ServiceNow Acquires Neebula For IT Operations Management Boost

ServiceNow channel partners are praising the company’s acquisition of an Israeli software vendor as a move that will allow them to offer customers enhanced visibility and control of their business services.

The vendor of cloud-based IT operations management and workflow management products said Wednesday it will purchase Neebula Systems, a privately held Israeli company, for $100 million in cash.

The acquisition ultimately will lead to Neebula’s flagship product, an application called ServiceWatch that monitors service performance and maps dependencies, being integrated as a native app into the ServiceNow suite of enterprise solutions.

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Matt Schvimmer, vice president of product strategy at Santa Clara, Calif.-based ServiceNow, said the Neebula technology will give ServiceNow customers and partners an unprecedented level of visibility into the business services they deploy and manage. ’The thing that Neebula does, it starts with a different approach. It works from the top down,’ said Schvimmer.

’Neebula starts with a URL or IP address and starts discovering all the relationships that make up that service. Every time something changes to that it discovers it and updates it and displays in real time the health of those business applications and services,’ Schvimmer told CRN.

ServiceWatch can identify IT components affecting a business service such as CRM, ERP or billing and the extent to which they’re doing it. The product’s users include Tesla Motors, Seagate and the University of Utah.

ServiceNow's release last month of its Eureka suite of enterprise products is further evidence of ServiceNow’s expansion from its traditional specialty in IT management to offering a range of enterprise workflow automation capabilities. But until this week, ServiceNow was lacking one key capability, Schvimmer told CRN.

’One of the big things we were missing from our portfolio was this ability to actually discover and manage IT infrastructure starting with the service it represents, from the top down, in addition to bottom up,’ he said.

Traditional IT discovery tools only give IT administrators visibility into the individual infrastructure components such as servers, networks, switches, routers and storage, and then work up to manually model their relationships to higher-level services. ’With Neebula, you start with the IP address and start mapping down from there,’ Schvimmer said.

Fruition Partners, a cloud service management company based in Chicago, is a longtime partner of both ServiceNow and Neebula. Patrick Stonelake, the company’s co-founder and chief growth officer, told CRN that Fruition is ’very enthusiastic about the acquisition.’

’Neebula's ServiceWatch product allows our customers to define business services with the guidance of our service management experts and then automatically track changes and updates to their infrastructure in the ServiceNow [configuration management database]. We look forward to even more powerful iterations of these features as ServiceWatch becomes a native part of the ServiceNow platform."

Until this week’s developments, ServiceNow and Neebula had no formal relationship, but they did share many joint customers. Neebula had built and maintained a number of integration points between the two products. ’Now we’re going to take ownership of that,’ Schvimmer told CRN.

ServiceNow will continue to sell Neebula’s software as a stand-alone product as it works to integrate ServiceWatch into its platform as a native app, he said.

’We feel strongly about that being a core differentiator of our offering. That it will be a native part of our platform,’ he told CRN.

Jason Wojahn, president of the ServiceNow business at Atlanta-based CloudSherpas, told CRN the acquisition represents a huge step forward for ServiceNow and its customers because it will couple a service-aware configuration management database with ServiceNow’s emphasis on enhanced, customer-centric service.

’Specifically, Neebula’s service performance monitoring and event management capabilities will make the ServiceNow [IT operations management] function set more robust and are enhancements customers have anticipated,’ Wojahn told CRN.

’Neebula is very excited to be part of the ServiceNow team,’ Yuval Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Neebula, said in a prepared statement.

’We had a vision to transform the [IT operations management] market by automating the creation and maintenance of service models. The combination of ServiceWatch’s powerful capabilities with ServiceNow’s [IT operations management] solutions and market position, will allow us to better help enterprises realize the benefits of true service management,’ Cohen said.