In our situation, individual contributions are no longer sufficient. Businesses, communities, and governments can achieve more by coming together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. In most regions, governments have offered stability and security to employers and employees alike—in some cases coming just short of nationalizing the whole economy. But businesses also have a role to play to return the favor—far removed from the profiteering we’ve seen dotted across the globe are several firms working to use their skills, technology, and expertise to help tackle one of the biggest crises of a generation.
In this piece, we would like to draw attention to ServiceNow’s response to the situation as they place a program called “Customer care plan” in place to extend its support in fighting the pandemic.
ServiceNow lends a helping hand by launching new emergency applications to fight the pandemic
To start with, ServiceNow rolled out new modules specifically to support clients during this crisis. As a part of its customer care plan initiative, ServiceNow launched four new community emergency applications—Emergency Response Operation, Emergency Outreach, Emergency Self-Report, and Emergency Exposure Management—to its public- and private-sector customers. These applications will be free until the end of September 2020.
The suite of tools has proved useful in a variety of situations. The most notable success story can be seen with the State of Washington’s Department of Health (DoH), a ServiceNow customer. As part of a broader digitalization program, DoH developed the Emergency Response Operation application in the ServiceNow platform in three weeks to manage its response to COVID-19. The app helps allocate resources efficiently, plan logistics, administer finances, and provide real-time visibility into resource allocations—a vital capability in such a high-scale operation. Later, DoH, with the collaboration of ServiceNow, made the application available to all government entities at free of charge.
Exhibit 1: Emergency Response Operation helps automate the workflows within organizations
ServiceNow’s platforms are helping businesses in the following core areas:
- Emergency Outreach and Self-Report applications: The Emergency Outreach application helps an employer reach out to associates through emails or mobile to provide relevant information about the pandemic and collect their whereabouts. The Self-Report application enables an associate to notify their employer of their self-quarantine status and the date of return to work.
- Emergency Exposure Management: This software supports an employer to track their associates who have tested positive. It also allows people to track other associates who might have been in physical contact with a positive-tested associate in various places within the organization, such as meeting rooms, cafeteria, on the floor, or company transport.
Currently, ServiceNow made these applications available free in its store to all of its public and private sector customers. In the US, most major government entities are now using the response operation app. In addition to these applications, as part of its customer care plan, ServiceNow provided 100% support for all its instances and launched a community forum for customers and partners where they can interact with each other. It also launched an app suggestion portal where it allows users to give ideas on COVID-19-related apps for ongoing and future development.
ServiceNow has taken necessary precautions for its 10,000+ associates, such as deploying work from home, canceling business travels, and continuing compensation for all full- and part-time associates. Additionally, ServiceNow is donating $100,000 to the International Medical Corps and CDC foundation to support their ongoing work.
How are others contributing in this space?
ServiceNow is not alone fighting for this epidemic; several other tech providers such as Microsoft, Verily, FB, and Google have already extended their support in various ways. Let’s take a quick look at what are they up to:
- Microsoft Bing launched an interactive map that provides information about the spread of the virus. The map contains detailed information such as a number of active cases, deaths, recovered cases, and locations. The application updates frequently to help bring awareness and transparency and to help fight misleading news and public reports.
- Verily launched a website for coronavirus testing in the US to help manage the major logistical operation required.
- Facebook and Google are in discussions with the US government to leverage its location data to map the spread of the virus and help plan operations and responses.
Besides these providers, other technology providers are donating to the cause and supporting their associates in all essential ways. However, ServiceNow launched four new workflow applications to support this cause, precisely what it needs at the moment. It’s not about taking care of employees (which is expected anyway) and offering generous donations, it’s about releasing the relevant application at the right moment to make a significant impact.
The Bottom Line: Technology firms should move beyond a marketing play and use this opportunity to “fight for a real cause.”
ServiceNow has proved two things with its recent philanthropic cause: it has the technology and capability to swiftly deploy high-value solutions and, more crucially in the current circumstances, it is willing to sacrifice short-term profit for the greater good.
Every crisis is a new opportunity to innovate and come up with relevant solutions and approaches. Right now, we must come together and contribute more toward creating or implementing a streamlined remote workplace solution to solve petty problems like basic infrastructures and win against the bigger giant. After all, we are all in this together.