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Helping businesses navigate the biggest challenges of the hybrid work era

Helping businesses navigate the biggest challenges of the hybrid work era

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Many modern organisations are now operating with a hybrid workplace model. While there are many benefits to this approach, there are also challenges – particularly when it comes to providing a positive employee experience. We hear from Nerys Mutlow, Evangelist, Chief Innovation Office, ServiceNow, about the company’s latest innovations and how it is delivering on its aim to make work, work better for people.

ServiceNow, a leading digital workflow company, has announced its Now Platform Rome release.

The latest version of the Now Platform delivers hundreds of innovations designed to empower organisations to adapt to the hybrid work era – evolving business models, managing the employee fatigue crisis and scaling automation and app development across the enterprise.

Intelligent CIO spoke to Nerys Mutlow, Evangelist, Chief Innovation Office, ServiceNow, about how the platform aims to deliver a seamless experience that keeps employees engaged and productive.

What does a typical workplace look like for today’s enterprises?

The typical workplace is very different across different industries. There are those such as retail and healthcare where many employees have remained at the frontline, so that typical workplace hasn’t really changed from an environment perspective, although they have faced the added complication of workplace safety.

Then we have the remote, hybrid workplace. Overnight, so many of us who came into the office ended up working from home full-time. Places like contact centres where there used to be huge amounts of people in a single building are now all remote or a hybrid of the two.

Across all those industries, there is a common theme around the fact that it is a hybrid world. Being able to cater for the many different industries, workplaces, locations and personal preferences is something that’s a bit of a challenge for organisations today.

How has the move to a hybrid workplace impacted enterprises and, importantly, their employees?

There’s a need to keep employees connected to enable them to be productive and that was very front of mind on day one. How do we give people the tools and technologies they need and how do we stay connected to those people, keeping the great cultures that we’ve been creating in the workplace, but really move that into that remote world?

Microsoft Teams, for example, has been a great platform to connect and collaborate with and we think it’s important to embed ServiceNow native capability into it. This is our Employee Centre, which is that one-stop shop for getting access to services you need, binding information that’s relevant to you, raising requests for things and getting pushed tasks that are relevant to you.

That has to be contextual and personalised because people have become quite frazzled over the last 18 months.

At ServiceNow we’re trying to make it as seamless and frictionless as possible. One example is onboarding which is a big transition. How can we make that a really great experience in the hybrid world or in the physical world? The best people to really drive that type of experience are the people, like the HR department as they hear feedback from the new hires and are now empowered with the tools to build out new workflows to continually improve those journeys.

Employee experience and employee productivity are big challenges and ones that we’ve stepped up to. For us it’s about working smarter, not necessarily harder.

Why is it so important that enterprises invest in digital experiences for their employees?

If you think about the workplace today, there are now five generations of people. And whether you’re in Gen Z, or in your 60s or 70s, we all expect a really good experience because we get that in our consumer life.

When you need to get a new mobile phone or do your shopping, you do it online, speak with a virtual agent and self-serve. When everything else fails you might pick up the phone and speak to somebody and we expect a really seamless, minimal click, personalised experience. We’re taking that model and applying that to the enterprise.

Everybody wants that good experience because there’s always going to be another company that does it better. If you can’t give your employees a good experience and enable them to be at their most brilliant, then they’re going to go and find a company where they can and that company could be your competitor.

Can you talk us through ServiceNow’s Rome release, highlighting some of the gaps in the market that it addresses and what customers can expect?

Employee Center serves as the digital command centre for the hybrid workforce. It provides a single, connected interface for employees to quickly and easily find personalised information, complete tasks, get help and request services across departments – including IT, HR, facilities, procurement and legal – all in one place.

Organisations can easily curate information and services into dynamic, personalised topic pages that make it easy for employees to find the answers they need.

Employee Journey Management guides employees through the moments that matter with connected experiences for cross-departmental journeys like onboarding, work transitions and offboarding. It also empowers HR teams and managers to personalise resources, plans and needs – all on the same platform.

Automation Discovery identifies the top 10 opportunities for automating work from more than 180 topics with ServiceNow applications, such as Virtual Agent, Auto Routing and Agent Assist.

Health Log Analytics Enhancements helpsdetect issues before they occur and impact users, as well as automates issue resolution, by using ITOM Predictive AIOps. This extends ServiceNow ITOM Predictive AIOps – previously launched with the Now Platform Quebec release – and is built on Loom Systems’ innovative technology.

To address the needs of an increasingly on-the-go workforce, ServiceNow is introducing Mobile App Builder, allowing developers to rapidly build and configure engaging mobile apps for iOS and Android with a single intuitive interface, enhanced functionality and guided experiences.

The Now Platform Rome release also helps businesses across every industry solve issues fast and deliver better customer experiences, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. The new Customer Service Playbooks: Focused Layout enhances the user experience and allows agents to resolve issues fast, so they can focus on key process tasks and data that drive better business outcomes.

Can you share any examples of this technology in action and the benefits realised?

A good example of a customer that’s using our technology is Mercedes Benz. They have been looking at using our platform for driving Digital Transformation and digitising processes that span the enterprise. They’ve realised how important it is to focus on user experience and they want to make sure that there is this centralised portal for their employees to go to.

When we spoke with them, they were saying that the Employee Center will help take them to that next level and allow employees to consume all those digitised processes and services from that single view, which means they’re not wasting time getting work done.

They can focus their time on those value-add activities or come up with new car designs or for servicing the end customer.

What are the business benefits of investing in technology that prioritises people?

I always say it’s not technology that drives innovation, it’s people who have brilliant ideas and they leverage technology for innovative solutions.

If you start with technology, you’re constrained by what exists today, as opposed to thinking about what you need it to do, how to make it work in order to meet whatever that outcome is.

If you can enable people to be at their best, take away the pain in getting some of the everyday work done and augment some of their work through automation, then those people are actually going to be more productive, drive more value and be more innovative.

There are so many studies that show that when people can be at their best, there’s a direct correlation with the performance of your business. I think we’re making sure we can meet you in the channel of your choice in the way that you like to work in an efficient and productive way. That means you’re going to get the very best out of your employees.

What does the workplace of the future that like and how should enterprises be preparing for that?

When we think about the workplace, we’re going to think about the purpose of going into work and having a meeting, for example. If you’re having an innovation session and you’re wanting to bounce ideas off each other and throw things up on the wall then there are great digital tools but, perhaps, it’s better in person.

We’re seeing people be quite mindful of coming into the office for a specific purpose and working at home for more focus type activities.

The challenge though, in this hybrid world, is catering to true hybrid working. Even in the physical workplace we need to consider how we can use digital tools so that we’re truly inclusive so that if you are joining that innovation session, you can join in remotely if you’re unable to be physically present.

We need to be mindful always that any experience, any way of working, needs to be able to work I think for both hybrid or remote and in the office.

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