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Sharing a Compelling Vision for ServiceNow

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Your Host:

Sean Dawson

Our Guest:

Stacey Fournier-Thibodaux

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In this first episode of The Distillery, Stacey Fournier-Thibodaux shares her insights on the transformational impact of ServiceNow, underscoring the need for a clear vision, cost justification, and stakeholder engagement. Moving beyond IT, she advocates changing the perception of ServiceNow to a broader service management system and encourages continuous innovation. Tune in to learn how to leverage ServiceNow for efficient business solutions.

Summary
  • The podcast, hosted by Sean, features a guest named Stacey Fournier-Thibodaux who has an extensive background in service management, being ITIL Master certified, and having owned and grown one of the most successful ServiceNow platforms over 10 years.
  • Stacy brought HR and IT portfolio management together before it became mainstream and introduced 70 other internal business teams onto the ServiceNow platform.
  • She transitioned from platform ownership to consulting to help others achieve platform excellence and has spent the last seven years in executive positions with elite ServiceNow partners.
  • The primary discussion point in this podcast is the importance of a compelling vision for ServiceNow within an organization.
    • Stacy underscores the need for a clear vision to manage the platform efficiently and get people invested in its utility.
    • She highlights how ServiceNow’s robust functionality necessitates a clear vision for people to understand its different components and their interplay.
  • They touch upon the transformative effect of using ServiceNow, which brings excitement and energy to their work, especially as they begin to understand the potential of the platform.
  • Justifying cost is also discussed as an essential aspect of implementing ServiceNow.
    • Stacy advocates looking at the total cost of ownership and the potential savings from reducing waste, automating processes, and streamlining operations.
    • She gives examples from her experience, such as saving a government agency a million dollars in waste and another company preparing for a large-scale retirement by considering automation and process streamlining rather than replacing retiring employees one for one.
  • Regarding the fear of automation, Stacy suggests adopting a growth mindset, learning new skills, and being open to reinventing oneself as certain tasks get automated. She insists automation can free up individuals to focus on more valuable work and thus shouldn’t be feared.

The second half of the conversation between Sean and Stacy revolves around the topic of technological innovation, automation, stakeholder engagement, and the use of ServiceNow.

  • Stacy speaks about the need for continuous innovation within companies and the importance of using technology to eliminate wastage and free up employees for more productive tasks.
  • The conversation then moves on to the challenge of creating spaces for stakeholders to discuss their issues, specifically referring to the ServiceNow platform and its potential in various business units beyond just IT.
  • Stacy emphasizes that the perception of ServiceNow needs to change from just a ’helpdesk’ tool to a broader service management system.
  • Stacy suggests that it’s essential to show the value and versatility of the ServiceNow platform to other departments, including procurement.
  • She recommends practices like "lunch and learns" to create awareness about ServiceNow’s capabilities.
  • Stacy also addresses the issue of redundant technology and ’siloed’ systems in businesses. She emphasizes understanding business requests and leveraging platforms like ServiceNow for faster, more efficient solutions.
  • Towards the end, Stacy emphasizes the importance of having a roadmap even if it’s not funded, and using this as a guiding document to keep track of desired outcomes.
  • Sean wraps up the discussion by summarizing key points like the importance of vision, cost savings, engaging business stakeholders, promoting the capabilities of ServiceNow, and the significance of having a roadmap.
 
Transcript

Sean: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Cask Distillery podcast, where we unlock the full potential of ServiceNow with expert insights and practical strategies, only here on the Cask Distillery podcast. And I have with me a very special guest: Stacey Fournier-Thibodaux. And Stacy has had an extensive background. It’s actually so extensive, I’ve gotta read my list here because there’s a lot here, and I wanna make sure we get as much value outta this as we can. 

So she comes with a 20-year background in service management, ITIL Master certified, is one of the very first visionary ServiceNow platform owners. Owned and grew one of the most successful platforms in the ecosystem over 10 years. Brought 70 other internal business teams onto the platform as well. That is a ton of people and really value that you brought to your organization. And then from there, you came over to lead consulting and coach others on how to achieve platform excellence and really realize the potential to lead their organizations as well. And currently, Stacy sits on Cask’s executive team.

Welcome, Stacy. Thanks for joining me here to talk about our subject, which is sharing a compelling vision for ServiceNow. So, thank you for joining me and taking time.

Stacey: Thanks for having me, Sean. 

Sean: So, let’s get right into it, cuz there’s a few questions I think we might drill down into. And the whole point of this podcast is really to provide an authentic view on your thoughts and get some thought leadership around, again, sharing a compelling vision. So let’s start out with a basic thing here, is why does vision matter in regards to ServiceNow and an organization?

Stacey: Yeah, that is a great question. I think, you know, when I was a platform owner, there was no vision, really, for me around ServiceNow. It was, like, just this idea that we could get a product that we could actually implement mostly ourselves. And we didn’t have to go through a lot of different hoops and things to do. It was fairly easy to put solutions on it.

But over time, I started to realize I really had something that people were interested in, right? So at the, kind of, again, at the beginning, I wouldn’t temporarily known that I bought it as a service management help desk, service desk tool, like a lot of people do. But when I started to realize how many business solutions you could actually put on there, I realized I need to be able to manage, you know, our, both of our intake process, where we’re going, a roadmap and things like that. But I had to have people come along with me, you know. Ultimately, you have to have people interested in what you’re trying to do. They have to see where you’re going to really buy into it, or else they’re going to, you know, naysay it or maybe, you know, just not believe in what you’re trying to do. So there’s a lot of things around vision that are important that I found over time.

So, one of the reasons I got into consulting was so I can kind of turn around and show people what it took me a long time to figure out. But it’s become even more important now because ServiceNow is so robust in its functionality, just even right out of the box that, you know, if you don’t have a vision around where it’s going, it makes it a little more difficult for people to really be interested in all the different parts and pieces and how they really come together. 

So, that’s just kind of, you know, the start of that. Obviously, we work with a ton of clients who are, you know, either in the middle of, I mean, we have clients that have been on the platform for 10, 12 years. But they might be starting over or starting to expand it finally. They might be going even further than they’ve ever gone. Or newer clients that are just starting to embark on it now, but they have big ideas and big dreams of where they wanna go. So, really putting that vision together or putting on paper and kind of in your, you know, something that you’re gonna say in every room that you’re in, this is where we’re going. And getting people to get excited about that. The why: Why are we doing it, right? We wanna, you know, improve our operations. We wanna streamline things. We wanna make it easier. You know, a lot of things are on digital transformation and really actually transform. We wanna have data that proves that what we’re doing—we’re gonna do all of these things, and we’re gonna do it on the platform. We’re gonna enable level ServiceNow. Being able to get people excited about where you wanna go is so critical to be able to get the buy-in to actually go there. 

Sean: I find the—it’s funny, you mentioned excitement. It totally does. The excitement is a big thing to me as well—is me being a client architect at Cask—is that excitement is key to get people to invest their time cuz everybody’s got a day job.

Everybody’s gotta be motivated and find a way to do things and look at things in a different way. And if there’s an excitement level there, it makes it all that much more fun to me. And it’s fun watching people transform.  I hate digital transformation as far as the term, but it’s true. They’re transforming what they’re seeing. They get excited about it. I absolutely love it. It’s great. 

Stacey: I just wanna add to it that, you know, it is hard if people haven’t seen the transformation that you’re talking about, right? And it’s so interesting when people kind of, you know, they use the term like “drink the Kool-Aid” or something like that, but when they actually see it and feel it, that’s when they fall in love with the platform, right? It’s literally like a rewarding—we like to say, like, intrinsically rewarding—kind of thing, because the hopes and dreams that you have, you can enable that on the platform. You can release people to do other things because you automate, you know, waste. You streamline things. You make it easier for people to do this type of work and sometimes free them up to do other work, right? 

So, when they feel that, then they really get excited about that. So, it’s fun to be able to see that in our clients—even our new clients—if you get them even just a little bit for, you know, into their journey and they start to feel that, it just builds momentum, right? You see that you have momentum-building activity happening inside of all of their organizations. 

Sean: Yeah. And you’d mentioned when you were talking about the excitement and the reason for a vision, you had mentioned something that kind of popped up to me, and you said data. When I thought about data, I was also thinking about—you can have a great vision, but there’s also the justifying-the-cost side. And I kind of wanted to see how you thought about justifying the cost and how can platform owners think about that in order to get the vision across to leadership and show ’em “This will benefit us.” What are your thoughts on justifying cost? 

Stacey: Oh, we could do a whole podcast just on justifying cost. I mean, ultimately, people don’t think—when we think about software, sometimes that that’s the price, right? You wanna compare, you know, this price of this to this price of that, or, you know, the—and you can do that. You can say, “Hey, with ServiceNow . . .” and “I did that in my past.” “Hey, we had five disparate systems, we condense them into one.” Here’s the bottom line: You know, if you know basic math, you’re just, it’s just a few addition and subtraction problems, right?

But when you’re really thinking about the total cost of ownership and how many people you’re gonna have on your team and how many vendors you need to use, it starts to get really big, really fast. But when you really think about what you can accomplish, and you think about the literal waste-reducing activity, that’s expensive, right? The cost of not doing it often far exceeds anywhere near the cost of actually doing it, right? And people get stuck in that analysis paralysis when they’re not able to really quantif what it really costs to sit there in that—those motions, right? 

And so I think about, like—one of my examples I always like to share as a client that I had, that had, they, it was a very longevity-based company. The last, you know, the next five years, they were expecting to see about 50 percent of their total IT team retire. That’s fast, right? Losing people that worked at your company your whole, you know, the whole time you’ve been in existence, and now they’re gonna leave, right? And it’s like, even when you think about that, you can honor what they’ve done. You can honor their careers and all these things. But you have to look at what they’re leaving as, “Are we really gonna replace all these people one for one? We’re just like, ‘Oh, hey, Jim. Okay, you’re leaving. Connor, you’re coming here.’” You know, whatever. Right? It doesn’t make sense to do that, right? To be able to more critically look at work and say, “Hey, like, how much of these things that people are doing are things that we could automate, we could streamline, we could make it different. We can, you know, we can stop swivel chair, we can get rid of this system because, you know, so-and-so was the only person who really knew how to use it anyway, and it sat on a personal PC under their desk, right? So, this—that’s just one example, but you, if you really think about what it takes to even execute one request end to end, it’s—it can be incredibly expensive.

So, you know, I can think of another example with a government agency I worked with where we looked at one process end to end. We used a lean approach to look at a waste walk to see what they were doing. And we literally found a million dollars in waste in one government process. 

Sean: Wow.

Stacey: And that happens when people aren’t—it’s no, you know, not the fault of the people doing it. They just—they’re just doing their work every single day. So when somebody else sometimes comes in and says, “Hey, like, let me take a peek. Right? What you doing there?” And they’re like, “Oh, I’m logging into the system,” or “I’m, I’m gonna walk this over to so-and-so’s desk.” That is all expensive.

So we were able to do that. And I mean that. Just a couple examples of things that I can think of offhand that really relate back to the cost of, you know, doing and not doing this type of investment. And companies have to look at it really holistically to understand it.

Sean: Yeah. And you mentioned something in there: when you’re talking about looking at the—how you look at the cost, but you’re also looking at automating and making sure you’re optimal. Regarding automation, though, have you found people get fearful when you talk about automation? Meaning, like, you know, people fear job—like, “Oh, I’m gonna be replaced by AI or ML,” or whatever it is. Have you found a way to address the fear of automation throughout your consulting time?

Stacey: Yeah, I mean, that’s why one of the things that I really like about what I can do or what I’ve done in my job that I think that’s the way that Cask thinks anyway. Cask is a growth-mindset type of company, right? We’re always encouraging people to add skills and grow and, you know, I’ve never been afraid of someone, you know, coming with me and learning what I do. Because I’ll just go and do something else. That’s just fine, right? I can always find a way to reinvigorate or reinvent myself. And I think that’s a mindset that is something that people need to kind of embrace, right?

So it’s like, you know, am I worried that somebody is going to automate parts of my job? I hope not, because I should be excited about the things I can do if they do that right? You know what? Most people are in that kind of mindset where they wish they could do other things, but they’re spending so much time, you know, doing something manual: sending the emails, reminders, sending more emails, going and checking. I mean, there’s a lot of things in ServiceNow that are really request-based, time-based, you know? Things around, you know, anything you can audit. Anything you can put on a, you know, all of that can just go in there. So it’s like being able to eliminate those things and then use, you know, your own ability and work with your leadership team to work on your own development. It’s like, “Hey, where am I going? What can I do to innovate at our company to do the next cool thing at the company,” right? Just doing the same thing is not really—it’s not really very 2023 of us, right? So, you kinda have to—kind of keep it moving, right?

So I think it’s just getting people out of that fear. It’s like, using technology is not—you know, you see it from time to time—but generally not to eliminate a person. It’s to eliminate that waste to free up people to do some of the other things that they’re not able to do because they’re so busy.

Sean: Yeah. So, when I think about automation, I start—I kind of always think about stakeholders and what, you know, who makes the play into all this. And one of the things I see as a challenge for organizations—and I know you have, too—is “How do we create the space for stakeholders to discuss their issues?”

Stacey: Are you—so, just to clarify your question, are you asking stakeholders of IT to discuss their issues from a technological sense or— 

Sean: No, it would be stakeholders across the organization overall. Great question. Not just IT, but let’s say IT had, you know, everybody knows, you know, ServiceNow is an IT service management ticketing system type thing, but how do we get it so where we’re conversing with other business units, stakeholders? Cuz we—it’s such a—we know it’s a wide platform, and it’s got a lot of capability, but I’m running into people all the time that have no clue that it did legal service delivery or—HR really can do anything. 

But how do we get those conversations started was my point to that. How do we get IT to start thinking bigger or platform owners to start thinking bigger, and who else can they talk to in the organization, and creating a space for that?

Stacey: Yeah, I think, you know, there’s a few different levels of that that we see in clients. There are the clients that—they still—their company still sees it as a help desk or a service desk tool. They might not even be on a broader, more developed service management journey. Just even in integrating service management processes might be the next thing for them.

But then you’ve got really this kind of ability to make it a cornerstone product in IT, when you really think about ITOM and all the security aspects of IT, asset management, things like that. Great. So now, if you got your IT department kind of bought into that, then it’s like, okay, what about all the workflow pieces, right? And even if you’re talking about employee workflows, if you’re talking about customer workflows, any of those things, it’s—they’re not always gonna—they’re not gonna think about ServiceNow unless you’ve been able to show some value over there or you specifically went out and did, you know, an RFP or something that was related to procuring it for that purpose, right?

So I totally understand where you’re coming from. You have to be able to, you know, again, with that vision, with kind of that definition of what you want this thing to be, you have to show other people what that is, right? Some of that might mean, you know, doing, you know, innovative conversations or doing lunch and learns or things like that with certain people.

RESUME HERE [14:42]

Procurement office is a great example. Procurement office. Absolutely. Should know what ServiceNow can and will do. That is one of the key ones because they see people requesting things all the time coming across their desk. So if they don’t even think the ServiceNow—cause their brand has helped this tool, it’s this very technical solution for it—they’re not gonna name it, and they’re gonna let people go and buy other things. And there’s nothing more frustrating as a platform owner to see something come out that you’re like, “Oh my gosh, we could have done that in ServiceNow and that it probably would’ve been cheaper, easier, faster, and it would’ve integrated with all the other things that we’re trying to trying to show and would’ve been a best, you know, solution coming into the platform.”

So being able to find the people that kind of need to have it, but you do have to have the marketing around it. You have to define it really as a service or application, however you wanna do it and, you know, really promote the additional capabilities of it in to anyone that will listen to you in any format that’s available to you, depending on your company.

Sean: Yeah, totally, hear you. And this is kind of—a lot of these questions are Venn diagramming a little bit together. Yeah. But, you know, we, we talk about, you know, showing people what we can innovate with via, like, lunch and learns and other avenues. And you kind of mentioned it earlier, cuz otherwise you start getting these silos of tools where you could have it on a singular platform.

Do you have any tips for those of the listeners that are out there that might be struggling with other groups buying redundant tech? You know, going siloed? And again, you’ve kind of shared a little bit, but I wondered if you had any specific things that you’ve seen to help with people that are in that place where they’re kind of fighting redundant tech or even rogue tech or homegrown versus built. You know what I mean? Just other tools when they could have done it in a consolidated location and got a better ROI for the overall organization. Any thoughts on that?

Stacey: Yeah, totally. I mean, I think that, you know, it depends on where, sometimes, where the platform owner sets instead of a company, you know? Do they understand the process to even under—you know—understand from the business what their requests are? Because if you don’t have visibility to that, you’re definitely missing the vote. And then, you know, the rest of the IT department potentially is working with the business to answer their requests.

Right. But it’s still all prioritized, it still all costs money. Right. So the ability to really think about the platform, as a gonna say it, it’s gonna be faster than a lot of other things that it might be using just in the more momentum, back to momentum-building kind of stuff. The more momentum you can get, the really, the faster you can go. 

Like, one of my favorite things as a platform owner was when people were just kind of starting to come out with Agile. We had a lot of development teams internally that were using Agile, and I was like, “What’s this Agile? My team’s already, like, the best,” you know, like every leader likes to think. Right. And it was funny because when we took Agile training, we actually were like, “Wow, we actually can go way faster if we use Agile because we don’t have as many touch points outside of our team.” Like, the other development teams might be with a, you know, a master data team or a financial team or all the stuff. They had so many things that they need to think about when putting in a solution, where we were just more insulated and we could go, you know, that fast. So, being able to understand, okay, who’s asking? Who’s asking it? Or are we asking or telling? First of all, are we in a position that the business is listening to us talk about the solutions we have, or are they just like, “Hey, it knock, knock, we need stuff”?

And understanding that and then being able to help get into that mechanism so that you can be a, you know, a servicer of those requests, right? That’s a big part of it, because a lot of times, I think as, you know, as platform owners, we are looking internally, and we’ve got a lot of things that we wanna do, especially if you’re an IT service management platform owner. You wanna mature your service management processes. You wanna do, you know, IT stuff for the business, right? And you may not have really realized as much if you haven’t gotten into the more mature parts of service management that service management is about. Defining and helping figure out what the it is, what it is doing for the business in general. It’s not just operations. Yeah. So it’s like, if you’re not in that, you know there’s a lot to do there. Plus now you’ve got, you know, a customer that’s of your platform, right? So even, like, prioritizing helping figure out how to put all your stuff together so you can really answer to both, right? And prioritize both. 

But anyway, so, my point would be, you know, sometimes it’s hard to look outside of your space, but really going and getting into that, you know, demand process and understanding how people are accessing or requesting things of it, yeah, and how it is going into the business and enabling them when they don’t even know with something, even if they don’t know they need it. So, yeah. 

Sean: You could kind of—I’m kind of putting the dots together from what you’re saying, which I absolutely love—is you, we talked about, you know, the trying to find a way to share the innovation lunch and learn, whatever that is, but then also building a place where you can intake the demand, which you could do on ServiceNow, or, gosh, just use a form or something, or a rec. You know, you could do with so many different ways, but it’s providing—the safe space could be just an easy, knowledgeable location of where to put these so it can be disseminated out to the different business units and become the guiding light of that and be taking that in. It’s—there’s a lot there. There’s so much there. 

Yeah. So, I wanna wrap this up with one last question, and this is a little vague, but—I have a feeling you’re gonna have an answer to this that you might think of—is what, as a platform owner speaking to our audience, you know, what in your career would you have done differently with ServiceNow as a platform owner? Not necessarily in your career. Yeah. But as a platform owner, what is something that you could pull out of your, just, vast knowledge and saying, “This is what I would’ve done differently or consider differently? Is there anything you can think of? 

Stacey: I absolutely had a roadmap. Even if it wasn’t funded it, I would put everything on paper that I wanted to do that and with the understanding that I could move things around, but that I act. I understood more where I wanted to go: not just where the world pulled me to, but where I wanted to go. So then, even from that—cause if you do that and you get your roadmap put together and you’re like, “Okay, this is how I’m gonna, this is the roadmap I want. I’m gonna enable it through, obviously, funding people.” 

You know, there’s a lot of ways that you gotta do that. But to be able to have that anchor documen, when I’ve done this for other clients, and I, I’ve seen lots of these, and Cask does a really nice job on these. But when I’ve done these for other clients, my favorite thing is when they—I had one client where they printed it out, and every time I came, they had it printed and the corners were all frayed, and it had, like, a coffee stain on it. And this is so cool because they saw so much value in the roadmap that I put together, and they were using it when I wasn’t there to talk to people about what they were doing. So, right. And it’s like, I just think about how powerful that is to have that kinda guiding document that will help you, um, you know, anchor back to what you really wanna get done.

And, and again, it can be fluid. It can, you know, you can take things and move it out. I don’t even always put, um, exact dates on it. Sometimes I do, like now, next-later kind of stuff. Yeah. And then, of course, you gotta have your backlog. And it can be long, right? It can be wide. But I think that would be my key thing is to have. Even iteration. One of our roadmap is something I would recommend to any platform owner.

Sean: That’s awesome. I, actually, I can visualize it. Like, it’s an honor to be able to have somebody with a roadmap that it’s just totally messed up, cuz they’ve been using it so much. I love that. I love that. Yeah.

So, to wrap this up, I wanna wrap up with a couple of points that you’ve made. Is that, really vision matters because you can’t go it alone. Be able to get people excited about where you want to go is crucial to actually getting there. Yes, cost savings is so much greater than just the technology spend. You have to look at it in relation to process waste and a more holistic opportunity. Yes. 

And finally, a couple more is business stakeholders don’t always think about ServiceNow as an option. Yes. Innovative conversations or lunch and learns are critical to proactively, really, spreading awareness and promote the capabilities. And service management is not about defining and providing services to the business, not just delivering on operational needs and actively use your roadmap to show and share your vision. 

So great to have you, Stacy. Really appreciate your time. And for those of you that are watching, thanks for watching the Cask Distillery podcast. There’s more to come. If you have comments or suggestions or things you’d like to see from from us, do more of, or more time with Stacy, we’d be glad to do it. Thank you for joining us, and have a great day.

Stacey: Thank you.

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We’re with you for what comes next

You're working in a rapidly shifting environment.

Global dynamics, AI advancements, heavy competition–the only certainty is change.

We get it. And we’re here to help you harness the full potential of ServiceNow to simplify transformation.

Let's navigate the future together.

ServiceNow-Partner-Badges
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