ServiceNow channels leader Erica Volini looking to generate fundamental change in channel business and program

Volini described the proposed changes to the channel program as fundamental and ‘down to the studs,’ with the idea being to drive more partner business, particularly to non-traditional buyers.

Erica Volini, SVP, Global Alliances and of Partner Ecosystem GTM Operations, ServiceNow

In August 2021, Erica Volini, who had been at Deloitte since graduating from university 23 years earlier, and who had most recently been Principal and Global Human Capital Leader there, moved to ServiceNow, There she became SVP, Global Alliances and of Partner Ecosystem GTM Operations, where she runs the  ACE [Alliance & Channel Ecosystems] go-to-market strategy to help expand the role of the partner ecosystem in ServiceNow’s growth. Her role is to rework ServiceNow’s alliance and reseller partner strategies to get them to place even greater emphasis on the intrinsic value of the ServiceNow platform. To this end, the company will be making major enhancements to its channel strategy and program going forward, in what Volini described as fundamental change.

“I was brought in to figure out how to do more with the partner ecosystem,” Volini told ChannelBuzz. “We have more than 2000 partners, from small providers to larger global systems integrators. We need our partners helping us to create the market and explain to clients how to help clients transform by using the ServiceNow platform. It’s an integral part of the job.”

Volini said that this focus has become even more necessary because changes in how customers buy the product require partners to have more diversified skills in selling it.

“Our partners have spent a lot of time implementing the product,” Volini said. “That’s great. But we are moving beyond selling to the CIOs and in the ITSM space. We need to sell to a broader range of buyers in the Line of Business space. Our partners have those kinds of relationships and our own people don’t.”

Volini emphasized that this is the role that partners want to play with ServiceNow going forward.

“So many partners see the value in the platform,” she said. “They don’t just see it as a resell motion, and we don’t have a ton of partners who are product focused. Our partners have tremendous IP and want to get both it and their thought leadership on our platform.”

Volini also stressed that partners understand that ServiceNow is all about workflows, something that other companies did not, which is why ServiceNow was able to get a huge first mover advantage. Other players saw them as providing  case management and a portal, and being basically an IP help desk.

“There are tech companies that have pieces and parts of what we do, like RPA and portals, but the hard part is the ability to leverage workflows in a considerable way on a single platform,” Volini stated.

While systems integrators make up a key part of the Go-to-Market partners, they are not the only major component there, and some of the SIs have been working with ServiceNow since before they became the major platform in their space.

“We have over 800 technology partners, and partners who build integrations and ones that build apps that go in our app store,” Volini said. “We also have regional partners, and not just outside North America, with the federal market being very important there. We also have service providers who use us to deliver application management services or business process outsourcing.”

“Our relationship with ServiceNow goes back many years,” said David Kanter, Senior Managing Director for the ServiceNow Business Group at Accenture. October 2020 was a big moment for us there. Right on the heels of the Accenture Cloud’s first launch in September, the ServiceNow Business Group at Accenture was formed. Our goal is to have this group covering all of our major markets across all geos and with an incredibly strong focus on industry. We also use ServiceNow to support our own 699,000 employers around the globe. We have 15,000 employees skilled on ServiceNow, with a total of 17,700 ServiceNow certifications, and are particularly strong in telco and in the public sector.”

Kanter described ServiceNow as a ‘once in an era’ platform.

“There is a massive shift among the Global 2000 and governments reinventing their business, and they see ServiceNow as critical to this reinvention,” he said. “IT organizations need a new model for managing the cloud continuum, and ServiceNow plays a huge role here. They also have the advantage of having a massive install base already. They also have the ability to operate in a multi-cloud environment working with all the tools developers use today, and supporting all the microservices.”

Despite these advantages, Volini said that strong partner growth is essential.

“The components will remain the same, but we are seeing a huge growth in our service provider business and in regionals as we face off against very distinct buyer personas. We need to grow every type of the ecosystem.”

To this end, the partner program is undergoing a major revamp this year.

“We are fundamentally transforming our partner program,” Volini stressed. “Partners will see clearer execution, much greater incentives, and greater simplicity around things like deal registration and the portal. It all revolves around intimacy. This is a ‘down to the studs’ renovation, and the plan is to change things  fundamentally.”