“No application is safe. I’m telling you, name any application we use and I could rebuild it better on this platform. This could replace SAP."

John didn’t have to respond. His “you’re crazier than a shithouse rat” look was well practiced by this point in our friendship. In hindsight, tilting at SAP may have been carrying it a little far but hey, where would we be if we never looked at things and thought of what they might be. About 4 years have passed since then and frustratingly the promise of the ServiceNow platform still seems trapped by the successes of the ITSM product.

Victim of Its Own Success

When I look at the ServiceNow app store, I see a lot of integrations, some utilities, and couple true standalone apps that bring new business functionality. In fact, when I have spoken to most partners about their efforts in the app space or expanding outside of ITSM, the response has been lukewarm at best. They have their hands full staffing implementation projects and most integrations are still largely focused on IT automation.

Don’t get me wrong, this is great news! Business is booming, ServiceNow is growing insanely fast, and best of all my skills are in high demand. But as some have pointed out, ITSM is a crowded market, ServiceNow has to keep the growth going, and some potential customers are intimidated by the cost of licensing. The answer to this of course is CreateNow and deeper engagement with the platform beyond ITSM, but where does that leave us when many are reluctant to aggressively pursue this space.

The answer to this of course is CreateNow and deeper engagement with the platform beyond ITSM

Driving Engagement

In Q4 2015, ServiceNow reported a $25B market opportunity in Enterprise Service Management (you know, everything as a service). But you have to go back to the Q4 2014 report to see that $16B of that opportunity is tied up in CreateNow. Even ServiceNow knows that this is the bread winner (an argument could be made that Fred Luddy knew the platform was the bread winner from the start).

Customers and potential customers are already aware that this opportunity exists in the form of increased ROI from ServiceNow via consolidating applications and reducing cost-of-ownership. Ahem: removing old applications and replacing them with ServiceNow. The struggle is in how to accomplish that.

It’s not an easy path, we have to adopt new modes of thinking. IT often struggles with understanding “the business” but that is exactly what we must begin doing. It is insufficient to simply replace a maintenance system, logistics application, or a training tool with a “cloud ready” replacement. Real cost savings come from applications that work and there are plenty of applications out there that don’t.

Early in this transition we will have to fight for the trust of the business by eliminating their most hated applications and improving their most frustrating processes. And as users begin wanting to engage with the ServiceNow platform, the opportunities will present themselves.

A New Hope

It has been very interesting over the last year watching as ServiceNow partners get absorbed by multinational and other larger consulting firms. I think it is still too soon to say what this means for those companies and whether it will have any impact on their ability or desire to enter this space.

However, I have a lot of hope in seeing new partners emerging like Nathan Firth’s NewRocket and Robert Fedoruk’s WolfPack. There seems to be a new breed of design focused, passionate, excellence-driven teams out there on the bleeding edge. These are very exciting times for the ServiceNow platform.

The activity has inspired my inner idealist to jump out there on the edge with them and Code Creative is coming with me for the ride. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Don my Quixote and get back to these giants.