Partnerships – The Benefits for a Start-up

Introduction

As a start-up company attempting to disrupt the Cloud Computing world, there are both benefits and disadvantages in being small, dynamic and “Agile”. I’d like to highlight how entering into meaningful, truly two-way partnerships has both lessened the disadvantages and allowed us to leverage many of the benefits of being a start-up. As a start-up, we needed to be able to publicise our product, be credible and improve our reputation so as to attract new customers and below I look at the way in which our Service Management team has contributed to this by negotiating “symbiotic” partnerships that open many doors for a young business!

Background

Firstly, a bit of context. The challenges I faced when joining Cloud Gateway included the need to implement a responsive, dynamic Service Management framework to match our Agile development ambitions, the need to select the best Service Management tool to assist us with this and the need to complement our stated wish of on-boarding new customers in weeks rather than months.

The need for a dynamic framework was resolved when I discovered VeriSM and the tool requirements, after extensive research, were clearly going to be met by ServiceNow. Each of these are discussed in more detail below.

VeriSM – the IFDC Partnership         

VeriSM recommends an approach to Service Management which combines the best of the new development approaches with the best of the old – i.e. using ITIL as the foundation for the BaU Customer Support model. Being an ITIL evangelist for over 25 years, this really appealed to me and once my team had all completed and passed our VeriSM Foundation training, I needed to look into it more deeply. Being recognised as an early adopter, I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to present our “VeriSM Journey” to several audiences on webinars and presentations, and thus have become involved with the International Foundation for Digital Competences (IFDC), the “owners” of VeriSM. This resulted in Cloud Gateway being used as an “Early Adopter” case study in the recently published “VeriSM Unwrapped and Applied” Service Management book.

The mission of the IFDC is to develop, own, maintain and promote (open) standards and approaches for the development of professionals in the digital era. VeriSM is the first of the approaches to be developed by the IFDC.

Becoming a partner of the IFDC enables us to influence and shape how VeriSM further evolves moving forwards. We are part of a community of forward-thinking, innovative organizations and professionals. As an IFDC partner, we are able to profile our organization as an enabler of digital transformation and be seen as an official Partner for VeriSM.

IFDC offer a number of partnership models, the one that suited us best being the “Supporting Partnership”. The benefits of this to Cloud Gateway include:

  • Recognition as an official partner for VeriSM, which, as the new approach to Service Management in the digital age, is growing very quickly and being adopted by hundreds of progressive organisations all over the world. Being seen as an early adopter and influencer to this generates market awareness, respect and reputation for Cloud Gateway.
  • Further publicity for our young company through conferences, webinars and articles and being mentioned on the IFDC website.
  • In depth knowledge of the VeriSM approach and its roadmap, including early updates on new developments.
  • Access to other material including blogs, white papers and publications describing other organisations’ approach to implementing VeriSM.
  • Complimentary training.
  • Contribution and access to the IFDC starter kit for implementing VeriSM.

To try to summarise the benefits of this partnership with IFDC, I would say that it gives Cloud Gateway a world-wide audience for our implementation of VeriSM, enables us to help VeriSM evolve to the benefit of all partners, and gives Cloud Gateway increased publicity, respect and reputation. All of this is contributing to us attracting new customers and growing as a business.

As for IFDC, they get to use a real company’s early adopter experience to document and use, while also getting assistance from the real world in evolving and maturing VeriSM.

ServiceNow Partnership

One of the disadvantages of being “small” is that some organisations don’t initially take you seriously, so we deliberately made a bold statement on our website of wishing to become “a world leader in providing VeriSM Service Management for our customers”, underpinned by the leading industry Service Management tool, ServiceNow.

Gartner and others recognise ServiceNow as the leading Service Management tool. One of our first key customers uses it, and the company has also partnered with IFDC, making it the logical choice for Cloud Gateway as our transition and support tool – covering the VeriSM stages of Provide and Respond.

The benefits of Cloud Gateway partnering with ServiceNow include:

  • We are included on their website as a case study.
  • Credibility – by choosing ServiceNow, whose current minimum licensing proposition is still too large for Cloud Gateway, we are saying to the world that we are a serious player in Cloud Computing.
  • Support Model. Although ServiceNow is expensive compared to some of the alternatives available, by using the only service management tool currently aligned to VeriSM, we are saving on retrofit, development and compatibility costs by using a tool that complements our service management model and enables us to work towards the lofty ambition stated above.
  • The ServiceNow online community is, and will continue to be, a great help and our System Administrator has resolved many issues online with other ServiceNow users. Having the power of the partnership behind us will enable this to improve and CG to receive better, more detailed support and assistance as our maturity grows.

To summarise the benefits of this partnership with ServiceNow, it gives Cloud Gateway the support of a world leading Service Management player, gives us the tool we need, publicises our product and our VeriSM model, and gives us improved credibility in the marketplace.

As for ServiceNow, they can now genuinely claim that ServiceNow is NOT just for large corporates, but SMEs and even start-ups are able to use it as their tool of choice to provide customer satisfaction. They will also have access to more real-world experiences enabling them to keep their tool fit for purpose as digital transformation, Cloud Computing and VeriSM continue to push the boundaries of what modern Service Management should be.

Conclusion

Start-ups are, by their very nature, small, dynamic and sometimes a bit disorganised BUT all of them need credibility and appreciation of their product if it is to sell and be supportable. By choosing to be partnered with two major strategic players, Cloud Gateway has positioned itself to both take advantage of their partners’ reputation and presence, and also to help both partners develop their offerings to suit SMEs by providing real life experience and feedback.

 

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Written by

Steve Leach

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