By Charles King, Pund-IT® January 29, 2020
Efficiently performing and managing business processes is a common goal for millions of businesses worldwide but it often harbors significant challenges. That’s especially true with repetitive tasks, but it is particularly fraught for organizations adopting and implementing next generation or essentially new technologies.
Why so? Because what might qualify as an inconvenient slip or simple mistake in more conventional circumstances can trigger significant setbacks in strategic rollouts. Not surprisingly, such results can negatively impact a company’s performance and, more importantly, erode its reputation and customer relationships.
That’s why workflow automation solutions, such as ServiceNow’s have become increasingly important. The company has risen to prominence with a range of offerings that help customers increase the efficiency of common tasks and the success of business outcomes. Its recently announced solutions for banking and telecommunications, along with related strategic partnerships offer intriguing examples of how a vendor can effectively explore and expand into new opportunities.
Let’s consider how ServiceNow is driving this process.
Why go vertical?
Why is ServiceNow focusing on vertical industries, particularly banking and telecommunications?
The company’s vertical industry strategy is common among enterprise-focused service organizations. Practically speaking, this approach allows a vendor to concentrate its development efforts, create effective offerings and then focus on “target rich” markets. Concentrating on specific industries also enables a company to learn from its successes and mistakes and then effectively refine its solutions. If successful, those efforts lead to expanded business opportunities.
The second issue is a bit more complicated, mainly because banking and telecommunications are apparently so different. However, both harbor significant challenges that could profit from innovative workflow solutions. Banking has been rapidly evolving for decades with online and mobile technologies driving ever increasing efficiencies and competition. But as those services shift attention away from traditional branch offices, how can institutions maintain beneficial relationships with their customers?
Telecommunications is another industry that has been roiled by constant changes for decades. Even as some carriers and service providers continue to struggle with existing technologies and a shifting vendor landscape, emerging solutions—particularly 5G—promise that additional disruptions are coming down the pike. How organizations adapt and help their customers gain the full benefits of these changes will be critical for individual telecommunications companies and the broader industry.
ServiceNow’s solutions/partner strategy
How is ServiceNow approaching these markets, and what practical benefits is it planning to deliver? According to the company, the new banking solution is designed to simplify banks’ middle-to-back office operations, thus helping customers cope with new digital business processes while delivering seamless customer experiences. Improved efficiencies and outcomes will help drive improved customer loyalty.
ServiceNow’s new telecommunications solution aims to align customer care and service assurance. By proactively anticipating issues and potential trouble spots, then addressing them quickly, telecom companies can maximize availability and quality of service features, thus delivering the seamless experiences that customers want and need.
How do the company’s strategic partners fit in? Deloitte will be the “Lead Launch” partner for the banking solution, collaborating with ServiceNow to implement new workflows designed to transform the way banks operate. This new effort also builds on Deloitte’s role as Lead Launch partner for the ServiceNow Finance Close Automation product announced at ServiceNow’s Knowledge 2019 conference.
Accenture will be the Lead Launch ecosystem partner for ServiceNow’s telecommunications solution, emphasizing how purpose-built workflows can help customers’ digital transformation efforts succeed. Accenture will also help guide ServiceNow’s product roadmap and collaborate on telecommunications-specific digital workflow solutions that support the software defined networking processes needed for new 5G-enabled services.
According to ServiceNow, both new solutions should be available later in 2020. Additionally, the company expects to announce new solutions for other industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, media and technology in the future.
So, what are we to make of all this and how likely are ServiceNow’s new solutions to succeed? On the first point, these offerings are similar to the industry-focused strategies that other service vendors have used to extend and expand their businesses. That includes the company’s strategic partnerships with Deloitte and Accenture, both of which are well-respected in their target industries. In other words, ServiceNow may be exploring new territory, but it’s utilizing time-tested tools and methodologies and collaborating with deeply experienced partners that know what it takes to win in these markets.
Will ServiceNow’s new solutions succeed? To my mind, there is a strong likelihood that they will. The company is growing steadily, nearing the $1B quarterly run rate that many consider a mark of a solidly sustainable business. Moreover, last November ServiceNow named Bill McDermott as its new CEO, a few weeks after he stepped down from his previous position as co-CEO of SAP. The company also named a new CFO: Gina Mastantuono, who had similar executive roles at Ingram Micro and Revlon and has over 20 years of experience in enterprise finance.
In other words, ServiceNow is clearly planning to step-up its business in terms of scope, size and market share, and is building the leadership team required to get there. With that in mind, the new banking and telecommunications solutions appear to be solid steps that ServiceNow is taking to achieve those goals.
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