How customer-led innovation drives growth at ServiceNow

  • Solutions
  • 2021
  • Dave Wright
  • Now Platform
December 09, 2021

Customer-led innovation: 3 colleagues meet to discuss business.

This month marks my 10-year anniversary with ServiceNow. Believe me, I never thought I’d spend a third of my working life at the same company. But not one moment has been dull. Every other year feels like I’m working at a different company—because we keep transforming and innovating. And that’s because of our customers.

Despite how we’ve grown, our goal has never changed: We want to make the world of work better for everyone. We started as a humble IT service management platform. Today, we help organizations become more resilient, productive, and able to compete in a changing world.

What’s remained constant is our approach to innovation. Since the beginning, we’ve worked to build a platform that’s uniquely responsive to customer-led innovation. For that reason, ServiceNow has become the platform businesses rely on when they want to drive innovation in their own organizations.

Beyond IT service management

I’ll be honest. The idea of working at ServiceNow didn’t appeal to me at first. I felt I’d moved on from the world of ITSM in the ’90s. But when I got to understand the company, I realized ServiceNow’s foundation wasn’t ITSM; it was a platform designed to process and automate work. ITSM just happened to be the best starting point because it had some of the most defined processes.

So, I joined ServiceNow—not for what it did, but for what it could do.

The company aimed to take a customizable approach to IT operations management. I was excited that we were all about simplicity, efficiency, and customer service, taking some of the best practices developed for IT and applying them to managed services and other parts of the organization.

A platform approach

It was clear to me even then that ServiceNow was unique for two reasons. For one, every aspect of ITSM was consolidated into one unified platform. As we extended our solutions far beyond IT, this approach remained the same.

Why is this important? Well, if you’re an enterprise customer, complex layers of tools and technologies can decrease agility, increase risk, and make it hard to identify gaps and inconsistencies in your tech stack. Our customers have been able to take advantage of an omni-channel approach to IT operations management.

One German bank wanted a module on the platform, and they offered to write it themselves if we would incorporate it on the platform. We enthusiastically agreed.

Innovation from the start

Second, customers are in the driver’s seat at ServiceNow. In those early days, I noticed ServiceNow was at its best when we listened to our customers’ needs and created products that solved real-world problems and fostered real-world opportunities.

Back in 2008, customers were already getting creative with the ways they were using our platform, and we were more than happy to facilitate that. One German bank wanted a module on the platform, and they offered to write it themselves if we would incorporate it on the platform. We enthusiastically agreed.

That set a precedent. In the field, solution engineers would create demo products out of existing products to address customer pain points. Those demos would later become full-fledged products. In 2013, for example, we began to offer a solution engineer’s demo product as HR Service Management. A year later, we did the same for Security Incident Management.

This approach led us to develop some cutting-edge products that other companies simply didn’t have. The secret, for us, was listening to our customers.

Innovation for the future

These days, ServiceNow has systemized customer-led innovation. We’ve designed partner programs, a customer advisory board, and other programs that enable our employees to listen to our customers and build in tandem, responding to their challenges and opportunities with our creativity and innovative mindset.

I believe this philosophy put us in a unique position to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just last year, Washington state created an emergency app to help build safer workplaces. We partnered with the state to offer this app as a product, in conjunction with other products we developed, to form our Safe Workplace Suite.

This is an exciting time for us as the company charges toward the $15 billion milestone, and we celebrate our customers and community. Even as the world of work continues to change, customer-led innovation will remain our North Star.

Put your employees’ innovative ideas to work for you.

© 2021 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


  • 4 ServiceNow employees who worked on support case creation and auto-agent workflows
    Now on Now
    Streamlining support case creation and administration
    When customer feedback revealed areas ripe for improvement, ServiceNow employees listened and upgraded two support workflows: case creation and auto-agent.
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): business man looking at phone while standing on bridge overlooking a city
    IT Management
    How the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) truly supports business
    The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) delivery model can help IT leaders manage the transition from a stability-focused to a continuously evolving infrastructure.
  • The role of the manager: a manager and employee in conversation on a couch
    Employee Experience
    4 ways Manager Hub simplifies the role of the manager
    As the connective tissue between an organization and its employees, the role of the manager is more complex, and more important, than ever before. Learn more.

Trends & Research

  • Total experience companies outperform: prism refraction with an arrow pointing to the right
    Employee Experience
    Survey says: Total experience-focused companies outperform
  • Customer service: smiling businessman on phone walking outdoors
    Customer Experience
    Survey: 3 tips to deliver world-class customer service
  • Enterprise SRE (site reliability engineering): where service reliability and business agility meet
    Application Development
    Service quality and the rising need for enterprise SRE