How To Find The Right ServiceNow Consulting Partner

A Comprehensive ServiceNow Partner Selection Guide


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Mia Fischer 12th April 2020

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Where to Start Your ServiceNow Implementation Partner Selection Journey

Finding the right ServiceNow partner can be a little bit like finding the perfect home. Ensuring the partner is the right size, is in the right place, and fits the proposed budgets are all familiar challenges. Furthermore, as with a home, selecting a partner will be a decision that you will live with -- for at least some duration of time. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive ServiceNow partner selection guide that will help you not only find the right ServiceNow consulting partner for you, but furthermore will help point you in the direction of specifically where, and how to find them.

In order to be able to make the most of your company’s ServiceNow adoption, selecting the right partner is a crucial step in ensuring that you are in unlocking the maximum value of The Now Platform. While Edison & Black is the one of the leading companies delivering successful ServiceNow implementation, support, and consultation, we strongly believe in fit. This means ensuring the companies we work with are best positioned to succeed in working with us. For this reason, we also encourage our prospective clients to explore what other partners offer as the differences are significant.

Where to Find a ServiceNow Partner
First and foremost, we must start with ServiceNow’s very own partner portal designed to match ServiceNow customers with potential partners. ServiceNow categorizes its partners by several groups based on program modules. From partners who solely work with the public sector, to those who provide training services, specifically. Of course, their categorizations further include pure service providers as well as technology providers. With a global network of ServiceNow partners, their database is beyond sprawling. For example, the comprehensive partner list boasts over 1200 pages with ten results per page. While we don’t suggest pouring through the over 10,000 partners listed, it is helpful to start by narrowing in on geographic region, service focus area, or industry speciality.

In moving into a more narrow focus in selecting the right ServiceNow consulting partner, it’s very much worth starting with industry focus. You could break ServiceNow’s core industries in six core categories, education, government, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services. There are, in fact, partners who focus on one industry alone, as there are others who focus on few, and of course some partners focus on many. It’s worth noting that industry agnostic providers can provide benefits that domain specialists cannot; however, the opposite of that is also true. While there is not a clear destination to sort partners by industry focus, more broad lists of partners can be a great place to start.

This leads us to several other popular lists that your company can use in selecting the right ServiceNow partner. While it isn’t immediately clear what these lists base their criteria on, they do highly some of the most reputable ServiceNow consulting and services firma. For example, CloudFirms recently published their annual list ranking the top 10 ServiceNow Partners in New York, specifically. Another list provided by ChannelE2E identifies another list with 14 partners listed in total. Both lists have some commonalities, though each is distinctly different in terms of their selection criteria. For example, ChannelE2E lists some of the largest companies offering ServiceNow services. Where CloudFirms’ list appears to have a more narrow focus in pointing out ServiceNow partners in New York, alone. However, given the remote nature of work of which COVID-19 has transitioned the global workforce towards, geographic regions have quickly become a lesser determining factor, with the exception of time zones of course.

Partner Location
Regarding geographic location, this still should play some degree of a role in terms of selecting the right partner. It’s important to keep in mind, that although work has now become more remote, communication will still play the key role in determining the success of the partner relationship. Also important and equally as worthwhile of mentioning, is that With many of the companies adopting the Now Platform having a global presence, it may very well be worth asking potential partners of their ability to serve their clients in multiple time zones. While your company may be based in London, or perhaps Los Angeles, consider who will interface with the partner most regularly at each stage of the ServiceNow implementation process. A ServiceNow consulting firm based in New York may be the most well equipped for your implementation; however, your team may be on a different schedule. Does that mean you should find another partner? Or is the partner willing to accommodate the staggered schedule. These are questions that should be considered and explored in speaking directly with your prospective partners.
Partner Size
In transitioning to another key element of partner selection criteria, it’s important to address company size. Some of the largest consulting technology firms in the world now have a dedicated ServiceNow practice. However, other more boutique size ServiceNow consulting firms have recently gained significant traction due to their dedicated approach to servicing clients, and of course the inherently lower costs of providing their services. Larger, more established partners have tremendous resources, which come with tremendous benefits in terms of delivering successful outcomes. It’s all about fit, as much as it is about capabilities. Your enterprise may require the resources only one of the major technology consulting firms can provide, while conversely, you may require the attention and dedication of resources that only a small ServiceNow consulting firm can accommodate. These are crucial decisions that should be weighed against one another in a manner that scales to the level of importance these criteria hold specific to the needs of your enterprise.
Partner Accreditations
Moving into another key of partner differentiation as well accreditation, ServiceNow has longed placed an emphasis on the importance of its partners. As a demonstration of this ServiceNow announced several major and self-described “transformational changes” to its global partner ecosystem program. These changes, rolled out in 2019 include moving away from the previously used labels of Gold, Silver, and Bronze, to instead formulating a new designation of partner under the registered, specialist, premier, elite, and global elite labels.

When making such determinations, ServiceNow has carefully crafted a new process that assesses each potential, respective partner by reviewing the partners in terms of their specialties, experience, and their track record with delivering successful ServiceNow solutions. They also cover the geography, the size and importantly the amount of sales of which the partner has achieved. In focusing on the enablement of digital transformations that make work better for people, ServiceNow has long maintained, and since reinforced its clear commitment to the ServiceNow partner ecosystem.

What does all of this mean when looking for the right partner for you? It means an extra layer of confirmation that will allow you to more easily select the partner that best suits your needs. According to ServiceNow, this new partner structure will also account for four key components that help those looking for partner services assess which one is right for your company.

First of these specific elements include capacity, which simply refers to the number of employees, within the partner’s company that are ServiceNow certified.

Second is the partner’s level of competency, which is measured by acquiring workflow certifications, solution, and product certifications. The company also rolled out a “digital badging system,” which can be obtained through achieving these accolades.

Third is success, or more specifically customer success -- this means that the partner must achieve implementations that meet ServiceNow’s surveyed customer satisfaction scores.

Fourth is capability on which is measured through a quality-based assessment of a particular partners’ skills in industry specific experience and general digital transformation.

A Partner in Digital Transformation
At the heart of ServiceNow adoption is something broader than a project-based engagement. The reason you adopted, or are considering adopting ServiceNow in the first place is due to digital transformation. In making the most of ServiceNow the appeal of the Now Platform in the first place is due to its acting as a single destination for your company's IT service management (ITSM) needs. When selecting a partner, you should consider -- is the partner purely focused on ServiceNow? Or rather are they instead able to accommodate all aspects of my company as a true digital partner in transformation. While there is merit to platform specificity, Edison & Black, for example, has a dedicated ServiceNow practice, while also providing Workday consulting services, as well as Salesforce implementation services and support. Furthermore, as a true partner in all things digital, we further have a robust robotics processing automation practice that allows us to service all aspects of our clients broader journey to achieving true and sustainable transformation. Cross-functional expertise can yield incredibly powerful results in selecting a partner who has as much single-industry expertise as it does a broader focus to leverage to the best what other verticals have to offer in terms of experience in ServiceNow delivery.
Adopting the “Mindset"
The best way to approach your ServiceNow adoption is to approach it from the perspective of a solution rather than a tool. Ths Now Platform can tremendously improve your company’s ability to quickly respond to the ever changing digital ecosystem. For this reason, in making your selection, it is worthwhile to seek our partners who share this mindset of leveraging the platform as a means to digitize and automate your workflows in a way that drives organization-wide excellence through world class efficiency. Due to the nature of the Now Platform, and its open architecture, it is important to select a partner who can identify new ways of leveraging its capabilities in integrating with various systems or processes. While the basics of the platform are incredibly powerful, a true partner will identify gaps that can be filled in achieving operational excellence in ITSM and IWMS. Finding a partner that considers scalability is important because ServiceNow is designed to adapt to your organization’s needs, rather than serving as a plug and play tool. In being useful for more than one purpose, it is incredibly versatile. This means finding a partner that thinks ahead. The platform architecture is accomodative to this adaptive mindset. The goal is to use it in a way that fits your organization’s needs while providing the flexibility for tomorrow and importantly, the elasticity to flex the platform's core capabilities in a manner that is conducive to your employees and the end customers' end requirements.
Partner Planning is Key
With your partner mindset in mind when it comes to achieving automation success, you will also want to consider another measure of chemistry when it comes to making the right match. The partner’s capacity to plan. Meaning that you should consider your requirements of a partner with hyper-focus in terms of not only execution, but also their vision. When assessing your partner options, you should also strongly consider their ability to plan. Without proper planning and strategy, your implementation will not succeed -- it is really that simple. This is why your partner selection process should place a strong importance on the ability to deliver through strategic planning. This means establishing clear business outcomes and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). Your ServiceNow foundation will determine the effectiveness of your implementation and its impact on your organization as much as it will affect your ability to scale and achieve maximum results across the enterprise.

Find a ServiceNow partner who will be able to plan your implementation with scale at the forefront of their approach. When your partner selection includes the consideration of the client organization’s technological usage and can also plan for how these will change over time, you can further assess and decide whether a phased implementation or a rapid deployment is the right fit for your company. Regardless of which approach is right for you, you will want a partner that can make that determination by thinking of, and planning for the future of how technology fits within the broader enterprise as well as it does from an interdepartmental perspective. A partner with an understanding of how an ITSM implementation can further affect or even aid other departments such as finance, HR and Customer Success, will be better positioned to make the most out of your ServiceNow implementation.

Partner Training & Transparency
Among all of the factors we’ve considered thus far in finding the right partner, training is possibly one of the most important aspects of ensuring your success in your ServiceNow adoption journey. In order to facilitate adoption across the enterprise, and to provide the ability to take your implementation “in-house” your employees will need to be thoroughly trained. Where does the partners’ responsibility come into play? It’s in both training as much as it is in transparency. It’s important that your partner can help in encouraging adoption by being transparent with employees who will be using the platform. It is crucial that both your company and the partner communicate how the implementation will change the way they work. Achieving employee “buy-in” will make sure that end users will feel they are part of the implementation and will lead to positive adoption. Proper training, provided by your partner will fuel this acceptance through allowing employees to immediately reap the benefits of the Now Platform in a way that better their daily workflows.

From IT Service Management, to IT Business Management, and HR Service Delivery, training is a crucial element in ensuring a successful implementation. IT Asset Management, and IT Operations Management, and especially Customer Service Management will all find equal benefit in this outlook.

Bringing it All Together
In summarizing, what should you place at the top of your selection criteria for finding the right ServiceNow implementation partner? In short, and while there is no single answer; our advice is to find balance in those factors most important to you and your company’s desired outcomes. For some, this may mean location; perhaps you are looking for a ServiceNow implementation company headquartered in Washington D.C. because you represent a government agency. Or perhaps you are looking for a pure ServiceNow consultancy headquartered in New York, because you prefer face-to-face. Maybe, above all, it comes down to accreditations, or accolades. Inquire within your organization, involve your team, ask end-users of their perspectives, activate your organization.

Whether you have already commenced your companies’ adoption of the Now Platform, or if you are preparing for a first time implementation, it can be very exciting to imagine the possibilities of achieving maximum efficiency and creating incredible value for employees and customers. By preparing for your ServiceNow journey in making a carefully yet informed partner selection, you will already be well on your way into ensuring an effective end result that will yield value for years to come.

As mentioned at the top of this comprehensive ServiceNow partner selection guide, we believe that fit is the single most element to consider when making partner selection. Spark conversations with your prospective partners, get to know each other. Implore your colleagues participation in making the selection process a collaborative one. ServiceNow was built on the foundation of bettering employee and customer experiences in a way that embodies the spirit of empowerment. Therefore, it only makes sense to adopt this notion in approaching your partner selection process.

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