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Knowledge14, steal like an artist

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In this article, I hope to capture my thoughts and experiences from Knowledge14, the ServiceNow annual conference. See an early preview from the first day here [Live from Knowledge14 – ServiceNow preview Kanban visual tasks boards]

Steal like an artist

Fred Luddy, CPO and Founder of ServiceNow, quoted Steve Jobs during his keynote:

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” ~ Steve Jobs

Fred was referring to the creative process and innovation. He stated that in the last decade 70% of the Fortune 1,000 consisted of new companies. The life span of companies at the top is getting shorter, the churn is getting faster.

Big ‘ole corporates don’t stick around like they used to. To survive companies must innovate or die. A key part of the innovative process is to be inspired by, mash-up, and build upon previous work.

Creative Destruction - 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.

Creative Destruction – 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.

The Penny Drops

I attended the ServiceNow London forum last year when Frank Slootman urged us to “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”. For a company whose market valuation and pitch to investors is based on expanding outside IT, the company demonstrated precious little leadership on how a company might actually get there.  It was clearly the customers doing the leading.

In the short time since those forums the penny seems to have dropped. Knowledge included a number of initiatives to empower customers and encourage them to borrow (steal) the best ideas from each other and build solutions outside the IT department:

  • Pointing customers in the right direction with a Service Taxonomy
  • ServiceNow Share – “an online exchange where customers and partners can upload and download applications and development content.”
  • Special interest groups (Human Resources, Portfolio Project Management, Higher Education, US Public Sector and Life Sciences Cloud Initiative)

Freddy Luddy launching 'Share' the ServiceNow App exchange

Freddy Luddy launching ‘Share’ the ServiceNow App exchange 

The Business Engagement Managers Playbook

In terms of new features announced at Knowledge14, my personal highlights were the Kanban visual tasks boards and new features to assist Demand Management.

I can see the Demand Management features being a great toolbox and playbook for Business Engagement Managers or those tasked with direct interaction and responsiveness to business requirements. In theory – you could collect all suggestions and develop them right through to delivered services. But also include the reality check of business impact, risk and resource constraints.

Showcasing demand management - assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk

Business Engagement Managers Playbook: Showcasing demand management – assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk

ServiceNow Partner News

  • Cloud Sherpas delivers cloud services around Salesforce, Google and ServiceNow. ServiceNow is said to be the fastest growing of the three business units (1,000th project completed). The company also announced a further $12M investment in the business.
  • Fruition Partners were showcasing the launch of their App Factory with some specialist solutions for the Healthcare market. The ‘Healthcare Management Suite’ is a set of apps built on the ServiceNow platform with Healthcare standards and compliance in mind. More info here.
  • KPMG stated that they had historically worked with alternative service management software providers but were now a 100% ServiceNow business. To support their growing function the firm announced a ServiceNow centre of excellence in Denver, Colorado.
  • Platf4Mation picked up the ServiceNow 2014 Innovation of the year award for their Facility Management App, as voted for by the Keynote attendees.
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed duded from Plat4mation

Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed dudes from Plat4mation

Was it worth it?

As an analyst, it’s all too easy to become cynical of events, marketing hype and stock price hysteria in the technology space. With your nose pressed close to the industry effluent pipe, an observer can become jaded from the sheer volume of bilge.

Whilst Knowledge14 had it’s fair share of chest beating and hyperbole, I found the energy and enthusiasm from the event infectious. Cranky Frank the CEO gave us the company perspective and spoon-fed cute lines to journalists, the main man Fred Luddy entertained us and painted a vision of the future – but for me the main event was the attendees.

There was a genuine energy about the place as IT departments were beginning to realize they could perhaps become an enabler again and take a seat at the table of the business. The realization that ITIL and other frameworks are important, but they should be the wiring under the board – not what the customer experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, the streets of San Francisco were not paved with ITSM gold, organizations attending were still facing the same old incident-problem-change daily grind and curve balls as the rest of us – but there is a light at the end of tunnel.

Was it worth it? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thanks for the ServiceNow team for looking after us at a very well organized event.

Knowledge 15 is April 19 – 23, 2015

PS – I recommend a good book on creative stealing: “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon.)

Steal




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