How are your organization’s service management strategies looking? In my experience, planning for the future has never been easy, with this applying to your organization’s IT service management (ITSM) and wider service management capabilities as much as any other business area. Plus, it’s now even harder thanks to the continued pressures of the global pandemic. To help, we asked a number of service management authorities to predict what they deem to be the most important changes, or trends, for service management professionals to understand and address in 2021 and beyond. These are included in a paper called “4 Predictions That Will Impact Your ITSM Strategy” and this article provides a taster of its contents.Check out these thoughts from @RoyAtkinson, @StephenMann, @ITSMNinja, @BarclayRae, @DougTedder, @Karen_ferris, @RaeAnnBruno, @DanielBreston & others, on four areas of predicted future change in the world of #ITSM. Click To Tweet
The 4 prediction areas that will impact your ITSM strategy
The various service management authority responses, while helpful in isolation, were analyzed for commonality and the top four areas of predicted future change were:
- The introduction of intelligent automation into business, not just IT, operations
- Growth in the importance of employee experience
- Increased digital workflow adoption across the enterprise (enterprise service management)
- Changes to leadership styles and ways of working.
All four areas (plus four others) are covered in the aforementioned ITSM Strategy paper and, as a taster, two of the top prediction areas are shared below.
The introduction of intelligent automation into business, not just IT, operations
The first common ITSM strategy trend was the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled capabilities which is commonly now termed “intelligent automation.” Not only is this something that improves operational efficiency and the quality of outcomes it’s also an employee expectation. As Roy Atkinson, CEO and Principal Advisor at Clifton Butterfield LLC, pointed out in his AI-related trend “The workforce is currently using technology like chatbots and virtual agents in their dealings outside of work; they’re ready and expecting the same type of technology *at* work.” Plus, this need for intelligent automation isn’t limited to IT, it’s also expected in other lines of business wherever it makes sense (including human resources (HR), facilities, finance, and sales).The future is incorporating technology that helps humans to solve issues in minutes, not hours – John Thompson, @TorontoPearson #ITSM #AI Click To Tweet
, Associate Director of IT Operations at , stated that “As an airport, we see the future with people walking through an airport and being digitally scanned. Immediately we’ll know who they are, and they won’t have to show their ID to walk through the security gates. And this is also the future of ITSM. IT immediately knows which assets are running, where, what’s gone wrong, and the resolution utilizing tools built on a vision of AI and self-healing, not just chatbots. The future is incorporating technology that helps humans to solve issues in minutes, not hours.”
John Custy, ITSM Consultant at JPC Group, pointed to the use of intelligent automation in ITSM strategy formulation to help with the “need to make better decisions faster, lowering risk or providing better risk assessment about the decisions made.” That AI/machine learning, augmented/virtual reality, and data analytics will all be used to augment human decision-making. For example, in correlating data to understand causal factors for IT service failures or customer experience issues.
Doug Tedder, Principal Consultant at Tedder Consulting, also called out the continued advancements in the use of AI-related technologies to benefit service management capabilities. But this was from a slightly different perspective – the need to deal with the increasing complexity of business and technology environments. Doug offered up three things that organizations can do now to prepare for this:
- Capture and maintain knowledge
- Map organizational value streams
- Define clear criteria for successful use of automation and AI-related technologies.
, Principal Analyst and Content Director at , hopes to see the smarter use of intelligent automation (and other technologies) given that the need for the smarter use of people – as called out later – also needs the smarter use of technology by default. Importantly, ITSM strategy should not always be about using more technology, but about using the right technology, in the right places, for the right things.
Changes to leadership styles and ways of working
With so much change happening in ITSM and the wider service management ecosystem, including because of the global pandemic’s impact, it was always going to be unlikely that ITSM strategy, ways of working, and leadership styles would continue unaffected. Karen Ferris, Director at karenferris.com, expressed this nicely when she stated that “The future of work is the future of leadership.”The future of work is the future of leadership – @KarenFerris #leadership #ITSM Click To Tweet
The pandemic dramatically altered ways of working. In no small part due to the forced, wide distribution of employees in non-business-premises locations. As Karen pointed out, “Most managers have never led a hybrid team. This is uncharted territory. In March and April 2020 the interest in employee surveillance software increased by around 80% compared to the previous year. This was evidence that managers don’t know how to lead when they don’t have a line of sight of their employees.”
In terms of what’s needed to address this leadership challenge, Karen stated that “Organizations should invest in leadership development. We need a fundamental shift from command and control to a position of empowerment and trust. We need leaders who lead with empathy, care, and compassion. Leaders have to create an environment of psychological safety where no one fears speaking up or asking questions. Leaders need to be inclusive.” This applies to all business functions, including corporate service providers such as IT.
Daniel Breston, an independent consultant at danielbreston.com, added that “Leaders need to create value statements based on outcomes for the business and customers.” This need for the focus on value was a trend that narrowly missed the cut for the top four trends and is covered in the paper’s penultimate section.
Rae Ann Bruno, Owner at Business Solutions Consulting, stated that the remote workforce is here to stay with companies needing to “provide hybrid models of people working on-site and remotely.” Importantly, the impact of these “work from anywhere” models is so much more than the location change. Instead, Rae Ann pointed out that there’s an ITSM strategy need for “new policies, procedures, security mechanisms, integrated tools, differently equipped conference rooms, robust collaboration capabilities, increased capacity, and reliable digital experiences.” Plus, of course, corporate service providers such as IT, HR, and facilities need to ensure that they have the service and support capabilities to assist these employees no matter where they might be.Leaders need to create value statements based on outcomes for the business and customers – @DanielBreston #leadership #ITSM Click To Tweet
Finally, Stephen predicts a need for the smarter use of service and support personnel – where rather than asking “What can we use AI for?” we ask, “What are we best using our people for?” and use the technology for the rest. Otherwise, by taking a technology-led approach to people augmentation, we could see technology replacing currently-human tasks that are better undertaken by people. Hence, leaders need to understand the types of work where people are still better than the technology (however smart it is).
If you would like to learn more about the top four ITSM strategy trends (plus another four in less detail), then please download the full report here.
Raj is the Marketing Director at Symphony SummitAI. Raj has diversified experience working in large international companies to start-ups. Before SummitAI, Raj was with IBM for seven years handling various marketing roles. Prior to that, Raj was a global brand manager and APAC marketing head at Wipro Technologies. His works got featured as a case study at INSEAD Business School and won many international and national awards.