Oct 27, 2014
On 9th October, the three principal figures from ServiceNow addressed NowForum London and showed how ServiceNow has elevated service management from an IT discipline to an enterprise discipline.
  • Defining the Service-Oriented Enterprise by Frank Slootman, CEO

    Frank Slootman opened the day with a declaration that service is now an art form. As there is no new technology around, service differentiation rests with innovative solutions using the predictable and reliable technology we have at our disposal, just as Amazon and Uber have done. The latter provides a means of consuming services as needs. It uses nothing new (maps, GPS, SMS), yet is a phenomenal example of orchestration.

    We were assured that the old dismissive adage associated with the IT department – RTFM (read the manual!) – is now consigned to history. In other words, with so much IT now hosted in the cloud, we don't need to stand for any arrogance from the guardians of our technical assets. Referring to a book written by Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Slootman said IT is the spine of the modern enterprise. IT must lead and innovate in order to inspire the business. So much of enterprise is automated that the IT spine must also automate. He sees IT as the new manufacturing.

    Slootman also referred to another industry text, Crossing the Chasm, by the American organisational theorist, Geoffrey Moore, where the author posits that to market itself successfully an enterprise must bridge the difficult gap between the early adopters (visionaries) and the early majority (pragmatists) by creating enough momentum to make its product a de facto standard.

  • "ServiceNow elevates service management from an IT discipline to an enterprise discipline".

    Slootman likens this challenge to ServiceNow’s quest to move from a system of record (a relatively passive exercise around controlling costs) to what he terms a "system of engagement", where you actively pursue IT innovation. In a sense, these two positions are opposites. Slootman sees Uber as a great example of a system of engagement.

    With its $1bn revenue and 3,000 people, and growing, ServiceNow is confident it provides a system of engagement. Here are the five pillars of its engagement model:

    • Service Taxonomy – this means the elements of a request (description, ID, naming, classification) and the service that connects that request to the provision of it. An example would be Neebula's ServiceWatch, now part of the ServiceNow stable, which monitors systems and applications at all valid points of access to them;
    • Service Experience – designed to make people want to use the service;
    • Service Delivery – the automation and management of demand, resources, projects and tasks. Slootman believes that information should follow you! Delivery is about how to interact with data, about updating records visually using a “visual passport”. This is the real advantage of orchestration – it unifies people tasks and machine tasks;
    • Service Assurance – teaches service management and operations management. ITSM is not an island, it is now integrated with operations. ServiceWatch discovers service at the point of entry; it knows which physical assets are associated with which services, making the job of IT easier. Slootman jokes that IT is sometimes viewed as a coat of arms, then illustrates the point by crossing his arms while adding "it's not my problem, it's someone else's";
    • Service Analytics – is built into ServiceNow as native. He assures us that ServiceNow is wholly aware of the limitations of acquisitions that run as separate entities. The vendor integrates them properly at source, meaning partners don't have to. Using KPIs to derive meaning from data, ServiceNow does the analysis for you. For a good understanding of the power of data analytics, the reader should request our publication, CIO Guide – Pragmatic IT Performance Management (Data Analytics), written by Paul Kelsall, Solutions Manager at Devoteam UK.

    To challenge the driver of cost-cutting (doing more with less) and enabling the costing of services to be allocated to departments, Slootman announced that ServiceNow will integrate a financial application into ServiceNow, the first iteration of which is due in December 2014. 25 customers are already testing it. It will offer dashboards of service management that are applicable to finance, operations and various departments across the business.

    Slootman concluded with a big strategy statement: "ServiceNow elevates service management from an IT discipline to an enterprise discipline".

  • Empowering the Service-Oriented Enterprise by Fred Luddy, CPO

    "Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea, but the challenge is to do something about it once you get out of the shower."

    The title of the second talk was actually "The Dawn of a new era of innovation and discipline".

    Fred Luddy also alluded to management consultant Geoffrey Moore with the observation that a system of engagement offers the places to collaborate to get tasks done as quickly as possible. The transition from the system of record to an engagement model suits ServiceNow perfectly. Again, the reader might also benefit from Paul Kelsall's paper, CIO Guide - Mind the Gap, which touches on this subject.

    Luddy cites the automobile and the iPhone as disruptive inventions and cautions that the alternative to disruption can often spell ruin. Witness the demise of Blockbuster, which once had 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees. He reminded us (and himself) that those who enjoy market dominance should never be complacent, adding that only four of the world's top 30 companies of the 1960s are around today! He quipped: "If there's going to be cannibalism, you'd rather be eating than eaten!"

    Luddy sees innovation in ServiceNow as a trinity – desirable for its users, technically feasible, and viable in its marketplace. All three elements must feature.

    With the power of a showman he offers another vignette: "Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea, but the challenge is to do something about it once you get out of the shower."

    He finishes with a list of improvements in Eureka – custom bookmarks, recent selections, navigator favourites, system menu, tagging, list filtering, run-time activity stream, and reporting.

  • Running the Service-Oriented Enterprise by Dan McGee, COO

    Dan McGee listed the three facets that enable enterprise IT cloud to deliver services.

    • Size and scale (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
    • Security & compliance
    • Availability (consumer-oriented cloud).

    To illustrate growth, in the last two years ServiceNow has invested $50m in operations and recruited 250 new employees. 11.7m more licensed users came on board, with 975 instances provisioned in Q1 2014.

    For security and compliance, ServiceNow stakes much on data sovereignty. They have six engineering centres as well as 16 data centres based in eight international regions (one real, plus one for failover) to accommodate compliance requirements from anywhere.

    To demonstrate operational growth and, crucially, availability of ServiceNow, we were treated to an array of impressive statistics:

    • ServiceNow sees 6,623 changes on average per month;
    • April 2013 saw 7,100 instances per month. In April '14 these stood at 12,850, with 2.5m objects in the CMDB;
    • They host 4PB of storage (although the company is not storage-centric);
    • Customer transactions per month on average come to 3.6bn;
    • Transactions divided by the number of customers are 1,629,559 – better than all other cloud providers; and
    • Availability of 99.979% is the best in cloud!

    ServiceNow has coined the term 'real availability', to distinguish it from meaning availability not necessarily in real-time, a measurement some providers use. Real availability recognises the complexities of contributory factors with associated metrics, such as hardware failure (14%), software (35%), third party issue (4%), and issues created by the customer (47%).

    McGee summarised ServiceNow's capability as "worldwide, continuous, and real."

    Overall, NowForum 2014 cemented ServiceNow's transition from an IT-centric service management provider to a mature cloud player offering a model that engages the whole enterprise.

    Article by Roger O'Kelly, Devoteam UK