back to article ServiceNow slammed for 'tone deaf' letter telling customers contracts can't be tweaked as COVID-19 batters businesses

ServiceNow, the company that sees itself dominating enterprise software via workflow tools, has told customers contractual arrangements will not be altered as it wrestles with economic stresses accompanying a pandemic. According to Forrester analyst Duncan Jones, a letter from Service Now CFO Gina Mastantuono explained to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ServiceNot

    SeviceNow Ticket/Template abbreviates to SNOT, which seems appropriate.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tone Deaf ...

    This is the approach of all big companies: find a process, stick to it, and make sure nobody (clients, staff) can get access to anyone at a level who can do anything but shrug.

    ... I have been assured by DXC that my compulsory redundancy, is absolutely standard - timeline, terms, process. Nothing to do with Covid19. Not affected by Covid19 - or that fact that the world is literally on fire at the moment - just routine workforce adjustment. Much more important that some management droid several levels above my line manager achieves his FY21Q1 target than I part from DXC on good terms.

    Maybe I'll write a book on just how shit they are --- I've got loads of material. I suppose it'll come as a suprise to nobody here though :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tone Deaf ...

      As an ex DXCer, and CSC before that, who left with VR about 2 years ago, and can definitely say the grass is greened outside of DXC.

      Not to boast, more for encouragement and provide some hope, but since leaving DXC, where my wage had stagnated for ~10 years, I now earn over double what I was on at DXC, for exactly the same type of work, and the atmosphere is so much nicer without the constant doom and gloom from within DXC!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tone Deaf ...

        Much appreciated, thanks!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tone Deaf ...

      To be fair CSC often decided the best way to improve the service was to cut the people doing the work and keep the managers. Plus ce change...

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Tone Deaf ...

        So... like IBM then.

  3. overunder Silver badge

    Flex spending.

    "...customers in highly affected industries with greater budgets flexibility..."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We use Service Now where I work...

    And it's utter shit. Calling it 'Service Now' is akin to calling Boris Johnson 'Competent PM'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We use Service Now where I work...

      I'd like to see you do better. Isn't hindsight wonderful?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        Better at what?

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        He didn't need hindsight, it was slapping him in the face from China yet he ignored it.

      3. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        If you think it boils down to "hindsight", you're as blind as Boris. The data was there, he chose to ignore it.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        The guy missed 5 cobra meetings in a row. Nothing to do with hindsight...

    2. Chris Hills

      Re: We use Service Now where I work...

      I think it is like SAP, it is a brilliant product if you do things their way, but if you drift too far into customization, you would have been better creating something bespoke.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        With the added issue that no matter how many times a department manager will tell you they understand this, they'll still demand a customisation instead of changing their processes, then call the system broken because it works how they asked for it to work, then call it expensive because the support costs have tripled because they outsourced the customisation work to an offshore code farm that couldn't give a fuck about anything beyond getting the next customisation contract.

        I'm not bitter. Honest.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We use Service Now where I work...

      used it at my last place, it was ok'ish but complex and we were given next to feck all training and its not the kind of thing you can blag your way through! It was better than HPE Service Anywhere which we did use before it

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: We use Service Now where I work...

      I've used SN a lot.

      It's utility really depends on how it's configured and it is very, very easy to set it up wrong and usually is.

      In my opinion, it's absolutely overkill for it's purpose. It defines granular micro-management.

    5. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: We use Service Now where I work...

      Oh diddums. Did the nasty stupid population not vote the way you, with your obviously superior intellect, knew they should?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        Yes.

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: We use Service Now where I work...

        "Nasty stupid" sums up British Politics and Goverment that results.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We use Service Now where I work...

      Seems rather obvious, but I've heard it called "Service No".

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "ServiceNow contracts are non-cancellable"

    And customers were prepared to sign them?

    I suppose they could be shown to make savings for several quarters - longer than management was prepared to look ahead.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Surely that can't be legal. If I were one of their customers I would be aksing my lawyers for the correct way to stop paying them and tell them to "Get Tae!" asap.

      I work for a company that supplies a SaaS system to caterers, cafes and restaurants. Obviously all of our customers had their business fall of a cliff but where they have been able to continue at all we have renegotiated contracts and billing terms to keep as many of them as working businesses and customers as possible. Seems ServiceNow would rather their customers go bust.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @iron - It seems your company

        doesn't have a lock-in on their clients. You know when you're in a position to tell your client to shove off knowing for sure that it would cost him dearly to take his business to a competitor.

      2. moronatwork

        If you willingly sign, it's on you. At a previous company, Oracle made them sign a "high watermark" agreement, where even if you stop using some of their products, you have to pay, at minimum, what you paid last year. You are free to replace what you don't use with increase usage of the products you are using, or to use new products. You just can't reduce payments. No idea how it got passed legal.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Legal?

          Probably had nothing to do with the legal department, I'm sure Legal was told to rubber stamp the contract by the very upset management that wanted to sign the contract.

          But, as I've learned from painful life experience, people don't want to be educated on the negatives of their decisions; either they learn it themselves or they don't wish to learn about them at all. So either this will make management question the wisdom to signing contracts in the upcoming future with ServiceNow, or they'll simply go on with the status quo. But either way, no matter what other people will say about this incident, it won't matter to them: they'll only believe their own opinions.

          1. sketharaman

            Re: Legal?

            Extremely well said: "as I've learned from painful life experience, people don't want to be educated on the negatives of their decisions; either they learn it themselves or they don't wish to learn about them at all."

  6. Chris Hills

    Are you telling me

    Your company legal team did not read the fine print?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Chris Hills - Re: Are you telling me

      They read it but let me tell you how this happens.

      The highest management meets the vendor's highest management plus sales team (somewhere in a nice cosy environment, far from the crowd) and they agree on higher details and sign the contract leaving the finer details to be solved during the implantation. The contract is then handed downstream for comments but if you find something that is not right, nobody can go back to the CxO, tell him he was suckered into this contract and he'd better cancel the whole thing.

      After this, customer support team will try to mend things while the vendor will religiously stick to a contract that is inevitably slanted in their favor. You don't like it ? This is what your CxO has signed. You go to your CxO? He'll tell you to "work with our partner to make things work".

      I've been through this several times.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: @Chris Hills - Are you telling me

        I see you've got your proper scars.

        You absolutely nailed it.

      2. yoganmahew

        Re: @Chris Hills - Are you telling me

        Absolutely that's the way it works, with an additional step - between the highest management signing and the finer details, there's a big announcement about how much better the new is going to be and how much will be saved. Then half the workers on the old proceses are ditched and replaced with SNOW customisation 'experts'...

      3. sketharaman

        Re: @Chris Hills - Are you telling me

        Having been a part of the vendor sales team, that's exactly how it works. Totally agree - except for the word "implantation" unless you meant "implementation". But there's also another side to it. Large customers take 3-6 months to whet and sign contracts whereas their CxOs put pressure on vendor to start work immediately. Ergo, we end up where we end up. This hasn't changed in my last 20 years of experience in software sales and marketing.

  7. RM Myers Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    If the question is ServiceNow,

    Then the answer is no.

  8. Donn Bly

    A contract is a contract, not a suggestion

    The problem we have here is that a contract is just that, a CONTRACT. A legally binding agreement, jointly entered, voluntarily, for the benefit of both parties. You don't just get to go in and change the terms whenever you like, no matter what the outside situation. You wouldn't like it if a service on which you depended said "Nope, I know we agreed to that price but we can't make enough profit at that price so we aren't going to honor the agreement". It goes both ways.

    Most contracts have a "Force Majure" clause, and Covid should be enough to trigger it. If you signed the agreement without one, well, the onus is on you. (And, from the sounds of it, anybody who signed with them apparently deserves what they got. You signed a contract for crap service, you got the crap service for which you signed)

    It is right to take up contract modifications on a case-by-case basis, it is not right to unilaterally change the contracts across the board unless every contract is canceled using an existing provision and then a new one signed with different conditions. Hopefully, all of this makes people more cognizant of the contracts that they sign and hold their future vendors to a higher standard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A contract is a contract, not a suggestion

      Actually, no.

      Many contracts do not have a 'force Majeure' clause. Such a clause is not specifically recognized in UK (and many other countries) law - its more of a Gallic law thing.

      Additionally, many suppliers - especially in SAAS do not let customers modify their standard contract clauses - and I work for a multi billion US company.... You will rarely find Force Majeure in such a contract.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A contract is a contract, not a suggestion

        While clause does not stand on its own in UK law, it is widely used and valid, even in UK contracts.

        https://lmgtfy.com/?q=force+majeure+in+uk+law

        You are of course correct that most SAAS suppliers don't let customers modify their standard contract clauses, you either agree with the contract or don't use the service. However, Force Majeure has nothing to do with letting customers change the contract.

        You are incorrect however that the clause isn't in most SAAS contracts. I just got done reviewing each of the ones we have, including Microsoft, and they all have Force Majeure clauses. Even Salesforce has Force Majeure. Even ORACLE, the worse of the worst, has Force Majeure.

        What multi-billion US company do you work for that doesn't have lawyers to review and enforce contracts?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A contract is a contract, not a suggestion

      "You wouldn't like it if a service on which you depended said "Nope, I know we agreed to that price but we can't make enough profit at that price so we aren't going to honor the agreement". It goes both ways."

      And yet, if you put more bums on seats, the SaaS provider wants more money off you. So when you have no choice but take bums off seats, and use far less of the SaaS, then why should you not pay less? After all, as you say, it works both ways.

  9. TheProf Silver badge
    Devil

    This

    This kind of behaviour just wouldn't happen if there were more women in directorship roles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @TheProf - Re: This

      It is your opinion and I don't think it deserves a down-vote. However, you must be aware there were women that gained their notoriety as pirates, bandits, CEOs and other nefarious occupations usually dominated by males.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This

      What if a woman is up against a male candidate who seems and interviews as the best person for the job?

      It's all well and good saying stuff like "more women", but you'd be better off investigating the root causes (education, opportunity, stigma, exposure,etc) in why there is a dearth of females in the first place.

      Because someone isn't the best at a job just because they're female. In a way, you're being sexist - you may think it's positive discrimination, but it's still discrimination!

      What do I want? Equality of opportunity. Meritocracy. Nobody held back or given a free pass just because they meet X criteria that isn't just suitability for the role.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This

      Need new glasses....

      Read that as "dictatorship roles".....

    4. TheProf Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: This

      And Whooooosh! There goes my reputation for snarky comments.

      Gina Mastantuono - Chief Financial Officer - ServiceNow......... is a WOMAN.

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