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ServiceNow Notify leverages Twilio SMS and Voice for fast response to IT issues and outages

Twilio SMS and Voice activate speedy on-call scheduling, incident alerts, and streamline communications for stakeholders up and down the chain.

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The Results
150K
SMS messages tested
30%
of Global 2000 companies are ServiceNow customers
16
data centers around the world

When issues and failures strike, how does a large enterprise IT support team quickly activate the right teams and keep all stakeholders informed without slowing down the resolution process? This was the challenge facing leading service management provider ServiceNow. So they launched ServiceNow Notify to quickly handle on-call scheduling, escalating IT issues, incident alerts, and complete service delivery for their customers, all with Twilio SMS and Voice integrated into their existing email and conference calling platform.

The IT challenge: How soon is now?

ServiceNow saves their customers millions of work hours annually with their cloud-powered automated workflow and service management for every department in the enterprise, including IT. When bad things happen to enterprise IT infrastructure—crashed servers, compromised firewalls, broken email or cloud resources— IT support teams must respond quickly, mobilize teams, and communicate every step of the way. Sometimes dozens of stakeholders up and down the chain are involved, even with minor incidents and scheduling alerts. With so much at stake, escalating problems to reach the right resources can take 15-30 minutes or longer. ServiceNow needed to provide their customers with a solution to shorten the timeline for mobilizing resources and streamlining communications.

“Time is critical when a server or application is down, and we needed to provide our customers with a simple easy way to escalate issues for fast resolution,” said Chris Pope of the Chief Strategy Office for ServiceNow. “When things happen, we have to get hold of the right people fast. Email is a fire-and-forget technology—there’s no guarantee I’ll get a response. If I set up a conference call, all I can do is hope the right people are on the call. This all takes time. There was a real push from our customers to make notifications much simpler and bring a solution into the ServiceNow core. So Notify was born.”

Speed to market and keeping it simple for faster customer adoption

After reviewing other voice and SMS options, Pope said, “The big driver for us in approaching Twilio was ‘how quickly can we make this work’? I needed speed, time to market and price. If it's simple to do, our customers are going to do it. And if they can do it quickly, they're going to do it a lot more.”

Before launching the new SMS and voice capabilities, ServiceNow engineers tested more than 150,000 messages with an average round trip time of less than a second, and never experienced a single error or failure in the API. “Twilio has the scale, performance and reliability—we proved it through our own testing,” said Pope.

With the Twilio integration, a ServiceNow instance enabled with the notify plug-in means our customers can now send bi-directional Twilio Voice and SMS with the click of a button.

Chris Pope, Office of the CSO, ServiceNow

With the Twilio integration, bidirectional voice and SMS is just a click away—capabilities that previously required hardware components and a contract with a telco provider. Said Pope, “I press a button, the message smartly gets to Singapore and the right person, and I get a response back. That’s it. I don't have to worry if I'm working with Verizon, AT&T, BT or any carrier for that matter—that’s Twilio’s problem.” said Pope. “So it was almost a no-brainer.”

Keeping it simple is the other component to customer adoption. “Our users fill out a form with their credentials and behind the scenes we’ve connected it to Twilio and they deliver the voice and SMS anywhere in the world,” explained Pope. “We get a response back in terms of delivery. If it’s an escalation, we get a response back from the user. We made a framework that is simple and easy to use, and our customers don’t know that behind the scenes it’s Twilio, which is what makes it even more powerful.”

What’s next for ServiceNow and Twilio

Down the road, Pope sees use cases “beyond anything we ever thought about when we started as IT service management. With data about the customers we’re talking to, we can provide better service. And when we look across these other industries and verticals, we can bring all these solutions together on a single platform.”

ServiceNow is looking at extending Notify even further with video and WebRTC, making it a richer user experience. “Video helps you change your experience for timely problem resolution. Adoption more of multimedia messaging, voice, and so many other channels are going to keep us looking ahead,” said Pope.