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ServiceNow Bets Partner Growth on VMware Veteran David Parsons

ServiceNow's partner ecosystem is growing, but CEO John Donahoe wants to accelerate that growth. To make that happen, Donahoe will lean heavily on David Parsons, a VMware veteran who joined ServiceNow as senior VP, global alliances and channel ecosystem, in October.

David Parsons
David Parsons
ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe

Parsons essentially succeeded Tony Beller, who is now VP of worldwide global strategic and technology alliances at Anaplan. Although there was a half-year gap between Beller's departure and Parsons' arrival, ServiceNow continued to perform on multiple fronts.

In ServiceNow's most recent quarter, 79 percent of the company's top deals were influenced by partners, and 29 percent were sourced through the channel, Donahoe said during the company's earnings call on January 30, 2019.

ServiceNow's overall financial performance appears strong. Revenues reached $715.4 million in Q4 2018, up 30 percent from Q4 2017. Moreover, the company's revenue and profit figures exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

ServiceNow's Current Partner Footprint

Read between the lines. and ServiceNow is emerging as an IT service management (ITSM) software standard that often disrupts legacy client-server management systems within corporate IT departments. The company has also pushed into HR and info security departments. There are also signs that ServiceNow is catching on with enterprise-class MSPs (managed services providers), though midmarket and small MSPs sometimes find the company's software too hard to consume.

ServiceNow's growing focus on alliances and ISVs (independent software vendors) could change that. For instance, CareWorx Fully Managed offers a customized, multi-tenant version of ServiceNow for midmarket customers and MSPs. Also, the ServiceNow app store doubled in size over the past year, and the number of ISV partner transactions grew 124 percent, the company says.

Referring to the app store, Donahoe said: "The metrics are good but it started a pretty small base and we want to continue to focus on it. We think it’s one of those organic growth opportunities is that we think is still in its early days."

Parsons, meanwhile, certainly knows his way in and around global partner ecosystems. He previously was VMware's global VP, strategic systems integrators and outsources. He drove partner-centric sales across VMware’s portfolio of Digital Infrastructure, Hybrid Cloud & Digital Workspace Services.

Earlier, he held similar positions at CSC, Hewlett Packard and Compaq.

ServiceNow: Working With Smaller MSPs?

In early 2018, ServiceNow had no firm plans to engage smaller MSPs. Instead, the company had its hands full with global systems integrators up in the enterprise, and inbound MSP leads in the midmarket.

Those anecdotes surfaced when ChannelE2E spoke with Beller in early 2018 ahead of his departure from the company.

Fast forward to present day, and we'll be watching to see if or how Parsons looks down-market to smaller partners. Frankly, we doubt such a move will happen. ServiceNow's big customer wins are often multi-year, multi-million-dollar deals. If the company wants to come down market, it needs to continually simplify the product. So far, partner CareWorx appears to be leading the charge on that effort.

We'll be watching for more updates during ServiceNow's Knowledge conference in May 2019.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.