At their recent EMEA virtual conference, ServiceNow’s executive team set out how it will drive growth in the region to contribute to the overarching goal of becoming a $10bn revenue company.
When we managed to take our eyes off of new GM and SVP for EMEA, Paul Smith’s slumbering dog and elegant fish tank in the background of his fireside chat, it became clear that Europe is going to become a core battleground for ServiceNow as it chases ambitious growth targets. Smith, moving from SaaS giant Salesforce, discussed his ambitions and plans to partner with the largest companies in the region, and leverage ServiceNow’s unique platform to become an integral part of the modern enterprise’s transformation journey.
At a global level, ServiceNow was quick to respond to the COVID-19 impact, bringing a series of emergency apps to market to help enterprises grapple with the pandemic. These were rolled into a safe workplace capability welcomed by enterprises that have a new set of considerations across core business services such as IT, HR, and Facilities. In addition, ServiceNow has deployed the system in a raft of areas linked to the pandemic, for example, helping NHS Scotland manage the complex Track and Trace process. This, and a continuation of insatiable market demand for the platform, has helped the firm post healthy revenues despite an economy ravaged by the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic.
But looking beyond the immediate circumstances businesses find themselves in, ServiceNow has a plan for making stronger inroads in two areas. First, the firm plans to spread the appeal of the platform across the C-Suite. Second, to deploy highly verticalized services and solutions to tackle specific industry challenges.
Digging into the first approach, ServiceNow has been on this journey for some time. The days where the platform was synonymous with ITSM are long gone, and large chunks of the firm’s revenues originate as part of an HR or Facilities transformation engagement. And the firm’s hungry partner ecosystem has tirelessly pushed the platform into other areas as the workflow platform of choice. The consulting giants, for example, leveraged their Audit and Governance pedigree to push the platform into GRC.
Nevertheless, the core stakeholder for the firm remains the CIO, and ServiceNow’s executive team realise they need to court the rest of the C-Suite to position the platform as an integral building block of the modern enterprise. Not unlike some of its SaaS peers, ServiceNow can lean into a highly developed ecosystem of partners – ranging from the IT Services giants such as Accenture and Infosys, through to the big four consulting firms, and a robust layer of boutiques – to deliver on this agenda and continue to extend the value of the platform outside of its traditional ITSM stomping grounds.
On the second point, tackling industry challenges can be somewhat more challenging. Similarities between core business processes have helped the firm on its beyond-ITSM agenda, but there are distinct and often unassailable differences at an industry level, often compounded by unique geographic and societal circumstances. The only route to success here is by coming to the market with an arsenal of accelerators and solutions that get straight to the core of an industries woes in the quickest possible time.
This fact isn’t lost on VP of Innovation, Chris Pope, and Paul Smith, who argued the name of the game is driving a faster time to value for clients by bringing targeted out-of-the-box solutions and working with partners to extol the virtues and unique capabilities of the platform to industry leaders. In EMEA, the team are eager to focus on industries that have the most immediate challenges – and happily, verticals that are often the largest source of revenue and most inclined to accelerate transformation agendas. Industries, such as Public Sector, Healthcare, Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing, and Telecommunications are in the crosshairs now.
Over the last 12 months alone, ServiceNow has made significant inroads into specific industries – using clever marketing to push the value of existing capabilities and engineering fresh layers of value through new targeted industry solutions.
But there’s one significant challenge that ServiceNow and its extensive partner ecosystem will need to continue battling with: talent. The talent war ongoing in the ServiceNow services market alone is a top contender for the most aggressively fought. And given ServiceNow’s plans to expand across the C-Suite and into new industries, a new breed of talent will need to evolve. One that not only understands the complexities of enterprise technologies, and the rapidly evolving ServiceNow platform but can also bring a fresh vocabulary that resonates with all stakeholders in the boardroom and can talk shop in the context of specific industries. While ServiceNow’s ambitious growth plans make a tremendous amount of sense, the constraints of a punishingly competitive labour market will be a challenge for now, and into the future.