Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

Digital business transformation is coming to health and occupational safety following a move this week by ServiceNow to acquire an application developed by Enable Professional Services, an arm of Fujitsu.

Designed to run natively on the Now software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that ServiceNow provides, the ToolBox OH&S application addresses a function that today is often managed inconsistently using legacy applications, says Eric Schroeder, vice president of product for the NowX internal incubator arm of ServiceNow.

In contrast, the ToolBox OH&S application is designed to be integrated with a range of associated workflows ranging from human resources to finance that already run on the Now platform, he adds.

The acquisition will also enhance existing ServiceNow applications for field service management, incident and risk management, customer service and environmental, social and governance (ESG) management, notes Schroeder.

As health and occupational safety regulations become more stringent, organizations are finding they have more mandates to meet both at the Federal and local level. “It’s no longer an option,” says Schroeder.

The challenge is digitizing those processes in a way that integrates with the systems of record any organizations already employ. ServiceNow is making a case for an integrated SaaS platform that makes it easier to achieve that goal using a set of integrated workflow applications that pull data from those systems of record. That approach eliminates the need to maintain separate underlying IT infrastructures for each application employed.

It’s not clear to what degree organizations are standardizing on a single SaaS platform, for in the face of increased economic headwinds there is a lot more interest in finding ways to reduce the total cost of IT while simultaneously driving digital business transformation initiatives. Organizations, as part of that effort, are at the same time looking to drive as many of those initiatives as possible using a platform their internal IT team already knows how to manage.

Digital CxOs will naturally need to determine for themselves what the path of least resistance is for achieving any given goal. The more costly a strategy is to implement the more challenging it becomes to justify a timely return on investment. In the current economic climate, there are plenty of instances where digital initiatives that did not show a quick return on investment have been delayed or quietly shelved.

Regardless of appetite for digital transformation, the bigger the change the harder it is to gain and maintain support. Applications that are viewed as extensions of existing workflows are a lot easier for employees to rally around versus adding a platform that needs to be maintained by a separate team of specialists. Digital CxOs, after all, only have so much political capital they can spend before resistance to change starts to stiffen.

Health and occupational safety should be one of those applications that almost everyone can easily see the value in modernizing. The issue, as always, is determining what level of priority to assign it based on all the priorities competing for resources that are all too finite.