ServiceNow isn’t your typical Silicon Valley success story. The company wasn’t founded in a garage and its early days weren’t discussed in a dorm room. Rather, ServiceNow got its start in San Diego, with a group of founders and early employees who liked to meet for lunch at the local Red Robin.
Today, the vibe of its less-traditional beginnings still influences how the company operates.
1. Roots in the region
That’s one of the reasons ServiceNow made Chicago its first U.S.-based technology development center outside the West Coast. Beyond its San Diego start and even its Santa Clara headquarters, ServiceNow has close ties to the Midwest and believes deeply in the quality of talent there.
Founder Fred Luddy attended Indiana University, where “Luddy Hall” at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering now stands.
President and CEO John Donahoe grew up in suburban Chicago.
Chief Product Officer CJ Desai graduated from the Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
And four of the first five ServiceNow employees in Chicago relocated from the West Coast to be closer to family.
“Chicago is a top market for technologists – I'm always inspired by the new faces around the ServiceNow office and excited about the skills they bring," said Desai. “With ServiceNow’s huge growth, it’s important for us to be able to tap into the talent there.”
The proximity of universities that specialize in computer science and other technology degrees was especially compelling as Desai considered Chicago as a development center. The ServiceNow Chicago team started in early 2018 in a nearby co-work space but quickly outgrew its temporary digs. In early August, more than 60 employees moved into 176 N. Racine St. The new office was designed to foster creativity and collaboration and is located in the heart of one of Chicago’s most booming neighborhoods.
2: Some of the best and brightest
Brad Henderson, the CEO of P33, Chicago-based organization that partners with business, academia, other groups to turbocharge Chicago’s tech ecosystem and promote inclusive economic growth, agrees that Chicago boasts some of the country’s top tech talent.
“Chicago is home to some of the most accomplished computer scientists and engineers and is one of only a few cities in the U.S. with three, tier-one research universities. It’s no surprise that more and more companies are investing in the city. ServiceNow’s move to Chicago is a testament to the city’s strengths, and we’re thrilled that they are officially a part of Chicago’s tech ecosystem,” he said.
Chicago’s focus on technology is a great fit for ServiceNow’s expanding team there. ServiceNow works closely with several of the area’s universities to recruit talent, attending career fairs and hosting other events that help students learn more about opportunities. Members of area universities also joined ServiceNow to celebrate the new office opening on Sept. 20.
On a personal level, in 2018, Desai and his wife, Hina, lent their support to CJ’s alma mater to help increase representation of women in technology. The Desai’s endowed the “Desai Computer Science Fellowship” at the university to help the school recruit and retain top female graduate students, showing more than just a company commitment to technology talent there.
3: Technology in service of people
Perhaps the most notable thing that sets ServiceNow apart is the quality and type of work the teams there do. Engineers at ServiceNow work to solve different technology challenges than at other companies because ServiceNow’s Platform is not just another app; it continually evolves, grows and develops, with features like artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobile and more built in.
Engineers who work on the ServiceNow Platform appreciate the ability to directly impact ServiceNow’s customers with the features they create, the code they develop, the design they produce, and the quality they provide.
The word is out: Chicago is a terrific market for tech companies. Employees are seeking out great lifestyles, and they’re finding it in Chicago.
ServiceNow’s Vice President of Platform Engineering, Joe Davis, emphasizes why top talent there chooses ServiceNow. “At ServiceNow, our aspiration is to build a great, enduring company – one helps our customers create great experiences and unlock productivity – and employees who join us have the opportunity to make an impact every day.”