HappySignals welcomes former ServiceNow SVP Jimmy Fitzgerald as a Board Member and Investor
HappySignals strengthens its position as a clear choice for IT organizations using ServiceNow for Enterprise Experience Management.
Former ServiceNow Exec Joins HappySignals and Talks ROI, Time to Value, and Experience
After an amazing, almost ten-year stint as the Senior Vice President for Customer Outcomes at ServiceNow, we’re delighted to welcome onboard Jimmy Fitzgerald as a HappySignals Board Member, Investor, and Advisor. Jimmy is uniquely positioned to help drive HappySignals further forward with his knowledge of the ServiceNow ecosystem, and we’re thrilled to have him join us.
To help our customers and wider audience get to know Jimmy a little better, we invited him along to an episode of our IT Experience Podcast. We spoke with Jimmy about his time at ServiceNow, what he’s learnt from working with a huge number of CIOs, how he sees HappySignals helping ServiceNow customers, and the three critical components CIOs need in place in order to achieve success.
Pasi: So, Jimmy – delighted to have you on board – can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career history?
Jimmy: Thank you Pasi. So I’ve just wrapped up an almost ten year stint with ServiceNow, which was an amazing experience. Joining the company back in 2011, I ran the professional services teams for a couple of years to help start its ecosystem of relationships with the likes of KPMG and Accenture. Then, in 2013 I made the decision to move myself and my family to Singapore where I spent five years building up and leading our Asia Pacific presence. Following that I came back into the global picture to take ServiceNow’s professional services and customer success teams to their next level of maturity – creating a new business unit called Customer Outcomes – which I was privileged to lead for the last two to three years.
Pasi: Impressive. So, what next?
Jimmy: ServiceNow is an amazing platform and an amazing company, and I genuinely believe its best days are still in front of us. It’s why when I decided to switch things up in my career that I was still keen to in some way continue as part of the ServiceNow family. So I started thinking about how I could best leverage my experience to help one of the ecosystem partners take what they do to the next level.
Pasi: And so you came to HappySignals. Now, when we’ve spoken before you said that in your discussions with CIOs there are always three things that they’re looking for. So what are those three things?
Jimmy: Yes, I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with a wealth of CIOs over the last ten years. I’m talking about hundreds and hundreds of executives globally. And as you start to engage with these people, the patterns of what they’re asking you for are very, very similar. These patterns essentially come down to three really important needs they have of service. The first is that they want to ensure that the platform that they've invested in – in this case the ServiceNow platform – is governed, well structured, and well architected. So they don't want to have to over configure or over customize, they want to make sure it remains an asset on their balance sheet. That's number one. Number two is that they want to make sure that they're delivering great experiences to their end users, and clearly that’s where HappySignals comes in. And number three is that as we work with them, it's imperative that we always deliver on a return on investment (ROI): every programme and every project has to deliver the outcome that we signed up for together.
Pasi: Yes, and I think that even the name of the business unit you created at ServiceNow, Customer Outcomes, is what we preach in everything that we do, moving you from outputs to outcomes. So let's talk about the employee experience. And as we see it, that really should be the outcome of what you do with ServiceNow. And we see – if you think about the old three things in IT, which are people, processes and tech – that ServiceNow with all the workflows that it provides is the market leader in the processes part. You can definitely do automations and create great processes to create excellent digital services. Then, where we see HappySignals is in the people part: seeing how people feel, how happy they are, and how much time they’re wasting with some of their IT services. How do you see that side of things? Is that something that you’ve seen as a rising trend that people are starting to care about? Caring more about end users and not just processes?
Jimmy: Absolutely. I think over my time at ServiceNow, it's become clear that it’s no longer good enough to just move to a new technology and kind of engineer your processes. Customer expectations are that as ServiceNow delivers this great technology and great processes, that we're really making the everyday lives of our end users better, right? And you only know if you're doing that if you're measuring that experience, and then acting on that feedback. So I really think that customers are looking for help, in how they continue to listen and sense what's going on with their end users, take that feedback, and then how they use it to make it better, whether it be a small change or a big change, but on a continuous basis.
Pasi: All right. So one of the things that we’ve tried to achieve, and kind of how we see it, is that HappySignal actually gives you the signal. And then ServiceNow allows you to do the action. How do you see HappySignals helping ServiceNow customers on this front? Giving them focus?
Jimmy: So, the vast majority of ServiceNow customers today, they see ServiceNow as one of their three or four strategic platforms. So it's not a tool for them, it's very much a platform, and therefore they're looking at a relationship that's measured in decades. It's not a short term thing. So then, because it's a platform, it's got the potential for customers, partners, and ServiceNow to deliver project after project after project, new initiative, new workflows etc. And with every one of those projects, if you think about why they're being initiated, they're being initiated to make the life of the end user more efficient, more engaging: to make the world of work, work better for people, which obviously, is the service purpose. So you know, as ServiceNow, and our ecosystem of partners are delivering on those experiences, we need to make sure that they're optimized and again, the only way to do that is to measure, right? You have to listen and sense what's going on with your end users. And that's why I really love the HappySignals platform and the integration with ServiceNow. Because you have the ability to really understand how end users are consuming that experience and to then bring it back to the central program. The process leads the executives to look at what's coming back from end users, and then importantly, act on it, prioritize, and then act on that. And that circle of continuous improvement just goes on month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year.
Pasi: Exactly, that's something that we call the experience management wheel . But then something that we’re all driving with it is of course, the ROI. And that's why the two things that we measure is happiness, but also productivity. Do you see that currently? Is this something that customers are trying to achieve? Create, you know, productivity improvements?
Jimmy: Yes, I think every single technology initiative that gets funded today (and it's very different than maybe five years ago, ten years ago), whoever initiated that funding and got the funding approved, they have to account for the ROI at the end of that transformation. And I think that's happening consistently across every single ServiceNow customer. ROI is the name of the game. If we don't deliver an outcome, there’s no next project. So we're kind of defeating the purpose of the very nature of the platform itself, because I like to say a good project or good implementation never ends, because you deliver on an outcome, the ROI, and then you continue with your next initiative. And you know, there's obviously lots of ways of measuring ROI and customers will do it. Sometimes service partners will do it. Sometimes the ServiceNow team itself will do it. But ultimately, if your end users are not using the application and not having a positive experience, you're likely not having a very good ROI. There's a very strong correlation between user engagement and an ROI and again, it comes back to the value proposition of HappySignals.
Pasi: Yes and that was kind of my follow up question. How do ServiceNow customers look at this if they don't have HappySignals? How do they measure productivity? I mean, is it based on research? Because if you're not really asking your end users this, you know, are you now wasting less time than you used to? Is it something that you can really prove? Is it something that they can quantify?
Jimmy: Well clearly, there's performance analytics from ServiceNow or perhaps analytics that maybe a partner brings to the table. There's ways of looking at if the key KPIs have improved over time, right, like the mean time to resolution for example. But I think the key thing is that they're not measured on a continual basis. They're typically measured on a quarterly basis or an annual basis. And like, it kind of stops and starts. And normally, maybe customers are even doing it, as a reaction to feeling like they're not getting the ROI. Whereas I think what's really needed is, how do you constantly get that feedback and prioritize and act on that feedback? And that's how you optimize ROI over the long period of time. It’s that continuous improvement that I think you call the experience wheel.
Pasi: Yes, exactly. And that's why I think probably last year, 2020, showed that things happen. And if we're not constant, continuously measuring... We had one customer who had just done an annual survey in January. And then in March, the world had changed totally. And then they had to act on it. And I think 2020 shows that IT departments are really good at acting, they do an excellent job. If you focus them to a task, like okay, just make the end users happy. They can do it. In fact it showed in our benchmark reports that actually during the peak of the pandemic, end user happiness went up, which is amazing.
Jimmy: Yes I read that, It was amazing how you were able to present that simply because of the sheer volume of input that you're getting from your users aggregated across many customers in many countries. You could see how organizations were responding by country, which is amazing, right? So yes, the world is fast moving, it's only getting faster, and therefore, this signal to action, you know, the duration of time is going to get shorter and shorter and shorter.
Pasi: We actually have a good use case coming out, via webinar , in April on Reckitt Benckiser (RB). It details what they were able to do, since starting its HappySignals journey back in January 2019. It really shows how creating those small things, and having continuous measurement and all the time seeing what makes the impact and what doesn't really makes a difference. You know they were able to save 51 minutes from each ticket. And they’re a global company with 300,000 tickets annually. So in 2020, they actually saved 250,000 hours from business end users. And this is quantifiable! Asking end users how much of their time was wasted. It's not measured in a process somewhere or mean time to resolution, which kind of doesn't really show in the people books (though it might show in the process books). So I personally think this is really powerful.
Jimmy: It’s a great case study and I think what's really important to understand as well, is that it’s not just a 250,000 hour direct saving. Yeah, now they have that time to work on something that's delivering greater value for the enterprise. Right. So there's an opportunity cost that they've also been able to execute on as a result of the productivity gain.
Pasi: Yes, and that’s not even thinking about the lack of frustration, and how that motivates you to create a better external customer experience for that company's customers.
Pasi: Ok so the other CIO requirement you mentioned was using the ServiceNow platform as a strategic platform, and not over customizing. And I think this is something that’s changed over time, because I've done this with multiple platforms myself when I was working for a company in IT. You know, you always want to tweak it, then you want to make it the way you want it. But I think the world today is different. You want to have a good base platform – like ServiceNow – and then you use the partner ecosystem to actually have apps that extend its capabilities. To be honest it’s probably one of the reasons why we’re here is that we’ve decided to be that extension to ServiceNow. So for example, if you're interested in starting the trip to Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) , you can just deploy HappySignals and you don't have to touch or customize your ServiceNow platform. Is that something that you’ve seen ServiceNow customers looking for?
Jimmy: Yeah, I think there's the benefit. The main benefit, of course, that you articulated is that we're then avoiding the need to do heavy configuration or customization in the ServiceNow platform, which allows the platform to be preserved. It's easier to upgrade and customers are able to more easily consume the consistent innovation coming from ServiceNow and its ecosystem. And that's absolutely one benefit. I would say the secondary benefit is that customers today need to move fast. So time to value is critically important. And HappySignals has done this with many, many customers. You’ve patented technology, and you’ve patented processes around how you're measuring the experience. So why go create something yourself when you can leverage this best practice? I really think the time to value for customers with HappySignals is also really material.
Pasi: Yes. I think also the ServiceNow platform is really good for partners like us, it really gives us the ability to get what we need for customers from ServiceNow – for example, experience data. Then customers can also leverage that internally. But then you have your stakeholders. So some business users don’t go into the ServiceNow platform. So you can actually easily show the experience data and share the data to our bank platform. Yeah. All right. So, let’s wrap this up Jimmy. Any final remarks on what you're looking for, for the next couple of years with us? And where you see HappySignals going?
Jimmy: We need to focus on the need of ServiceNow customers around those three critical foundational components: preserve and govern the platform, give my users a fantastic experience, and make sure we deliver an ROI. And as I scanned the ServiceNow ecosystem for partners that I feel really address one or multiple of those three components, HappySignals came to the top of that list. And I think experience is going to become even more important for customers over the next number of years, not less. And I'm hoping to be part of great things here with HappySignals as you continue to scale and deliver success to your customers year on year with the innovation that you're driving. So I’m super excited to be here, and I’m looking forward to helping take HappySignals to the next level.
Pasi: Thank you Jimmy. It's great to have you, and as we always at the end of an episode, stay happy and stay safe.
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