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Microsoft-ServiceNow Deal Is ‘Huge’ Channel Opportunity

‘This is a huge services opportunity for the channel,’ says Chris Pyle, CEO of Champion Solutions Group. ‘It’s massive. We do a lot of integrations between the Microsoft and ServiceNow platforms for our clients. It’s a natural for us to see them getting together because we have already been seeing this at the customer level.’

Microsoft’s landmark agreement to partner more closely with ServiceNow—including tightly integrating the ServiceNow IT automation platform with the Microsoft Azure cloud—spells “huge” opportunity for the channel, partners told CRN.

Chris Pyle, CEO of Champion Solutions Group, one of the relatively few elite CRN Solution Provider 500 powerhouses with both deep Microsoft and ServiceNow capabilities, said the combination will bring big benefits to customers looking to deliver game-changing employee IT automation.

“We are very excited about this deal,” said Pyle, whose company recently released its ebridge SaaS product that accelerates ServiceNow deployments. “This is a huge services opportunity for the channel. It’s massive. We do a lot of integrations between the Microsoft and ServiceNow platforms for our clients. It’s a natural for us to see them getting together because we have already been seeing this at the customer level. It’s a big win for Microsoft to have ServiceNow hosting its platform in Azure. And it’s a big win for ServiceNow to have Microsoft deploying ServiceNow for its tens of thousands of Microsoft employees.”

[RELATED: ServiceNow CEO: Work To Change More In Next Five Years Than In The Past 20]

Under the expanded agreement, which was unveiled Tuesday, ServiceNow has agreed to host its “full SaaS experience” on Microsoft Azure.

The deal guarantees that ServiceNow will use Azure Cloud as “part of its preferred cloud platform” for certain highly regulated industries including the U.S. government.

Microsoft, meanwhile, agreed to deploy the ServiceNow platform across its own business in a move that the companies said will “improve operations, enhance employee experiences, and deliver stronger business outcomes.”

Last but not least, the partnership will elevate ServiceNow to one of Microsoft’s strategic partners in its Global ISV Strategic Alliance Portfolio.

Brendan Walsh, senior vice president of partner relations with 1901 Group, a ServiceNow partner near Washington, D.C., said the Microsoft-ServiceNow deal wll provide customers with significant security and compliance benefits.

“Highly regulated industries, and especially U.S. public sector consumers of cloud, face future operating realities comprised of hybrid and multi-cloud architectures," he said. "This hybrid and multi-cloud future will benefit from the investments ServiceNow and Microsoft have made in their respective FedRAMP authorizations, all of which will help ensure IT security and regulatory compliance for agency missions systems and citizen services.”

Pyle, for his part, expects a significant sales impact from the deal on Champion Solutions Group, No. 187 on the 2019 CRN Solution Provider 500, which already has built up a sizable business with a robust set of software and services centered on both ServiceNow and Microsoft.

“For the channel this deal is a call to action to start investing in Microsoft and ServiceNow,” he said. “What you have got is ServiceNow as the best workflow automation software for IT/HR professionals teaming up with the top software company in Microsoft. This is a win-win. Microsoft is going to figure out how to leverage this with great economies of scale with its own product suite. The partners who understand both sides of the coin are going to benefit.”

Pyle said he expects to see significant IT automation improvements in how ServiceNow works with Microsoft software like Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics. “With the deep integration between Microsoft and ServiceNow, there is an opportunity to have Microsoft software seamlessly deployed by end users with a simple on-boarding push of a button,” he said. “I think Microsoft is going to embrace and leverage the ServiceNow platform, understand how to use the ServiceNow workflow automation with its own products and then roll it out to the world.”

Pyle said the Microsoft-ServiceNow partnership reinforces the Champion Solutions Group strategy. Last fall, Champion, based in Boca Raton, Fla., acquired SystemiC—a Madison, Wis., IT consultant that had developed its own breakthrough security and patch management solution for ServiceNow. “This deal reinforces the vision we have and why we put such big investments into Microsoft and ServiceNow,” he said. “This validates everything we are doing it in the field. Our customers want better connectivity between their Microsoft software and their ServiceNow platforms, and this is going to provide that.”

O’RYAN JOHNSON contributed to this story.

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