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ServiceNow Academy - a program combining work and learning

Recently, our German and Polish teams took on yet another project together. This time, they are preparing an exciting opportunity for DB Schenker employees, both newly hired and already working with us, to learn more about ServiceNow during the two-year program. This opportunity will allow participants to learn new skills without the need to start their careers from scratch.

Maren Wrobel, IT SOM Community Manager, and Grzegorz Dąbrowski, Head of IT SD EMEA 1, both highly involved in the organization of the ServiceNow Academy, decided to find a bit of time in their busy schedules to tell you more about the program. Here's what they had to say:

In your own words, please explain what the program is about and your role in it?

Maren: The SOM-ServiceNow Academy is a two years program with a combination of training courses (called "Academy Weeks") and practical experience in the ServiceNow environment. The goal is to develop people with IT backgrounds and/or passion for ServiceNow and enable them to find new working opportunities in Schenker.

Portrait of Maren Wrobel

I took over the responsibility of working out the concept of the Academy and bringing it to life. As soon as the program starts, my role will become less critical – nevertheless, I will be there to ensure everything runs smoothly. Then, more important for the candidate will be the technical supervisor during the practical phases, Liesa Rautenberg (Head of Standard & Tools), as well as Grzegorz and his colleagues in Warsaw regarding day-to-day work and people management.

Grzegorz: The concept of the Academy is something special and got me on board almost immediately. It's rather unique that investing two years into training and combining theory and practice will give ten trainees a chance to start their ServiceNow career and go from having basic knowledge to eventually becoming ServiceNow professionals. My role in the project is to build the team in TSC Warsaw, recruit the right leader, and secure smooth operations until the end of the program. Finally, I'm here to ensure everybody has the same support and opportunity to grow into the role of ServiceNow Professional, which is the goal of the Academy.

Portrait of Grzegorz Dąbrowski

Okay, let's talk about the technology itself - why ServiceNow?

Maren: ServiceNow is a desired and often used tool from many companies, also as THE strategic tool within Schenker for IT Service Management and IT Operations Management. The bandwidth of possibilities where to use it expanded significantly over the past years. Now, we also use it for Customer Service Management or P&O processes. And we need people who can operate it and maximize its capabilities.

Grzegorz: I like to call ServiceNow a one-stop shop for service management. It's hard to match since it offers so many functionalities in one place. It can be used to support workflows in different areas, IT, of course, being the main one, but also in HR, financial services, and many others that we all use or consume as users. The demand for this kind of tool is high (and still growing), so it's better to be an early adopter than to catch up later.

What kind of candidate would be perfect for the program?

Maren: It's hard to answer since we are very open to different possibilities. It would be good if the candidate did some initial work through internships or former jobs, preferably in the IT or system administration area. Key from my perspective are good communication skills in English as the people will work in a global team.

Grzegorz: Anyone with at least basic IT professional experience or educational background who's curious about new technology and likes to always 'find a better way' to do things. Fluent communication in English is, without a doubt, a must. However, the experience with the platform falls into the "nice to have" category.
Please tell us more about the course - what will it look like?

Maren: The Academy Weeks are done mostly onsite in the office in Warsaw, with participants attending 1-2 courses per learning block. There will also be a professional trainer (from ServiceNow or our training partner FastLane) onsite. After some self-study days/weeks, they will also do the official certifications, i.e., ServiceNow Administration Fundamentals.
Grzegorz: From the content perspective, I leave it to Maren and ServiceNow experts from the SOM team. But from the organizational point of view, we offer a fantastic office with various amenities, access to benefits, support from team leads and managers, and a friendly work atmosphere. On top of that, our Smart Workplace concept allows us to combine remote and onsite work (depending on preference). However, there will be times when we'll all meet as one team to learn or work on projects together. 
How will learning be intertwined with everyday work?

Maren: We planned different phases of the program. There will be Academy Weeks and the Practical Phases, which will cover most of the day-to-day work. Attendees will gain theoretical knowledge and have a chance to apply it in practice.  

Grzegorz: Being a member of the Academy is a full-time job. Attending training and applying gained skills in practice are equally important; both are part of the day-to-day work.

What will the usual week look like for the participants?

Maren: The Academy Weeks are always a bit special, with training classes and some team events. The practical phase is like a typical job - attendees will actively participate in team and agile meetings right from the beginning to support the daily operations. But they will also get extra tasks to get into the topic and start mentoring.

Grzegorz: We want the new members to know right from the start that they belong to one team. For me, it's the core of the program's concept and the reason for assembling the team in one location.

Why is the project going to take two years?

Maren: It's a reasonable period to train the people theoretically by not overwhelming them. It will also ensure that they can use theoretical knowledge in practice.
Grzegorz: This is something I did not directly influence, but I support the idea of the team learning and gaining experience together for longer. This will create a much more comfortable working environment and allow us to get to know our new colleagues well. That, on the other hand, will make things easier when working with each other or advancing our careers. Also, since ServiceNow has many features and options, you'll need time to become proficient on the admin level.
What are the possible opportunities afterward? What will happen two years from now? 

Maren: The last thing we want is to say goodbye to the Academy trainees! 

Grzegorz: It is evident that ServiceNow is becoming one of the essential tools in our company, with the demand for skilled professionals constantly growing. At the same time, the number of available experts doesn't match that demand. I'm confident there will be various interesting next steps available internally for everyone at DB Schenker. ServiceNow Admin, Engineer, or Architect roles are just a few we already have in the company, and we need more! Joining the program is a perfect start to more advanced positions in the future.

Maren, Grzegorz, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! 

And if ServiceNow Academy sounds like your cup of tea, check out the ServiceNow Academy Trainee offer