ServiceNow’s Seb Fitzjohn

ServiceNow’s Seb Fitzjohn

In our life in the channel September/October issue PCR speaks to digital workflow specialist ServiceNow’s Vice President, Alliances & Channel Ecosystem EMEA, about chapters in his life, life beyond COVID-19 and the importance of good partnerships.

Tell us a bit about your role at ServiceNow?
I am fortunate enough to lead our Alliances & Channel Ecosystem go to market strategy in EMEA. Partners have always played a major role in ServiceNow’s success, and the success of our joint customers. But, as we started to shift to the next phase of the company’s growth, we recognised that we needed a more globally consistent and predictable approach to support and scale our ecosystem.

In 2019, we launched a new Global Operating Model, known as Alliance & Channel Ecosystem (ACE). This represents a multi-year transformation and is a strategic component of ServiceNow’s $10BN plan.

At the highest level there are three pillars in this model:

  1. A new partner segmentation and coverage model that ensures we are building and supporting a vibrant and balanced ecosystem of partners with coverage, capability and capacity across workflow domain, market segment and industry verticals.
  2. Joint engagement that creates the conditions for collaborative co-sell and co-deliver, accelerating growth and driving business value and experiences for our joint customers.
  3. Governance that ensures our partners have the skills, quality and confidence to invest in ServiceNow, and the ability to differentiate in the market based on consistent KPIs and programmes.

What about your background. We’d love to hear more about your career to date?
I describe my career as being in three chapters so far. The first chapter was spent in the Royal Air Force, which provided an amazing leadership foundation, and some great life experiences. I then spent time in direct sales roles working for Dell and EMC before moving to my indirect sales chapter, starting with VMware, and then ServiceNow in June 2019. My learning curve is as steep now as it has ever been, which is so exciting!

What is your team working on at the moment?
We are rolling out the Global ACE Operating Model, both internally and externally. But as we do this, we are adding the regional dimension, and also listening to our partners to ensure they are informing our journey. 2019 was the crawl phase of our multi-year transformation, and 2020 is our walk phase, moving to a sprint in 2021. We are helping meet partner demand to scale their ServiceNow practices across workflow domains like IT, Risk, Security, HR and Customer Service Management.

How is your company handling the current working from home situation?
As we move through the COVID recovery phases, it is essential not to overlook the ongoing personal and social dimension of the pandemic, and the impact on our employees, partners and customers. ServiceNow has a massive emphasis on culture and teamwork, so we are working hard to ensure every employee and their families feel supported.

In terms of business operations, as a digitally native company that leverages the power of digital workflow across all business functions, we have been able to transition to a fully mobile and distributed work environment without missing a beat. The situation has also driven even more creativity and agility as we think about staying close to our customers and partners. A great example of this is our recent Knowledge 2020 event, which we moved from being a physical event to one delivered entirely virtually.

How have you worked with partners to accelerate customers through COVID-19 recovery stages?
Our partners have been remarkable during the pandemic. Firstly, they embraced the ServiceNow Emergency Response Apps at the beginning of the COVID crisis, offering free services to deploy these applications into production environments, in record time and at record scale.

More recently our partners have been a driving force behind our Safe Workplace Apps. Partners large and small have been proactively helping customers leverage these new applications to return to the workplace in a safe and controlled way. We’ve also seen our partners embrace our App Engine and write their own custom workflows on the ServiceNow platform, to address specific customer or industry use-cases.

What has the industry learnt from the current pandemic?
Organisations with higher levels of digital maturity have found it easier to respond to the crisis. There is a general consensus that the pandemic will accelerate digital transformation, with some enterprises playing catch up and some trying to capitalise on the advantages that digital gives them by moving faster. At ServiceNow, we believe that the way in which organisations engage with their employees, customers, supply chains (and in fact all stakeholders) will fundamentally change. This change will deliver new levels of experience, business agility and productivity.

The pandemic has also served to break down some of the established norms around time to value, pay-back and return on investment (ROI). Customers are prioritising spend in solutions that accelerate digital transformation and that deliver pay-back within months not years, with the associated ROI being tightly measured.

How is the channel landscape evolving? What does the future of the channel look like?
As always, the channel has done a remarkable job of evolving to deliver customer value and address new market growth opportunities, and I don’t see this changing. The digital transformation revolution is only just getting started, so I see amazing opportunities for partners to help customers accelerate their transformation, and to ensure that they gain the maximum value from their technology investments.

As IT moves out of the data centre, the narrative will be more about ‘as a service platforms’ or systems of engagement that deliver omnichannel, mobile first, consumer-like experiences across the enterprise. Partners who focus on customer outcomes, time to value, and industry or domain expertise, will continue to see enormous growth potential.

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