ServiceNow's IT service management (ITSM) software is emerging as common bridge between MSPs and corporate IT departments. And that bridge could lead to more co-managed IT services opportunities for MSPs that support midmarket and enterprise customers, ChannelE2E has heard from multiple MSP industry sources.
Think of it this way: MSPs often run one form of ITSM and help desk ticketing software. Corporate help desks and ITSM departments often run another form of that software. Getting the two (or more) software platforms to "talk" to one another in terms of workflow, business processes and security isn't easy.
Meanwhile, three key trends are accelerating:
- ServiceNow is emerging as a de facto standard for enterprise ITSM deployments.
- Systems integrators are extending ServiceNow down into mid-market IT departments.
- And MSPs are pulling ServiceNow into the SME managed services sector.
That third point is particularly interesting. Although ServiceNow has some service provider focus, the company is so busy selling multi-million-dollar software deployments into enterprise accounts that it doesn't really have time to push itself into the MSP sector -- particularly the SMB and SME areas.
The twist? MSPs are filling that vacuum by pulling ServiceNow into their own businesses. First movers include Fully Managed, an MSP that jumped on the ServiceNow bandwagon long before it went mainstream.
Roll those three trends together, and ServiceNow's software is creating ITSM alignment between MSPs and large customers that have IT departments, multiple sources tell ChannelE2E. As a result, it's getting easier (well, less difficult) for ServiceNow-based MSPs to sell co-managed services into SME and enterprise accounts.
ServiceNow Partners: M&A and Investor Activity Accelerates
Investors and entrepreneurs are catching onto the trend.
Amid booming demand for ServiceNow deployments, M&A activity across the ServiceNow partner ecosystem is strong. In the first eight weeks of 2021, ChannelE2E spotted and documented these eight M&A deals:
- 1: UST acquired the ServiceNow business unit of abhra Inc.
- 2, 3 and 4: Private equity firm Sunstone Partners acquired & merged three ServiceNow partners — namely, Evergreen Systems, Cerna Solutions, and Novo/Scale.
- 5: Cognizant acquired ServiceNow partner Linium.
- 6: Sapphire Systems, backed private equity firm Horizon Capital, acquired ITOM Solution — a ServiceNow, Cisco AppDynamics & Dynatrace partner.
- 7: Milestone Technologies acquired ServiceNow Elite Partner & MSP Covestic.
- 8: Thrive, an MSP that grew up in the SMB sector, recently got re-capitalized and is accelerating deeper into the ServiceNow sector.
MSP Software ISVs Engage ServiceNow
Meanwhile, ISVs within the small business MSP ecosystem remain committed to SMB but are also extending up-market toward ServiceNow integrations. MSP software companies climbing up and into the ServiceNow ecosystem include Liongard and Sophos, among many others.
I'm not suggesting that ServiceNow will somehow extend all the way down and dominate the MSP-SMB sector. In many cases, the company's software is either too complex or too expensive (or both) for SMB channel partners to consume. Remember: ServiceNow's core partner focus is building multiple $1 billion revenue streams with specific systems integrators in specific vertical markets.
Still, the mid-market co-managed services trend is real. And it increasingly involves ServiceNow as a common ITSM bridge between MSPs and mid-market IT departments.