ServiceNow looks beyond ITSM to customer service management

ServiceNow started life as an IT service management (ITSM) company. Today it’s a company with a US$1 billion turnover whose cloud-based platform “provides service management for every department in the enterprise including IT, human resources, facilities, field service and more.” It is now becoming a customer service management company, and is aiming for $US4 billion annual revenue by 2020.

Peter Doherty, ServiceNow’s principal solutions consultant for Asia Pacific and Japan, told ComputerWorld Australia: “We have built all our applications on top of the ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud Platform. We started off with IT service management and over time we realised that, in any organisation it is not just IT that provides services to other parts of the organisation: HR, facilities, marketing, payroll all provide services.”

This, he said, had led to the company extending its scope beyond IT services management. “When people came to IT we gave them this nice consumer-like approach to getting things done, but when people in IT talked to HR they were in a quagmire of email and spreadsheets,” Doherty said, “So we transitioned to enterprise service management and pushed this out to other parts of the enterprise.”

The company made this transition about four years ago, he added. Now, with the launch of ServiceNow Customer Service Management at its Knowledge16 conference in Las Vegas in May, it has extended this approach to enabling external customers of an organisation to easily interact directly with internal systems.

ServiceNow Customer Service Management, is billed as an application that “connects the relevant people, systems and processes required to assure a great service experience for the customer [producing] a reduction in call volumes, lower costs and higher customer satisfaction scores.”

CEO, Frank Slootman, was reported as telling the conference that the company aims to have revenue of US$4 billion by 2020, only about half of this from its ITSM business.

Doherty said the focus was solely on the business-to-business market: ServiceNow does not plan to provide solutions for the business-to-consumer market.

He said ServiceNow’s approach to customer service management was designed to overcome the limitations of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

“External customers come in through CRM systems,” Doherty said. “Those are good from an engagement perspective but if they need to go to field service management or IT this is generally being done by generating a ticket, so the person using the CRM system loses end-to-end visibility.”

In contrast, he said ServiceNow’s Enterprise Cloud Platform provides a single layer of engagement across multiple systems used to support different functions in an organisation.

“People come into our customer service management system and have a single interface, a single look and feel and if we need to pull information in or push information to other systems we have multiple interfaces we use to do that.

“They get the information from the CRM that they need to see presented to them in a standard interface with a standard look and feel without having to worry about all the vagaries and complexities of a full blown CRM system.”

Asked if the next stage of the company’s evolution might to offer full CRM functionality, Doherty said: “That would be quite an attractive place to be but I am not in a position to talk about our strategy going forward.”

There is also a potential downside to the company’s strategy. Gartner, in its 2015 Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools rates ServiceNow highly — it shares the Leaders quadrant with BMC Software — but cautions customers looking purely for ITSM functionality that “ServiceNow's strategy to develop and market its product for business activities outside of ITSSM [IT service support management] demonstrates a lack of focus on the ITSSM market for future developments.”

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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