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ServiceNow Taps New Channel Chief Erica Volini, Rolls Out New Partner Program

Joseph F. Kovar

‘This program is a re-commitment to our partners. We are saying we understand the value you provide, and will support you in the different ways you work with us in the field and with customers,’ says Erica Volini, ServiceNow’s senior vice president for alliances and the channel ecosystem.

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Digital workflow management software developer ServiceNow Tuesday used the company’s annual internal partner kickoff event in Las Vegas to introduce its new channel champion, Erica Volini.

Volini, who takes the stage this week as ServiceNow’s senior vice president for alliances and the channel ecosystem, also unveiled major changes to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company’s channel program aimed at helping partners expand their opportunities and benefits.

Volini, who joined ServiceNow in August of 2021 as senior vice president of global alliances and partner ecosystem go to market operations after 23 years at Deloitte consulting, is taking over as channel chief from David Parsons, who has held that role for over four years.

[Related: ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott On ‘Bold’ Expansion Plans, Innovations, New Chairman Role]

Parsons remains at ServiceNow, Volini told CRN.

“He’s taking on a new role focused on expanding the partner ecosystem through new investments,” she said. “It’s part of a newly-created ecosystem venture organization.”

Volini declined to provide additional details about that new organization.

ServiceNow Tuesday unveiled a new partner program aimed at helping partners differentiate themselves, Volini said.

“This program is a re-commitment to our partners,” she said. “We are saying we understand the value you provide, and will support you in the different ways you work with us in the field and with customers.”

Volini has really designed ServiceNow’s new channel program with solution providers in mind, said Michael Lombardo, CEO of Glidefast Consulting, a Waltham, Mass.-based solution provider specializing in the ServiceNow ecosystem.

“I sat down with Erica and talked a lot with her about the new program,” Lombardo told CRN. “The program is almost like she took everything we said we wanted and then implemented it.”

The new program has three major changes, Volini said.

The first is to replace the traditional partner segments with four new partner motions that allow solution providers to work with ServiceNow in more than one way. The new motions let partners resell the ServiceNow platform, do consulting and implementation on the platform, build new services on the platform, and/or operate the platform as part of their own managed services, she said.

“Today, these are all individual programs, and partners get slotted into one of them,” she said. “Now they can do one or all of them. We want partners to tell us how they want to work with us.”

The second change aims to make partners more clear about what they need to advance in the program, Volini said.

ServiceNow currently uses points calculated in 37 different areas to show partner status in the program which Volini said makes it hard for a partner to know what’s needed to help them advance.

“Now we have very clearly defined requirements based on three major behaviors, including their ability to generate new ACV (annual contract value), on how they grow the number of certified people including via our new RiseUp program, and helping customers get the full benefit of the ServiceNow platform by looking at customer satisfaction and critical app adoption.”

RiseUp with ServiceNow is a global program aimed to provide ServiceNow, its customers, and its channel partners with the right talent to help expand use of the ServiceNow platform in the face of a global shortage of people with digital transformation IT skills.

By critical app adoption, Volini said she was referring to how ServiceNow has identified certain applications that are critical to bringing customers the benefit of the ServiceNow platform and helping make sure they get adopted.

The third change is to provide partners with four new financial investments, including ServiceNow’s first-ever partner development fund, expanding deal registration to the public sector, making sure deal rebates are available for all partners including a new back-end “kicker” for net-new customer logos, and additional marketing investments for offers branded as “Built With ServiceNow” or “Built On ServiceNow,” Volini said.

“Built With ServiceNow is when a partner puts their thought leadership side-by-side with our platform for a specific industry,” she said. “Built On ServiceNow is when a partner adds their own IP (intellectual property) on top of our platform.”

The new program is really about helping partners differentiate themselves, Volini said.

“We’re really saying, any partner can be differentiated,” she said. “Any partner can take our technology to the field, and do that with our Partner Finder tool where we share what their capabilities are. It’s like a Google search. Customers put in their requirements and get a list of partners ranked by capabilities.”

The new ServiceNow program helps make it clear what partners need to get to the elite status, Lombardo said.

“It highlights the important things, including what customers most care about,” he said. “Before, ServiceNow would say you sell this, here’s what you get. Now they’re rewarding our investment in ServiceNow. It’s exciting.”

The changes are especially important to a partner like Glidefast which, as one of ServiceNow’s biggest channel partners, has always served customers via multiple roles, Lombardo said.

“Now it will be more clearer to customers,” he said. “ServiceNow can say Glidefast has the best implementation for some area. We have 500 consultants, and are the most certified partner. And Partner Finder really calls that out.”

ServiceNow is giving its partners 18 months to transition to the new program, Volini said.

“We need our partner ecosystem to grow and expand,” she said. “We’re giving them an extended timeline to make sure they have the ability to take advantage of the program. This is the biggest change we’ve made to the ServiceNow partner ecosystem in at least three years.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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