Yesterday, ServiceNow announced support for Microsoft Azure within their cloud management platform. This is incremental to existing coverage for Amazon and VMware web services and applies to ServiceNow customers owning the ‘ServiceWatch’ suite and orchestration offering.
ServiceNow made the announcement to coincide with Knowledge, their user conference with an eye-watering 11,000 attendees in Las Vegas, our ITSM analyst Vawns Murphy is onsite following the conference here.
Whilst ServiceNow is the gorilla in the room of the ITSM market, since IPO it has designs on the bigger operations picture. ServiceNow wants to be for business and IT operations, what Salesforce.com are to sales and marketing: the platform and the plumbing.
Modern IT sometimes means being a broker of component modules rather than builders of technical things. Let’s run our services on someone else’s computers and stick to our core competence – This is most evident with buying elastic compute power from the likes of Amazon, Google or Microsoft.
As I wrote last month with Flexera’s Amazon AWS coverage (Managing Amazon AWS Costs), elastic public cloud is another sprawl issue. ITAM Review readers tell us they like services like Azure and want to explore further, but a pain point is working out who is actually consuming the cycles.
Whilst niche products exist to address the issue (see examples in the link above), it makes sense to contain management within service delivery arena and automate governance rather than attempting to clear up the mess afterwards. I imagine this would also alleviate potential security headaches and duplication, since Azure instances can be deployed using credentials, cost centres and service relationships already managed within ServiceNow. The premise of ServiceNow’s offering is compelling, automate the provision of public cloud from service request, manage availability, show consumption and contain costs.
So strategy looks strong, but before I get too carried away with Knowledge hysteria and gulping on the ServiceNow Kool-Aid, it’s worth noting that many others ITSM toolsets scale beyond IT.
Customer feedback on Tools Advisor for ServiceNow suggests that whilst it’s a powerful platform its also very expensive. Perhaps big risk-adverse corporates, as the old Stella Artois adverts used to say, would consider this ‘reassuringly expensive’. Or perhaps the cost can be justified if you are able to chop out a load of niche tools (such as Azure management) because of a comprehensive platform.
Nonetheless ServiceNow has many competitors (Despite what you might hear on ServiceNow financial analyst calls) who offer a similar proposition with less coding at lower cost (Albeit with smaller marketing budgets). Codeless is particularly important for ongoing agility and cost of ownership – competitors with less coding enable customers to digitize their business themselves without having to darken the skies with ServiceNow consultants.
ServiceNow also has a big hole when presenting customers with risk, since it does not offer it’s own SAM solution but addresses SAM with strategic partnerships (I predict them building their own before too long).
The $BN dollar ITSM platform doesn’t do SAM – so which tools can help?
Key weaknesses in the ServiceNow stack are recognition and the ability to manage complex license types.
A search on ServiceNow’s verified partner list under “Asset Management” brings back: Aspera, BDNA, Blazent, Concorde, Flexera, Matrix42 and Snow.
These tools include catalogues of some description to turn technical configuration data into actionable information on risk, cost reduction and strategy.
This is a call for tool manufacturers to participate in our independent assessment of ITAM plug-ins for ServiceNow (Verified by ServiceNow or otherwise).
We conducted a similar study on SCCM plug-ins a few years ago, assessing what value tools added to SCCM. I would like to perform the same assessment for ServiceNow and the ITAM ecosystem. A showcase of what they offer, how they differ and what gaps they fill in the ServiceNow portfolio.
If you have any questions please shout. Thanks ~ Martin.