Innovation spotlight: Is ServiceNow 2018’s most innovative company?

This new series runs down some of the world's most innovative companies, starting with today's spotlight - ServiceNow. Learn what makes these organisations truly exceptional.

Owen Hunnam
by Owen Hunnam

The world is full of innovation. From the pencil in your hand to the company you work for, everything has a story that can give you insight into history’s moments of invention. This is the message that we want to send you; innovation isn’t rare – it’s the very essence of our modern lives.

Our new Innovation Spotlight series is a closer look at the ongoing innovation that’s unfolding all around us. We’re hoping that exploring these exciting companies and innovative technologies will help you to see the room for innovation in your own organisations. This week, we’re zooming in on ServiceNow.

Who are ServiceNow?

Often touted as ‘The most innovative company you’ve never heard of’, ServiceNow is a cloud-computing and technical support management company that has flown relatively under the radar until recently. However, the company’s unique approach to SaaS IT infrastructure and help desk software has had a transformative impact on their clients’ bottom lines. Whilst the financial recession forced many companies to take a hard look at their architectures, ServiceNow provided a faster, lightweight solution that attracted a host of major clients such as General Electric, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Siemens, and the NHS. Their approach is so exciting that they won the top spot on Forbes’ Most Innovative Companies of 2018 list.

Why is it so exciting?

Before the ServiceNow era, it was the norm for large companies to use expensive, enterprise-level software solutions to manage their IT networks and assets. Often, these systems would have to be managed by large internal teams with ongoing support from their suppliers. Software upgrades could be long, difficult and infrequent affairs that often render systems non-functional for short periods of time.

The success of the ServiceNow model is in its ability to take these large, unwieldy enterprise solutions and translate them into a software as a service model. This is no easy task. However, it resulted in a much more flexible solution that allowed companies to choose and pay for only the features they would use. As a cloud-based solution, ServiceNow is also able to upgrade their systems three times a year with next to no system downtime. With everything run at the provider end, their clients save money and manpower.

How do they innovate?

Innovation at ServiceNow is driven by a confident, techno-optimist culture that embraces change at a fundamental level. They believe that much industrial innovation is mired in an “human anxiety about being displaced by our own creations” and that innovation always ultimately leads to “sustained rises in living standards”. Their perspective is brought true in the success of the company, which is founded on embracing the very latest in cloud computing technologies and pushing the limits of what it can achieve.

In terms of the nuts and bolts of innovation, however, ServiceNow’s approach is closely aligned with the leading thinkers in the industry. They employ a peer-led, blended innovation approach that focuses around identified business demands:

“Transformative ideas can come from anywhere, including executives, business stakeholders, enterprise architects, service and application owners, and more. But, you need to find the right balance for your organisation. What you don’t want is a frenzy of ideas that are not aligned to the goals discussed”

Driving Radical Business Transformation, ServiceNow

ServiceNow even mentions the importance of creating a funnel for idea generation and management that streamlines the creative process into an execution-focussed pipeline. Most importantly, however, this process should be open to all, allowing for fresh perspectives on problems and engaging with skills and abilities across your organisation.

“It’s crucial to build a funnel of transformative ideas…[but] this is not just about capturing ideas. People must be able to collaborate, develop ideas, and turn ideas into demands. These ideation capabilities must be available for everyone—not just IT staff. And most importantly you need to define your governance process.”

To learn more about how we help clients develop effective idea funnels and blend them with project management capabilities, drop us a message in the chat below. We’d love to tell you all about our exciting innovation processes.

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