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ServiceNow just bought a design firm because even enterprise apps have to look pretty

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ServiceNow is best known for helping large organizations organize field service and help desk activity. Today it bought design firm Telepathy because it knows that offering enterprise-class functionality isn’t enough anymore. Your applications have to look good too.

The company did not reveal the acquisition price

Telepathy is a design firm that was founded in 2001 in San Diego and ServiceNow decided to purchase a company firmly focused on design because it wants to nothing less than transform itself into a design-oriented company. Chief Product Officer, CJ Desai wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal that Telepathy brings, “an amazing design team that dramatically enhances our commitment to delivering great design and consumer-like experiences in our products and ServiceNow Platform.”

This is probably more than lip service because the company recognizes something that is essential, even in the enterprise now. Companies can’t just deliver good functionality. They have to deliver it in a way that appeals to both IT from an administrative perspective and end users from a pure design and ease of use perspective.

This idea goes back at least five years when the ‘consumerization of IT’ concept began to take hold inside large companies. It stemmed from the fact that end users were getting incredible user experiences on their tablets and smart phones, but when they came to work they were being forced to use stodgy old tools that lacked even basic design sense, never mind user centricity.

Users began to fight back by bringing those tools they were using in their personal lives into work (because they could) and for a time, IT lost control of the situation. Now companies are realizing they can provide the best of both worlds. They can develop tools that give IT the control they need, yet give users the design and experience they want.

That could be what really underlies this purchase. Chuck Loganecker wrote in a Telepathy company blog post, the two companies had more in common than both being based in San Diego. There was a belief in the need for good design — and there was also the prospect of taking his company to another level.

“We would get to use the Telepathy Design Method and spread design culture within a 6,000 person company to impact 25,000,000 users as an internal design agency. Our entire experience design toolset would be put into play including service and organization design to impact the way ServiceNow works, UX research and design to make the product suite more intuitive and Digital/Physical/AR/Voice to plan for the future of product interactions,” Loganecker wrote.

ServiceNow has actually been more acquisitive than you might think having purchased seven companies since 2013 prior to today’s announcement.

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Chart: Crunchbase

Featured Image: Getty Images


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