ServiceNow CEO Donahoe: Simplify & Automate Through A Services Mindset

President and CEO of ServiceNow John Donahoe kicked off the Knowledge 17 keynote celebrating the fact that this year’s show welcomes some 15,000 attendees from every continent on the planet.

Newly appointed to his role as CEO in April 2017, Donahoe referred to ServiceNow founder Fred Luddy and spoke of his original vision for the company. Luddy stated that he wanted to build, “A cloud based platform that would enable regular people to route work through an enterprise,” said Donahoe.

Taking this central concept forward today, Donahoe emphasized that the firm now continues its focus on customer expectations and the need to create intuitive ways to bring digital transformation to each business unit in every enterprise.

Serving leadership: to lead is to serve

“Most people think of organizational models as a hierarchy, but the model that I have learned and adopted is the exact opposite of that. We exist to work with our customers at the top of the chart and me as the CEO at the bottom. This means we start every action with our customers at the pinnacle of our operational objectives. It is an upside-down pyramid, but that’s okay because I’ve got broad shoulders,” said Donahoe.

With a vision for how ServiceNow customers feel about the company today, Donahoe explained that he is determined to discover what customers’ main priorities are now. The firm says that it has found that adopting a proactive approach to IT Service Management (ITSM) has been a game changer for all enterprises.

What do the customers say?

Donahoe was upbeat about the fact that he has already met a large number of ServiceNow customers… and the summary feedback was as follows:

“I love the ServiceNow platform, but increasingly I want to get the full benefits from your platform out-of-the-box. Given that ServiceNow has so many customers and can draw from so much real world work environment experience, I want to be able to rely upon ServiceNow more for best practice integrations. Overall we want to iterate more quickly and get to ‘time to value’ more quickly. We also want to provide input into ServiceNow’s roadmap so we can contribute and grow with you.”

Donahoe says the firm has heard this feedback and is committed to helping IT departments to become ready to transform themselves. ServiceNow is ready to help IT move from being a reactive function to a strategic proactive department that harnesses opportunity inside the digital transformation vortex.

 Simplify & automate

So by now we know that ServiceNow is ready to help customers simplify and automate workflows – not just in IT, but right across the enterprise. More specifically, ServiceNow is helping businesses to simplify and automate workflows across five key IT zones:

Looking at how modern firms are committed to being cloud-centric and cloud-first from the start, CEO Donahoe explained that this drive to simplify and automate workflows now also extends out of IT into new areas. These new areas are Customer Support, Security (and SecOps) and Human Resources (HR).

Open accountable ecosystem processes

Also playing a part in this opening keynote session was Scott Mason, PhD, COO IT & Head of IT Operations, Novartis Business Services.

Mason explained that his firm’s digital transformation process and adoption of service management was initiated by ‘starting at the end’. That is to say, his firm has looked at what it needs to finally achieve in operational terms as its end goal in terms of business.

“By looking at what processes and governance controls we needed to build, we have been able to work using ServiceNow to build the standards we need to be more agile and run much faster as a business. I think the most critical piece of advice I can give to the audience here is that we need all ecosystem partners to share the ways they do things openly. It’s about embracing accountability and if we don’t do that, we don’t build an end-to-end business,” said Mason.

Great customer experiences

Taking the stage once more, CEO Donahoe explained how the advent of cloud and mobile has allowed us to change the way we work and get out of the ‘stove-piped’ silo-based era of mainframe computing of the past.

Donahoe has explained that there is no cloud platform that is designed for a more cross-functional approach to enterprise IT workflow and process designs than ServiceNow.

Ashley Haynes-Gaspar, VP and General Manager Global Support, GE Digital also spoke during this initial keynote to explain how the firm has been working to optimize its customers’ operations.

Selling doesn’t help, but helping sells 

GE is aiming to improve its customers’ productivity figures by trillions of dollars over the next few years. In this area, the GE Predix platform and the way it now functions helps to increase customer uptime and efficiency.

ServiceNow is helping GE improve its automation capabilities and create knowledge bases inside the firms it serves. It’s not just about transforming a customer’s experience, but helping to automate GE’s operational agents so that a new unified customer experience can drive profitability and uptime.

“We have realized that selling doesn’t help, but helping really sells,” said Haynes-Gaspar.

Staying ahead in the future

Closing the keynote session, ServiceNow CEO Donahoe left the audience with a view on the road ahead. Considering the future impact of machine learning, ServiceNow has launched the ServiceNow’s Intelligent Automation Engine. This technology aims to prevent outages before they happen, automatically categorize and route incidents, predict future performance and benchmark performance against IT peers.

“Intelligent automation heralds a new era in workplace productivity,” said Dave Wright, chief strategy officer, ServiceNow. “With ServiceNow’s Intelligent Automation Engine we have embedded intelligence across our own software platform, trained with each customer’s own data, so that ServiceNow can enable customers to achieve a quantum leap in the speed and economics of their business.”

ServiceNow is clearly busier than ever and ready to embrace all the bleeding edge technologies driving digital business and business-focused IT transformation on the road to cloud, mobile and the services ecosystems they exist within.

Adrían Bridgwater
Technology Journalist tracking 'developer' for Computer Weekly, Forbes, The Register & Internet of Business.

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