ServiceNow future trends chart on laptop

Data Talks: Modern Trends Influencing ServiceNow’s Future [Chart]

Last month, we launched our newest Acorio blog series, Data Talks, where we share a monthly chart of original data from our ServiceNow Insight Report – and break down what these numbers mean to you and to the broader ServiceNow market.

Now we’re taking our Data Talks to the next level, by having a conversation with two members of our leadership team. Juliet Acuff, VP of Strategic Initiatives and Remote Services, and Meghan Lockwood, VP of Strategic Marketing will be giving you their insights on what our charts mean to them, what they mean to you, and what you might want to be doing about it.

This month: “Future Trends” according to the ServiceNow ecosystem, based on the interests of 325 respondents who took the ServiceNow Insight and Vision survey last year. A full version of the 2019 report is available here.

Future Trends in ServiceNow: A Discussion

Meghan Lockwood: Well, the first facet of the data that really jumps out at me is the sheer volume of interest you have in future trends across the board.

ServiceNow future trends chart

Six of the eight major trends we asked about netted almost a majority of the survey respondents –  65% of the audience is interested in AI (which is naturally sexy to the bleeding edge), but we also see a full 58% looking towards Customer Experience, 55% considering ESM Strategies, 50% considering Virtual Agent Technology, 49% are talking about Big Data & Data Analytics, and 48% are thinking about Digital Transformation in the future.

Juliet Acuff: As I look at the data, I think of one main contributing factor to that. What we see, sometimes, among our clients is that people use some of the same vocabularies to talk about slightly different trends – for example, how you define “Digital Transformation” can vary based on who you talk to and what their role or experience is.

In thinking about AI, Virtual Agent, Big Data, IoT, Digital Transformation, I see people really interested in this idea that there are modern technologies and data out there that can already help us determine what’s important and how to take action on what’s important, a whole new level of performance. As a practitioner, we know the term AI is different than Big Data & Data Analytics, but at the same point a consumer of the result of those things, in a lot of ways, some of those can be similar.

We are seeing this evolution and for good reason. There is a significant amount of information out there, and when applied correctly with pre-determined outcomes and digitization, the outcome is internal IT services that we as accustomed to in our personal consumer lives.  This trend toward automation can free up resources within a business to focus on a bigger more complex issue, reducing costs, increasing employee engagement, and improving customer satisfaction.

We specifically called out Enterprise Service Management, but I want to point out that we see that the concept of Global Business Services becoming interchangeable with ESM strategies for some of our clients.

We see that the concept of Global Business Services (GBS) becoming interchangeable with Enterprise Service Management (ESM) strategies for some of our clients. - @julietacuff, VP of Strategic Initiatives and Remote Services @acorio Click To Tweet

Many of the people interested in Enterprise Service Management and Global Business Services, they are often doing that in service of Customer Experience, reducing disparate solutions and creating a sense of continuity. So, you would expect to see all of those [trends] deriving attention depending on which department or group is commenting.

Further, in that 55% of respondents interested in Enterprise Service Management, we are seeing a shift in buying centers. In particular, you are seeing additional C-level individuals at the table for those discussions.

It still might be that as the CTO, you are a contributor to the buying decision. But we didn’t use to see the CHRO at the table at all, let alone sometimes be the driver for the transformation effort or the buying center. At Acorio, we are definitely seeing purchasing for ServiceNow expand into areas of the business.

Lockwood: Notice that 20% of respondents looking at Global Business Services or Shared services, that’s not a statistically insignificant number. But, if you’re thinking about how that’s driven by the Chief People Officer, which 18 months ago wasn’t a ServiceNow buying center – that’s a pretty significant advance, and something to watch in next year’s data.

Moving to some other trends: If you look at the AI and the Big Data, I find it interesting there is a 16% difference of how many people were interested in the former vs. the latter. Because, if you think about limiting factors for AI…  Having good data and the right data foundation is really a prerequisite for being able to effectively execute AI or any of those more advanced machine learning processes. AI is the “cool” factor of it, it’s the picture of the robots – which you can see playing out even with what SN’s doing right now with their commercials, so that is clearly generating more interest. But data is the foundation on which all those advanced trends are built.

That says to me that there’s still a maturity curve in this ecosystem and likely scale that (at least some part of) the audience doesn’t necessarily understand what those two things mean, or what it will take to realize AI in their organizations. Which, of course, is partially why we asked it.

Acuff: Exactly. To your point, Meghan, without good data, AI isn’t all that intelligent.

Without good data, AI isn’t all that intelligent - @julietacuff, VP of Strategic Initiatives and Remote Services @acorio Click To Tweet

Having a platform like ServiceNow, where you can start to collect more information and do more Big Data, Data Analytics, not just within your company, but then from a Cloud perspective of ServiceNow providing even their own information, then all of a sudden that information gets more and more accurate and there is a mechanism to drive better automation. Our files are growing and modifying, change is good, and there is a lot to benefit from here.

Lockwood: I saw an article from Harvard Business Review the other day arguing that business is no longer in the pilot or concept stage of Artificial Intelligence, but that we’re now in the stage of deployed AI – it’s actually gone to market.

Some of that 65% [of people interested in AI today] is coming in because customers are now at a maturity level with their data, with the other underpinning elements of it that they can actually now move from the pilot concept idea to actually deployed idea.

Acuff: I think that’s true. Think about from the current SN commercials – what they’re talking about that automation is doing, is things that they’ve been collecting data on now, they streamlined that process.

The platform allows for digital transformation to streamline that process, collect information, and say, “80% of people who click on HR requests want to know about their paycheck.” And until you have the ability to streamline that and see the data and see where that comes from, we might’ve determined that what the robot should really do when someone wants an HR request is apply for a job.

But the data proved out that they wanted to know about a paycheck request, or insurance question, or whatever, but this idea. So that makes a lot of sense to me that we’d be past the pilot perspective and into this execution now. Users expect a transparent view, where things are in the cycle, product or service, this is essential.

Lockwood: The other thing I’d say on the subject of Big Data – one that we’re hearing from analysts and a host of other sources, is that will be a pretty significant trend to keep on your radar is the rise of the importance of Security Operations. According to Gartner, Big Data is coming into one of the critical Board-level conversations (one of the few if you’re talking about IT spending), so I would expect a rising spotlight on Data security in the coming months.

Acuff:  If you look at all these trends together, you are really seeing a fuller picture of the evolution of the Enterprise Systems, and specifically Enterprise Services Management: It is the Big Data; it is those digital platforms that will enable automation; It is the fact that you can take a ServiceNow platform and deploy it across so many functions of your company and collect that information, and have that data to do the Data Analysis, to do the Big Data, it is those very things that then provide answers.

More Insights are Waiting

Future trends are only one part of the ServiceNow platform that you should be familiar with. Access our full ServiceNow Insight and Vision Report, 2019, to learn about the current state of the platform, how executives are talking about the platform versus how developers are using it, plus a few industry use cases and product breakdowns.

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