The Future of ITSM

Posted by on June 02, 2020

The Future of ITSM - From Process to Value Stream

What lies ahead for IT service management (ITSM)? 

With new technology abounding, and high customer and user expectations, there is increased pressure on IT departments to evolve processes, enhance service quality, and drive more business value. The changing landscape for workforces around the globe, along with massive, and unpredictable, industry shifts, has only compounded the pressure on IT departments. 

But that’s ultimately positive news for ITSM professionals. 

“As the modern business becomes increasingly dependent on the technology that drives it, the service desk will become a core driver for business growth,” says Ollie O’Donoghue, Senior Vice President of Research at HFS Research. “Evolving to meet this demand will be tough, but with the right focus will lead to improved quality and higher value IT services,” he adds. 

The role of ITSM has evolved in recent years—and must continue to evolve, particularly in the face of a challenging business landscape. In order for organizations to innovate and achieve digital transformation, IT leaders must be at the table. And, ITSM must deliver what the organization requires, including the ability to access at-a-glance, real-time analytics through dashboards and reports, automate commonplace tasks, and provide omni-channel access to promote a best-in-class user experience

In this blog post, we’ll describe some of the big trends that are driving ITSM now and in the near future, as well as pinpointing how ITSM needs to evolve to continue supporting and driving business growth.

6 Trends Reshaping the Service Management Landscape

Many new business, IT, and employee trends are driving the adoption and maturity of service management solutions. Below are some of those biggest trends—both within IT and in the larger business environment.

1. Remote workforce arrives. 

While many organizations in recent years have allowed, and even encouraged, some degree of remote work among employees, few companies were fully prepared to support the shift to a predominantly remote workforce, as we experienced in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

The jump in demand for remote access exposed the fact that few companies had successfully deployed automated ITSM to support their workforces. Automation is key to infusing ITSM with the level of service management resilience required to cope with the challenges of a remote workforce. 

Commit to automating the obvious, advises Doug Tedder, Principal Consultant, Tedder Consulting LLC. “If it can be modeled, it can be automated. Automation puts abilities into the hands of the people that are doing the work,” Tedder says. 

2. Omni-channel comes of age. 

The way we interact with technology has evolved far beyond a single channel or application. Where once email or an online help desk were the whole story, today we might use social channels, collaboration platforms, augmented reality, virtual assistants, smart watches—the list goes on. 

“Consumerization has affected corporate IT by more than just the use of consumer devices, apps, and personal cloud services in the workplace. It has also upped employee expectations around services, customer service, and support; and will continue to do so as B2C companies continue to invest in providing a better customer experience,” says Sophie Danby, an ITSM Marketing Consultant. 

Your organization’s end users must be able to engage with different channels based on personal preferences and the requirements of a given use case. Offering a variety of access points ensures that they can experience support services in the way that works best for them, and promotes a positive employee and/or customer experience. Keep in mind that many options that may once have seemed unfamiliar, or even off putting, such as chatbots, are now commonplace. 

3. Automation steps up a gear. 

“Over the next three to five years, ITSM will be characterized in four words: acceleration, awareness, automation, and artificial intelligence,” says Eric Vanderburg, Vice President, Cybersecurity at TCDI. 

For decades, enterprises have expanded their use of automation. The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools in recent years have accelerated those automation efforts. These tools increase the sophistication of automation beyond repetitive tasks, providing organizations with end-to-end workflow automation. Intelligence-driven automation helps to bridge organizational silos and provide richer analysis, discovery, measurement, and ability to respond.

Looking ahead, organizations will continue to embrace automation, and at an even more accelerated pace. “ITSM will shed many of the human process bottlenecks and make decisions based on data, risk, and complex expert-based rule sets. This data will be processed by artificial intelligence techniques such as machine learning,” says Vanderburg. He anticipates that AI will be used ever more frequently to provide a speedy, efficient response to changing situations.   

4. Low-code platforms democratize IT. 

Low-code platforms accelerate innovation, improve technology adoption, and reduce the time to market for new solutions. Those platforms that offer true no-code development democratize IT, enabling users from across the business to contribute to digitization. 

The low-code trend will accelerate over the next few years as more organizations recognize it as a critical component for delivering their digital transformation strategies. In turn, vendors will continue to improve their low-code offerings to enable a new generation of citizen developers.

5. DevOps is reshaping IT. 

DevOps has been a trending practice for the better part of a decade. In the years to come, more organizations will adopt DevOps practices as they restructure siloed infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams into collaborative cross-functional product teams. 

“High quality IT service managers need to draw on a range of management practices from ITIL to DevOps to make sure they can deliver what’s needed, when it’s needed, and at the right level of quality to support business goals,” notes Claire Agutter, Director, Scopism. 

The goal of DevOps practices is to make application delivery faster, so end-users get access to new services and capabilities rapidly.

6. Employee experience is driving adoption of ESM. 

Most companies want to break down departmental silos and improve collaboration among departments. 

That requires ITSM to evolve to become “service management” or “enterprise service management,” says John Custy, ITSM Educator and Consultant, JPC Group. 

As service management teams adopt a more collaborative approach, it “enabl[es] them to respond quickly to business needs and customer demands, to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty,” says Custy. 

The focus for organizations is clear: improve workplace experiences, elevate their employee net promoter score (eNPS), and better retain and attract top talent. A key tenant of ESM is collaboration among service departments, even with a first step such as a shared self-service portal. In September 2019, Forrester published its second Forrester ESM Wave, which included a number of vendors that have emerged from the ITSM space. This significant shift demonstrates ESM’s increased presence in the field, and an increasing ambition to improve collaboration between service departments.

Looking Ahead to the Future of ITSM 

In this age of digital transformation, IT departments will be left in the past if they’re unable to rise to today’s challenges and harness opportunities that cement IT as a business imperative for the future.

Simply put, your company’s ability to compete hinges on your department’s IT service management strategy. ITSM must evolve to embrace the challenges and opportunities that will shape both the business and IT landscapes in the next three to five years. 

Embracing the future of IT service management begins with choosing a right-fit solution. “To meet increased business demand service desks must make sure they have the right tools,” says O’Donoghue. 

With Cherwell, your organization can make work flow—the Cherwell CORE platform is a no-code development and delivery platform that serves as the logical foundation for Cherwell’s ITSM solution, Cherwell ESM solutions, and custom-built workflow applications. 

Get a Demo

Learn More About Our Updates to the Cherwell Knowledge Articles