Time to ESC

Today I officially became an Executive Solution Consultant (ESC) at ServiceNow. What better way to celebrate this new role than putting together a few thoughts into this blog post and take the chance to lay out some goals. Since these goals are a public declaration in a written format maybe I can stick to them! One of the negatives of being an Optimizer (see yesterday’s post about my last day in my former role) is that I tend to procrastinate (adaptability) and have lots of projects always running (activator).

Goals

One thing I want to start doing is creating more content in video form. I did the podcast for almost a dozen episodes and I’d like to get that started back up again. But I really want to take advantage of the video medium both because it’s a fun challenge and also because it is being gobbled up by the masses. That video easily translates into pure audio formats for the podcast as well, and with a little help from the cloud, I can create transcripts that get published as blog posts. Three for one!
Another thing I’d love to do more is to spend time giving back with my peers in a way that takes advantage of our skills. I’m working on creating a hacking group focused on donating time to non-profit entities that need help creating better outcomes. We volunteered as a group recently and helped an organization sort their warehouse and create a solid inventory so that they could better forecast the number of projects they could handle based on the supplies that had to complete them. We spent most of the day pulling the stuff out of the warehouse, counting it, and putting it back. The problem is that we wrote it all down on a notepad which we handed back to our sponsor. As soon as the next donation comes in, that list is already out of date. Instead, we should have used ServiceNow to create a portal for the intake that automatically updates that inventory. That same portal can be used to manage demand from the elderly homeowners that need services delivered and manage the project from start to finish all in the same place. But with a team of a few interns and a handful of volunteers, they would never have the time to create and deploy those applications. My idea is to pull all of the community of developers together to hack for good and get a solution deployed that could fill this gap. Seems like a win-win.
My last goal is to fill a knowledge gap. I have been on the outside edge of the platform looking in. I’m ready to dive in deep and really get to know all of the use cases that we can address and create new use cases by taking advantage of the platform. But I also want to turn my understanding of how my clients work all the way up. I recently toured a different warehouse (clearly I love finding reasons to wear jeans to work) and got to see how goods come in one set of doors, move across the building while being sorted and collected to fill trucks with orders to deliver all kinds of things to stores all over the place. There are boxes flying, and wheels spinning, lasers scanning, and forklifts honking. It. was. AMAZING! That’s the gap I really want to fill. I want to see, smell, and hear first hand how my clients work so that I can truly understand their business.

Definition

I’ve got some goals to execute, but what exactly is an Executive Solution Consultant? That’s likely the very first thing you asked. I’ve always struggled to explain to people what I’ve done for a living. I was a computer whiz to my grandparents when they were living. I am the IT guy for my family. My wife has taken the well-prepared explanation that I gave her and layered her own words to help explain at cocktail parties, but there’s still something lacking. Even amongst my peers at other companies, I have to dive into what my daily activities are for them to do the translation to what that role is at their own company.
And my own peers? That’s one of the things that attracted me to this role in the first place. There is some fluidity to what I facilitate and who I facilitate it for. If you are familiar with the ServiceNow ecosystem we break things down pretty simply. We have your account management teams which consist of the folks that manage your account, and their technical brethren. We also have specialists that have similar pairings, but they dive into specific portions of the platform beyond what the account team does and that’s what I did yesterday. We also have some groups that focus on ensuring our customers are successful in their adoption to drive the most value from their investment. For a handful of our largest customers, we leverage a team of folks that have a broad experience across industry verticals, customer segments, and technologies. The collective expertise held by this team is inspiring. My role today takes a little bit of each of those roles and smooshes them into a single role.
Which pieces? One of my most important responsibilities is to help the ServiceNow team understand the problems that are preventing our clients from realizing success and highlight ways that we can partner to eliminate them. Our clients have been down similar paths and I’m here to help by leveraging the best practices we have learned working with these folks. It usually starts with a conversation to understand the strategy the business has to achieve their success. That strategy starts at the board level and is moved down through the executives and managers, but the final stop is the customer. If you’re asked to deliver twenty additional points of margin in three years, you have to start by evaluating your business and determine what changes you can make to create or sustain that needed growth. Think about the non-profit I talked about earlier. By taking a day to really understand their business I was able to help them figure out what those inefficiencies were and create a mutual roadmap so that we have a plan to execute against. This also allows us to define the KPIs that measure our success and allow us to hold each other accountable to our commitments. More folks that can’t afford to make home repairs can seek and receive help.

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