Thursday, 27 January 2022 19:48

ServiceNow creates Centre of Excellence for Accessibility, advancing commitment to inclusive and accessible technology


For millennia, humans have worked on ways to make life easier and better for people with disabilities, whether physical or cognitive, whether born that way, or encountering such issues in life, whether from age or something else, and with modern technology, making things more ever more accessible is becoming ever more important.

ServiceNow. The company styles itself as "the leading digital workflow company that makes work, work better for people."

Earlier this month, ServiceNow announced new investments in accessibility to make its "Now Platform" more inclusive for a wide range of diverse needs, whether physical or cognitive.

The company explains it created a cross-functional organisation, the "Centre of Excellence for Accessibility," and appointed Apple and Nike veteran Eamon McErlean as vice president and global head of accessibility to lead inclusive innovation on the Now Platform.

Amy Lokey, SVP, global head of design at ServiceNow said: "These new investments will create more equitable experiences for ServiceNow employees and customers.

“Diversity, inclusion, and belonging foster innovation and are a business imperative for the long-term success of our company. Accessible technology for all increases productivity, attracts a wider talent pool, and can play an important role in driving business growth. Eamon is an industry visionary, and we welcome him to the ServiceNow family as we continue to make the world of work, work better for everyone.”

You can read Lokey's blog post on the announcement here.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHA), around 1 in 6 (18%) people in Australia have disability, while in the US, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that 61 million Americans have a disability, which is one in four US adults.

Under McErlean’s leadership, and in partnership with engineering leaders across ServiceNow, ServiceNow says its Centre of Excellence for Accessibility will provide the company's product teams with "resources and training across research, design, engineering, and product management, to help ensure the company’s products provide an optimal experience for all users."

We're told The Centre will also "work closely with other departments within ServiceNow to maintain an inclusive and accessible work environment for the company’s more than 16,000 global employees. This goes beyond physical accessibility, such as wheelchair ramps and accessible restrooms, with a focus on digital accessibility, where information and communication technologies are accessible to everyone."

In addition, throughout 2022 and beyond, the Centre of Excellence for Accessibility "will closely collaborate with ServiceNow’s partners and customers, who are on their own accessibility journeys, as well as existing internal employee groups, to solicit continuous feedback on ServiceNow products. This will prioritise accessibility compliance early in the design and development process and reduce the need for future product fixes."

McErlean said: “Accessibility needs to be at the forefront and core of every modern software experience.

“Companies should think about accessibility in the same way they think about security or performance and make it a standard part of their overall product development processes. I’m delighted to be joining a company that is fully committed to accessibility. I look forward to being a trusted partner for ServiceNow’s adaptive users so that we can work together to strengthen our relationship with the worldwide accessibility community.”

McErlean most recently served as the senior director of reliability at Nike, where he built the company’s digital accessibility initiatives from the ground up to ensure accessibility standards were embedded throughout product lifecycles. He’s also held senior positions at Apple and the Royal Caribbean Group.

McErlean will report into Jon Sigler, SVP of ServiceNow’s Platform business unit.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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