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ServiceNow-AWS Cloud Partnership May Ease Self-Service SaaS

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Amazon Web Services has launched an AWS Service Catalog Connector for ServiceNow, which could ease self-service SaaS application deployments for IT departments and their cloud-hungry end-users. There are also channel partner implications, especially for midmarket MSPs that increasingly run ServiceNow for IT service management (ITSM) capabilities.

Even before this ServiceNow-AWS connection arrived, more than 1,400 ISVs relied on AWS marketplace to reach more than 170,000 enterprise buyers, Amazon asserts. Pundits like The 2112 Group have been watching the marketplace's growth closely, studying the potential "Amazon effect" on IT channel partners.

The new ServiceNow-Amazon adds a new wrinkle to that discussion, essentially keeping IT departments in control of end-user cloud application access.

According to Amazon:

"The ServiceNow Service Catalog administrator has full control of the AWS-powered IT services (visible as products in the AWS Service Catalog) that they make available to their user base. This includes service configuration, AWS tagging, and access control at the individual, group, and role level. Provisioning requests can be connected to workflows and can also make use of a default workflow. ServiceNow users can browse the catalog and request provisioning of products that are managed within AWS Service Catalog, including AWS Marketplace products that have been copied to AWS Service Catalog."

Self-Service Clouds for Partners' Customers

The addition of this connection leads me to wonder if MSPs will update their current websites and customer portals to offer self-service solutions for clients or even end-users.

Ingram SVP Renee Bergeron
Ingram SVP Renee Bergeron

In some ways, the channel has growing interest in self-service SaaS offerings. Earlier this month, Ingram Micro Cloud Senior VP Renee Bergeron called on partners to move through the four stages of cloud services -- with the ultimate goal of delivering self-service capabilities to end users.

I think that especially for MSPs that support smaller businesses (less than 30 employees), this will be an appealing prospect for them. Smaller businesses typically don't require a lot of day-to-day management and hand-holding from their IT service provider. They can go weeks without ever needing interaction with their MSP. Because of this, they may have a more limited service plan, requiring them to pay for service beyond their typical needs. Allowing these smaller companies the ability to provision a new virtual workstation on their own, or approving a new application for their employees to use can be a great way to provide additional services without a lot of additional manpower.

MSPs that support larger organizations can certainly benefit from adding self-service cloud solutions to their customers as well. Large customers could end up overloading the helpdesk or technicians time by inundating them with requests that can easily be handled on their own, given the proper access. Allowing the clients to handle these simple tasks on their own can free up technicians time to work on more technical issues that require the proper skills to complete or resolve.

Self Service's Future

ServiceNow’s Tony Beller

As more companies move their workflow to the cloud, MSPs will need to change up their service offerings. Becoming the middleman for cloud-based services will soon be an essential part of many MSPs service offerings. I predict that tools like AWS Service Catalog and ServiceNow will just continue to facilitate this shift for MSPs, and allow them to support their clients through web-based portals remotely.

For its part, ServiceNow is an increasingly popular IT service management (ITSM) platform that is extending into HR departments, DevOps and security operations centers (SOCs). More than 2,500 partners attended last week's ServiceNow Knowledge18 conference last week in Las Vegas, up from 1,600 partners in 2017, according to VP of Worldwide Alliances and Channels Tony Beller.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.