The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted like never before the barriers to getting work done in the enterprise. Distributed teams that have to rely on digital tools to remain productive are noticing more than ever the barriers that siloed systems and a lack of access to information can create when you aren't physically close to your colleagues.
Across the enterprise market we are seeing the alignment of collaboration tools with core enterprise applications, in order to make the flow of work easier for employees working from home. Employee experience is now a top-tier priority for companies that recognise that the world of work isn't going back to ‘normal' anytime soon, within the context of the COVID-19 economy.
With this in mind, ServiceNow and Workplace from Facebook have today announced a new partnership, which will see the two cloud vendors introduce a number of new integrations to ‘meet employees where they are'.
ServiceNow already has a partnership with Microsoft Teams, which suggests the vendor is pursuing closer alignment with popular digital collaboration platforms. As a company that aims to reimagine workflows in the digital enterprise, it makes sense for ServiceNow to position itself with vendors that are central to the employee experience at work.
ServiceNow and Workplace from Facebook already have an existing Virtual Agent integration, which enables employees to request support, receive updates on in-progress requests, and connect with live agents when virtual agents cannot assist - all without leaving Workplace. In terms of what is being announced today, the partnership will now include:
ServiceNow Employee Campaigns for Workplace from Facebook - By integrating ServiceNow Employee Campaigns capabilities with Workplace from Facebook, departments like HR have a way to create an omnichannel service experience for employees. For example, HR can now circulate relevant content directly through Workplace, such as information on its culture of Diversity and Inclusion and upcoming Open Enrollment for benefits and return to work procedures.
Workplace from Facebook Integration Spoke - Customers can now build out additional workflows to meet their employee experience needs beyond the out-of-the-box integrations listed above, using ServiceNow IntegrationHub.
The Integration Spoke is particularly interesting, as it gives customers the freedom to identify their own use cases for how work could be increasingly executed within Workplace from Facebook.
The companies also highlighted that they both share a number of joint customers, including: Sun Life Financial, Petco and Telenor. Barbara J. Mitchell, AVP, Service Management Experience at Sun Life Financial, commented on the announcement and said:
We've been long-time users of Workplace and ServiceNow separately so we're thrilled to hear about their deeper partnership.
We look forward to using their new integrations to streamline communications, automate internal processes, and ultimately help enhance our employee experience.
Giving employees choice
We got the chance to speak to Gretchen Alarcon, VP and GM of HR Service Delivery at ServiceNow, about the integration announcement with Workplace from Facebook, where she explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has really shifted thinking about how employees get work done digitally in the enterprise. She said;
I would say that we have learned a lot through the COVID-19 crisis. And one thing that has been very clear is that the employee experience has a lot of friction. And one of the things that is very important is to make sure that we're meeting employees where they are. Workplace From Facebook is where the employees are going to be working, so adding ServiceNow into that capability means that now they don't have to exit the flow of work in order to ask their important questions and get answers. So this is a really important step in terms of bringing these two platforms together and helping employees have better productivity.
I would say that there is commonality between Workplace and ServiceNow [customers]. But I would say that, again, this is an opportunity to reach employees regardless of what channel they're on. So, our intent really is to make this available so that ServiceNow integrates across different channels. So that might be Workplace, it might be your phone, it might be using your internal intranet - whatever that right channel is to reach your employees, we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to access ServiceNow there.
The Integration Spoke announcement is of particular interest to Alarcon, as it will allow customers to have the freedom to identify their own use cases and highlight how companies are thinking about work across distributed teams. She said:
When you think about how customers use integrations in general, there's always the obvious ideas that people have - you know, things like Open Enrollment in the US, or other elements like diversity. But I think having the ability for a company to say, I need a better way to collaborate between these two capabilities, to serve additional use cases, you can't always predict what that's going to be. So rather than having the company have to rely on us as the creator of that content, they can use that Integration Spoke and go further. Maybe this is something where they want to go beyond the delivered HR capabilities, use campaigns for something else, such as targeting IT information, or something to do with return to work.
Finally, Alarcon noted that whilst ServiceNow is making a push into the collaboration space - which is a notable progression, given its roots are in the ITSM market - its focus for the foreseeable is giving customers the opportunity to build out digital workflows, across all platforms, that enable greater productivity. She said:
Our focus is really on the digital workflow. How do we help transform older, more manual ways of working? That is our direction. And so, certainly collaboration is a component of that. But I think really our focus is more on, how can we use our platform to break down silos? To make work flow for lack of a better term across the enterprise.
It's important to view this announcement within the broader context of what is happening in the enterprise market. This is a key indication of how companies are needing to accelerate their digital plans, in order to maintain productivity and improve how work employees can carry out work in a distributed way. People are far more forgiving of data, system and structural silos in a physical office environment, when they can walk over to HR, IT or finance and get the work problem sorted in person. That's no longer the case. Enterprise vendors are recognising that those silos need to be consolidated and that employees need to be able to quickly execute on tasks, no matter what channel or environment they are operating in.