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10 Questions: ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe Talks Partners, Competition, And What Lies Ahead

ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe sat down with CRN at the company’s Knowledge 19 event in Las Vegas where he talked about the revamped channel program, how partners can help the company achieve $10 billion in revenue, and where the white-hot automation platform is placing its bets in 2019.

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10. How much do you want to grow the channel at ServiceNow? Is there a percentage, or a number that you’d like to see it increase?

I don’t have a specific number. Here’s how I think about it. I spend all my time with customers. I’m ruthlessly focused on customers achieving successful outcomes. Not just buying our software and using our software. Are they getting value from it. That’s thought one.

The reason I think our partner ecosystem is so important is that most of our customers can’t get value from our software without a really responsible consulting partner, SI, that helps them redesign processes, drive change management, and do all the things it takes to get full value from software, in the world of digital transformation. At the highest level, our focus, and what David Parsons announced yesterday is just increased recognition that partners are really, really important.

For our shared customers to get results, within the partners a variety of them have MSP offerings, and there’s a variety of other companies that have MSP offerings. There is what I would characterize as healthy MSP and unhealthy MSP, and so there was an outsourcing wave that happened at one point where companies outsourced all their technology to MSPs, and a lot of that was probably good. I do talk to customers who say, ‘I’m really frustrated that I’m not getting value from ServiceNow because my MSP is on an old version and I have no control or authority over it.’ That’s not healthy.

So the MSPs we’re talking with, the healthy ones, is how do we build a healthy, forward looking call it MSP 2.0 or 3.0, where its customer needs aligns with what MSPs need, and aligned with what we need, and aligned to results, and taking advantage of a SaaS platform so they’re on the latest version, they’re getting the full value from the latest version, and then the MSP may add value around it, which we see can help add value. Its not just a go-to-market thing, it’s adding value to the industry verticals, or knowledge of a geography, or the size of a company that we might otherwise cover.

That’s why this is an important area. The problem is that we measure it in different ways, so if its just MSP reseller, or SI influenced.

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