The Power Of Partners; Because A Platform Alone Is Not Enough

As ServiceNow President and CEO John Donahoe has said, if all you have is ‘just’ a software platform, then that’s not enough to bring about digital transformation in real terms.

For our customers now looking to take their businesses forward and reap the benefits of digital workflows, partners play an essential role in helping to re-engineer processes and ensure any given implementation is carried out in a high-quality manner.

This integral role of our partners was highlighted at this year’s ServiceNow EMEA Partner Summit 2019 in Barcelona, which kicked off with an opening address delivered by Ankush Korla in his interim role as Area Vice President Alliances and Channel EMEA.

EMEA acceleration

Ankush set the scene by talking about the acceleration the EMEA region is experiencing in terms of growth—a positive trend driven directly by the work of ServiceNow partners in this region.

I had the pleasure to present my take on the ServiceNow strategy, which is aligned to hit $1 billion worth of business in the EMEA region by financial year 2020.

While this target is no small mountain to climb, forming more strategic relationships with customers and partners is a critical part of this journey. In fact, it is strategic partnerships, over and above purely technical partnerships, that are a key method for building deep, collaborative working practices—and this is central to our plan for the EMEA market.

As we move forward, we want to be more than just a ‘hot’ company that is popular in Silicon Valley—we want to be a great company that invests in our people and our partners, and really drives customer success.

Customer success as a philosophy and mindset

What that really means is, when a customer signs, that’s not the end of the business relationship, it’s really just the beginning.

As our SVP for Customer Outcomes, Jimmy Fitzgerald, explained in his keynote: “Customer success is a way of life, a philosophy and a mindset that shows we understand where the ‘true north’ of every customer really is. We need to understand what each customer is really trying to achieve at the start.”

Where customers are struggling to articulate the business case for their software investments, it is ServiceNow’s responsibility to help clarify, define and deliver that business case.

Customer success cannot be delivered without partner success and Jimmy highlighted the three pillars around which ServiceNow is working to support partners:

  1. All partners must have the confidence that ServiceNow will continue to grow so that they themselves have a larger addressable market to target for the future.
  2. ServiceNow is focused on giving partners the tools to be able to become more prescriptive with customers.
  1. ServiceNow is working hard to make sure that all partners have the right strategic engagement model in order to be able to grasp the maximum number of market opportunities.

The four principles for ecosystem transformation

Day two of the Partner Summit started with a presentation delivered by David Parsons, Senior Vice President of Global Alliances and Channel Ecosystem at ServiceNow.

Looking ahead, David detailed our precise formula for partner development across a division that will now be known as ACE, standing for Alliances Channel Ecosystem. The four tenets that underpin ACE are Simplification, Predictability, Trust and Accountability.

Prescriptive guidance for outcomes

Margreet Brenkman, Senior Director for Customer Success EMEA at ServiceNow, continued with the importance of partners becoming more prescriptive with customers.

She guided our partners on the four aspects of success that ServiceNow customers exhibit:

  1. State and measure business goals – customers that can express what they want to achieve are generally more successful.
  2. Actively lead your transformation – it’s a journey and change needs to be driven throughout the organisation.
  3. Get your ServiceNow technology foundations right – ServiceNow’s best customers align to the ServiceNow roadmap and plan upgrades regularly.
  4. Create user excitement and drive adoption – every user needs to think about how their experience will improve.

Just as important as the keynotes and formal presentations at the annual EMEA Partner Summit are the numerous opportunities for informal discussions and relationship building.

The event is really important to ServiceNow employees to learn about what our partners need. It creates an environment where questions are openly tabled from the start and we can respond to every point of interest expressed by our partners.

With ServiceNow Knowledge 19 coming soon, many of the partners I met in Barcelona are already looking forward to following up their work inside the ServiceNow partner ecosystem.

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Philip van der Wilt
Philip van der Wilt joined in 2016 and currently serves as ServiceNow's SVP, GM EMEA. Prior to this, van der Wilt served as the Vice President of Sales/Theater Lead for the EMEA region at Commvault. From 2007 to 2012, he held a number of leadership roles at Data Domain/EMC. From 2005 to 2007, van der Wilt was country manager for the Benelux region, and later for Western Europe and Africa at Drecu, a NetApp company. Van der Wilt holds an MBA from Bradford University, as well as an undergraduate degree in Economics from HEAO.

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