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Digital transformation — the adoption of digital technologies, broadly speaking — is accelerating in the enterprise. In 2020, worldwide spending on digital transformation reached $1.3 trillion, growing at a 10.4% rate year-on-year, according to Statista. The benefits of digital transformation can be substantial, with McKinsey estimating that transformation with a focus on customer experience can generate a 20% to 30% increase in customer satisfaction. But it’s also fraught with challenges. A 2018 Everest Group study found that 73% of enterprises fail to derive any business value whatsoever from their digital transformations.
The reasons for failure in digital transformation range from a lack of upfront commitment to overly technical approaches. Regardless, companies are looking to maximize their investment in new talent and technologies as the pandemic drives business online. A recent WalkMe report found that 42% of organizations rate the lack of technical knowledge and skills as their number one barrier to successful digital transformation, underlining the hurdles to overcome.
Cognizant of the growing business opportunity, ServiceNow, the workflow automation platform, today introduced a new product aimed at better quantifying digital transformation initiatives. Called ServiceNow Impact, the company claims that it uses AI to “close the value gap” by estimating how much value various tech investments are bringing to an organization.
According to IDC, companies have invested billions of dollars in tech, but most never realize sufficient return on investment to justify it. This “value gap” is most often caused by the proliferation of different projects that don’t effectively work together, as well as the increasing need for companies to spend resources maintaining legacy solutions. A 2018 Deloitte survey found that the average enterprise spends 57% of its IT budget on supporting business operations — mostly legacy operations — and only 16% on boosting innovation.
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ServiceNow says that Impact is designed to address this by offering customers a personalized experience with access to business value data and benchmarks, driven by AI. The service — which includes access to ServiceNow-designated support teams and training resources — recommends next-best actions and practices to help with ongoing transformation efforts.
“ServiceNow Impact delivers a premium, consumer-grade digital experience that is personalized by role and journey,” ServiceNow SVP of customer and partner excellence Paul Fipps told VentureBeat via email. “Built on the [ServiceNow’s existing platform], ServiceNow Impact [features] preventative controls, proactive recommendations, and AI-enabled suggestions and alerts for platform health and optimization. The solution also offers ‘Impact Squads,’ dedicated teams of experts, partner collaboration, and advisory sessions that … can filter, prioritize, and propose actions from AI-driven recommendations.”
AI for supporting transformation
While it’s too early to gauge the effectiveness of ServiceNow Impact, the benefits that AI brings to the table for digital transformation are becoming clearer. As cloud consultancy startup Virtusa writes in Bloomberg, AI solutions like conversational AI and machine learning-powered cloud management promise to brighten the future of digital transformation — and offer more innovative ways to address business challenges.
To take one example, a growing number of startups leverage AI to improve enterprise spend management, like Yokoy. Others apply AI to the problems of digital risk, compliance, and security. Meanwhile, a separate cohort is developing AI to automate data access controls as workers — and workplaces — become increasingly distributed.
“Today’s AI solutions can be customized to address a company’s unique set of challenges. One can say that AI is ready for a business world marred with unprecedented disruptions and uncertainty,” Virtusa writes.
Fipps added: “ServiceNow Impact’s digital experience with AI-driven value acceleration is a differentiator versus our peers. Tailored to the user’s organization and role, ServiceNow Impact delivers personalized value guidance for digital transformation on [our platform]. Customers … can track progress against their outcomes, share insights and peer or industry benchmark comparisons, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their digital transformation journey … ServiceNow Impact is also uniquely targeted towards multiple personas in an organization — at the operational level (admin), functional level (platform owner), and executive level (CXO).”
Available now, ServiceNow says that Impact is being used by customers including Anaplan, NewsCorp, Infor, and the State of Montana. Alongside Impact, ServiceNow today released an update to its training and certification platform offering on-demand, instructor-led, and custom training and certification programs.
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