When Bruce Hara launched Enable in 2014, the Australian tech entrepreneur’s goal was to bring consumer-grade software experiences to the workplace.
It wasn’t until he hired his first employee, Josh Bateson, who suggested they partner with ServiceNow to help propel the new business, that he realized the power of the Now Platform. Today Enable is a valued ServiceNow partner that helps organizations throughout the Asia-Pacific region achieve their digital transformation goals.
Based in Sydney, Enable has offices across Australia and in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. They also have delivery teams in India, operating out of facilities in Bangalore and Noida. Enable was recently honored as ServiceNow’s APJ Elite Partner of the Year for 2020.
Enable has about 200 customers. The firm has a strong presence in telecommunications, banking and insurance, the energy sector, and the public sector, where it works with state and federal governments across Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Hara’s team helps clients in functions ranging from customer service and human resources, to governance risk and compliance, and security. They also have strong capability in IT Service and Operations Management, having been ServiceNow’s 2019 APJ IT Workflow Partner of the Year.
We called Hara to learn how Enable has managed through the COVID-19 pandemic, and to get his take on business conditions in the region. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.
How is your business holding up during this crisis?
We’ve held up very well across all our offices. It’s been a significant challenge, but I’m incredibly proud of our team. We’re fortunate that we’re an organization that lives and breathes digital transformation. So, our teams already had the ability to work from anywhere. Since the pandemic began, we’ve done everything remotely, from kicking off new projects to celebrating ‘go lives’ with customers.
It’s been a perfect showcase of our methodology, The Enable Way, which we use to deliver projects and engage our customers. At Enable, we’ve shown customers how remote working can be responsive, collaborative, innovative and highly successful. We’ve enjoyed this collaboration with our customers and setting up success in the new ‘normal’ for us all.
What about your customers?
Very noticeable has been the starkly different abilities of businesses and government departments that have been progressive in their digital transformation, compared with those that haven’t. This difference is not simply about the ability to function remotely, but the ability to thrive remotely. It is the ability to access everything you need via mobile devices, regardless of your function, seniority or geography. To know your work platforms are accessible from anywhere, and secure. To know your staff can breathe a little easier, because they’re set up for success. To know your customers can still rely on the services and products that you provide them.
We partner with many of Australia’s state government departments of education. It's been inspiring to see how they’ve adapted and successfully provided infrastructure and services enabling thousands of schools to deliver education remotely throughout the pandemic. Government departments that have invested in digital platforms like ServiceNow have reaped the benefits of their progressive decision making. As a result, they have more time and energy to focus on their mission and supporting citizen services.
Another positive show of intent is our large enterprise customers prioritizing their ongoing digital transformation throughout the pandemic. We’ve closed multiple A$1 million plus deals over the past three months with financial services, energy, transport, property and telecommunications businesses. These projects are across the Now Platform, including CSM, GRC, Security Operations, HR and IT workflows.
What are the biggest growth areas for Enable right now?
As a pureplay ServiceNow partner, we’re more excited than ever about the growth and maturity of the platform. We’re complementing our award winning ServiceNow capability and certifications with advisory and industry specific solutions for telecommunications, financial services, energy and utilities, as well as the public sector. Bill McDermott’s statement about ServiceNow being the “platform of platforms” aligns with the opportunity that we strive to create for our customers. For them, there is tremendous opportunity to improve service management across their enterprise, continually improving the service experience and efficiency for their staff and customers.
Our role is to advise and enable our customers to get there quickly and achieve the enormous value associated with digital transformation. We’re doubling down on our platform capability, growing our practices and teams dedicated to CSM, GRC and HR. We’re investing further in our IT consulting capability, specifically IT Operations Management and the business value that can be created via the common service data model (CSDM). Our customers are telling us that our advisory services dedicated to their sectors, along with our experienced ServiceNow practices and capability, make us a one-stop shop for their ServiceNow roadmap.
We’re also making it easier for our customers to stay ahead of the game with their investment in ServiceNow, via our subscription offering: Customer Advisory and Support by Enable, or CASE. Right now, organisations need to be agile. They need ways to deliver their services while managing costs. They need pragmatism and flexibility from their consulting partners. Our CASE offering provides that assistance, from advice and road mapping, to project work, to mentoring, training and even capability building. Essentially, it’s what you need when you need it. At the same time, a range of CASE entitlements keep a customer’s ServiceNow platform secure, healthy and upgraded.
How do mobile platforms play into your strategy?
100% of our projects have an embedded mobile strategy. In every industry, whether it’s B2B or B2C or the public sector, it’s imperative to provide services to customers, employees and citizens via an easily accessible platform. In the age of being able to work from anywhere, staff and customers should be able to trigger requests and workflows that extend through an organization’s back end to be resolved.
It’s not necessarily about an organization being able to provide its full offering on a mobile platform. Pragmatism should override perfection. We aim to get minimum viable products to market that are secure and useful, and then continuously improve them based on customer and user feedback.
What have you heard from your customers about how business will change after the pandemic?
We're consistently hearing from executives that they are prioritizing the ability of their staff to operate remotely on a moment’s notice. Accepting a remote workforce means you can access the best talent wherever they may be. I think smart CEOs are going to be rethinking how they orchestrate virtual workforces to get the best outcomes for employees, customers and shareholders.
The pandemic will disrupt traditional industries beyond what was already happening. Will we still need all that corporate office space? Will central business districts ever be as busy and bustling? What about the public infrastructure and transport that supports them?
Also, globalization led workplaces to spend huge amounts on travel for meetings and conferences. I think there’s likely going to be some new thinking around that spend as well. How we’re now working will, at least in part, be the way we work ongoing. That is, a lot of people can work from anywhere, at flexible times, in outcome-driven ways. Success is all about what a person does and how well they do it.
Are you hiring nowadays? What’s your sense of the IT market in your region?
We’ve continued to hire and grow our team during the pandemic. First and foremost, we’re an organization that works with customers on their digital transformation, in ways that uphold their business priorities. So, we need people who can engage and consult with customers at all levels. As a dedicated ServiceNow partner, we’re also on the lookout for talented developers and architects with deep platform knowledge and strong technical capabilities.
What are your key learnings from the pandemic?
Companies with great cultures and trust in their people, partners and processes can do amazing things in a very short space of time.
Pragmatism and a focus on continual improvement crushes the idea of perfection every time. Let’s remember this as we continue collaborating and innovating post pandemic.
Digital transformation, when delivered in concert with a focus on assisting people is the biggest opportunity of our time.
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