There are some fundamental changes going on in the world of what we have been calling ITSM. Will we still be calling it that in 2021? Maybe so, but there is certainly a deepening and broadening of both the applications of service management thinking and the subjects being discussed within the service management arena.
Let’s pull information from around the web and see what we learn.
In our annual research for 2019, as in previous years, we asked organizations which frameworks and/or methodologies they think about when acquiring new technologies, exploring how they try to align the way their tools work with the way things are being done (or are supposed to be done) in the organization. There were quite a few shifts in the preferences expressed.
Several of these frameworks and methodologies saw modest year-over-year increases, including Lean, DevOps, ISO/IEC 20000, CMMI, Kaizen, and COBIT. Others saw a year-over-year decrease, like ITIL®, KCS, the HDI Support Center Standard, and Six Sigma. (Please Note: Some of the differences may be because of differences in the samples; not all the same organizations responded in both years.)
What I think that means, ultimately, is that organizations are finally realizing that there is value in each of the frameworks and methodologies, and they are broadening their vision beyond being a one framework shop. They are doing exactly what service management thought leaders have been suggesting for years: adopt and adapt.
How that’s done—at least in some instances—is by getting more specific about the goals of the organization. Many are not trying to solve everything with a “silver bullet” approach anymore but are taking into account that not only are there many ways to accomplish their goals, but also that the goals themselves have shifted.
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Geoff Rees of Sunrise Software describes this as using “more of the pragmatic mindset” in a crowdsourced article on ITSM.tools. ITSM leaders are considering ways that emerging technologies such as AI can help them but are also elevating customer experience and employee experience to a more central focus. They are looking at specific ways to do that without depending on frameworks to guide them through the particulars.
This A– Z roundup by “Joe the IT Guy” discusses many of the areas ITSM is working through, including the transition to ITIL® 4 and its management practices and the move toward a “new normal.” But, Joe goes on to say, digital transformation is still front and center. “The need to (successfully) digitally transform still looms large over many organizations, but I’m still not convinced that enough of them have woken up to the fact that digital transformation isn’t actually about technology change, that it’s about business and people change.”
Which brings us to a post by Kirstie Magowan that points toward a more general migration away from what we think of as ITSM and toward service management. It’s not enough to consider just the technology solutions, she says, but making the goal to deliver business value. Kirstie says, “One of the key trends I am seeing in ITSM currently is that we are finally valuing people over technology.”
Likewise, in this top trends article, Vyom Labs says, “…2020 will be more focused on improving employee engagement and providing a work-friendly environment to stay productive.” And that won’t be limited strictly to a provider/consumer relationship between IT and business. Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is what we usually call the broader application of service management throughout the organization. “ESM focuses on using proven ITSM tools and processes to support other functions within an organization to create a true Enterprise Service Management solution. At some organizations, it’ll mean a shared services portal, to others it will be a joint onboarding process. ESM will lower cost, improve operational efficiency and [create] happy customers.”
Evan Carlson reinforces the emphasis on customer and employee experience in this post, but adds, “Although something that goes beyond ITSM, focusing on the overall wellbeing of employees, whether this is at work or in their day-to-day lives, is something that IT managers seem to be prioritizing more.”
All of this comes at a time when organizations in almost all verticals—from healthcare to retail—are finding new ways to work and support the technologies users and customers need, often under difficult circumstances. It’s as if the industry has rediscovered that technology is not an end unto itself, but that its function is to serve and support people.
The industry has rediscovered that technology is not an end unto itself, but that its function is to serve and support people.
Roy Atkinson is one of the top influencers in the service and support industry. His blogs, presentations, research reports, white papers, keynotes, and webinars have gained him an international reputation. In his role as Group Principal Analyst, he acts as HDI's in-house subject matter expert, bringing his years of experience to the community. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @RoyAtkinson.