A Top Notch Play In The Cloud Software Mega-Trend

While it's not the most glamorous thing in the world, all businesses - particularly large scale enterprises - need efficient service operations.

What if an employee's computer won't boot up? What if someone needs a new monitor? What if an associate requires access to a software system? These are just a very small subset of potential IT-related problems employees face every day. Reporting, tracking, managing, and resolving these requests can be a complex process that frequently frustrates both employee ("why is this taking so long?!") and IT manager ("don't they know the process for reporting these?!").

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Of course, IT is just one - albeit the most prevalent - department where service requests are routed. Human Resources departments have to manage employee requests and questions every day, as well: "How do I change my tax withholding?"... "There was an error in my paycheck!"... "Where do I go to check my 401(k)?"... and so forth.

Similar service management is needed for customers, too. Requests come in daily for warranty issues, product information requests, billing info updates, etc.

Historically to solve these issues, enterprises have come up with all kinds of systems, most of them specific to certain areas with little to no integration into a single whole. For example, to request new hardware, you may have had to use one system, vs. a completely different system to request software access permissions. Not only is the frustrating and confusing for users, but it saps productivity and efficiency from organizations as a whole.

Over the past decade, one company has stepped into this void and made a huge impact. Let's take a closer look at ServiceNow (NOW).

Revamping Corporate Service Processes

ServiceNow offers enterprises an integrated, cloud-delivered platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that allow them to design service processes from a top-down perspective, integrating a lot of formerly separated tasks.

The company's software was initially focused on IT. ServiceNow offers a consumer-like help desk experience, allowing requesters to easily request new services, report problems, and incidents, etc. On the back-end, it performs automated categorization of requests, routing to the appropriate department, and assignment of work to facilitate a faster solution.

This is the best of both worlds. It offers the employee with a problem a one-stop place to go to report that problem, while also automatically handling the management work of finding the right department and people to solve the issue.

The platform can do a lot of other things, as well. For example, ServiceNow provides asset and cost management, allowing a firm to catalog EVERY IT asset (computer, laptop, monitor, server, etc.) it owns, monitoring the health, current configuration, and update status of said asset. It also provides a wealth of dashboard and reporting tools for high-level views of service organization performance, as well as software APIs for companies to develop their own applications off of the ServiceNow platform.

IT continues to be ServiceNow's bread-and-butter, accounting for about 2/3rds (66%) of revenues. But the firm has also seen much success pushing its platform into other departments of the enterprise. Three departments in particular - Human Resources, Security, and Customer Service - are natural service-heavy organizations to expand into. These three areas - lumped into "Emerging Products" - already account for close to 30% of revenues.

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