ServiceNow opens new UK office - eyes region’s lagging productivity as opportunity

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez July 8, 2019
We speak to ServiceNow senior director, Alex Osborne, at the company’s new space, where employee experience is at the centre of its design.

Image of Alex Osborne, Senior Director, ServiceNow, at new offices in Staines

When John Donahoe joined ServiceNow as its new CEO a couple of years ago, the company went through a rebranding exercise - putting the platform at the centre of the vendor’s go to market strategy, but also declaring that ServiceNow will be the SaaS company that “makes the world of work, work better for people”.

And this motto is being extended to ServiceNow’s employees, as well as its customers, according to Senior Director Alex Osborne, who welcomed diginomica on a tour of the company’s new UK office in Staines-on-Thames.

The design of the office aims to reflect the vendor’s refreshed branding colours and logo, with the layout including hang-out areas, a bar and different zones named after popular London destinations (Shoreditch High Street, Angel, etc.).Pretty much what you’d come to expect from a modern tech vendor, nowadays.

Interestingly though, before embarking on the design every single employee was asked about what they’d like to be included in the design in order to make them happy at work. Designers have tried to incorporate as much of the feedback into the design as possible - whether that be more booths to make calls for sales agents, or a book shelf for the comms team.

Sitting down with Osborne to discuss ServiceNow’s further investment in the UK, he said that it reflects the company’s growth in the EMEA region and how it is becoming a more strategic supplier for its customers. Osborne said:

As we do a better job of evangelising and maturing in the market, there’s a general shift away from being a tactical tool purchase, into the whole platform story. Organisations seeing that we are the mechanism for change right across IT, finance, procurement, HR.

“So, obviously, with that comes increased ACV growth and further penetration into organisations. So I'm definitely seeing, especially within our bigger accounts, that we're getting graded from being a tactical sort of startup supplier into a strategic tier one supplier. And that seems to be happening right across the board.

Opportunity from Brexit?

As the UK heads towards its next deadline of the end of October to exit from the European Union, the topic of Brexit is obviously front of mind for many companies operating in the UK. However, Osborne notes that the decision - which may negatively impact the UK economy in the short to medium term, if experts are to be believed - could lead to organisations thinking about how they can boost their productivity.

The productivity problem in the UK has been identified as a risk to the region’s ongoing growth and prosperity, as it falls behind other major economies. However, this does present an opportunity for vendors. Osborne said:

I mean, obviously, Brexit, whatever happens, that's going to have an impact on the UK economy. Our productivity as a business sector is only getting worse at the moment.

So I think aligning our fairly well established narrative around how we can create an uptick in your productivity do more for less - I think it’s going to make us even more relevant as organisations look to survive, right?

I think it forces organisations to make a change they previously wouldn't have, because they're facing a sink or swim survival type of mechanism.

Whilst ServiceNow had early success in the IT department as an ITSM tool, it has since expanded its platform to include areas that range from customer experience, to HR, to security. This has been made possible by ServiceNow’s agnostic approach to other vendors, allowing organisations to use the platform to tap into other systems of record, while streamlining and automating workflows on top. It’s ambition is to make any workflow within an organisation a better ‘experience’ through the use of automation.

Osborne said that companies tend to use the platform initially to modernise legacy IT, which drives cost savings and consolidate “duplicate, costly processes”. Customers then tend to look to replicate this outside of IT in other departments. However, it’s the third phase of deployment - using the platform to reach customers - that Osborne is particularly interested in. He said:

And then the third phase is real business innovation. And that's sort of the holy grail for us in terms of how they then leverage what they're delivering for their employees and how they flip that to whoever they touch externally, whether it's their partners or their customers, in terms of changing those processes and how they interact with them.

A vertical approach

Interestingly, Osborne also highlighted how ServiceNow adopted a focus on verticals back in 2018, restructuring its sales and implementation teams around industries that include financial services, manufacturing and retail. He believes that this should help the company drive further growth in the UK going forward, as well as gain further traiction with the systems integrators. He explained:

We moved from a from a major account model over to industry specific model. And as our success continues in those verticals, we will be fine tuning our domain messages to those different verticals.

And I think that will allow us to leverage our partner ecosystem more. So if you look at the GSIs, such as Accenture, they have obviously virtualized and have specific IP for those verticals. And I think our evolution will be to get IP on our platform specific to those verticals.

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