The Rome release starts at home—a customer zero story

  • Now on Now
  • Solutions
  • Rob Pickering
  • 2021
September 21, 2021

Customer zero: A group of workers collaborate around a conference table.

ServiceNow’s 6,900 customers have pretty big expectations of what ServiceNow needs to deliver to help them achieve their business goals—from more engaging employee experiences to boosted customer loyalty and increased agility, productivity, and efficiency.

We aim to meet those expectations by practicing what we preach. As part of our Now on Now program, ServiceNow is customer zero, using our own technologies to deliver benefits across our business, charting our digital transformation journey to improve the way we work and keep pace with growth.

Now on Now started within our global IT team. Over the past few years, the program has expanded across most ServiceNow business functions, including legal, compliance, HR, finance, workplace services, and customer support. By using the Now Platform® in our everyday global operations, we face and solve the same implementation challenges and benefits as our customers do, and then measure the impact.

Early upgrades to the Rome release

As a software provider, the greatest proof you can show to customers is how you’re thriving using your own technology. That’s where our customer zero teams come in.

One of our primary roles as customer zero is to help provide seamless upgrades of our Now Platform to new releases. Internal teams—including IT, product engineering, datacenter operations, and customer support—upgrade into the test, sub-production, and production environments beginning up to seven months before general availability (GA). This gives them opportunity to identify bugs and recommend feature enhancements. Approximately 350 employees contribute to this effort throughout the year.


Drinking our own champagne: 33 total planned upgrades, 36% faster upgrade time from Quebec, 226K automated tests over 27 rounds, 350 customer zero employees supporting the upgrade

Figure 1: Drinking our own champagne

With customer zero input, product development teams can rectify many of the bugs prior to GA so that customers don’t encounter them during upgrades. The four customer zero teams reported 205 bugs before the Rome release. They’ve completed 33 planned upgrades and quite a few unplanned as well. Almost 219,000 automated tests were run over 24 rounds. And best of all? The IT operations team’s upgrade (to our most complex instance) was 36% faster than its Quebec upgrade (see Figure 1).

You may note that three of the instances upgraded before GA; the global cloud ops team, which runs our customer instances, upgrades after GA. This provides instance stability and better reflects what our customers are doing. The end result of these efforts? Our customers get the best possible upgrade experience.

Providing product feedback every day

Being customer zero is a year-round commitment for our capabilities, not just family releases. We use the Now Platform every day to better connect people, functions, and systems throughout our business. Native AI, machine learning, mobile, and analytics help us develop and analyze workflows that can deliver intuitive employee and customer experiences while helping us scale faster.

Days on Rome release. Now Support: 171 sub-production, 152 production; Engineering: 221 sub-production, 212 production; Global Cloud Ops: 90 sub-production, 0 production; IT Ops: 84 sub-production, 20 production

Figure 2: Days on Rome release

Employee input is an integral part of the Now on Now program. Employees who implement and support our products—called practitioners—provide tangible feedback to our product development teams about their experiences. They routinely detect and resolve issues before customers are even aware of them. Our connected digital workflows automate this work across our many instances.

For example, practitioners test new features of the Now Platform in products such as IT Service Management (ITSM), AIOps, IT Asset Management (ITAM), HR Service Delivery, and Customer Service Management to help improve our overall customer and employee self-service experience.

Additionally, those practitioners implement completely new capabilities from our platform family release, such as Virtual Agent, Employee Center, and Mobile App Builder, and new solutions such as Workplace Service Delivery to deliver solutions that will drive value to the organization.

Real-world usage provides highly effective quality control that helps us refine our capabilities. We also generate value and innovation gains across our operations, which is especially apparent in release upgrades like Rome. We can experience and share the benefits: fewer service outages, lower downtime, and optimized customer and employee satisfaction levels.

Practitioners share their knowledge in strategic conversations with customers and in Now on Now content. They discuss their insights about our implementation journeys, including the challenges, lessons learned, and value realized. Our hope is that customers can see the art of the possible: the many opportunities the Now Platform offers to help improve the way they run their business.

Now Platform Rome release: 205 bugs found before general availability; first upgrade was on Feb. 16 in the engineering production environment

Figure 3: Now Platform Rome release

Helping our employees win

By leveraging the Now Platform, we help our employees do their jobs better. As a result, productivity and morale rise. We create better experiences by improving self-service capabilities and making it easier to find information and access services. At ServiceNow, we’re unabashedly proud to act as customer zero and help customers better leverage the Now Platform to solve their own challenges.

A recent example of a Now on Now success is our citizen developer program, which gives business users access to low-code tools on the Now Platform. Citizen developers are employees who build small apps to fill gaps between systems and improve internal processes. Since 2020, our employees have been creating these apps at scale.

Employees are energized by what they achieve, often building more than one app. And our professional developers win by having more time for high-value work. As Now on Now, we share their stories to inspire our customers to innovate in this area.

Increasing velocity and sparking innovation

As first adopters of our products, we’re constantly looking for ways to increase execution speed while keeping a sharp focus on innovations that drive employee and customer satisfaction and motivate our customers to experiment and learn on the Now Platform.

We listen, we try to learn, and we act immediately on feedback. We believe it’s our continual improvement philosophy and quest for internal excellence that makes the world of work better for our business, customers, partners, and employees.

Learn more about how we use our own technologies.

© 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.


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