"But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good:
Oh, Lord! Please don't let me be misunderstood."
– from the classic song "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which you may think was originally recorded by The Animals, but was actually originally recorded by the magnificent Nina Simone. But I digress.
First of all, thanks to everyone who's responded to my original post on this subject, here in the Community, via e-mail, and otherwise. Second, my abject apologies for confusing or frightening those of you who interpreted my original post as some kind of abandonment of the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market by ServiceNow.
(By the way, there really is no such thing as the "PaaS market," or the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market. PaaS and SaaS are delivery mechanisms, not markets. Regardless of what some analysts, confused customers, and hopeful vendors may say. )
Third, some clarification. Which is apparently much needed, and not just because of my original post. (An industry analyst recently told me and some ServiceNow colleagues that customers are asking questions like this. "We're looking at PaaS – how should we compare Amazon.com's offering with Salesforce.com's Force.com?" Even though the two solutions are all but impossible to compare directly, and are typically used for different types of tasks.)
To begin the clarification process, here's some of what I said originally, for those of you unable or unwilling to reread the entire original post. I think I'm quoting the parts that call out most stridently for the promised clarification. Please let me know if I'm not, though.
"ServiceNow is NOT a PaaS vendor seeking to compete with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, or even Salesforce.com. And here's why.
"ServiceNow sells an industry- and market-leading suite of native cloud-based applications for IT service management and enterprise service automation. Those applications run atop the ServiceNow Service Automation Platform, a powerful, robust, flexible, scalable, and secure cloud-based platform built from scratch for the cloud.
"That platform not only runs all ServiceNow applications, but creates a single system of record for enterprise people, processes, and resources. And ServiceNow customers and partners are building modern, agile, and effective custom applications atop that very same platform."
That last quoted sentence is the key take-away from the quote, and likely from the entire previous post. But it's the first quoted sentence that appears to have caused the most confusion and consternation among those of you who've been kind enough to provide feedback.
ServiceNow is not trying to position itself as pursuing the fragmented, confusing, and still-evolving PaaS (non-)market. Instead, ServiceNow is trumpeting the good news that its market-leading suite of applications for IT service management (ITSM) and automation is built upon a common, robust, built-for-the-cloud platform upon which users and partners are building and deploying really cool custom applications.
We do sell a platform, and it's a great one. One that customers of all types are using to create applications that make their businesses run better, and their users happier and more productive. And we certainly wouldn't turn away any customer who was interested in using the ServiceNow Service Automation Platform to build custom applications but who had little to no interest in using it for, say, ITSM. In fact, I daresay that we'll see an acceleration of cool ServiceNow customers building cool applications, for IT and beyond, with the Calgary release of the ServiceNow Service Automation Platform and beyond.
But our primary business focus is on the users, partners, and applications that got us to the industry- and market-leading position we now gratefully enjoy. Which means that we are concentrating our platform-focused activities primarily – but NOT exclusively – on helping current ServiceNow customers to extend the value of their investments. And which also means you will likely not see us going after "the PaaS market" in the same ways as, say, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Oracle, or Salesforce.com.
I hope that helps to clear things up. Again, please let me know, especially if it doesn't, so I can try again.
Michael Dortch, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, ServiceNow