There are some rumors that IT service management (ITSM) is dead.
No way – I’m here to tell you that ITSM is far from dead.
In fact, I think this is a great time for ITSM, and a great time to be an ITSM professional.
With technology such an integral part of every bit of a business, the line between business and IT is blurred, perhaps even non-existent. ITSM is no longer a “nice to have,” or something that only the service desk does. ITSM is the means by which IT delivers business capability. ITSM is the enabler for realizing real business value from the use of technology.
But some ITSM implementations have fallen short.
ITSM was always intended to answer the following three questions:
Unfortunately, in many cases, ITSM is implemented only to address the “squeaky wheels,” meaning such ITSM implementations are only operations-focused. Of course, these ITSM rollouts deliver incident management, change management, service desk, and maybe request fulfillment – all important processes to have. But then they stop at that. Services are not defined, design and strategy activities are not formalized, and continual improvement is an afterthought. The rationale for stopping is that the “squeaky wheels” in IT operations were addressed.
Some ITSM implementations fall short because they are more about processes, less about services. In the rush to implement ITSM, many organizations focus on designing and implementing processes. The notion of a “service” – the value and outcomes delivered to the business – often become secondary, or in many cases ignored.
A third area where ITSM implementations often fall short is in the area of business-IT alignment. The concept of aligning what IT does to what the business needs clearly makes a lot of sense – but it has a fatal flaw. Business-IT alignment depends upon the business inviting IT to participate in the development of business strategy. “The business” often goes along its way and only includes IT when there’s a technology need, not considering current IT capabilities and resources. Or even worse, when a technology-based solution is identified – without having IT involved in identifying that solution.
The fact of the matter is that business-IT alignment is not, and never was, the way to look at ITSM. The term ‘alignment’ implies that IT is not part of the business it serves. Business and IT convergence – the recognition that business and IT must work seamlessly – is the lens through which ITSM should be viewed.
ITSM is going through an evolution. When ITSM first became popular in the late 1980s, it provided an orderly, linear approach to managing IT. But modern ITSM is reacting to a new reality. What does the new reality of ITSM look like?
|ITSM was…||ITSM now is….|
|Business and IT alignment||Business and IT convergence|
|Managing all things IT-related under one roof||Ecosystems of components, partners, and suppliers found both internally and externally|
|Operations-focused||Business value and outcome focused|
|IT project oriented||Business initiatives enabled by IT|
|One tool in the toolbox||A robust set of capabilities and tools|
Though ITSM continues to be a “people-process-technology” approach for managing services, it is now a mix of frameworks and methodologies. While ITIL® continues to be the defacto standard for ITSM, other frameworks and methodologies are providing ITSM professionals with tools or capabilities to do the job that IT organizations are being asked to do.
Lean helps us visualize work and understand where our processes may be wasteful. DevOps is delivering some of the “how” for deploying releases and reacting to changing business needs with greater nimbleness and effectiveness.
Technology, however, has made significant leaps in the past few years to help with process execution. Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation, machine learning, and others provide the capability to realize the promises of process design like never before.
For example, using the SysAid IT Benchmark tool, we did an analysis of over 86 million service requests records from more than 10,000 IT departments in 140 countries over a six-year period. For argument’s sake, let’s assume that to process these requests manually required an hour each. We found that 17% - or nearly 15 million of those requests – could have been prevented by leveraging machine learning. What innovations could those IT departments have delivered using those 15 million hours?
Here are three reasons why I think ITSM is now more important than ever.
As technology has become more commercialized and consumerized, good ITSM can help tell the compelling story of why a business should get its technology from its IT organization. The IT value chain, enabled and supported by good ITSM, becomes a seamless fit into the business value chain.
It is not a question of “if” digital transformation – it is a question of “when.” Many businesses are contemplating what digital transformation means to them. A core requirement for a business to begin digital transformation is to first have absolute clarity on its services and processes. Good ITSM provides that clarity regarding services and processes.
Good ITSM supports business agility and responsiveness by promoting standardization in the form of models. And if something can be modeled – like standard requests or password resets – it can be automated, which provides the ultimate level of responsiveness to a business.
So, I think now is a great time for ITSM and it’s a great time to be an ITSM professional. Technology has caught up with, and can now enable, many ITSM concepts.
Good ITSM enables the agility and responsiveness demanded by today’s business.
Good ITSM cements the convergence of business and IT by enabling business capability through the effective use of technology.
Good ITSM professionals are uniquely positioned to lead the evolution!