9: Syncing with ServiceNow: Interview New Podcast Host and Practice Lead, Fred Reynolds

Nov 8, 2022

It’s a new era at XenTegra.  

Today we interviewed our new host Fred Reynolds and found out about his background and experience building out automation and workflows with ServiceNow.

And we had a little fun… Right!

Host: Andy Whiteside
Co-Host: Moin Kahn
Co-Host: Fred Reynolds

WEBVTT

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Andy Whiteside: Hi! Everyone! Welcome to episode nine of seeking with service now on your host, Andy White Side today is November eleventh two thousand and twenty-two I had to start adding a date because I kept getting them all screwed up. So now I can help the hold myself accountable. Uh! This is the first one of these we’ve done in probably six months, and there’s a reason uh we are here today with our new um director of our modern Apps practice, which will be where our service now world fits, and that’s got him. Fred Reynolds. Fred, how’s it going?

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Fred Reynolds: Doing Great Andy? How are you doing today.

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Andy Whiteside: I’m doing great. I’m glad to be on here, glad to be doing this again. Glad to be talking about service now, and how it impacts ourselves and our customers, our future customers, and what kind of difference we can make in the service. Now, we’re also got a moe and con on with this moan is our global cto, and until Fred showed up, Moe has been responsible for the service. Now, practice Mo: how’s it going?

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Moin Khan: Going? Good. So excited to have Fred join us, and uh, seems like, uh, this is one area where we can do a whole lot, and i’m really excited.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, Moment’s got a background in service. Now, Fred, as we’re gonna get in that just a minute, as we kind of get. Fred introduced more, and I have a I have a question for you uh an answer as honestly as you can, because I think already know the answer. Uh, and it’s gonna be funny. So how much do you pay for that? Here, cut

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Moin Khan: uh twenty-three dollars plus three dollars t

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Andy Whiteside: and twenty-six, not twenty, six dollars. Okay, I thought usually uh your wife did it, I was gonna comment. Your hair looks great. It looks better than mine, not paying for mine, but it sounds like we paid the same. Of course you paid Canadian right?

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Fred Reynolds: Yes, I paid Canadian well, Andy, I think I can do your hair like moment for fifteen dollars, so I could probably cut you a deal and get it done for you that fifteen Us. Or Canadian that’s us. But you will have to tip.

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Okay,

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Andy Whiteside: alright, well, hopefully, that was funny. And then I thought he’s gonna say his wife did it. Because why? Whoever did it did a good job. Nice here cut uh Last time I saw you.

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Moin Khan: My wife did that for two years uh during pandemic, and this time she said, just to go and do your own thing.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, that’s good. You had worked it out right. We did. We did one haircut in my household ourselves, and it was my uh twelve year old son at the time, and he didn’t have a choice, but nobody else got the aircraft by anybody else in the family doing. At the end of it

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Fred Reynolds: I let my son at fourteen cut my hair during the pandemic like twice he was nervous as could be, and i’m like Big Deal I could throw a head on, but it was really funny to see him do it, because I think his hand was shaking right. I’m lucky I didn’t have jagged hair, but he did a pretty good job for never cutting hair before.

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Andy Whiteside: I mean as um extraordinary times calls for extraordinary measures,

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Andy Whiteside: and we’ve all moved through that. And and a lot of people uh really elevated their service. Now. Game. I was just a podcast call workflow it, and a lot of people elevated their service now game during the pandemic,

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Andy Whiteside: and it’s one of the reasons why it’s integr as a company really thinks it uh the service now world, the ital world, the itsm, the Itm I, Tom, Customer service, and then all and all around workflows for all departments is something that uh is going to be big. It’s big now and growing, and that we’re investing in. So in that notes uh today we’re going to talk through this with Fred Kind of introduce him to the podcast, and then we’re going to start picking up our blog views again. So, Fred Um, you want to give us just a quick background around yourself and

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Fred Reynolds: why you came to doing us. Yeah, i’ll try to make it quick. But thank you, Andy, and Moan and I was very happy to join and moment that you had already started, you know, working in and and working on service now. So I would tell you. I’m extremely excited to be here, probably without knowing it right. My whole career has been built around

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Fred Reynolds: kind of workflow and automations without even knowing it right. So that’s why this is so perfect. So I think um started out of college, which is where Andy and I met. So out of college I started being a very techy. I I got into it even as an intern sort of writing programs, not something I wanted to do all the time was writing programs. So that’s why I went to computer engineering, but

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Fred Reynolds: through that I started writing a program which helped pay my way through college uh for Enterprise Company, went into the It Department. Did a lot of that tier, one, two, three, four type services around it. Uh, from there went into

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Fred Reynolds: not knowing what the company I work for did when it’s a new product Introduction. That’s where I kind of found my passion for automation and using that program to do something useful with it. So when I went into new product introduction uh understand how the products were deployed, how we put them out to the market. I sort of find a lot of opportunity to do automation and program into reduce the time to install or measure success of the installs or engineer the products and couple of years doing that,

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Fred Reynolds: uh, revolved into me, actually getting a dedicated uh services tools development team. So let a practice around doing this for many of the products that were deployed. Um that rolled into

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Fred Reynolds: uh, moving into bigger positions within there, and managing larger teams. I spent six seven years in the sales uh as as an Asse. Uh, and then, and pushing out some of the products that were in need at that time, and then fell where I came before I left before I came here, Andy, the last seven years I was building a manage services platform where service now became the core of that

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Fred Reynolds: for a lot of the capabilities that it has. So I think my whole career has been built around automation and uh, and trying to find ways to build workflows, to to simplify business, working smarter automation workflows. Um, The uh the work. It

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Andy Whiteside: Enterprise Company X. I know. Did you see the name of it? I did not say it, but his Enterprise Company X. There you go also leave it there. Why? Why? Why was service now? The right fit? There? That’s a great question. The truth is, there’s a lot of

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Fred Reynolds: products out there Right it, depend on what you’re looking for. My specific area that I was looking for, was I? Tsm: I think service now has been the Quadrant leader in there in Gartner. Um. It is the best. Its and system that, I think, is in the market, although service now has many modules, many ways of putting in there. That was the leading reason why. Service now.

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Fred Reynolds: Um! As I was looking for a replacement for what we had, which we had a ticketing system. The main things I was looking for were one to to be. I tell a line which it is um integration story, right? That was gonna be. The biggest point for me is, how does this thing in the great Uh, throughout the uh,

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Fred Reynolds: the the the enterprise that we had right? How can I work with other systems, large systems. It’s competitors. It doesn’t matter, it integrates with it. So integrations was a key, and then really the workflow concept that was a little bit noon. I kind of look them as business transactions, or how can I do this for the business from an it standpoint but the workflow concept as you mentioned it, and the all the

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Fred Reynolds: uh workflow it right. The whole concept of how you can digitally transform from a company or an organization. That was one of the biggest things for me was their explanation of how we could build workflows and the automation behind that to create a lot of efficiencies.

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Fred Reynolds: Was there a legacy platform in place that you had to surplant? Or was this all net new? No, there was a legacy platform. It was built on like the Bmc remedy and a lot of homegrown products and tools, and off to shelf, Hp. And Bmc. Products. And again we we use those products for

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Fred Reynolds: the capabilities they had. I think we were getting to a point where we’re succeeding, looking for more out of that, and I think one of the other big things we see that missions to point, you know. Service now is a cloud based solution. At that time it didn’t exist uh there, and for that. We were having a lot of challenges with up times a performance of our platform and service. Now, once we implemented it, we’re on to that. I would, I would say, and testify. For six and a half years seven years we had it out there for our customers. We didn’t have any experience in the outages

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Fred Reynolds: uh we were able to scale and grow

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Fred Reynolds: as we desired. We were able to create multiple instances around the world to satisfy data, sovereignty, and other issues that would come about so.

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Andy Whiteside: And i’m glad you brought up the. It was a cloud software. It was a born in the clouds over right. I mean, you say, in the past it was. It’s one of those born in the cloud solutions which makes it a no brainer for us to join, you know. Bring into our um our practice that we’re building here. The modern apps practice because there’s no legacy to have to be held back by.

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Moin Khan: That is correct, uh, especially uh, with any product that is uh in the cloud um brings in that uh modernization that uh, that customers are looking for

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Moin Khan: and uh giving that flexibility. So one of the one of the best thing about uh the service, now that um I really love like about what uh Fred just talked about uh automation and integration.

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Moin Khan: So these are the two strong thing that makes service now, uh, especially in infrastructure and the modern day of workload that we are talking about where we are heading

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Moin Khan: service. Now, it really brings that glue to uh to make your make, your customization, your automation, and your integration uh simple, so definitely something uh both uh for any it company who is looking into uh maturing their

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Moin Khan: uh their uh it and service desk. Uh, this is something that uh, that that that fits fills that uh gap that is there

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Andy Whiteside: an in extensible which you might have said, and um iterative right. It keeps going where it is today, literally tomorrow it could be evolved, or certainly, when they have their releases it, it it goes forward whether you know whether you request or not. It’s going to keep moving forward, and in an appropriate way. And you’re you’re evolving with it. Um, you just

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Fred Reynolds: it really makes for that world of legacy software is just completely inappropriate.

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Fred Reynolds: I said, right. Didn’t: I Okay, I got you very funny. Oh, really, I have to work on that, anyway. You know they’re not problems or opportunities to go and solve right and through in it again through integrations

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Fred Reynolds: and through. So moan we got inside, Jo, cause Andy told me that I I save right a lot. It’s confirmation. I think it’s what it is to make sure you understand what i’m saying either way. Um,

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Fred Reynolds: i’m like to fill it up. Give you lots of this podcast about having fun. Just relax absolutely. This is the thing we’re just talking about stuff. We do. It’s not hard right? That right?

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Andy Whiteside: Because this is who we are. This is more passionate about we’ve been passed around this uh its in space and things that surround it for many, many years. It’s gonna turn into a business.

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Fred Reynolds: And and speaking, I think, Amy, that’s what really brought me to integrity, right? I mean I made a career change after twenty, some twenty-six and a half years, working for a large enterprise company. And I feel like this is now an opportunity for me to share a lot of what I’ve learned with people in similar roles, and it may be something they’re loving to do right now. There’s not sure how to do that transformation of what tool sets to use, and I hope that’s what I get a chance to share my experience. Come alongside with them, partner with them.

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Fred Reynolds: You know I love you know you so me too, Andy, when you kind of say we’re going to build a a community of partners and vendors right? We’re gonna walk along, walk alongside each other right and grow and and work together. So i’m excited about that

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Andy Whiteside: go to community, serve the community that exists in the service. Now, what it’s kind of happening, but not our way, not not the way we want. I mean, we we want to go do phone events. We want to go engage it levels at the upper cross of the business as well as the bottom of the business, and bring everybody together and and do it with our service. Now, friends, intel with us. I think it’s going to be revolutionary for everybody involved.

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Andy Whiteside: And uh, who knows? Well, you’re from now five years from now we’ll decide if it worked or not.

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Fred Reynolds: Absolutely

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Fred Reynolds: um workflows that you use with your service. Now, implementation that I think you own from day one you made the service now decision and implemented over a five year time period uh workflows, apps, modules. However, you would talk about it. What were the ones that you brought into your service now? Ecosystem? And I would say it was quite a journey right? I would say the first thing, and the and the one thing that I was uh excited about with service now, and going through the process of building. Something new right was to look at you. Don’t really want to start up with the process as you have, because you want to.

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Fred Reynolds: The digital transformations about creating new ones. But I do like the journey we had about what we had, looking at, what they had out of the box right and then actually having good discussions about how to What do we want looking for, right? That’s the biggest thing is the transformation. What do you want moving forward. It seems what we had. Cs. We evolved with the service. Now story i’ll honestly like to say, and not to take credit for a lot of it right. But I like to say the evolution of some of the its and module some of the tools that are in service now with us, working with them and saying, This is how we do manage services, because,

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Fred Reynolds: you know, we had to create custom code, which is easy to do in this environment right low code, no code environment. We created custom things to fit our gaps. Well, sure enough, as the journey went on, service now created those out of the box, and so we had times. We went back and

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Andy Whiteside: change to go back out of the box. I bet ten thousand customers could say the same things, and five thousand other partners could say the same thing. That’s what’s so beautiful about it. It’s a community.

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Andy Whiteside: It’s growing in solving the challenges together. And the software because it was born in the cloud because it is in the cloud cause it’s iterative. So it because there’s no code, low code options in there it can evolve very quickly, and at the same time you got everybody looking at it going, hey? That’s a vulnerability. That’s an issue, too. It’s almost like um like open source.

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Andy Whiteside: But it’s not

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Fred Reynolds: I. I I love the fact that they’ve involved in a way of thinking about the way businesses work right even to manage services. Space uh the concept of remote tables. And all this data that’s out there that we have to gather it doesn’t all have to live in one space. It doesn’t have to. But a platform that allows you to grab what data you need. Put it in a place, analyze it, manipulate it, and then present it how you need to, and then discard it. I mean, there’s so much capability. So to me, I say, that wasn’t there in the onset, and it was many things so, Andy, I would say that

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Fred Reynolds: I displaced many applications um streamline, many processes right, really made things a lot more efficient. We bring a service now, and that’s what we needed to do. Here’s a question for you guys, Mono. You answer first. What is What is it in an organization’s job. What’s their role?

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Andy Whiteside: Why, why, why is it called an application?

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Fred Reynolds: Is that a of the application?

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Andy Whiteside: Why is it call an application when you put um um. I know you know this. What do you? Why, when you put fertilizer on your grass, why is it calling you’re fixing it? You’re making it better. You’re applying something to make it better.

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Andy Whiteside: That’s what applications are. That’s what it does is what it manages. I can’t tell how many organizations are going where the it department doesn’t really talk to the business. Why not? That’s your job.

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Fred Reynolds: Well, I think that’s what service now is done, and that like this community device bridging the business organizations along with it. Right? So, business organization come and help solve their own problems. If you’re not a nonprofit, why are you in business? They make money right system in those countries that aren’t even capitalists that know that now.

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Andy Whiteside: And at the end of the day a lot of people are better off if their company is successful and makes money that gets distributed through them.

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Andy Whiteside: That’s the way it works.

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Andy Whiteside: Uh, hey, mom, uh, let’s assume you’re interviewing Fred now, what whatever? Not asking that you would ask them.

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Moin Khan: Uh, so to your topic of uh trying to what it does uh and how

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Moin Khan: uh, it enables the business uh

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Moin Khan: in in your uh past experience. Uh, I know what uh uh keeping uh service Now, taking an example, how service now stalled their problem. How? How was it? Not only a tool, but enabler

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Fred Reynolds: to business to go and do the job? How did it fit into the whole grand scheme of uh the business. Yeah. So I would say that the way I used it as in a managed service role was not internally focused, but I use it from an external focus way with a service to our customers right? So the it was the back end of all the

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Fred Reynolds: the the functions that we did to move add changes, support Itel, stack um! The The The customer side of that right, The Cs inside of that was us able to present that out to our customers in a very consumable way uh task based notifications, letting them click

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Fred Reynolds: two step clicks to be able to ask uh for what they needed right from a consumer perspective. And I think that’s that’s the power of what we did by using. It was just to tie the customer along with our it

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Fred Reynolds: operations people right? Or in my terms. It was with the entire services organization, right that fulfill the request of the customer. I hope that answers your question.

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Moin Khan: I did great thanks.

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Andy Whiteside: So. Um,

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Andy Whiteside: What was the um?

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Andy Whiteside: Well, okay. So at Z Integr, we are building out a managed service instances, so that we can support Mid-market

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Andy Whiteside: Smb customers that even enterprise customers that want kind of a I don’t want to call it cookie cutter approach, but some type of foundation to build on, and then it can all be customized after that. Um, you guys at the Enterprise Company X. You guys built this thing from scratch Right? That was correct.

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Andy Whiteside: You had the option

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Fred Reynolds: to do it as part of someone else’s framework. Would you have done it and done it there that way. Could you see values As to why, you know, mid market and other companies might want to framework just to build on top of.

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Fred Reynolds: I approached it, and the way I needed to do it was just to sheer size, right the the number the size of what we were, what we support in the sensitivity of that right. If I would have had an opportunity to to to run alongside of of one that was already built that was ready and White Lady of it, and did everything I need to do absolutely. Now. You could still do that and customize it, which I think is what we’re trying to create as integrity right out of the box right? And then we understand the business needs, because every customer is going to have. Every business is going to have different needs.

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Fred Reynolds: Every operation is going to have different needs, their processes, right? And we customize it for that.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah. And then what percent

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Andy Whiteside: of customers. What percent of a build do you think a customer is going to be able to get out of our manage service instance that we didn’t customize for them. What? How much of the effort, Moe? And do you think we’re going to be able to fast track

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Moin Khan: around eighty percent, I agree.

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Andy Whiteside: Eighty, eight. That’s huge right? So. Um! What are you cost somebody? The day forty-five days, just to get a project up and going i’m assuming, based on your numbers just now. If we had an instance that we could just start building from then eighty percent of that forty, five days just disappear.

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Moin Khan: Uh, yeah, And if you, if we talk about uh itsm understand the the whole uh mythology and framework is on it. I

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Moin Khan: uh so itel uh gives you the framework, and every company follows that framework. So when we talk about going and doing a manage services for them, uh, we have build things based on that Itel framework. So most of the customer they will have the same exact, same workflow and framework that every every every organization is following.

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Moin Khan: So what we are doing is, we are just going in. We are saying that we have already build this. Its based on the framework that has been recommended. Now this framework, either either you can take it that we can take your framework and then layer it on top of that.

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Moin Khan: Or if you want to just use the current framework that we have. In that case they don’t have to do anything, because it is already falling. Industry best practices, so they can just take in and adapt it, or if they say no, we have some delta. We we do things some differently from other businesses. These are the differentials we have. So we just take those and then build it on top of that. So, Andy, I want to speak to that because my one hits some really important things, because you have a framework that’s built, which is industry, standard best practices. Right? I think that’s That’s the value of like

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Fred Reynolds: work with somebody like integral. We have an instance built that someone could adopt to right because you want to stay out of the box. You want to stay current. You want to have your updates set done for you right. You don’t want to fall behind the times right as long as you stay current with these platforms. Right, you get the latest and greatest that’s available to you. If you stay out of the box you adopt those, and you have those right away, you just pull the levers and use them. Um, I think you want to discourage most

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Fred Reynolds: from creating custom processes that are not

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Fred Reynolds: not a line with what’s business and is data right Now I would say that within the company I work for well

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Fred Reynolds: along in our processes, and we had so many people that did did not want to do a different process. That’s a pain, right? I mean that’s part of working through it right. If you’re going to change, it has to be a change. It’s just taking the old process and then digitizing that doing the same thing is not really creating a lot of efficiency. So I like what? What Moan said, because I think that’s the value of what we need to do is, you know, show what comes out of the box

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Fred Reynolds: and try to minimize some of the customizations around the framework. Now, applications is different. Right or solving. The problems of creating workflows is different, Right? They need to be customized. But the the general basis in the framework of what the platform provides. Stay close to.

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Andy Whiteside: So, Guys. One of the things that we hope to do as in Tendra with our service. Now, practice is to bring our other vendor partners into the mix, to take a uh a liquid where and make sure they’re represented in the service now store and then we additionally, both on that, a new tanks, and I gel Citrix, a Vm. Where uh I can go on and on. Where do you guys see

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Andy Whiteside: the need for a partner who understands more than just the service now side of the world to show up in this ecosystem and bring

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Andy Whiteside: those elements together.

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Andy Whiteside: You were a part of the guy or help like you and I did this for one one vendor. And now it just seems like there’s

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Andy Whiteside: a limitless number of vendors that needs that integration, whether they know it or not.

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Moin Khan: I agree, and and and getting into uh getting into this uh uh generation where we are, we are talking about uh

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Moin Khan: simplifying the work, and uh labor costs being so expensive. We just don’t want to do it. So a labor cost being a labor cost and overall manual error that can cause doing those a repetitive tasks. If i’m able to go and take those repetitive tasks, and can can simplify it at the same time integrated with the with the partners that we are working with. So every customer that I talk to. They are using. Most of those vendors

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Moin Khan: be in newutanics, beat idol or liquid, where or control up for their management of their infrastructure. They’re using these things already. Now, if I take all those data that is already there into a different database, So we have block and bucket of databases that is, sitting there with information which we cannot analyze it and and and use it to effectively if we don’t bring it under one single pan of class. So That’s what service now gives us,

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Moin Khan: and and bringing in these partners, where every vendor that we talk to, they have a used case that customers is asking, but they don’t see a bigger picture, and and that’s where

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Fred Reynolds: bringing in uh someone like us, where we we see how these things date the club together, how they how they work together. And if we can bring this value into a single pan, I think that that is a big win for our customers. Yeah. And I think a single pane of glass that has automatic multi channel notifications to let you know. Andy, I think that’s what we see. The the vendors. There’s there’s lots of vendors There’s lots of solutions right. But what is managing those? What’s tying all that together.

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Fred Reynolds: And I think that’s it. That’s Why, when you say you don’t know if they do need it or not right, they need it. They just need to know how that gets plugged in right? What data goes from there because most people have their own. Most companies dinners have their own uh

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Fred Reynolds: portals. They have their own utility tools, right? But that’s okay. But people who are running the business right. They just want something a little bit more simple. It all comes to there and consolidates. It all runs at analytics across every bit of it. Right notifies one single platform on all issues, no matter what the products are,

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Andy Whiteside: and and the assumption by a lot of vendors is, their customers will figure out a way to integrate their stuff into service now, and if you can just give them an example how to make it easy, and a couple of examples of what could be. There could be a lot more that comes out of that. But somebody’s got to get it going. Somebody’s got to be the first person to get on the day of floor at your cousin’s wedding and break it down.

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Fred Reynolds: Yeah,

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Fred Reynolds: yeah, absolutely. It’s always that guy, usually to my thirteen year old son. He’s not scared. Indeed. Yeah, it’s free, but he didn’t know it.

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Fred Reynolds: Kind of reminds me of somebody I used to know.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, all right. Well, I guys, it’s been very good conversations. We’ll get back to it next week or week after, and then we’ll grab a couple of blogs and we’ll review those and maybe bring the author on Fred. You always get the green line to reach out to the author for the the blog you want to cover a month ahead of time and see if they’ll join us. Now notice most of them will want to have like four calls ahead of time to plan. Uh, we just don’t want to talk about it. Just cover what’s in right in front of us, and

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Fred Reynolds: that it’s It’s very valuable. Good, good conversation, guys. Thank you for doing this. Um, Fred. Anything else you’d want to bring up on your first podcast. I’m excited. I uh, I hope, for a long series of these, and keep having conversations. So thank you both. At five years from now you’ll be walking around on people recognizing the airport. Oh, yeah,

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Andy Whiteside: It’s been the air force, maybe maybe at a service. Now Conference, that may be more like it where you’re sinking with service now. T-shirt, My name is Fred on the front, that you might

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Moin Khan: uh I’m. I’m really excited uh and I believe that um! This is uh something to your point uh any. There, there. There is a need, and uh, many customers uh

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Moin Khan: who need help, and every customer that I talk to. And i’m talking about every customer that I talk to um the minute I talk about. Uh, and I’ve started to uh uh shy away from asking these questions. That What is your uh operations model? And everyone has a pain,

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Moin Khan: and they don’t know how to go and fix it, especially because of the cost of the product cost of the services, and Don’t know how these things they work together uh that one piece where I feel someone who can understand and simplify it and demestify it where it is not too complicated. It is simple enough for customer to digest.

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Moin Khan: This is one of the biggest thing that we can give it back to the community.

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Fred Reynolds: Yeah, All right, gentlemen, thank you. And we’ll do it again a couple of weeks.

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Alright. Thanks.