EXPAND: Master Architect and ServiceNow HR Practice Lead Ryan Dinwiddie talks Digital Transformation and the San Diego Launch

Today’s blog is the latest segment in our EXPAND Executive Insights series. This monthly interview segment allows our readers to gleam insights from top business leaders as they muse on key questions surrounding digital transformation.   

For March, we sat down with HR Functional Lead, Consulting Manager and Certified Master Architect Ryan Dinwiddie to discuss ServiceNow’s San Diego release, the platform’s overall technological trajectory, and his fluid definition of digital transformation success.  

Ready for the full scoop? Keep reading to see all of Ryan’s answers, or check out a quick recap video and summary slide deck on LinkedIn for the highlights.  

Introducing Ryan Dinwiddie 

As our HR Functional Lead, a Consulting Manager and a Certified Master Architect, Ryan Dinwiddie wears many hats at Acorio. Aside from his consulting and people management skills, he brings over a decade of service management experience to the table.  

After 9+ years and 30+ projects (at Acorio) specializing in ServiceNow, Ryan has a deep and wide breadth of platform knowledge. Based in Washington state, he joined the Acorio team back in 2016 after previously serving in roles at Accenture and Cloud Sherpas.  

Without further ado, let’s jump into Ryan’s EXPAND interview…   

Customers trust you, as a Certified Master Architect, to guide them on their digital transformation journeys. Rather than a destination, this is a continuous process. How then should clients define a successful digital transformation?  

Clients have a large hand in determining their definition of digital transformation success. As consultants, we guide them there and make suggestions, but that really depends on how far along they are in their respective transformation journey and what the company’s end goals are.  

In my experience, clients in the early stages of transformation tend to focus on simple wins gained through automation. For example: deepening their reporting capabilities and strengthening their analytics to prove the transformation’s value. These are all things that make for a solid base to build on in the future.  

Meanwhile firms with existing ServiceNow processes usually have already established these basics along with their organizational definition for success, so our work centers around maturing their existing processes. This could look like improving customer and employee metrics (e.g. raising satisfaction rates and adoption rates) or focusing on process-based metrics like cutting down cycle or resolution times. ServiceNow provides an incredible amount of data, so we also often work with these more mature clients to prioritize what metrics to track and solutions to implement based on their business objectives. 

As an example of fluid definitions for digital transformation success, I’m currently on a project with a federal agency in the early stages of their digital transformation journey. Their current definition of success is simply getting a manual, paper-based process routed into ServiceNow. By dipping their toe into automation and leveraging reporting on the platform, they’ll secure a solid foundation before further maturing their system to include electronic signatures, increased automation, and self-service. While all of those steps are exciting, it’s important to first start small and focus on impactful, incremental (verifiable) changes. Once those initial processes are defined, firms can then start exploring ways to improve.  

What is the most common challenge you see arise in client projects? How can customers avoid it?  

One of the most common client challenges I’ve seen come up is clients wanting to stay out of the box, which we define as sticking to ServiceNow’s baseline configurations. It’s a very lofty goal as it initially requires more planning, governance and organizational change management, but the results speak for themselves. Staying close to out of the box reduces technical debt, time to upgrade, and enables teams to take advantage of all the platform’s native features or enhancements.  

To avoid the pitfall of over-customizing their platform, clients should have detailed conversations with their ServiceNow partner around application governance and organizational change management.  

By understanding oncoming platform changes, firms will be able to prepare their team or customers for necessary changes. The transition away from a company’s historical status quo can be challenging in the short term, but clients who stick to fewer customizations tend to achieve increased success with their ServiceNow platform in the long-term. 

What feature are you most excited about in ServiceNow’s San Diego release? 

There has been a lot of excitement in the developer community around the platform’s new user interface, Next Experience. In fact, I upgraded my development environment as soon as I could after seeing screenshots of the interface. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Next Experience impacts organizations as ServiceNow continues to build out the platform’s user interface.  

Specific to HR and the Employee Workflow, there are lots of enhancements across the board, especially in Workspace Service Delivery. Enhancements have been made to reservation management and vaccination status (both as steps to return to work safely), service mapping, and mobile views. There is also a new employee relations module, the Anonymous Report Center, which was designed to create a safe space for employees with report concerns. This is a great example of ServiceNow responding to the market and customer demands. We’ve built this custom and can roll those solutions back for baseline or out-of-the-box functionality.  

San Diego’s industry solutions for Finance, Banking, and Telecom verticals are another exciting component of the release, adding valuable depth to the platform by including more business specific functions. 

What other solutions or new capabilities, do you expect to see from the platform in 2022? 

The platform was really fast to market its return-to-work options last year, and I know they will continue to expand upon those offerings throughout 2022.   

As for the rest of 2022, I’m certain that ServiceNow will continue to add more items within its store. Over the last 18 months we’ve seen an explosion of content available there, including some of our own Acorio industry based solutions, and it’s exciting to see increased support for items like pre-built integrations and content packs. Furthermore, it’s separated from the family releases so it’s continually getting updated along with new configuration and products from ServiceNow. 

What sets ServiceNow apart from other digital transformation solutions?  

ServiceNow’s Platform ideas are really what set it apart from other solutions. Whether your users work from a mobile device, on a manufacturing plant floor, a desk at the office, or their living room couch, ServiceNow serves individuals wherever, whenever they need. Few platforms can say the same. 

Furthermore, ServiceNow integrates seamlessly with most tools and can serve as a unified front-end (system of engagement) for multiple back-end systems. By aggregating multiple tools into one interface, ServiceNow delivers the ultimate user experience – it truly is the platform of platforms.  

Looking for the latest ServiceNow updates? Download our San Diego eBook to learn the all about the platform’s newest features and enhancements. 

Button image to download San Diego release ebook