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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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9. What is the plan to help those MSPs who may not be up to speed?

I think it starts with having a platform that’s really easy to use and really easy to build upon. One of the hardest issues is then developing IP on it, and who owns what IP. So the partnership we just announced with Deloitte.

So part of what we’re talking about with Deloitte is who owns what IP if Deloitte goes out and sells that everywhere? And how do we make sure we stay coordinated, consistent and cogent on that. So we’re working hard, led by (ServiceNow Senior Vice President, Global Alliances & Channel Ecosystem) David Parsons, to find modern models of how to do that in a win-win, highly transparent way. We want people building on top of our platform. What we don’t necessarily want is someone that’s saying I’m sticking you into some blind, outsourcing relationship, the customer has no direct access to ServiceNow. We don’t want that. We’d rather go direct.

So the market is sorting its way out in that way.

8. Regarding the changes to the partner program: Do you consider this a revamp, a bigger investment in the channel for ServiceNow?

I’d say it’s a little of both. Certainly, even the time I’ve been here, the channel is a more important priority. Frankly, I’ve come from a consulting background, so I’m familiar with it. I’m comfortable with it. I see how one plus one could equal three.

We have quarterly, top-to-top meetings where we say what are our shared customers? What are we hearing from them? What are the shared opportunities? How do we coordinate with each other? What are they shared IP, or product investments we could do together? What the shared thought leadership? I have similar top quarter to quarter meeting with Deloitte, KPMG, I had one with Mike Lawrie at DXC two weeks ago. Being coordinated and working together and investing together, and saying you know what, lets really lean in. We lean in with Unisys in the US federal government. We’re going to lean in with Deloitte on this financial product we’re announcing. This close the book product. We lean in with Accenture in other areas. So we work with all of them, but we’re trying to do it in a coordinated and transparent way. So there’s no doubt, there’s more investment in it. Then we hired David Parsons who just has a wonderful track record having done this at VMware. And he’s driving a lot of what we’re doing. It’s trying to be smart. Its not just ‘Go sell some stuff for us.’

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