Crossing the Ecosystem Boundaries: How ServiceNow, Salesforce and Atlassian Work Together

Crossing the Ecosystem Boundaries
Joshua Platt

By Joshua Platt

Although these platforms were originally designed to serve different functional roles—Atlassian's help desk, ServiceNow's IT service management and Salesforces' sales and CRM—from the outset, they all addressed the evolving mega-management and leadership issue: collaboration across teams and business units.

Independent action, siloed organizations and disconnected thinking was increasingly giving way to more agile, interdependent, collaborative problem-solving practices and methodologies. Whether the differences were political, cultural, intellectual or institutional, survival became progressively dependent on living, working and communicating more effectively across all boarders. It was in our individual and collective, both internally and externally, best interest to do so.

Effective companies and the platforms that served them needed to promote a culture that collaborated with less friction across five boundary types ("CCL's" Center for Creative Leadership's Boundary-Spanning Leadership)

  • Horizontal: Expertise, function, peers.
  • Vertical: Rank, class, seniority, authority, power.
  • Stakeholder: Partners, constituencies, value chain, communities.
  • Demographic: Gender, generation, nationality, culture, personality, ideology.
  • Geographic: Location, region, markets, distance.

Collaboration initiatives generally begin by focusing on existing boundaries within a specific business unit or team. Then they expand to forge common ground on specific projects across teams, and finally, moved across all five boundary types with multiple teams and interdependent projects which some refer to as complex adaptive systems. These platforms were launched, quickly developed and continue to evolve to meet this collaboration challenge head on.

Making Sense of the Blurring Boundaries Across Convergent Platform Roadmaps

Boundaries are difficult to identify when they are continuously moving and being redefined. Instead of taking a more traditional route of seizing mind and market share by differentiating and establishing/defending clear boundaries, these platforms are doing the opposite, they are converging. The ecosystems that support each platform are also beginning to look increasingly similar—but more on this in a future post.

The convergence of frameworks such as ITSM and Agile represents a tangential and interconnected set of moving boundaries intersecting somewhere along the spectrum at ITIL—ITIL4 if you're counting. As all three platforms seek broader market penetration reflecting this full spectrum of frameworks, consider using the ITIL4 Edition's 17 service management practices as a cheat-sheet for their boundary spanning enterprise roadmaps:

  • Business analysis
  • Service catalog management
  • Service design
  • Service level management
  • Availability management
  • Capacity and performance management
  • Service continuity management
  • Monitoring and event management
  • Service desk
  • Incident management
  • Service request management&mdashincludes both request fulfillment and access management of ITIL V3
  • Problem management
  • Release management&mdashincludes an explanation about releases in waterfall driven environments and DevOps driven organizations
  • Change control&mdashformerly known as change management
  • Service validation and testing
  • Service configuration management
  • IT asset management

As organizations prioritize and re-prioritize the list reflecting their Agile/ITSM journey, the boundaries between platforms will move, and in many cases, simply disappear. As this journey plays out in your company, the platforms and ecosystems that support each will need be rationalized. Said differently, you may be asked or told to choose one, but as our experience suggests, you won't need to do that today.

Instead of diving into the technical features and benefits of each platform and ecosystem, take some time to reflect the benefits of expanding your boundaries to address the business challenges you are facing now and expect over the next 18 months.

Where does this leave you and your team today?

While everything else gets worked out...

  • Review the ITIL4 Edition's 17 service management practices and rank prioritize for your team and company.
  • Do a self-assessment on your personal commitment to, and comfort with, the benefits of expanding your boundaries.
  • Meet with your team and have each of the individuals do the same.
  • Encourage conversations about where the platforms appear to be focusing (e.g., Atlassian focusing more on ITSM and ServiceNow paying more lip service to Agile).
  • When the time comes to make recommendations on app consolidation or choosing one platform over another, your team will be well prepared to do so with open, informed and agile minds.

One last note on the benefits of expanding boundaries: Leaders who effectively reach beyond their present boundaries have the advantage when faced with solving problems, creating innovative solutions and evolving to thrive in today’s interdependent, complex world. The benefits of boundary spanning leadership include:

  • Increased organizational agility to respond to a dynamic marketplace.
  • Advanced cross-organizational innovation processes.
  • Achievement of mission-critical, bottom-line results:
    • An engaged and empowered workplace at all levels
    • Flexible, cross-functional learning capabilities to solve problems and adapt to change
    • Better-managed risks and rewards through enduring cross-sector partnerships
    • Higher-performing virtual teams
    • Global mindsets and cross-regional collaboration
    • Use these bullets to get your team spanning conversation started

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