Now at Work keynote recap: The path forward in the hybrid workplace

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October 18, 2021

Now at Work 2021 Digital Experience: Tech Journalist Georgie Barrat and ServiceNow Chief Innovation Officer Dave Wright

The 2021 Now at Work Digital Experience included a series of regional events with locally relevant topics and featured leaders from the business, government, and sports communities. Guest speakers, industry luminaries, partners, and customers sharing their success stories joined in the worldwide movement to workflow a better world.

Returning host and tech journalist Georgie Barrat and ServiceNow Chief Innovation Officer Dave Wright set the stage for the event in a thought-provoking opening keynote session. The two discussed how unthinkable challenges can bring unexpected silver linings.

Citing the pandemic as the catalyst for change in 2020, they reflected on how organizations had to pivot to become more nimble, responsive, and distributed. Here are some highlights from their discussion about the path forward in today’s hybrid workplace:

Accelerated digital transformation

Closing in on two years after the onset of the pandemic, the world is still in the throes of the global health crisis. Wright told Barrat, “I could never imagine a time when we’d end up releasing a vaccination management product. We didn’t even have a product roadmap to go into the area. But when the need arose, we knew we had the technology, and we could move quickly and help move the world forward.”

Turning vaccines into vaccinations was only part of helping organizations through the pandemic. Moving the world forward required more than a vaccine management product—it demanded a new way of thinking about work and the workplace, Wright explained.

With people working from anywhere, at any time, on any device, the birth of the hybrid workplace transpired on a global scale. This new world of work requires new ways for employees to stay connected and engaged.

According to a 2020 McKinsey report, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital transformation by seven years. Today, most organizations have digitally transformed at least some of their operations, Wright noted. A major benefit of this transformation has been the ability to create more satisfying and rewarding experiences for employees and customers.

85% of Gen Z consumers are more likely to trust and buy from a brand if it supports a social cause or is socially responsible.

Doing well by doing good

Employees increasingly seek out the best cultural fit for their lifestyle, values, and beliefs when conducting a job search. The collective conscientiousness of the enterprise as represented by its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities is often a deciding factor in whether potential customers will buy from an organization and whether prospective employees will join its ranks, Wright observed.

ESG extends to such things as:

  • Serving as a responsible corporate citizen

"ESG is an important thing, and very tangible. For example, we know that nearly two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job if their employer doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility policy. And on the consumer side, the data shows that a massive 85% of Gen Z consumers are more likely to trust and buy from a brand if it supports a social cause or is socially responsible," Wright notes, referring to research reported in a Forbes article.

Streamlining efficiency

Implementing cloud-based platforms such as the Now Platform® to replace disconnected, stand-alone systems and manual processes can create cross-enterprise efficiencies and improve collaboration enterprise-wide.

Employees and customers can self-serve and track the status of requests online, saving time and reducing friction. These efficiencies help organizations automate time-consuming manual tasks, optimizing workflows and creating more satisfying experiences.

Platforms with embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities enable large-scale requests to be implemented with limited or no downtime. These savings empower IT teams to focus on big-picture objectives.

Enabling seamless experiences

The Now Platform Rome release, introduced in September, was purpose-built for today’s hybrid world of work, enabling improved customer and employee journeys by supporting cross-enterprise digital workflows. Wright outlined some of the major features and benefits of the new release, including four major updates:

  • All-new Employee Center and Employee Journey Management modules that help employees navigate onboarding, processing workflows, conducting performance reviews, and other key HR tasks

  • AI-powered service operations that identify opportunities for automation through the Automation Discovery module

  • Customer Service Management Playbooks that quickly solve customer problems and fulfill requests

  • Mobile App Builder, which enables developers to quickly create apps on mobile devices

If you missed any of Now at Work, sessions are available on demand, and registration is free.

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