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10 Skills and Capabilities Required of a 2020 ITSM Professional

By | May 15, 2018 in ITSM

Want to know where you and your colleagues need to be – skills-wise – in 2020? Then this blog is for you. It offers highlights from a free-to-download SysAid eBook that uses the knowledge and experience of 20 IT service management (ITSM)-industry influencers to predict where the ITSM professional role is heading over the next few years and beyond.

20 ITSM influencers

Given the rapid rate of change across both business and IT landscapes, the roles of ITSM professionals – and the environments they work in – are also undoubtedly going to need to change. Future ITSM roles will of course still need to do some of what they do now or, put in more value-centric terms, they will still need to deliver against organizational needs and meet required outcomes using some of their existing skills and capabilities.

But what other skills and capabilities will ITSM professionals need to:

  • Deliver IT and business services that consistently meet organizational needs – including the increasingly higher, consumer-world-driven, demands of employees
  • Ensure that the organization can continue to operate (on a day-to-day basis), including the quality of the offered IT support capabilities
  • Seamlessly bring in new, and changed, internal and externally facing services as needed
  • Provide insight into what’s being achieved and where issues and opportunities lie
  • Regularly deliver improvements across services, operational processes/capabilities, and performance
  • Employ new ITSM practices and technologies in the pursuit of the above?

Your immediate answer might be: “Your guess is as good as mine!”

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Collectively Envisioning the Future of the ITSM Professional Role

But, what if you were able to crowdsource a vision of the future along with a number of your colleagues and peers? Or, even better, what if you were able to crowdsource a vision of the future from a number of ITSM-industry influencers?

Does it make you feel more comfortable about the suitability of the offered predictions?

Hopefully it does.

Plus, you don’t actually need to do it – SysAid has already done the work and spoken with 20 ITSM-industry influencers, experts, and analysts to source their views, opinions, and perspectives on the ITSM professional of 2020.

Please read on to find out what these 20 people think. But first, let’s address the elephant in the room – the issues with, and value of, predictions.

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The Double-Edged Sword That Is Prediction

Predictions are a funny thing. Sometimes they can be heard or read with a nod – reflecting a shared vision of the future. Other times, they can be heard or read with a tut-tut, headshake, and the questioning of the predictor’s knowledge, experience, and perhaps even sanity.

It’s also not easy to find prediction-related facts and statistics, such as how accurate any given predictor’s previous crystal-ball gazing has been. However, with the help of Google, it’s relatively simple to find opinions and quotes on the art – or is it science – of prediction.

In terms of prediction accuracy, Nils Bohr, a 20th Century Nobel Laureate in Physics, gets it spot on:

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

In terms of future-seeing credibility, Lao Tsu, a 6th Century BC Chinese poet, is very scathing of those who make predictions:

“Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.”

And in terms of the value of predictions, 19th Century mathematician, theoretical physicist, and philosopher of science Henri Poincaré wrote that:

“It is far better to foresee even without certainty than not to foresee at all.”

It’s up to you as to which is most relevant in predicting the future of the ITSM professional, but I’m with Henri – there’s a need to predict to influence the pathway to the desired future state, with course-correction as necessary on the way there.

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The Top 10 Required ITSM-Pro Skills and Capabilities

The eBook contributors collectively offered up more than 100 responses. There were of course outliers – that were, in the main, unique among the collected responses. But, interestingly, there was a lot of commonality of opinion – with circa 70% of responses relating to a distinct set of 10 skills and capabilities.

These were:

  1. An understanding of AI and Analytics and associated personal capabilities
  2. Knowledge Management capabilities
  3. Business Relationship Management (BRM) capabilities
  4. An understanding of what Business Value is and how to create it
  5. Customer Engagement skills
  6. Communication and Collaboration skills
  7. Problem Solving skills and capabilities
  8. A focus on Innovation for better business outcomes
  9. A desire for Continual Learning
  10. Personal Flexibility and Agility, with the ability to deal with complexity

Some of these you’d already expect, some are very new, and some are actually generic known areas for improvement.

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Drilling Down into One of These

The eBook drills down to take a look at each of these 10 skills and capabilities. Take AI and analytics, for example – here are some of the opinions about that, including explanatory text:

  1. “AI will help service management practitioners quickly identify trends in incident and request process flows, help tune monitoring algorithms for events, identify opportunities for problem management teams, and help customers find quality answers to their issues.”
    - Earl Begley, ITT Compliance Officer, San Francisco Airport
  2. “By 2020, organizations will have both active and passive agents feeding real and semi-real-time data into centralized management systems, and machine learning will be leveraged to drive management information insight to the business so that technology decisions can be made.”
    - Daniel Card, CEO, XServus
  3. “IT support staff will be technology-assisted – from knowledge exploitation, through collaboration, to using newer, AI-based capabilities for the purpose of eliminating manual activities and extending the human capacity for analytics and comprehension.”
    - Stephen Mann, Principal Analyst and Content Director, tools
  4. “ITSM professionals need to be able to move from providing reactive analytics (what happened last month) to predictive. Management already knows what happened last week and last month, they need (and want) to better understand the impact of decisions. More predictive analytics are needed to reduce risk and increase probability of successes.”
    - John Custy, ITSM Consultant, JPC Group
  5. “In 2020, ITSM professionals must have AI and analytics skills – learning how to assimilate more proactive insights into everything from major incident-related outages, to if/then options for capacity and change management, to governance data on IT efficiencies that is already of critical value in a growing number of IT environments. While managing and training AI for tasks (such as onboarding new employees and routine incident handling) will become increasingly valuable for ITSM professionals in the future.”
    - Dennis Drogseth, Vice President, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)

So, if you want to understand more about the 10 skills and capabilities required of 2020 ITSM professionals, including some whys and how-tos, then I recommend downloading this free eBook. In it, you’ll find the full set of views, opinions, and perspectives of the 20 ITSM-industry influencers along with explanatory text.

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Dena Wieder-Freiden

About Dena Wieder-Freiden

As SysAid’s Content Marketing Manager, Dena values most her friendships and daily conversations with the awesome IT service management (ITSM) authorities from all over the world! As they share their knowledge with her, she enjoys paying it forward to the IT community at large. Outside of work, she’s most likely at the gym, the beach, or at home watching a movie and spending time with her family.

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