When I started my service management career, ITIL version 2 was king and we didn’t really question ‘how’ we did service management. The companies I was working with were busy trying to get change management in place, improve their service desk, and decide how much configuration management they really needed.

The arrival of ITIL version 3 felt at the time like a huge disruption. Service management people started to look outside of operations, and to understand how true service management operates across the entire service lifecycle.

Fast-forward a few years, and ITIL version 3 looks like a minor event compared to the current state of IT service management (ITSM). DevOps, Agile, Lean, SIAM, IT4IT – there’s so many new things bursting onto the scene. So amongst all this, as service management professionals, what do we need to know?

Don’t stand still – IT doesn’t

Start by recognizing that our industry is always evolving. The first step for any ITSM professional who wants to stay relevant is to keep learning. There are whole communities out there blogging and meeting up to look at how IT needs to change – get involved!

Find meetups close to you – ITSM, DevOps, Agile… Anything. Get inspired by speakers, new ideas, a sense of community and passion. Then, as with any IT method, framework, or standard, pick the bits that work for you and your customers. Think about management practice as a toolbox, and pick the right mix of tools.

Some companies are repeating past mistakes by trying to go ‘full DevOps’ with new job titles all round and a complete reorganization. Think instead about how you can add some value to your existing structure and where you can make rapid improvements.

Break down some walls

One of the key ideas behind DevOps is getting dev and ops to work more closely together – the clue is in the name. In many traditional IT organizations, there’s a clearly defined ‘build’ phase where developers create the service, and then a ‘run’ phase where operations take over. The quality of the handover and the time constraints applied to the dev team will dictate the quality of the live service.

Adopting a more agile mindset, we can move beyond build and run. Applications go live, but then they’re worked on and improved incrementally. Dev are more involved with supporting what they’ve built, and ops play a key role in providing feedback to the dev teams about what can be improved.

Hack your processes

Developers run hackathons, getting groups of people together to build working products that can be used to get feedback and prove a concept. ITSM can apply the same thinking to processes. Got a change management process that isn’t really working anymore? Get all the stakeholders together in a room, and start to hack. Look for small improvements, test concepts, and build relationships – you’ll be amazed at the results.

The future is now

This is one of the most exciting times to be working in service management and as practitioners we have a chance to try new things and deliver value. Let’s go!

If you’re interested in hearing more of my thoughts on the future of ITSM then you can see me present at the Service Managers Day (SMD 2017) on Thursday 23rd March. At SMD 2017, I’ll be talking about the evolution of service management and how SM professionals need to adapt to meet changing business requirements. The presentation will introduce emerging practices like DevOps and Agile Service Management, and look at how organizations can adapt their existing SM practices to benefit from them.

You can visit the event website for more information.

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  • Paul Wilkinson

    Nice insights clare, I’d like to add to your list of ‘practices’ because I think there are 2 very important ones that should be added, ones that ITSM professionals need to be aware of and align with. One is BRM the other is COBIT. Why? As Axelos survey revealed IT governance is becoming a NEEDED capability and the latest trends put ‘Business & It Alignment’ and ‘Business knowledge’ at top of CIO challens – BRM is ideally placed to gain the business knowledge and embed into the other practices.

  • Wings2i

    Insightful read on the future of ITSM.. Good Pointers..