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Game Changers 2019 – Essay Series

Game Changers 2019 – Essay Series

Making the World of Work Better for People.

John Donahoe, CEO, ServiceNow

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the App Store. It is hard to overstate the impact of smartphones and apps. In an astonishingly short time, this personal cloud-based technology platform has radically changed our personal lives. I believe a similar transformation is about to happen in our work lives, too.

Cloud-based software platforms are poised to change how we work. I regularly talk with senior business and technology executives all over the world. In every geography, in every industry, the conversation is the same: software is rapidly changing the way companies operate and the digital transformation of business is well under way, so that means how work happens is consistently evolving. It means rethinking and redesigning how work gets done.

A decade ago, most things that we now do instinctively on our smartphones – the routine activities that make our personal lives easier and more convenient – were unimaginable. Yet today, we love the benefits of these apps and the services they enable.

In a short time, the same will be true at work. Today, technology at work is complex and often frustrating. But we can build the same kind of convenient experiences at work that we enjoy in our personal lives.

This opportunity is creating excitement, but also anxiety. We relish software’s ability to handle mundane workday tasks. That gives
us more time to focus on work that matters most. But we also fear a future when artificial intelligence may take over our jobs. And it’s
not always clear a new job will be there for everyone when some of today’s jobs disappear to digitization.

Effectively managing this tension will be critical. Any period of technology-driven transformation brings disruption and opportunity. Some jobs will go away. New jobs will emerge. Navigating the transition from old to new will be challenging. Creating the future of work will require public and private sector partnership and leadership to ensure innovation delivers more benefits to more people.

In this context, I believe leading with purpose is paramount. Purpose gives us clarity. It informs decision-making, helps us evaluate trade-offs, and gives us a pathway to the future. Purpose gives us a filter to assess the impact and opportunities of the technology we are creating. Purpose gives us a platform for partnership and leadership.

At ServiceNow, we believe that technology should be in service of people. Our purpose is to “make the world of work, work better for
people.” As CEO, serving people is something I passionately believe in. Throughout my more than three decades in business, I have embraced a model of servant leadership. My role is to help others succeed – our customers, our employees, and our stakeholders. And purpose gives us guideposts for the broader impact we have in the world, and how our company can help society succeed, too.

The year ahead, and the years to come, will be ones of great technology-driven change. I hope we all work together with a strong sense of
shared purpose, to ensure the future makes the world work better for people.

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