Acorio Spotlight: Kathy Knowles

Acorio Employee Spotlight

At Acorio, our clients are at the heart of all that we do. This culture stems from building a company of people who are natural problem-solvers and always looking to lend a hand. Want to learn more about our one-of-a-kind team? Keep reading because you won’t want to miss today’s blog, which introduces one of the many people who make Acorio shine.

Today we’re sharing the June installment of our newest blog series: The Acorio Spotlight, a monthly blog series where we sit down to chat with different Acorio team members to learn about the work that they do. This month’s Acorio Spotlight focuses on one of our all-star Engagement Managers, Kathy Knowles

So let’s jump right in and meet Kathy!

The Elevator Pitch: Kathy in 30 Seconds

Kathy Knowles has over 25 years of experience working in the IT industry. As an Engagement Manager for Acorio, she is dedicated to delivering a positive and value-add experience for clients and consistently delivers exceptional results – most recently receiving a 9.5 CSAT score from a large, global client.

Kathy has a strong ITSM project management background and has managed over 50 ServiceNow implementations. She is laser-focused on the details, communicates effectively, and strives to provide a fun and positive experience for her customers and everyone on the project team. She has an average ServiceNow Customer Satisfaction score of 9.4 for projects she has recently managed.

When did you first start working in ServiceNow?

I was first introduced to ServiceNow in 2008 when I worked for Intel Corporation. I was the Project Manager assigned to implementing ServiceNow throughout Intel’s global IT organization. I started with the “season” releases of ServiceNow before they adopted the “city” releases!

How long have you been at Acorio?

I was hired at Acorio in March 2017, so a little over 2 years now.

How did you find Acorio?

I knew I wanted to stay in the “partner” space, so I did my homework and started researching career opportunities with several of the ServiceNow partner companies. When I “found” Acorio, everything I read about the company resonated with me…from the corporate culture to Ellen’s leadership style, to employee reviews, and all of the information I found on the Acorio website, blogs, SN Community forum, etc.

I decided “this is the company I want to work for” and then coldcalled Acorio’s HR department letting them know I was interested in an Engagement Manager opportunity. I had an interview within a week, and an offer quickly thereafter! It was definitely a “happily-everafter” story!

How does working for Acorio, and with Acorio clients, compare to working at a “Big Four” like you have in the past?

The biggest difference in working at Acorio versus a “big four” firm is that I feel like I have a voice and that I am supported all the way to the top of our leadership by Ellen (our CEO) herself! Our leadership truly listens and values the input of all employees. We operate on a “continuous improvement” model, so if something isn’t working as expected, we change it.

Another thing that feels different is that at Acorio were a “collective force” made up of smart, experienced, unique individuals with personalities and styles all our own. We are encouraged to share openly, shine brightly, and to be our most genuine selves while always having our customers best interests at the forefront. Our goal is to establish lasting partnerships with our clients so we can share in their ServiceNow journey.

What does a typical day on-the-job look like for you?

  • First thing in the morning, I catch up on any new communications: check the calendar for the day, check email, check Slack.
  • Prepare for the day, then prepare for the rest of the week. 
  • Update project schedules, budgets, and action items. 
  • Attend scheduled meetings.
  • Help resolve team challenges and roadblocks.
  • Follow the progress on story development.
  • Consult and communicate with my clients and team.
  • Update project forecasts and make any resource adjustments.
  • Watch for and capture lessons learned.
  • Stay abreast of ServiceNow Platform functionality through Partner Resources, Community, etc. 
  • Check in on the Random Slack channel when a quick break is needed – enjoy the humor and team camaraderie of my fellow Acorians!
  • And a whole host of various things that come up daily!

What is your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing about my job is getting to work with amazing Acorio team members and clients, all while working on the amazing ServiceNow Platform. I really enjoy watching my clients become as excited about ServiceNow as I am!

What professional achievement are you most proud of?

Definitely my work at Intel implementing ServiceNow throughout their global IT organization. I didn’t know anything about ServiceNow previous to the project, but after a vendor evaluation between our legacy system and ServiceNow, Intel decided to make the shift and I got the opportunity to learn all about this new platform. Four years and thousands of development stories later, Intel’s ServiceNow Implementation benefited over 6,000 Intel IT users worldwide.

To have been a part of this incredible team responsible for implementing ServiceNow, and seeing it come to life over 4 years was really rewarding. While the professional achievement itself is something I’m very proud of, my favorite part of the project was that our team formed a bond that we will all share forever. It was a huge win for everybody, and I still keep in touch with my Intel peeps to this day, 7 years after that implementation launched!

What is the most important thing you do for clients as an Engagement Manager?

Keep the project moving forward! That means making sure the project stays on track, on schedule, and on budget. As an Engagement Manager, I’m liaison between the Acorio team and our client’s team, so managing the relationship between the business and technical entities of the project is a central piece of my job.

What is one tip you have for professionals who work from home?

My biggest piece of advice would be to find little bits of time throughout your day to engage in something fun with your team members, just like you would in a traditional office setting. For me, that means making some time to check our company’s various slack channels and see what people are up to.

Since these casual conversations don’t always happen naturally when you work remotely, it’s important to be active and reach out to your coworkers. Imagine if you were in an office and sitting in a room with the people you were working with; how would you chat with them? Starting conversations with coworkers is a great way to build personal relationships with your team members and ease the feelings of isolation that can come along with working remotely.

You recently presented with ServiceNow for one of their webinars, congrats! Can you tell us a little bit more about the presentation?

The webinar was sponsored by ServiceNow’s Customer Success Center as part of a digital onboarding series designed to help prepare potential clients for what to expect when they move onto the ServiceNow platform.

The presentation recognized people, process, and technology as the three pillars of any successful implementationand emphasizethat there’s both a technical and behavioral shift that must take place in an organization for their implementation to launch successfully. I find that people are usually surprised that technology is the easy” part (we’ve got that covered with ServiceNow’s software), but it can be challenging to find the right balance between people and processes. To help, this webinar focuseon sharing how and why potential clients should change their business processes and behaviors to align with out of the box ServiceNow functionality. It also provideviewers with some valuable resources like information tools, success stories, and other tips & tricks.

You are ITIL v3 certified. Are you an ITIL loyalist?

While I think ITIL is a critical element of Service Management, I don’t know if I’d consider myself an ITIL loyalist. ITIL is really important for providing a foundational level of knowledge to understand how the different process areas relate to one another, but I see it as more of a set of guidelines rather than a strict set of rules.

Learning ITIL foundations is a great way for a new team to standardize on a common set of terminology and guidelines, but it doesn’t have to be taken as gospel. At Acorio, we partner with our customers to understand their business value proposition for their company and work with each client to achieve their specific goals within the context of ServiceNow; we use ITIL as a baseline to help guide the process, but we also consult with our clients to implement sustainable solutions when unique requirements are identified.

In short, I think ITIL is a good foundation and important knowledge, but it’s not the end-all be-all.

Acorio Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights A-team members across platform areas who are doing extraordinary ServiceNow work. Stay tuned for our next piece to see which employee we’ll be covering next!