Frank Slootman is the venerable CEO at Snowflake. He is referenced by Bill Gurley, Brad Gerstner, Doug Leone, and just about every else in tech as one of the best-performing CEOs. While his current run at Snowflake gets most of the attention, his prior work at ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) transformed it into one of the most powerful software companies.
Here’s how Frank described ServiceNow’s key product insight:
“ServiceNow evolved to a service workflow platform without limits. I referred to it as a structured messaging platform in contrast to the unstructured messaging of email, text, and numerous other messaging services. Structured meant the data was defined inside the message or task and logic could operate without limit on it.”
Since Trace’s inception, we’ve compared our opportunity with ServiceNow. Previous generations of finance tools were built for back-office use (FP&A building models, procurement executing transactions, etc.) and the collaboration with the business was unstructured. Think about how much information flows in email, slack, budget templates, meetings, decks, and spreadsheets. It’s inefficient, but the real missed opportunity is the application of logic and automation.
Trace’s key insight is that business teams should have a single place to plan and execute structured finance requests. Most business requests start with finance approval, so if you handle this well, then all downstream processes and systems (i.e. recruiting/ATS, legal/CLM, security/GRC, etc.) can be connected for end-to-end visibility and automation.
Every aspect of what Trace does is to help finance be more service-oriented. ServiceNow and Atlassian built the IT Service Management category. Trace is ushering in the Finance Service Management category.