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ServiceNow Partners Sing Praises Of New Program

“I see the changes as a further emphasis of the importance of ServiceNow and partners having to be 100 percent on the same page and present a united front to our clients,’ says Ellen Daley, CEO of Boston-based ServiceNow partner Acorio. “The support center changes -- chat, 24x5 support -- makes it feel like a much more serious effort to engage us. It is very encouraging.”

ServiceNow partners are lauding the changes to the company’s partner program, which they see as the company taking a more collaborative approach to help partners and customers reach their goal, in a way that does not compromise the unparalleled growth ServiceNow has experienced.

“Basically, I see the changes as a further emphasis of the importance of ServiceNow and partners having to be 100 percent on the same page and present a united front to our clients,” said Ellen Daley, CEO of Boston-based ServiceNow partner Acorio. “The support center changes -- chat, 24x5 support -- makes it feel like a much more serious effort to engage us. It is very encouraging.”

David Parsons, Senior Vice President, Global Alliances & Channel Ecosystem at ServiceNow, was hand-picked to lead a transformation of the company’s partner program last year, and unveiled his plan at Knowledge 19, the company’s annual show in Las Vegas. It creates new partner segments, a new way to rank partners, as well as a 24x5 concierge service to help partners with deals, and a more collaborative go-to-market approach.

“We worked really hard to listen. We need to listen to our partners. It really is all about listening. It really is understanding what partners are doing on our behalf with our customers,” Parsons told CRN. “Here’s what I heard from partners. They played back the notion that we’re listening. That the programs that we launched and the way we launched them … it was really all about simplification. It was about making sure partners had the ability to differentiate.”

Bipin Paracha is a co-founder and principal consultant with INRY, a Minneapolis-based solution provider that started a ServiceNow practice in 2012, then switched all of its business to ServiceNow implementation in 2014. He said INRY has enjoyed tremendous success as a result, being ranked as the fastest growing tech company in the Midwest by Inc. magazine. Paracha said traditionally, ServiceNow moves quickly and intelligently to fix problems, and the partner plan roll out is no exception.

“David Parsons, when he came in, he didn’t reinvent the wheel. He figured out things that were working and he figured out gaps that needed to be plugged,” Paracha told CRN. “There was already this built-in culture and a built-in acceptance that ServiceNow cannot grow on its own, that it has to be a partner program. Very quickly, like ServiceNow does everything, they put in things for enablement. They put in things for sales. So they’ve got 15 or 20 different things going on. What David did that was phenomenal, is he didn’t rock the boat, he didn’t break anything that was working. He put it all together and he built a programmatic approach.”

ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe told CRN that the changes to the partner program are driven by a need to work better together, whether it’s better coordination, or around IP that a partner has developed on the SerivceNow platform. He said while the company is focused on customer success, it cannot reach its annual revenue goal of $10 billion without its partners support.

“Take any of the channel partners,” he said. “They have broader relationships across industries and a lot of industry expertise. Within a given company, they tend to have broader relationships than we do. It’s not just IT. They have deeper relationships and they bring an incremental skill set, that we don’t have. I’ve run a consulting firm, and I’ve run a software firm. They’re different businesses. We’re not going to do both … I don’t want to run a consulting firm. We’ll let Accenture do that. We’ll let Deloitte do that. They’re great at it.”

Jason Wojahn is managing director and global ServiceNow platform lead at Accenture, which bills itself as the largest consulting partner in the world for ServiceNow, with the most ServiceNow certifications. He said the changes to the partner program gives Accenture a chance to deploy ServiceNow in ways beyond its traditional IT functions.

“This evolution of the partner program is allowing Accenture to be more strategic to SerivceNow, and also expand the relevance outside the ITSM, ITOM spaces,” he told CRN. “Partnership is much more significant than it used to be, relative to selling and going to market in the field in a cooperative way, and also more significant from an alliance perspective. ServiceNow is very supportive of their large partners going and pushing the platform to be in other spaces and places, industry aligned solutions, helping to expand that platform adoption. They’re in a place where they’re giving us far more support on those things than the programs really have in the past. This is a very industrialized partner program that they’ve got in place now.”

Dejan Slokar, who is the global ServiceNow alliance leader with Deloitte, said the instances where his company finds that ServiceNow is the solution for their customers are “increasing exponentially,” which makes the timing of the changes to the partner program very significant. He zeroed in on the new partner segments, introduced by Parsons, as an example of the company helping customers find the partner that fits.

“The revamp of the partner program is a significant step forward,” he told CRN. “If you look at the partner segmentation that ServiceNow established, there is certainly a differentiation between partners who can work with an organization to help them transform themselves -- and I would say Deloitte is in category one of that space -- and partners that help organizations operate parts of their business through outsourcing. The thing I like about the segmentation is it really brings the best out of both partners and it establishes a clear communication to the market and to our customers around when should you use a partner, and for what, in a better way. I think before, that was a little convoluted.”

Daley told CRN that her consultancy is 100-percent ServiceNow-based. Business grew 74-percent last year in terms of revenue and 100-percent in headcount. She said Acorio leads billion-dollar-plus firms through digital transformations with process, organizational change management and using Acorio’s technical expertise around six facets of the ServiceNow platform: ITSM, Asset, HR, Customer Service, IT BM, and ITOM.

“We are most excited about the focus on co-delivery with advisory services from ServiceNow. This will really help create a ‘one team’ approach for clients, and focus them on roadmaps, governance and all the other areas that will ensure success,” she said. “We also are very excited about the new Partner Portal and support. Truthfully in the past, while intention was there, it could be a bit of time to get responsive concerning deal registration, content, value questions, licensing questions … I think David has constructed the right approach.”

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