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ServiceNow CEO: Cloud Has ‘Room For Multiple Winning Platforms’

“It’s ‘How do we create experiences at work that feel just like the experiences at home?’ I think we have to use consumer language for what we’re doing at work. That’s in essence what ServiceNow is enabling: Uber experiences at work,” says ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe.

ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe in a TV interview Thursday said he sees room for multiple cloud-based platforms in the market and that using “consumer language” at work will help demystify cloud-based solutions for employees.

“We don’t call it ‘cloud’ in our consumer lives. Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Google, Uber, they’re all cloud-based apps. So at work, the word ‘cloud’ doesn’t mean much to people,” Donahoe told CNBC during an appearance on Squawk Box Thursday morning. “It’s ‘How do we create experiences at work that feel just like the experiences at home?’ I think we have to use consumer language for what we’re doing at work. That’s in essence what ServiceNow is enabling: Uber experiences at work.”

Earlier this month, Donahoe’s company released a software update, Madrid, that includes a mobile offering, which he said takes all of the automation capabilities of ServiceNow and packages it for phones to make work tasks “as easy as ordering an Uber.”

“We use mobile in our consumer lives and so how do we create consumer experiences in our work lives?” Donahoe said. “How do we take things like employee on-boarding and make that a simple mobile app? We were just showing how if you have a problem with a laptop, or a facility or whatever you go one place [so] fixing a problem at work is as easy as ordering an Uber or buying something on eBay.”

ServiceNow is enjoying runaway success under Donahoe’s leadership with 51 percent growth in share price in the past year, a market cap of $43.5 billion and 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies signed on to the powerful automation platform.

“It’s been great,” he said. “I think in many ways the impact of technology at work is going to be one of the biggest areas of change and disruption and transformation in the next 10 years and I’ve been privileged to join a company that [former CEO Frank [Slootman] did a great job with and spend time with customers. I’m having the time of my life.”

On the horizon he downplayed the suggestion of consolidation among cloud-based companies, and instead said there is plenty of room in the market for players to carve out their own niche.

“I don’t know exactly how it will play its way out, but my point of view is I think there’s room for multiple winning platforms,” he said. “In our consumer lives we have multiple winning platforms. We have Google. We have Amazon. We have Facebook. We have PayPal. We have Uber. In the work world, I think the modern tech stack and in every case Salesforce, Workday, Adobe, ServiceNow, maybe Office365, maybe SAP if you have a supply chain those are the largest major platforms. I think all of those can be winning platforms and they all do slightly different things.”

In today’s market, he said its important for companies to focus on what they are good at.

“Google was going to do social. Google was going to do payments. Facebook was going to do payments. Amazon was going to do search,” he said. “Everyone was going to do the other person’s thing and actually none of it worked out. People are good at what they’re good at and being great at something is better than being average at a lot of things. So at ServiceNow we know we’re great at digital workflow. We’ll never be a good system of record for HR or finance or manufacturing or other things. Certainly in the consumer world, being great at delivering great experiences and continuous innovation at what you’re great at, that is what the winning companies have done.”

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