Executive Spotlight Q&A – Daniel K Österbergh, Area Vice President, Alliances and Channels, EMEA

This month, the annual PartnerNow Summit 2018 took place in Barcelona, Spain, bringing together close to 800 ServiceNow partners to explore the mutual opportunities for growth and success.

We caught up with ServiceNow’s Daniel K Österbergh, Area Vice President Channel & Alliances EMEA, to find out what this means for ServiceNow and its partners in the EMEA market.

Service Matters: Welcome again Daniel. We caught up with you in March 2017, shortly after you joined ServiceNow to find out about your strategy for the EMEA region. One year on, what can you tell us about your plans for 2018 and how your area of responsibility is developing?

Daniel K Österbergh: When we look at 2018 and the road ahead, we have three major focal points for our alliance partners.

First, we are focused on what we call a ‘high quality implementation capacity channel’. This means a move away from an accreditation programme into a certification programme for all our EMEA partners.

Before, we were asking for a minimal number of working practice points to achieve an accreditation and we had a wider view of the technology expertise we identified with each partner. Now things are far more specific, so we know that partners have the right skillset for the right products. Partners implement 90% of our products, so we need to make this process work very effectively.

Second, I will point to our strategic focus. Up until now we have been quite tactical with our partners, typically working with them at the point of implementation for each customer use case. Now we are developing strategic plans with each partner, ensuring we can enable our common clients to succeed better in their own business models.

We will also work with each partner to ensure that we speak to a broader spread of members in each customer boardroom, not just the CIO. This will help each customer expand outside of pure ITSM tools and look at other key ServiceNow strengths, including HR and security.

Third here I must note that increased overall scale is also important. We are looking at how we can grow businesses in EMEA in line with our global growth plans. This will feature as much as 50% “source” growth i.e. where partners bring us deals we did not know about. In this area we will also launch our new reseller program, which targets our commercial segment — essentially our mid-market opportunity.

Service Matters: How well are partners responding to the proposition that ServiceNow makes to form a close strategic business relationship with them?

Daniel K Österbergh: We understand that partners are their own businesses and some will want to work with us more closely than others. The PartnerNow Summit provided the ideal platform to outline our strategy for 2018. We have been able to both quantify and qualify our market approach, and overall validate the total technology proposition that ServiceNow brings to market.

ServiceMatters: How are you working with partners to open them up to work more closely with the complete scope of the ServiceNow platform?

Daniel K Österbergh: We had a great year in 2017 in terms of widening our scope with each partner and being able to break into the non-ITSM conversations that we were keen to have. We have a strong cross-selling opportunity with our partners and, ultimately, this means that customers will have the opportunity to work with fewer vendors if we go to market with a fluid and compelling offering.

Ultimately, this is good for customers as each firm benefits from tighter integration, stronger security, wider platform interoperability, improved cost and the chance to build an agile platform for future business strength.

ServiceMatters: So overall would you say the last year has been a success?

Daniel K Österbergh: I can say that last year I brought in a lot of new people in what I call the ‘building year’ and I’m proud of the success that we have achieved as we have welcomed new talent to the EMEA ServiceNow business. As 2018 plays out we will still build out a lot more, but we also now have a chance to accelerate and look forward to 2020 in terms of how we execute.

ServiceMatters: What higher level trends are you witnessing in the IT world that make you consider our immediate future in technology and the likely direction we may all follow over the next decade?

Daniel K Österbergh: In 2017 we witnessed a time when the entire cloud debate vanished. We know what security layers are available in the cloud that potentially far outstrip what any single customer could implement on their own — and we can now see an immense increase in cloud adoption as we move to cloud-native applications and data operations at all levels.

Additionally, we are also seeing the impact of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at a far more effective and holistic level than at any time in the past. AI — and more specifically, intelligent automation — will form a part of the whole fabric of computing infrastructure that we are building from the software applications to the cruical services layer that connects everything we do.

ServiceMatters: What partners have stood out for ServiceNow in 2017?

I think the best way to answer that is for me to recap and call out our amazing award winners: