Over the course of numerous deployment dialogs and multiple research projects starting with last year’s work on “ITSM futures,” I have been tracking a still largely unheralded phenomenon: ITSM teams in many organizations are evolving to take a leadership role in helping all of IT become more efficient, more business aligned, and ever more relevant to business outcomes. Indeed, an ITSM 2.0 is emerging that’s radically different from its inherited, reactive past in ways that are sometimes predictable but more often surprising.
OK, let’s start with what still seems to be the industry’s most common caricature of the “reactive service desk.” ITSM is potentially a great deal more than this, but frayed nerves on both sides of the IT/service-consumer divide have hardened suspicions, frustrations, and hands-up-in-the-air impatience levels with service desk operations.
When we first looked at progressive versus reactive ITSM in our ITSM futures research, we saw that those ITSM teams that were struggling the most had a number of predictable characteristics. These included:
- Failure of credibility in supporting business requirements, which was directly correlated with being outsourced, as well as with losing staffing and other resources to Operations.
- Inability to grapple with emerging (and in some cases, already well-established) requirements in adapting to cloud, agile process requirements, mobile, and endpoint awareness overall.
- Failure to invest in more strategic and potentially transformative technologies ranging from classic ITSM investments, such as configuration management databases (CMDBs) and service catalogs, to broader shared investments, such as analytics, application discovery and dependency mapping (ADDM), and more advanced levels of automation for diagnostics and managing change.
- Similar failure to invest in best practices, including, but in no way limited to, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
The first thing to do here is take the ITSM 1.0 list and turn it on its head. We see then that, just for starters, ITSM 2.0 is:
- More effective in supporting business requirements, and hence more likely to experience greater investment in terms of staffing and other resources.
- More likely to play a role in shaping and optimizing IT operations efficiencies by helping to promote far more effective cross-silo (network/systems/applications) interaction and dialog.
- Far more likely to participate in cloud, mobile, and even agile/DevOps initiatives.
- Far more invested in strategic technologies ranging from CMDBs, service catalogs, and automation to even more advanced and shared levels of analytics, with often dramatic improvements in endpoint optimization for mobile and non-mobile devices, including lifecycle management and more effective customer/consumer experience.
- Far more likely to address security requirements ranging from proactive support for incident and problem management (often through integrated technologies shared with operations), to endpoint compliance in patch and configuration management, to change management more broadly across the infrastructure.
- Far more likely to play a role in promoting process efficiencies with best practices across all of IT.
In addition to this, ITSM 2.0 is beginning to take a growing role in supporting enterprise process efficiencies (for facilities, HR, etc.), as well as both Green IT and its successor, the Internet of Things (IoT).
Two Key ITSM 2.0 Differentiators: Integrated IT Operations and Endpoint Optimization
While each of these areas of differentiation deserves a more extensive discussion, in this blog I’d like to highlight two: integrated IT operations and endpoint optimization.
Integrated IT Operations
Bringing IT operations together with ITSM is one of the most poorly documented and yet most critical areas of advancement in the industry.
Here are some of the attributes of integrated IT operations that stand out in ongoing research and dialogs:
- Sharing data for a far more integrated approach to availability and performance management, as combined with incident and problem management – This data can include event and time-series data, more advanced analytics including support for security, service modeling (CMDB, ADDM), shared knowledgebase access, and a growing role for social media and business data. Common mobile access can make this sharing of information even more compelling.
- Sharing data for change management, and even agile or DevOps needs – This often requires increased insight into service modeling and automation in particular.
- Improved workflow automation across IT operations and ITSM teams – As I mentioned, in many conversations I’m finding that it’s ITSM that is becoming the creative force in breaking through operations silos.
- Project management governance
- Documented OpEx efficiencies to help IT operations and ITSM continue to improve in how they work, both collectively and individually
- Far more effective user experience management that places all the resources of ITSM teams and IT operations together on a common footing
EMA is just concluding research on “Optimizing IT for Financial Performance.” And in that research ITSM once again plays a central role. Given the ascendant requirements to support mobile stakeholders, optimizing endpoints in terms of cost and value is a leading feature of ITSM 2.0. The top prioritized functional areas were the following:
- Software usage
- License management
- Software distribution
- Power management
- Hardware lifecycle management
- Endpoint hardware usage
Endpoint optimization can also be greatly enhanced through service catalogs and app stores that integrate cost, SLAs, and usage insights into how end consumers access IT services.
By implication at least, I hope you can see why I view ITSM 2.0 as a cornerstone of both IT and digital transformation, as it can be a unifier for IT, as well as for IT-to-business efficiencies and relevance. This unification stretches across process, data, technology, and dialog, with ITSM teams often forming a hub for all of these factors to come together.
But this isn’t actually the end of my discussion on ITSM 2.0. I’ll be following up with one more blog: ITSM 2.0 challenges. So stay tuned for more.