“We’re done with talking about if it is a good idea to digitally transform,” says ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott. “Now the conversation has shifted to how quickly can you get me there. I have to get there really fast. My prediction is that companies that are digital, that can lead this digital transformation revolution, will prosper through this time because there are so many public sector and private sector entities that must change. I do believe we will be going into a totally new normal.”
Bill McDermott, CEO of ServiceNow, discusses how COVID-19 has forced CEOs to speed up digital transformation in order to compete and win. McDermott says that businesses have to have an all-weather workforce to win.”
We’re Done With Talking About If It’s a Good Idea
When we came out of the financial crisis in 2008 that is when cloud computing hit a new gear. That’s when it became the pervasive computing theme of the 21st century. The elasticity of the cloud, the ability to build applications very quickly on a platform like ServiceNow’s⎯so you can be in service, in service to employees, in service to customers, and in service to keeping the operation going, even through difficult times. if you think about digital transformation, it’s a $7.4 trillion addressable market in the next four years.
I talk to CEOs and heads of state every day. We’re done with talking about if it is a good idea to digitally transform. Now the conversation has shifted to how quickly can you get me there. I have to get there really fast. My prediction is that companies that are digital, that can lead this digital transformation revolution, will prosper through this time because there are so many public sector and private sector entities that must change. I do believe we will be going into a totally new normal. It’s not dissimilar to 2008. We’re going to have to figure out whether it’s three weeks from now or three months from now.
A Totally New Way To Work
How are you going to get back to work? Business continuity must contain. Think about all the processes that will have to change. I like to think of this as a physical distancing, not a social distancing because our processes on Zoom every day has us connected to the management team and the people throughout our company. So while we are physically distant we have socially kept the conversation going. We’re continuing to pursue our goals because that’s what the world needs from ServiceNow.
Customers right now are basically saying, how do I take care of my people? For example, I’ve heard from some very outstanding CEO saying we’re going to keep hiring or am certainly not going to lay people off. How do we get the tools for people to do the job remotely? How do we make that happen? How do we make sure we’re caring for the people? How do we align them with the goals and the orientations of the company? How do we keep compliance and security at a high level even as they work from places like home or studio environments where they’re not used to working? All of this has to be done utilizing a digital platform, a totally new way of working.
What About the Customer?
Here’s a really big thing. In the beginning, everybody was saying we’re going to work from home. We will close down operations and that was basically it. What about the customer? What we’re learning about the customer is right now they’re not really interested in you upselling them and cross-selling them in an engagement layer of CRM. What they are interested in is business continuity. How will you service me even as we’re in the midst of a crisis?
This idea of service management, of making sure you get the right assets in front of the right problems where you can resolve issues for customers⎯especially since they’re no longer working in their offices for the most part. It has really reoriented the workflow of companies all over the world and it’s happened really quickly.
Over 43 percent of the companies today actually don’t even have a work from home policy. Think about that. Now, after this crisis, I can assure you they’ll need one and the boards of directors will expect that they have one. If you remember the post 9/11 era, it was unbelievable to think that people would be standing in line to get x-rayed with their luggage before getting on a flight.
Digital Transformation Has To Go Faster
As they think about this new environment just think about the procedures and the protocols that we have to now impart on the workforce to make sure that they’re healthy when they come into these buildings and they actually go to work. We will actually have to have quick analysis. For example, you could do an ear temperature check to make sure someone’s temperature isn’t high when they’re coming into the workplace to keep people safe. That’s a protocol, that’s a new process, and I expect that things like that will definitely happen.
I also expect that workers will work more from home, that people will be more agile and flexible in how they work, and the tools and the platforms of digital have to be enabled to make that happen, So here it is, people that are digitally transforming now, you have got to go faster. People that haven’t actually embarked upon this journey, you need to do it now. Now is when your people will expect you to build a culture that enables them to prosper in any working environment. I have to believe we’re in a new norm. If it’s not COVID-19 it’s going to be something else. Workforces have to be prepared to handle anything. We have to be an all-weather workforce to win.