McDermott sees value in Qualtrics once again - partnership announced to bring experience data to ServiceNow workflows

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez April 7, 2021
McDermott has history with Qualtrics, as he oversaw the acquisition of the vendor when he was CEO at SAP. Now CEO at ServiceNow, and with Qualtrics partially spun off, he clearly thinks the company has value at his new stomping ground.

Image of a person at work using ServiceNow products
(Image sourced via ServiceNow)

Bill McDermott clearly sees value in Qualtrics' experience data platform. It wasn't too long ago that he oversaw SAP's $8 billion acquisition of the company back in November 2018, when he was then SAP CEO. The acquisition raised some eyebrows due to the high price tag, but McDermott was bullish on the need for customer experience data in the enterprise, as companies transition to everything-as-a-service business models. 

His educated bet proved worthwhile, as SAP later partially spun off the business and gained a share price that valued it at north of $20 billion(SAP still owns a majority of shares in Qualtrics). But it seems that McDermott isn't quite done with Qualtrics yet, as ServiceNow has just announced partnership with the firm. 

McDermott joined ServiceNow as CEO shortly after his departure from SAP at the end of 2019. My recent interview with McDermott on why linear thinking is crushing companies can be read here, which plays well into the announcement with Qualtrics today. 

Whilst not quite (yet) an acquisition, ServiceNow and Qualtrics have announced a strategic partnership to "help companies deliver next-generation employee experiences and customer service", bringing together ServiceNow's workflow capabilities and Qualtrics' experience management data - onto a single platform. 

The companies state that the new solutions will allow buyers to bring sentiment data from Qualtrics into ServiceNow Customer and IT Workflows, to quickly act on customer insights within the digital workflows. 

Commenting on the partnership, McDermott said: 

Empathy at mass scale is the business differentiator of the 21st century. The digital world demands tailored, seamless, and integrated experiences for every customer and employee. Our partnership with Qualtrics will help customers turn insights into action and redefine the experience economy.

Zig Serafin, CEO of Qualtrics, added: 

Businesses succeed or fail based on the experiences they deliver and experience data has become the most valuable data in every organization. 

Our partnership with ServiceNow is the best of both worlds for our customers, who'll be able to use data and insights to drive real‑time action and deliver incredible experiences for the new way of work.

The details

ServiceNow and Qualtrics rightly argue that organizations are held back from delivering continuous, modern digital experiences that employees and customers want because of siloed systems and complexity. The pair aim to address this by making "feedback actionable in the enterprise". 

Companies will now be able to bring experience data from Qualtrics into ServiceNow Agent Workspaces to visualise performance, uncover drivers of service satisfaction and allow for actions to take place based on these insights. The new joint solutions include: 

  • Experience Management for IT - Combining Qualtrics EmployeeXM for IT with ServiceNow IT Service Management aims to allow companies to connect their business‑critical operational and service delivery data with employee feedback on a company's internal IT services on a single platform. IT teams will be able to measure the effectiveness of their internal technologies and optimize service management processes.

  • Experience‑led Customer Service - Bringing together Qualtrics CustomerXM with ServiceNow Customer Service Management aims to give service agents and managers the tools they need to automatically trigger workflows based on feedback, uncover drivers for customer satisfaction, improve cost‑to‑serve, and increase content effectiveness.

The new solutions will be available to joint customers through a phased joint product and go-to-market strategy. Availability will kick off in the second half of 2021. 

Why this matters

This partnership has the potential to bring great additional value to the Now platform. ServiceNow's whole proposition is focused on reimagining the world of work, where it allows buyers to reduce complexity via digital workflows that tap into existing systems of record. This has become even more pertinent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies adapt to flexible working and customers have accelerated their adoption of digital channels. 

But what this now brings is useful customer and employee data directly into the Now platform, allowing companies to respond quickly to feedback and to iterate on the fly. A workflow is just a method by which you get work done - but by bringing in experience data, ServiceNow is making sure that high value work takes place within its platform. 

We have noted previously that we are now living in an experience and service-led economy, whereby companies need to continuously respond to customer requirements. Selling a product/service and then not worrying about it until it's time to sell again doesn't cut it anymore - customers need to be continuously pleased. 

Bringing Qualtrics data into the ServiceNow platform should - in theory - allow buyers of both products to do exactly that, right where the work is happening, without having to carry out that analysis outside of the workflow. As always the proof will be in the customer testimonials, but this is a promising step for both vendors and could bring high value change for buyers. 

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