Rapid changes in IT Service Management over the past decade have resulted from “globalization, digitalization, and automation of businesses”. To keep up with these changes, progressive organizations have realized the importance of two key factors – adaptability and agility. The solution, simply put, is to do more with less.
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As IT departments are pressurized to meet the demands of aligning their services with the wider business goals of the organization; and to demonstrate their contribution in the success of the enterprise, the trends setting into the industry have been changing alongside.
David Percy of bcs.org had identified four key trends setting in IT Service Management.
- Automating a lot of ITIL® processes will help in cost and time reduction for enterprises. It will also help in improved efficiency of tasks performed.
- By forming a ‘federated’ configuration management database (CMDB) that allows better visibility over the components of the IT infrastructure, the IT staff will be able to manage their services better and improve their traditional IT services. David Percy, director of service and delivery at Infra Corporation says this can be achieved only at the prospect of forming a CMDB that ensures all processes are working consistently from accurate data. But this is difficult, which is why a new model of CMDB has emerged – that, as David Percy points – relies on the ‘federation’ of existing data sources rather than the creation of another centralized database that is inherently difficult to maintain.
The new model aids IT department’s functioning by helping them take advantage of asset discovery tools with their own dedicated resource. It only requires core configuration data to be stored within the CMDB, and is hence simpler to maintain.
- Self-service technology not only helps in cost reduction but also plays a major part in improving customer experience. Organizations which plan to implement this in their management processes will have to release this through a customer portal. By doing so, IT departments will be able to move away from their traditional manual audits and paper-based processes. End-to-end processes are also speeded up with such a mature service and delivery models in place.
- Open knowledge management means to have an updated common knowledge base that can be used by ITSM, integrated with the service desk. This is becoming a critical factor in the service management and a challenging one too.
KCS or Knowledge-centered support is gaining ground, wherein skills, experience, and knowledge are closely linked and bounded with the support resolution process.
As David Percy identifies, this approach is highly beneficial as “articles are created directly from logged calls, and the original problem description is preserved as part of the knowledge article. Subsequent calls that are resolved using particular articles are linked to those articles, and their problem descriptions added to the document.
A major advantage of this approach is its capacity to encourage knowledge sharing. The immediate nature of knowledge creation and the automatic way in which the authors of knowledge are recognized encourage the creation of material. In addition, the link back to the initial call maintains the connection to the original context, providing the best of both worlds - a refined knowledge article that is bound to the raw problem description.”
On a broader level, Axios systems, a provider of IT Service Management solutions, had come up with a comprehensive list of trends in ITSM, similar in some ways to that of David Percy’s:
As more and more businesses are technology-driven (e-commerce, mobile retail apps and online banking, and more), it has become essential for IT and business to collude and work together to achieve their goals.
With strong leadership, better integration initiatives, and greater transparency, businesses will have to merge and work alongside IT. Gartner’s proposed analogy on T-shaped analysts – those who have breadth of understanding of both business and technical knowledge in their area – is then the need of the hour. Professionals, while working in the IT department should be able to think of their business value to the organization.
End-User Experience (EUX):
Statistics report from Gartner indicates that about 61% of people in the business don’t feel they have the technology they need to perform their jobs effectively. And in 74% of reported cases, IT learns about performance and availability issues when a user calls the service desks.
The quality of EUX is to be measured as an IT metric. Many IT departments use automated performance tools and customer satisfaction models to measure end-user experience in more detail. This helps businesses decide on how to better utilize IT to achieve their goals.
Omni-channel IT Support
In the current times, more and more consumers are using the web. A Gartner report says the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. Given this scenario, businesses are becoming aware of engaging their customers through choices that suit them best.
Omni-channel support, which is also aimed at improving end-user experience, gives consumers a list of channels, and lets them choose. Support demands are situational. The challenge then for IT departments is to provide a seamless service and support experience across all channels. This is where Omni-channel comes to prove its advantage.
Omni-channel is about adding web, mobile, and social channels to traditional service desk channels like phone, email, and walk-up. Doing this ensures a constantly connected, mobile, and social workforce.
Many enterprise organizations today already have web self-service and service catalog portals, which covers desktops and laptops. The advancement that we will have to look for now is to focus on mobile apps and extend support of the service desk via support apps or device-agnostic HTML5 interface.
The trend of BYOT:
Bring Your Own Device is already popular among enterprises today, and has come to being identified as a limited term. No doubt BYOD has withstood the test of time and proven itself to be a practice that is bound to stay. But with more employees having begun to bring their own consumer applications and storage devices to workplaces, greater security and IT support issues have cropped up.
With the scope of BYOD thus expanding, BYOT or Bring Your Own Technology is probably a better, more future-proof term. However, the challenge then will be for ITSM to cover up a larger variety of devices.
A wider array of devices and applications means greater difficulty in ensuring software license compliance for IT Asset Management functions. If employees continue to use personal licenses or unlicensed applications at the workplace, organizations can run the risk of paying huge fines to software audits. It is important to seriously consider and overcome this challenge in the near future.
Shadow IT and IT as a Service
Easy availability of cloud solutions means “empowering business units to source their own technology”. This is the Shadow IT trend.
As Axios points out, “instant access to technology with no heavy capital investment and no need for supporting IT infrastructure means business managers can rent technology under the radar of both the CIO and the CFO.”
But business units will face problems with the implementation, integration, security and support factors, when the IT department is not included. They run bigger issues - risk and governance.
IT departments come as “service brokers” who provide end-to-end advice across the technology life cycle. They may help in supporting selection, vendor relationships, consolidated procurement, implementation, integration, security, and support.
Big data and analytics
The process of recording, storing, and processing huge volumes of data for deciphering useful information has undergone some risks and issues at different points of time.
By coming up with a strategic approach to managing data, harnessing new approaches to data federation, warehousing and analytics, IT departments can offer actionable insights in an ocean of ‘background noise’.
Just as it is for businesses, for IT Service Management too, data is a strategic asset. But big data means more – it means improving services, reducing costs, and increasing customer satisfaction.
Businesses have realized the importance of knowledge as an asset. It helps in delivering efficient support outcomes.
As a progressive measure, organizations should be able to find the means to capture and share knowledge on a global scale to optimize productivity. With an open platform, quite similar to that suggested by David Percy, IT can enable peer support among business people and more efficient sharing of technical knowledge.
Here are a few ways to do this effectively:
- Social mechanisms that bring human interactions within service desk view
- Chat and collaboration tools that come up with conversations and problem solving sessions. These can be recorded into a searchable knowledge base.
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If you think there’s anything we’ve missed, comment away!