
  • Define aspirational outcomes
  • Maintain a dissatisfaction with the status quo
  • Focus on the end-user experience

The journey to everything as a service is a big mountain to climb but a challenge well worth the endeavor. The sooner you can lead a service orientation into taking off, the faster you will realize the benefits that will accelerate your business.

Learn more about how to drive the service revolution from your strategic seat in the C-Suite.

Chris Bedi
Chris Bedi joined ServiceNow in September 2015 and currently serves as ServiceNow’s Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining ServiceNow, Bedi served as CIO of JDSU from August 2011 to March 2015 where he was responsible for IT, Facilities, and Indirect Procurement. Prior to JDSU, Bedi held various positions at VeriSign from April 2002 until August 2011, including CIO, VP Corporate Development, and VP HR Operations. Bedi began his career at KPMG Consulting from June 1996 to April 2002. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan.

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