Global access to data is
exploding. At the same time, our ability to categorise, classify and
analyse this data is also expanding.
As this new world of
data unfolds, ServiceNow is there to enable businesses to create new
data models and their supporting data analytics functions to
directly and positively impact growth, profit and expansion.
But let’s go back to first principles for a moment. We know that
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) – when
correctly applied – can improve the way organisations work and
operate… but do organisations know where to start as they look to
create these new data models?
We – and by ‘we’ I mean you as
the customers, us at ServiceNow, as well as our partners, everybody
basically – need to ask where to categorise and compartmentalise
processes and functions to build new digital workflows.
need to examine which aspects of the business should be most
directly ‘exposed’ to AI. We also need to know what is and isn’t
possible in the short, medium and long term.
In other words,
we need to get smart about being smarter if we’re going to bring a
new era of business forward.
So what does smart really mean
in modern business terms? I think it is time to look at AI and
digital workflows through the lens of SMART (Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives.
When we use the word ‘specific’ and
demand a greater level of product or service specificity, we mean it
in the most granular sense possible.
We can’t just say we
need more paperclips, more salespeople, more office air conditioning
or more field sales automobiles. We need to ask what kind of
paperclip shape we need, what colour, what build strength and
perhaps even what level of ‘clippyness’ every clip needs to
When you are thinking about delivering AI and ML in
the business you have to be really focused on what you are trying to
achieve — and by that I mean you need to be able to tie down
specific use cases for each and every paperclip.
Getting smart with new digital
workflows also requires measurability. If you can’t measure it and
put it in your business plan and balance sheet (a process, a
service, a workflow element, anything at all) then you need to step
back and ask whether you should you really be doing it.
reality is that data is often captured and not ever used. It simply
falls unmeasured and unloved into the data lake. The real cost of
this is the ‘noise’ that is created throughout the business because
a) wasted data goes crashing into the lake and then b) the splashing
that occurs afterwards when users do actually realise that they have
to start diving into the lake to look for the data that they might
actually need in order to make work experiences better.
Attainability and relevancy
If an AI initiative is
not attainable or achievable, then why has it formed a part of your
current business strategy in the first place? Nowadays we can
forecast how far AI will realistically be able to change any given
business in real practical terms.
Similarly, if an AI
business initiative is not relevant to the business and not able to
exist within the context of the organisation’s current and immediate
goals, then it forms no sensible part of any smart business
Lastly, we come to timeliness. In the not
so distant past, business cycles and the general approach to
commercial objectives were typically annual. In this post-millennial
age, firms are measuring themselves in much smaller strategic
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and business
targets used to change year-on-year. Today, they might be calibrated
to change monthly, weekly or perhaps even on the basis of individual
(tickets) activities relating to individual jobs.
Your next steps
Our goal at ServiceNow is to get to a
point where every part of every business should be able to use smart
digital workflows to drive greater productivity, greater quality of
all services and greater experiences for all employees.
know that an increasing proportion of organisations is already
examining where they can bring AI to bear and create new value in
their business. We also know that many are already on that road and
creating new applications and new experiences.
matter most now include service quality, cost reduction, speedy
delivery and the need for geographical availability for all new
products and services. These are all the defining trends that should
be shaping the way we develop new digital workflows that leverage AI
What we are doing at ServiceNow is helping identify
areas for improvement not just before they start to lose profits and
market share but more significantly, before they start to actually
lose contracts. There’s a new culture for predictive business
strategy that we are underpinning and making possible.
is smarter if it is more productive and creating greater experiences
for everybody inside and outside your organisation. It’s where the
smart money is, believe me.