So, what are the 18 most important ITSM tips for 2018? If I really knew the answer to this, then I’d probably be drinking cocktails on a beach somewhere right now. And anyone who can offer you such a list could also probably sell you a bottle of snake oil.
What I can offer though, is a list of IT service management tips that MIGHT be important to your IT organization in 2018… depending on your organization’s circumstances.
It’s similar to what I tried to articulate in my “ITSM in 2018: So Much to Do, So Little Time” blog that looked forward to what would be important in the ITSM space in 2018. It really does depend on your organization’s circumstances (to quote your friendly neighborhood consultant) – from its challenges and opportunities, to its capacity and capability for change.
So, please take each of the bullets below as a potential tip from which your organization’s ITSM activities may or may not benefit. They might all fit, or many might not – the important thing is to decide which are most appropriate to your organization.
18 ITSM Tips for a better 2018
To give a balanced list, I’ve chosen two tips – or recommended actions – related to each of nine areas I selected from the aforementioned “ITSM in 2018: So Much to Do, So Little Time” blog.
So please find 18 tips for 2018 below, split across nine areas…
Addressing continuing financial pressures:
- Understand what the oft-used ITSM term “running IT like a business” really means – that (in addition to delivering high-quality services) your IT organization needs to truly know its customers’ wants and needs (including what they deem to be of value), what individual IT services cost and the associated cost drivers, and how to minimize costs without adversely affecting service quality (although some loss of service quality might be an acceptable tradeoff for sufficient cost savings).
- Invest, or reinvest, in IT asset management (ITAM) capabilities – covering hardware, software, and third-party services (such as cloud). It’s time to stop wasting IT budgets; and to understand that ITAM done well will more than pay for itself. Getting started is easier than you think, for instance you don’t need to start with an expensive ITAM tool (at least for delivering quick wins). Please check out “ITAM 101: Getting Started with IT Asset Management” and similar online resources for help.
Removing costly and inefficient manual activities:
- Consider and address opportunities to automate repetitive and labor-intensive activities – from the more traditional “heavy lifting” automation to newer “heavy thinking” opportunities made possible through artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. For more tips on succeeding with automation, please check out “5 Common IT Automation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”
- Start understanding and testing the potential of AI for IT support as soon as possible – AI is already helping with business-to-consumer (B2C) customer support; with a logical, and potentially lucrative, extension of this being AI’s use by internal IT service desks (as has already happened with self-service adoption). So, it’s already time to pave the way for AI in IT support – from testing out possible use cases to dealing with the required people change and “The Three Elephants in the “AI for IT support” Living Room.”
Meeting the growing demands of employees and customers:
- Recognize that “consumerization” is affecting all corporate service providers – that the rising expectations of employees based on their personal-life experiences of services, support, and customer service are being brought into the workplace. If you would like to read more on this, then please try “6 Ways Consumerization Is Affecting the Service Desk” as a good starting point.
- Get the “customer experience” basics right – starting with the aforementioned understanding of consumerization (and customer or user experience) through to the use of capabilities that (should) help to deliver a better customer experience. For example, self-service and chat.
Addressing the IT management issues that come with growing cloud adoption:
- Recognize that one of the biggest issues with cloud is now cost management – while a subset of bullet #1, it deserves its own focus. Managing cloud costs – effectively – isn’t as easy as one might think. You can find out more about cloud cost management in this “Cloud Is Now for Grown-Ups” blog.
- Understand how existing ITSM practices need to change in the context of cloud – for example, the ITIL best practice related to capacity management, where cloud turns the traditional long-term capacity-planning model on its head. You can read more on this in “5 Ways Cloud Changes ITIL Capacity Management.”
Tackling the ongoing “disconnects” between DevOps and ITSM pros:
- Recognize that DevOps is delivering significant business value – that the days of DevOps being “the next big thing” or an App-Dev fad are over, it’s already here and it’s here to stay. Just look to the annual Puppet State of DevOps report to understand the gains made by organizations that get DevOps right. ITSM pros need to be involved, if only to ensure that they’re part of the solution, not the problem.
- Understand and address the (potential) lack of ITSM involvement in your organization’s DevOps initiatives – the 2017 ITSM.tools The Future of ITSM survey found that “70% of respondents think that there has been insufficient involvement of ITSM personnel in their company’s DevOps activities and ambitions.” There’s thus still much to do in getting ITSM pros a seat at the corporate DevOps table (and time has to be running out).
Dealing with more complex supplier-management scenarios:
- Understand that service integration and management (SIAM) isn’t just a new-tool thing, it’s a people and “way of working” thing – obviously fit-for-purpose technology will help, but SIAM requires so much more. This “starter for 10” blog is a great entry point for “Navigating the Road to SIAM” should you (and your organization) need it.
- Realize that there’s already much SIAM good practice information freely available – and while your organization will still probably benefit from employing experienced third-party resources during its SIAM journey, blogs such as “10 Key Steps for SIAM Success” and the free, crowdsourced SIAM BOKs will allow you to ensure that many of the mistakes made by others are avoided.
Giving security risks the respect, and attention, they deserve:
- Be prepared (as in readiness) to invest more than expected in security during 2018 – with it unfortunately a “necessary evil” that’s becoming increasingly necessary. Security is now a board-level topic that’s going to dominate 2018 for many ITSM pros, with the key question being whether the stable door will be closed after or before the horse has bolted (and the stable boys/girls have been fired).
- Ensure that ITSM staff understand at least the basics of security – in an ideal world, use an internal subject matter expert to share “the minimum” people should know internally including the common risks and threats, and what people need to do in their roles (we’ll probably be hearing a lot more of “everyone is responsible for security” this year). If this isn’t possible, then share some easy-to-digest reading such as this “Information Security and Encryption – an Overview” blog.
Addressing the impact of increased technology adoption:
- Look beyond the serious security risks associated with the internet of things (IoT) – scary things often seem to get the most media attention these days but, while the risks associated with IoT devices are very real and shouldn’t be ignored (see bullets #13 and #14), there’s also much to be done in uplifting IT management capabilities in light of the growth in both “dumb” and “smart” network-connected devices. For instance, dealing with the volume-related impact on availability and capacity management, and (device) fault management.
- Be ready to sell the increasing importance, and value, of ITSM in a technology-reliant world – and it’s very easy to overlook this need. While ITSM has become a staple of many (if not most) organizations, corporate investments in cloud services and DevOps in particular have sparked debates over the future need for ITSM. It leaves ITSM teams with two choices – either to sit on their hands expecting business colleagues to just “get” why ITSM is important in a service-centric world, or to proactively market and demonstrate ITSM’s worth. This shouldn’t be a tough decision, with approaches such as business relationship management (BRM) available to help.
Delivering against the business need for “digital transformation”:
- Appreciate that digital transformation is about people change not just new-technology use cases – that while technology is involved in creating new products/services and revenue streams, and improving both customer engagement mechanisms and back-office processes; digital transformation is ultimately a requirement for people to do things differently.
- Don’t forget the required transformation of back-office operations too – so much attention is being paid to the sexier, externally-focused aspects of digital transformation (new revenue streams and better customer engagement) that it’s easy to forget the third element, the transformation of potentially manually-intensive back-office operations. Organization can’t afford to do this though, because whatever they transform “front of house” will struggle to work optimally if their “back of house” operations are still stuck in the Dark Ages.
So, that’s my chosen 18 ITSM tips for 2018 (and it was hard to select just 18). What would you add? Please share in the comments section.
Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.
Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.