ServiceNow is using its Knowledge customer conference in Las Vegas to relaunch a feature of its latest software release that it thinks didn’t get enough attention the first time: Procurement Service Management.
This is new territory for the Now Platform, which until now has been used to automate IT workflows (such as service management or operations management), HR, or order management. However, with the chaos surrounding supply chains these days, the procurement function is ready for some love.
Procurement Service Management began with the San Diego release of the Now platform, which became publicly available on March 23. At the time, it was overshadowed by the robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities of the new release but now it’s coming in. the spotlight.
ServiceNow aims to help businesses automate some of their procurement hassle, and provide more workflow performance monitoring, freeing up procurement teams to resolve more pressing issues.
“The good thing for IT organizations is that, just as they have helped rethink employee experiences in areas like HR and workplace service delivery, they can now demonstrate that value for their finances and their procurement partners. as well, ”said Colby Blakeman, director of product management for ServiceNow’s acquisition business unit
Using existing investment
Procurement automations are built on the same underlying platform as other ServiceNow workflow automations so, “Where CIOs are already making investments in learning the Now platform and developing developers of citizens, both investments will benefit from what they do within Procurement Service Management because we use the same infrastructure, ”Colby said before the event in Las Vegas.
The procurement workflows that ServiceNow aims to automate are not the transactions at the heart of the procurement process, but the many tasks that surround them. “Our goal is to automate 100% of low-cost tactical tasks, status inquiries, requests for updates and other information so that procurement teams can focus on participating in workflows that adds value to the organization such as negotiating with the supplier in the sourcing process or working towards the completion of various ESG initiatives, ”he said.
Colby gave the example of a request to expedite payment to a supplier: “We can build workflows that allow the use of that request, whether it’s an employee who says,‘ Hey, just requested this of my supplier, ‘or a supplier who says they have to pay earlier because of the cash flow challenge. ”
Once the request has been obtained, ServiceNow can verify the validity of the request, analyze whether it is reasonable, perhaps to negotiate better payment terms, collect the necessary approvals, and finally provide it to the ERP system for payment. “That process typically lives on email, or outside of source-to-pay or ERP technology. ServiceNow is your bread and butter to pick up unstructured processes and fix them in the workflow, “he says.
While ServiceNow will provide some ready-made workflows for enterprises to use or adapt, workers can also use Process Automation Designer, another component of the Now platform, to build multi-step, guided workflows.
“We had customers go live for a few weeks. These are not one month, one year, many years implementations from an ERP perspective, ”Colby said.
ServiceNow also hopes that, instead of running reports in core ERP, procurement managers will return to its software for insight into how their teams are performing.
“We have performance analytics capabilities on our platform, so we’ve been able to create native spending and work analytics for procurement teams that are accessible in a variety of formats,” he said. Those analytics capabilities can help staff prioritize job queues and help managers balance workloads across teams.
Colby also sees ServiceNow’s role in reducing the maverick hiring of employees accustomed to making a one-click home purchase. Businesses can place a service catalog of items approved for purchase on their employee portal or app, which adds a form to collect information from employees about purchases that are not in the catalog if they do not. see what they want, then build a workflow to route that request. a sourcing manager to help employees get what they need, he said.
Legacy or modernity
Since both Oracle and SAP announced that they will end support for their legacy on-premises ERP system in 2030, many businesses are faced with a dilemma: Should they move to the cloud now then innovate on a clean base? that to respond to post-pandemic changes in the business environment, or should they change around their legacy system now, and replace their ERP core later?
ServiceNow supports both horses, supporting connections to older on-premise ERP systems such as SAP ECC, as well as newer generations of cloud-centric systems such as SAP S/4HANA. It also partnered with Celonis to find processes it could optimize, and hired Gekkobrain to help it understand how customers ’systems are customized and move that customization to ServiceNow, says Kirsten Loegering , the company’s vice president of product management for ERP solutions.
“Regardless of the customer’s decision, whether they want to move forward with a legacy modernization and use Celonis and Gekkobrain to discover the potential and then use ServiceNow in the context of their modernization, or if they want to stay with their ECC system and wrap up the something around. so far to modernize the experience for the user, we can offer both, “said Loegering.
It’s starting to look like ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott, former CEO of SAP, is on a mission to replace ERP systems from the outside.