ServiceNow’s Knowledge 15 Event

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By Dick Stark

This past week, ServiceNow held its annual Knowledge event, attracting more than 9000 attendees.  I tuned in to the live webcast, which was keynoted by ServiceNow CEO and President, Frank Slootman. What’s the next big thing?  The following is a brief summary.

Based upon the keynote, ServiceNow (SNOW) is doing extremely well: $683M in revenue in 2014, which if their growth continues, makes them a $4B company by 2020. Even more impressive: SNOW reported more than 450 new customer go-lives in 2014 (more than one per day,) which Frank Slootman pointed out was more than all the other ITSM companies combined.  Is this really good sales and marketing or are they that much ahead of the competition?

Well for starters, Frank did not discuss anything too earth shattering. His list included:

  • Structured Workflow. Simplified, this means no more email requests, e.g., iPhone orders. At SNOW, employees can order iPhone using a simple request management module. (It made me wonder why SNOW doesn’t have a BYOD phone policy. What employee wants to use a company provided phone anyway?)
  • Real-time Analytics. This is important and much welcome announcement, but Salesforce has been offering this for years.
  • Market Dynamics Yes, we all want to have a Uber or OpenTable experience with IT, but other than structured workflow, there was little discussion about what SNOW is really doing to make this a reality.
  • ServiceNow Express,This is a new offering that shipped at the end of 2014. I like the easy button approach to upgrade to the Enterprise version if necessary. However, SNOW Express is flawed from the start. How can SNOW take their enterprise application and make it a mid-market product? Not all the pieces will scale. It is like saying United Airlines is going to try to compete with Southwest by offering a stripped-down budget airplane offering. (Called TED, United tried this but it failed.)
  • Out-of-the-Box Apps. Especially, easy-to-implement applications like Finance, HR, On boarding, Legal, and Facilities. Non-IT is a very big push.
  • New App Store. SNOW has an app store with 81 partner-developed apps. They are a long way from the SalesforceAppexchange, but it is a very good start.

Is BMC toast?  Not hardly. There are still plenty of bright spots ahead for BMC.  For instance:

Remedy is making a strong comeback. BMC wasted no time in releasing Smart IT, a new FaceBook like front-end for Remedy.  (Released last October, version 1.1 is just weeks away.)  Even better, Smart IT is free.

BMC’s MyIT already offers an “Uber” experience, with little customization. One of our consultants is working on a BMC job for a large retailer.  That retailer is consolidating its service desks and moving all to Remedy. One of the service desks is a SNOW based field service desk that relies on a Google-embedded GPS app to track field technicians. Due to the cost charged by Google, the application was overly expensive.  MyIT, a self-service app that uses location, role, and preferences to guide employees to the answers and tools they need is GPS enabled out of the box and a much better fit.

Of course, SNOW’s growth rate is impressive, but I didn’t hear anything as innovative as Smart IT or MyIT. For that reason, I continue to be optimistic about BMC and its ITSM/BSM family, and see opportunity ahead for RightStar with Remedy, Remedyforce, and FootPrints solutions.

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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