I’ve enjoyed working in the technology field for well over a decade. Either working on the service desk, in the process arena with incident management, or as a developer building creative solutions, I’ve always felt that the overall goal of IT was to make everything for customers as easy and seamless as possible. Mobile devices, virtual desktops, IP phones – all things that are designed to allow a person to connect with their workplace and perform their job from almost anywhere with any device they find preferable. For the better part of my IT career, these things have always been supported by the system administrators, developers and engineers living behind a mysterious technology curtain, existing for the purpose of getting people to ignore the technology and focus on how to best use a solution.
This curtain is where IT service management (ITSM) exists. ITSM never focuses on servers or databases, but has the goal of looking at how services are delivered to the customer. Not ignoring hardware, ITIL® (formerly the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) outlines the best practice for how to design, operate, change and improve IT as efficiently as possible, while providing high quality and value of services.
Something ironic has been taking place during the last few years. The same hardware and technology we’ve been keeping behind the curtain has itself started to disappear from IT, essentially going behind another curtain that IT organizations don’t touch. A process of ordering and placing a new physical server, which at best would still take several days, has now been replaced with an online ordering system that can deliver a new virtual server in a matter of minutes. Enterprise applications that used to look like spider webs in a CMDB mapping can now be represented as a SaaS solution with only one symbol (maybe two if you use SSO or LDAP integration).
Some of the newer and smaller startups are able to run with no traditional datacenter. Even older corporations, long considered to have more bureaucracy with a longer technology refresh cycle, are finding that they can reduce dependency on physical technology by moving parts, or all, of common applications into the cloud. While those operation centers may take longer to disappear, I’m willing to bet there isn’t a single organization out there that doesn’t have some application or service in the cloud. The traditional sense of IT is disappearing, and if the technology disappears, where does that leave the thousands of IT departments out in the world? With no physical servers to maintain, there obviously isn’t a need for the same manpower to run a virtual environment. Considering several applications can be delivered by SaaS, there’s even a reduction of virtual infrastructure.
While IT is changing due to cloud computing and SaaS solutions, the only thing that remains constant is that customers depend on those services to complete their jobs and help build successful businesses. As I pointed out earlier in this post, ITSM doesn’t focus solely on hardware – its focus is on delivering valuable services to customers, no matter how the delivery takes place. It doesn’t matter how technology changes, or how an IT department functions, such as using DevOps, as long as we can provide customers with a seamless experience that provides the value they expect.
Cloud technology has given every business the capability to own technology without the traditional IT department, but this revolution has a ceiling dictated by the evolutionary pace at which an entire culture can change to match technology. Nonetheless, it’s certain that changes will come in time. Ignoring the opportunity to adapt runs the risk of being outsourced by the very services driving the revolution. The best way to keep IT relevant is to move from being a technology provider, and to take on the role of being a strategic service provider for the business.
In our upcoming webinar with Glenn O’Donnell, Vice President and Research Director at Forrester Research, we will discuss what the future holds for ITSM. From the so-called “death of ITIL” to Shadow IT, from cloud technologies to DevOps – Glenn will provide his insight into how the role of ITSM will develop and change in the coming weeks, months and years. Looking for a glimpse into the future and wanting to know how best to prepare? Then don’t miss this great opportunity to learn; join Glenn and I on September 16th at 12pm EDT to see what the future holds for IT service management. Register now.
After the webinar, all attendees will also receive a short report with the 20 Top Tips for Addressing the Future of ITSM.