ServiceNow's NowX incubator aims to revamp supply chain workflows, says CEO McDermott

ServiceNow is taking its platform of platforms approach to more use cases and its NowX incubator aims to speed up innovation, CEO Bill McDermott said in an interview with ZDNet.

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ServiceNow is eyeing supply chain applications as well as new markets via its NowX internal incubator, said ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott in an interview.

Following a strong quarter, I caught up with McDermott to talk NowX and how ServiceNow is benefiting from enterprises that have to reinvent processes on the fly to address problems ranging from the battle for talent, supply chain issues and environmental risk management. Executives such as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella have argued that IT will take up a larger part of gross domestic product as companies digitize to tackle economic threats, notably inflation. 

"NowX is about organic innovation. We curate our strategy based on our customers' strategy and where they need to go," said McDermott. "We are integrating legacy platforms on a net new platform as customers have to rethink business models."

McDermott reiterated how economic risks such as inflation and supply chain disruptions are speeding up digital transformation and benefiting his company. ServiceNow is looking to expand its target markets as well as its ecosystem via partnerships with Microsoft and Celonis. 

The evidence is apparent in ServiceNow's customer profile. ServiceNow made its name with IT service management but is broadening into multiple industries and geographies. IT workflow customers are likely to move to about 50% of the base as ServiceNow expands its reach.

When asked about what could hold ServiceNow back, McDermott said: "I don't see a limiting factor." What ServiceNow has to do is educate the market more on what its Now Platform can do.

The Now Platform is part of a digitization layer that McDermott calls an action layer. This action layer takes data from other systems and automates workflows and processes. "Any system of record is a data feed to a system of action," said McDermott, who has referred to the Now Platform as a platform of platforms.

Another enabler for ServiceNow is no- and low-code tools to build applications. "There will be 500 million applications built over the next two and a half years," said McDermott. "Low code is the only way out because there are not enough engineers. You're going to see a hockey stick of growth in low code."

In the meantime, McDermott has ServiceNow focused on growth and evangelizing workflow automation or hyperautomation as the Now Platform is increasingly used for new use cases. He added that while ServiceNow is focused on giving customers what they want to innovate, the company is also gunning to give enterprises products they didn't know they needed too.

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