ServiceNow’s CFO isn’t afraid to say “We don’t know”

Gina Mastantuono talked transparency, rapid growth, and early AI investment with Morning Brew’s After Earnings.
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· 4 min read

Gina Mastantuono became the CFO of ServiceNow, a B2B cloud platform, in January 2020—just before Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic. To make things even more challenging, Mastantuono was also new to the software industry and her boss, Bill McDermott, chair and CEO of ServiceNow, was also new to the company.

That sounds like it could be the opening of a disastrous case study, but it’s been the opposite. ServiceNow’s stock has tripled since 2020 and its market cap is in the same neighborhood as IBM, Uber, and Morgan Stanley. This week, Mastantuono joined Austin Hankwitz and Katie Perry, hosts of the Morning Brew show After Earnings, to talk about what ServiceNow does, how it has expanded, its early bet on AI, the company’s success—including its entry into the Fortune 500—and much more.

This summary has been lightly edited for length and clarity. You can listen to the whole episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Hankwitz: You guys were definitely ahead of the curve on generative AI; you acquired Element AI way back in 2020. Can you shed some light on ServiceNow’s point of view on AI? Is it a replacing function, is it a multiplying function for current engineers?

Mastantuono: We have absolutely been early to the Gen AI game…It really enabled us to welcome the best of the best AI talent into ServiceNow. We 100% wouldn’t be where we are today without that acquisition and those incredible engineers really helping build the foundation of AI into our platform.

We 100% think that Gen AI is going to be fueling transformation. It’s not a replace; it’s an augment—taking away some of the more transactional, rote types of work, and enabling them to focus on what I think is more impactful and valuable work for that employee.

We’re customer zero for everything. And so we have actually more than 20, 30 Gen AI use cases in production throughout the organization…We’re seeing deflection rates—[that is,] how many times can an employee or a customer answer their own questions without having to speak or talk to a customer service or an IT service rep—increase. So employees are getting customers their answers quicker, so they can spend more time doing work that they love…We’re also seeing about a 49% acceptance rate for all code that’s being generated by AI.

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Perry: I want to ask about the competitive landscape, because I think what’s interesting about enterprise software is that it’s a growing market—someone doesn’t necessarily need to lose for someone else to win. I’m curious how you all fit within that market and which slice you’re occupying?

Technology budgets are increasing, but we have been growing our share of wallet over the last several years…The tech stack has gotten really complex, which drives risk, a lot of cost, cyber issues, and so the ability to consolidate on one platform across the enterprise has been a winning strategy for ServiceNow.

We often say that no one necessarily has to lose for us to win. You have these systems of record and investments that companies have made billions of dollars in [for] their tech stack...ServiceNow can sit directly on top of those systems of record, and really help automate a lot of manual processes across the enterprise.

Perry: We all feel like the last four or five years have felt like one or two years. What were the core changes on the executive team that you had to make to keep everyone aligned and moving quickly?

There was a lot going on…We didn’t have answers. As a leader, how do you motivate [and] inspire when you don’t have all the answers? A lot of folks just kind of retrench and don’t say anything, because they don’t know what to say. And Bill and I and the entire leadership team…[increased] the pace of our all-hands [and] our communications. And if we don’t know the answer, we’re just going to say “We don’t know…But this is how we’re going to think about it.”

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.