I was interested to find out recently that the word crisis originates from the Greek word krisis, meaning ‘turning point in a disease’. Nothing could be more suitable to describe the current state of the global economy and the society at large.
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the agility and resilience of each and every organisation, although some have adapted more quickly than others by capitalising on investments in business continuity strategies and flexible working practices.
The situation has also tested the fortitude of people. We have all had to display a tremendous level of flexibility, juggling personal/family and work commitments in ad-hoc home office setups with remarkable determination and calmness (while fending off the ever growing ‘Zoom fatigue’).
At ServiceNow, I believe that we’ve become more attuned to our workforce and we’ve put effort behind new initiatives to help our employees in these extraordinary circumstances.
As our CEO Bill McDermott highlighted in his recent Knowledge 2020 keynote, the COVID-19 crisis has put people and their wellbeing first. We will not be going back to the old and often rigid ways of working. Instead, the future means enabling employees to choose where, when and how they want to work.
Great digital workflows have a big part to play in this new focus, driving the emergence of a new era of customer and employee experiences.
Throughout Knowledge 2020, we’ve seen demos, presentations and case studies of digitally transformed companies reinventing customer and employee experiences using the power of digital workflows.
It was a powerful showcase of the Now platform in action.
NatWest, for example, has added new personalisation features to its employee portal to make work lives more like real lives, as well as gamification to encourage positive competitiveness between employees during the pandemic.
We also heard how Swiss Re has centralised all its group operations (spanning HR, facilities, procurement, finance and real estate) on ServiceNow so employees no longer need to navigate numerous company hurdles to get things done.
Stories such as these show how consumer-grade experiences are shaping the innovation agenda of the future. But to maintain progress, we also need to address the new challenges and priorities of the emerging ‘new reality’.
A new movement
When I speak to CIOs from around the world (via Zoom, naturally), they tend to bring up three main challenges that are creating a new impetus for innovation.
The first is business continuity, but against the backdrop of ensuring the health of every employee. Organisations need to remove any risks associated with employees returning to the workplace, while maintaining safety and wellbeing.
It was top of our agenda for our own workforce and saw ServiceNow design a four-app suite and dashboard specifically to help companies manage the complex workflows required to keep employees healthy and workplaces safe.
Another priority is creating ever smarter experiences for employees and customers that nurture loyalty. As noted by our Chief Product Officer CJ Desai during Knowledge 2020, we will continue to invest in mobility, Machine Learning, portal innovation and agent workspace developments to drive the design of five-star ‘concierge’ personalised experiences.
The third challenge is to optimise spend — be it for software, hardware or cloud — as business leaders look to increase the level of inspection of the cost and consumption of resources in complex IT environments.
However, these business gains are not being pursued just to improve the bottom line or stock price. Business leaders want innovation that drives improvements in the lives of their employees, customers and wider communities.
This is a real shift and it has been echoed by the ServiceNow community of customers, partners and friends attending the Knowledge 2020 digital experience. We find ourselves part of a bigger movement — and it’s a people-first digital workflow revolution.