2021 kicks off with heated investment in the ServiceNow services market

We're just one month into 2021, and the year has already been an interesting one for the dynamic ServiceNow services market. 

Even in 2021, the challenges for the platform's sprawling partner ecosystem remain the same. Enterprise demand for ServiceNow continues to grow at a rate that far outstretches the supply of talented consultants and developers able to navigate complex business operations and industry challenges. As a result, the market continues to be one of the most fertile grounds for acquisition activity, with more of the major IT Services giants looking to build or expand their practices with fresh talent. Some of the key acquisitions over the past 12 months alone include:

  •  ServiceNow boutique Acorio acquired by NTT Data Services
  • Guidevision bought up by Infosys
  • Accenture picked up Organize Cloud Labs, a ServiceNow Elite partner
  • KPMG acquired ServiceNow partner Wirefire Creative
  • and Capgemini bought up RXP Services, a firm with a broad spectrum of capability including ServiceNow

Already this year we're seeing a continuation of these ambitious investment strategies, with IT giants keen as ever to ramp up the capability to meet market demand. One of the latest investments saw Cognizant bring in an additional 150 talented ServiceNow professionals through the acquisition of Linium from Ness Engineering. Linium, an independent ServiceNow specialist until its acquisition from Ness Engineering in 2018, has a compelling pedigree in the market. The firm has completed more than 3,500 engagements - more than a third with Fortune 100 clients. Linium holds more than 300 ServiceNow certifications, with operations in the US, Canada, India, and the UK. The firm will join Cognizant's existing practice, which boasts credentials in a raft of the platform's product lines, with a solid base in ITSM.

IT giants aren't the only firms moving in on the market - January 2021 also saw the merging of three independent ServiceNow boutiques to create one of the largest pureplay ServiceNow shops. Private equity firm Sunstone Partners picked up and combined Evergreen Systems, Cerna Solutions, and NovoScale - pooling over 200 professionals. We can expect all three firms to continue servicing clients through their existing operations, with synergies across the firms built over time. All three firms have a strong track record in the space, with combined delivery across thousands of engagements.

The long-term economic impact of COVID-19 is forcing enterprises to redraw the way they operate, with remote operations and digital business models likely to stay long after the global economy returns to some semblance of normality. Market conditions forcing enterprises to reevaluate their technological foundations present a significant opportunity to firms like ServiceNow. And perhaps more so for their partner ecosystem, who build platforms like ServiceNow into broader transformation engagements. And with demand expected to continue to grow, we'll likely see more consolidation and heated acquisition activity as firms look to take a bigger chunk of the pie, by bringing the most extensive and best-equipped talent pool to engagements.

However, it's worth noting that keeping hold of talent in a dynamic marketplace is becoming increasingly challenging - a fact that's seen many acquisitions in the past fail to deliver real return on investment. And with ServiceNow professionals attracting compelling remuneration packages to jump ship, and an abundance of ships to jump to, the firms investing in acquisitions will need to work hard to keep talent on board.