20 Tips for Creating Your ITSM Future

ITSM Future Tips

What the future of IT service management (ITSM) holds is one thing. But what your organization’s ITSM future will look like is another. This post captures some of the key points from a half-day event, hosted by Freshservice, that was entitled “Choosing Your ITSM Future.” This included two panels, as described below, plus presentations from Stuart Rance and myself:

  • “How the Changing Landscape Demands New Approaches,” with: Andrew Humphrey, Head of Service Management, Auto Trader UK; Stuart Rance, Consultant, Trainer, Author, Optimal Service Management; and Simon McKenzie, IT Service Delivery Manager, Premier Foods.
  • “Chatbots & AI/ML – a Consideration for Now or Later?” with: Steve Morgan, Director, Syniad IT; Venkat Balasubramanian, Senior Director, Product Management, Freshservice; and Duncan Watkins, Senior Consultant, Forrester

So please read on for 20 tips on creating your organization’s ITSM future (plus who provided them).

20 Tips for Creating Your ITSM Future

  1. “Knowing what the ITSM future might look like is one thing but getting there is another… There’s a need to focus on: what to change, what to change to, and how to make the change happen” ~ Stuart Rance
  2. “Successful modern companies might be reliant on technology, but their real differentiator is their laser-like focus on the customer” ~ Stuart Rance
  3. Think beyond ITIL processes. In fact, “The new version of ITIL will move away from a focus on processes to a focus on creating value for customers” ~ Stuart Rance
  4. “Understanding what matters to your customer and delivering on this is worth more than service level agreements (SLAs) alone” ~ Andrew Humphrey
  5. When looking to improve the ITSM future: “Don’t focus on the technology channel, focus on the customer experience” ~ Stuart Rance
  6. “Think about emerging technologies in terms of how they can contribute to what you’re doing, not just as technology” ~ Duncan Watkins
  7. “If a vendor talks to you about artificial intelligence (AI), ask them exactly what they mean” ~ Duncan Watkins
  8. “People and process need to be in alignment with new technologies. For instance, if a live service desk agent asks the same questions that the customer has just answered for the chatbot, then it’s a big IT support fail” ~ Steve Morgan
  9. In terms of AI and chatbot success, get your knowledge management right: “Preparedness for AI and chatbots is currently stifled by the lack of knowledge management success in ITSM” and “Without the foundations of a good knowledge base it’s hard to take advantage of technologies like AI and machine learning” ~ Steve Morgan
  10. “Clever organizations are investing in knowledge management to improve chatbots” ~ Duncan Watkins
  11. “You should be experimenting and learning with AI and machine learning now if you don’t want your organization and its ITSM future to be left behind” ~ Duncan Watkins
  12. “Machine learning can help incident routing if you have a good data set” ~ Venkat Balasubramanian
  13. But beware: “Bias in your data can cause huge problems for machine learning” ~ Duncan Watkins
  14. In terms of getting to your ITSM future, “Five things that will help to make change happen: Agile, Lean, DevOps, ITIL Practitioner, and the Theory of Constraints (ToC)” ~ Stuart Rance
  15. Importantly, organizations “…should be adopting agile service management, not just agile software development” ~ Stuart Rance. (Where Agile is a more flexible and rapid approach to work that can deliver improvements in ITSM quality, as well as offering the ability to respond quickly to changing business needs)
  16. “In the context of ITSM, the most important aspects of Lean are: identifying the end-to-end value chain(s) that you are part of; ensuring that everything you do creates value for customers; and eliminating waste in every activity, reducing process steps to the bare minimum needed to create value” ~ Stuart Rance
  17. “The core DevOps principles can and should be applied to ITSM” ~ Stuart Rance (find out more here)
  18. “ITIL Practitioner’s nine guiding principles will help to bring about ITSM future-driving change: focus on value, design for experience, start where you are, work holistically, progress iteratively, observe directly, be transparent, collaborate, and keep it simple” ~ Stuart Rance (find out more about the nine principles here)
  19. “Use the TOC steps to: 1. identify the constraint, 2. exploit the constraint, 3. subordinate everything else to the constraint, and 4. elevate the constraint before going back to step 1.” ~ Stuart Rance
  20. “Organizations need to have an ITSM tool that meets their most important needs, and how to get it right hasn’t changed much since I wrote this in 2012” ~ Me. So:
  • “Think about what you really need from an ITSM tool
  • Step back to think about what you need to accomplish with it from a business outcome, not an IT operations, perspective
  • Limit yourself to what you will realistically use, both now and in the ITSM future
  • Push the envelope in terms of what would really help deliver benefits to your business rather than trying to pander to the god of ITSM trends
  • Consider how the people actually using the tool will be helped or hindered by complexity as well as the UI.” ~ a quote from “50 Shards of ITIL – The Bane And Pain Of ITSM Tool Selection,” Forrester (2012).

So, that’s twenty tips for helping to create your organization’s ITSM future. It’s in no way exhaustive, just a list of wise things that were said by people on the day. What would you add? Please let me know in the comments.

Stephen Mann

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.

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