ServiceNow has bold ambitions across the telecommunications space

ServiceNow has its tentacles in various verticals as it works to become the top digital workflow assurance company, and its now taking a more targeted approach at communications service providers.

ServiceNow's software enables work flows that span verticals such as field management, finance, HR, IT service management (ITSM), legal, marketing, telecommunications, and more.

"From a company perspective, we are a SaaS cloud platform with a single data model, a single tech stack, a single architecture, running on 11 paired data centers around the world," said ServiceNow's Chris Bauschka, general manager of telecommunications media and technology business. "The way that we run the platform business is we have different applications on top of that platform that handle customer service, IT operations, and handle employee experience, And then we have a number of different customer engagement channels and tools.

"On the southbound side, we have the ability to connect into all of your different OSS systems, monitoring systems and infrastructure."

ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott, who was CEO of SAP until leaving that position in October, said on the company's second quarter earnings call earlier this month that ServiceNow was destined to become a $10-billion company, which would be a leap up from its current value of just under $4 billion.

On the earnings call, McDermott said ServiceNow scored 40 deals greater than $1 million during Q2 for a total of 964 customers paying more than $1 million annually. Some of ServiceNow's high profile customers include Disney, Goldman Sachs, Zoom, and JP Morgan.

For service providers, ServiceNow works with OSS vendors such as Amdocs and Netcracker to provide service assurance and monitoring

"What we see with operators using ServiceNow is really as the service management, or the ticketing, or the kind of trouble management resolution process within service assurance," Bauschka said. "In order to do that effectively—to monitor and resolve issues—you need those integrations into both the monitoring systems that are sitting out there, as well as the OSS or the network inventory systems.

"So our model is very much is to interoperate with the OSS players like the Amdocs and Netcrackers that are experts in that network inventory space. On our side, when we're doing the trouble management or the service management side, we need the context of inventory. We need the context of the policies and devices and services that come from those network inventory systems."

ServiceNow, which was founded in 2003 as Glidesoft, uses a configuration database to tie the inventory systems together in order, for example, to see which customers are individually affected by an outage based on the alarms that are going off in a network.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based ServiceNow is being used by service providers such as BT, Vodafone, Telstra, Optus, Tata Communications, Orange Business Services and Proximus, among others. Vodafone was able to reduce its operating costs by 45% in the company's service operations by using ServiceNow.

In June, ServiceNow announced two new telecommunications offerings Telecommunications Service Management and Telecommunications Network Performance Management to provide new workflows to connect customer service and network operations.

"Those two products together are used in a customer care environment in terms of managing the customer initiated workflows from a trouble resolution process and from a customer facing perspective, but also in the NOC in the assurance domain in terms of managing of resolutions," Bauschka said.

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The two new products include telecommunications-specific applications for proactive customer care and automated service assurance. In January, ServiceNow announced Accenture as its go-to-market partner for its telecommunications solutions while BT is working with ServiceNow as its design partner. Bauschka said ServiceNow has also adopted the TM Forum's open API standard to help it connect to OSS and monitoring systems.

A platform of platforms

 While ServiceNow is expanding its presence in the telecommunications sector, its workflow software can span various verticals.  Bauschka said ServiceNow, which racked up 18 acquisitions dating back to 2013, was being used by numerous enterprise IT shops around the world.

"If you look at traditional IT organizations across enterprises, ServiceNow has largely been the service management and IT operations standard," he said. "That's actually part of our motivation to invest more deeply in telecommunications because of the strong parallel for what we've done historically  in the core networks of IT shops.

"Enterprise CIOs have to manage both their own IT environment and they have to manage the core communication services. They want one conversation with the operator in terms of managing IT and managing their network in the same way. Since they're often already using ServiceNow from an IT perspective, the conversations with a lot of CIOs to the operators are 'We want to be able to use our own ServiceNow to manage the communication services and network services. "

Bauschka said operators, such as BT and Vodafone, see using ServiceNow with enterprise customers who are also using it as an advantage because they can tie-in their operations by using ServiceNow's IT Service Management platform.

"They're (service providers) saying 'You know, if we can make it easier to tie our operations directly into the customer that's better for us. We'll win more market share, we'll win those RFPs, and we'll reduce attrition,'" he said. "They're really in the forefront of wanting to work with ServiceNow, especially on that connection to their enterprise customers."