Key ITSM Takeaways from NowForum London

ServiceNow Now Forum Photo

Last week I had the opportunity to attend ServiceNow‘s UK customer event – NowForum – in London. I’d previously attended the US Knowledge conference a few years back in San Francisco, which was so big you had to cross a road to get to some parts of it. So I was curious to see how the London NowForum compared.

ServiceNow definitely brought a little bit of America to the UK with the polished conference set up and loud dance music – I even saw a few delegates demonstrating “big fish, little fish, cardboard box” on the way to their seats. But the beauty of having just a few content streams (and labs for customers who want to learn new skills) at the NowForum is that you miss out on very little and don’t leave wishing you’d been able to clone yourself on arrival.

There was some great content and I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to share some of the key takeaways, advice, and tips coming out from the event. So here’s my summary of some of the sessions I attended along with general thoughts about the conference.

NowForum Intro Bob Moore – Area VP UK & Ireland

Bob opened the show by commenting that he knew it was half term (in the UK) so thanked everyone for their commitment, recognizing that it’s the customer and partner ecosystems that make ServiceNow. With in excess of 1800 people in the keynotes and exhibition you can see his point.

NowForum Keynote: Experience the Service Revolution – Dave Wright, Chief Strategy Officer

Dave started by saying how lucky ServiceNow was that it chose the area of IT to be in – with IT now the backbone of the modern enterprise.

At IT service management (ITSM) conferences there’s always lots of discussion surrounding communication and why we’re always so bad at it. What’s usually missing is how we can actually fix it. Dave shared his three tips for reversing the flow of work to ensure that we’re not all drowning in emails :

  1. Work out what you need to know about and ensure you’re notified about it in the way that suits you best. Want to receive emails…great (you weirdo), set your system to notify you. Only want to receive a digest of notifications via your mobile device once every couple of hours? Find a way to make it happen and be a slave to Outlook no more!
  2. Connect and collaborate. For instance, in the case of ServiceNow, there’s a convenient way to stay updated on all the people and documents you work with in a familiar chat interface. Keep the people that really need to know in the loop and those that don’t blissfully unaware
  3. Don’t live in the past. Yes, email was great and is still useful but when it was created it wasn’t intended for what we’re currently using it for. There are other much better ways to do things. So take a step into the present.

Something I was particular impressed with is the way that ServiceNow has taken the ability to escalate from say first line to second/third line and made it possible organization wide (so not just just in IT). This is what Dave calls “making service management a team sport.”

To close, Dave mentioned that one of ServiceNow’s customers has actually been discussing tagging cows and then pulling that information through to monitor the herd.

His point was that we need to look to the future. It’s all very well when it’s people asking for help but what will we do when it’s machines? It’s certainly food for thought.

Dan McGee, COO – Drive the Service Revolution

Dan started by quoting some interesting statistics surrounding cybersecurity.

One of my key takeaways from Dan is that ServiceNow differs from other platforms because it invites customers to perform their own penetration testing upon their instances. Dan believes they are the only ones to do so.

Paul Hardy, Chief Strategy Office – ServiceNow & Barclay Rae, CEO – ITSMF UK

This session, led by Paul and Barclay, was part of the Exec Connect stream, which is a program created solely to address the most challenging business issues delegates face.

Paul and Barclay discussed how thinking has changed around IT frameworks and how some people believe that frameworks are blocking business innovation. Barclay and Paul believe that the issue might be that a lot of frameworks are really IT centric but what organizations need now, with the growth in enterprise service management, is for them to support more than just IT.

There was discussion surrounding the blending of frameworks, but some of the delegates I spoke to were disappointed that this didn’t go further and would have liked more examples of how this can work. So it’s definitely an opportunity for a future ITSM conference.

Johann Diaz, Principle Executive Strategist, Global Head of SIAM, ServiceNow Inspire

Johann talked about how service is his passion, along with Inspire – ServiceNow’s executive advisory program.

Johann shared the three journey phases that the Inspire program follows:

  1. Modernize
  2. Transform
  3. Innovate

And when Johann asked the audience who was in which phase, most put themselves in the Transform stage or climbing out of the Modernize stage.

If you would like more details on Inspire please visit: 

Anna Bisset – Programme Manager, Royal Bank of Scotland

After a very tasty lunch and the opportunity to network with fellow delegates, we were into the customer stories, which I always find interesting.


Anna started her very enthusiastic story by explaining how Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) journey wasn’t just about a few people delivering ServiceNow to the organization, but was instead about the transformation of the whole business. With the need for greater resilience and simplification, not financial gain (although they did gain some benefits), being the driving force behind RBS’s implementation project.

Before their implementation, RBS had multiple tools running critical processes – 20 at one point – and it took about five days to raise a change and involved three people. They started their implementation with four critical ITSM processes incident, problem, change, and configuration; 56 controls monitored by their industry regulator, 15 integrations, 14,000 global users, and two combined CMDBs.

After implementation incident handling times went from 20 minutes to 8 minutes and changes from 360 minutes to 84 minutes. While this is an impressive drop, it was interesting that another delegate commented that if it took him 84 minutes every time he had to raise a change he’d lose the will to live after a fortnight. So everything is relative and can be improved upon.

But with 46,000 person hours saved (328 FTEs) per month, better visibility of incidents and changes, better control, and reduced change risk, I wouldn’t want to underplay the fantastic achievements RBS has made. 

The Conference Key Messages

I didn’t attend all of the sessions but feel like I made the most of my day at NowForum. My key takeaways from the day were that:

  1. Service management and customer service are merging – and there’s now less IT in our ITSM
  2. SIAM has developed into a great way to integrate your departments
  3. If your organization wants to create great customer experience then it needs to be budgeted for.

While this conference was aimed at ServiceNow customers and prospects, there was plenty of general best practice content throughout the day as well.

Another session I attended but haven’t mentioned yet was by Vodafone Group. They are early in their ServiceNow journey and shared with us some of their initial thoughts and decisions. I’m hoping they’ll be back next year to report on how the implementation actually went, and we can write about them in more detail.

All in all a really enjoyable and informative day. If you attended the London NowForum, what were your key takeaways?

Image Credit to Paul Hardy of ServiceNow.

Rebecca Beach
Director at Dimity Consulting Ltd

Rebecca Beach helps IT service management companies and individuals to connect with audiences and communities by developing and running their digital marketing programs.

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