Perhaps because SAP’s cloud business is twice as large as ServiceNow’s and growing about 75% faster, ServiceNow decided to take some of that SAP momentum by glomming onto the hugely successful SAP’s “Rise with SAP” program.
During ServiceNow’s Q3 earnings call on Oct. 26, CEO Bill McDermott opened his remarks with a quick overview of the company’s momentum and unique position in the Cloud Wars, including how ServiceNow helped a customer generate “more than $1 billion in cost efficiencies for just one of our many ERP wins this quarter.”
As McDermott says, “We can do this because ServiceNow was born in the cloud.” That’s a key point that McDermott often makes to differentiate ServiceNow from several ERP vendors he doesn’t name but certainly weren’t born in the cloud.
Instead, the two heavyweights in the field of ERP were born in the old on-premises days 50 years ago (SAP) and 45 years ago (Oracle); however, both are now fully modern cloud ERP businesses emerging today.
But McDermott’s reference is to the decades-old stuff that other software companies offered in the past and now, in most cases, are simply incapable of meeting the demands of modern digital businesses.
“Some of the largest manufacturers in the world, for example, have consolidated hundreds of old procurement processes into a modern workflow experience,” McDermott said. “It decommissions the legacy environment,” he says, resulting in “$1 billion in cost efficiency” for a ServiceNow customer as noted above.
“Where there is complexity, we simplify,” he said. “In this need-for-speed environment, the ServiceNow platform becomes the strategic center of gravity for our customers.”
Hey, I buy unconditionally into the “need-for-speed” thing — after all, Cloud Wars is now part of the Acceleration Economy network.
McDermott then went on to describe a very cool new program that ServiceNow is launching and that I think will be a huge success in today’s environment where skills — the right types and combinations of skills — are becoming increasingly important
I’ll mention a little bit about the program, and then get to the thing about ServiceNow that seems to want some of SAP’s fire.
The new ServiceNow program will “train 1 million ServiceNow-certified professionals by 2024,” McDermott said, and “we’ll give people the knowledge to seize” the growth opportunities ServiceNow sees “everywhere.”
So what name did ServiceNow choose for this very cool new program? Drum roll, please: RiseUp on ServiceNow.
But wait a scary minute: that name sounds like a huge phenomenon like RISE at SAP, which SAP introduced almost two years ago and that has been a major factor in increasing the company’s level of success in the cloud to seven quarters since then.
So we have:
- RiseUp on ServiceNow, born in late October 2022; and
- RISE with SAPborn almost 2 years earlier in January 2021.
Now, I don’t believe in coincidence. And while I think “RiseUp with ServiceNow” is a slick name for a great vision, it’s 100% impossible that the wonderful people at ServiceNow are unaware that SAP has created “RISE with SAP ” brand 22 months ago. For those new to the Cloud Wars, Bill McDermott was CEO of SAP for 10 years until he moved to ServiceNow three years ago and one of ServiceNow’s top marketing and communications executives held a similar post at SAP under McDermott.
So what’s the big deal? Well, I find it interesting that while McDermott appears to go out of his way not to mention SAP by name but instead chooses to refer to it indirectly as a “legacy” player, his company is choose a name for an important new program as close as possible. as linguistically possible in a cloud initiative launched 22 months ago by SAP.
If we took 90 seconds, we could probably come up with 20 words that ServiceNow could choose other than “Rise” to capture the power and potential of its new program: Skill, Build, Grow, Accelerate, Reach, Soar, Create, Run , etc.
However, ServiceNow chose “RiseUp.”
And on many levels, that’s fine.
But Bill McDermott is as smart and insightful and honest as any executive you’ll ever meet. And I have openly expressed my admiration for him as a business leader and also as a person many times.
So I’m surprised that neither he nor his company chose to acknowledge – even indirectly – the pedigree of that name and give at least a nod towards the company that McDermott has driven to unprecedented heights since 2010 until 2019 and that, then, gave. birth to the “Arise” thing.
Oh well — I doubt Christian Klein and SAP are losing any sleep over that omission. But in an industry that is powered by innovation and has become the biggest growth market the world has ever known, I think it’s important for leaders to, if I may say so, rise to new standards.
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