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The role of a ServiceNow implementation partner is changing.  
Why is this happening? 
Well in short, it’s because the product is so freakin’ good now! 
The ServiceNow innovation team fly through the gears when they introduce a new capability. We have seen in recent years how ServiceNow has gone from being a newcomer in the IT Asset Management marketplace, to gaining ground on its rivals (e.g. Flexera), to being one of (if not the) industry leading capabilities in HAM, SAM and cloud management. All in the space of perhaps 3 releases. ServiceNow can do this because it has such a sound architecture. It has good bones. 
But solutions must be credible and follow good practice.  
ServiceNow seeks to verify or certify its solutions through alignment with the most recognised industry frameworks, meaning customers can be confident their processes not only comply with industry leading best practice across the board, but the inbuilt workflow actively drives adherence to that.  
Within the ServiceNow innovation team there is enormous forethought. Great care is taken before introducing a new capability. And every few months following there improvements that shift the needle higher. 
This continual strive for excellence further highlights the danger of customisation, not just in terms of its impact to future upgradeability but also the financial risk of wasted development or technical debt. 
Clients who have custom built solutions to address perceived capability shortfalls can find the same capability freely available in the next release. 
We are seeing more customers looking to reimplement and remove over-customised ServiceNow instances in favour of ‘latest version out of the box’ than ever before. 
With greater confidence in the platform comes a change in customer need. No longer should customers wade through protracted design workshops to evaluate if ServiceNow processes can be adapted to the business. Instead, we have reached the unsettling reality that businesses should now adapt to the tool.  
Customers need to understand the processes, not to change them, but to adopt them. Doing so ensures not only best practice now, but best practice in perpetuity, backed by billion-dollar innovation. 
Partners have a duty not onlyto point out the obvious dangers or to 'cursorily dissuade' customers from custom solutions. More than ever, the customer needs to be challenged, often robustly.  
Why? Because that is our role. Businesses do not move to enterprise IT platforms to do things the same way. They require our stewardship to help them navigate their path. And not taking accountability for having those often difficult conversations is a failure in our role as protector. 
It is our function to guide the customer and to protect them from decisions that will grate with them long after implementation. 
Where configuration is considered essential, action plans should be agreed on how to migrate custom solutions into native product once that capability becomes part of the core offering, so technical debt does not mount up.  
It must be emphasised that no customisation should ever be considered that may impede future upgradeability. Rule 101. Partners must be stronger than ever in resisting such challenges.  
The short-term financial incentive to customise must be resisted in the best interests of the customer. Partners who fail in maintaining these essential gatekeeper qualities run the risk of damaging their reputations for years to come. 
To adapt to the new landscape, partners must start to change the narrative from ‘what do you want?’ to ‘how can we help you adopt?’.  
There will always be a need for configuration and there are areas of the platform that will likely require this for the foreseeable future. Let me be real here, not everything is prebuilt. But it should be considered the exception now, not the rule. 
But if we are configuring less, what is our new role?  
One word. Adoption.  
Too many implementation projects fail because of a gap in Organisational Change Management (OCM), the work stream that breeds internal champions and ensures stakeholders, users, partners and customers are ready and able to embrace and adopt the new processes when introduced.  
Many partners have viewed this as a customer responsibility, however there is a growing need for implementers to not only address this gap but to work side by side with the customer sponsor to drive the entire adoption piece end to end. In honesty, few of us do this well.  
And it needs to change because customers are being let down. 
Shifting our focus towards adoption will deliver better outcomes and will ensure customers realise value faster than before. Adoption starts with education. Customers need to know what the platform can do for their business. ServiceNow will showcase this throughout the sales cycle, often with partner assistance. But the real work starts in the Design Workshops. Partners must be skilled across the entire platform, understanding the business value of each and every product, to effectively demonstrate but also recommend products or implementation strategies that may better suit the needs of the customer.  
Scarce is a UK and Australia based ServiceNow Premier partner in the Implementation & Consulting and Reseller categories. Our European delivery centre is highly skilled in helping customers navigate the implementation journey smoothly and informatively. Our implementers will protect your best interests by steering you through each and every core decision to ensure you achieve the very best outcomes.  
Our mission is to make ServiceNow a success within your organisation and establish it as the enabling technology around which you can develop a culture of collaboration that delivers faster, more rewarding and more connected experiences for colleagues, customers and partners. 
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