How COVID-19 Will Change ITSM – a Crowdsourced Perspective

COVID-19 ITSM
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In difficult times, while there needs to be attention on the firefighting at hand, it’s also good to look to the future. Not only to be prepared for what needs to happen next but also to see the signs of the sun appearing after the rain. Hence, for this article, I’ve asked a number of industry authorities to provide their opinions on how IT service management (ITSM) will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, i.e. how COVID-19 will change ITSM.

With the official question being:

How do you think COVID19 is going to impact the future of ITSM?

Thankfully, most of what is said is positive – with most industry authorities seeing improvements to ITSM and IT service delivery and support. It’s also interesting to note how much of what is said about how COVID-19 will change ITSM relates to people.

In this article 36 people from all walks of #ITSM share their thoughts & opinions on how COVID-19 is going to impact the future of ITSM. #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Please read on to find out more.

Note: People were very keen to participate, and my inbox was flooded. In fact, many contributions have turned into their own full-length articles that have already been published or will soon be. As such, it was hard to keep up with who submitted first. So, instead of posting responses on a first-come-first-serve basis, as is normally the case for our crowdsourced content, I am posting in alphabetical order.

Aprill Allen

Aprill Allen, KCS Trainer and Consultant, Knowledge Bird

The dust has settled on the adjustments to working from home. Any service management leader not taking this situation as a platform to either improve their business continuity budgets or ride the wave of a successful transition to working-from-home is missing out on taking advantage of a rare demonstration of the value of enterprise IT. In good times, good IT services are very much taken for granted. In a post-COVID-19 world, I expect IT service managers to assert the importance of their projects in light of the attention or gratitude that they should now have.

As far as the new business-as-usual goes, I’m not the only person realizing that our training delivery models will have completely changed by the time we re-emerge. As a Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) trainer, I’m looking at how I can adjust the normal formats to be more appealing in remote delivery. Every face-to-face workshop facilitator will be doing this right now, and it’s highly likely that these remote-friendly facilitated training options will remain, enabling those people to participate who wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.

In a post-COVID-19 world, I expect IT service managers to assert the importance of their projects in light of the attention or gratitude that they should now have – @knowledgebird #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Claire Agutter Photo

Claire Agutter, Director, Scopism

COVID-19 has brought home the reality of digital transformation to organizations all over the world. Businesses that have already started to invest in digital technologies and associated changes to business models – such as remote working – will reap the benefits. Organizations that haven’t invested will need to play catch up.

The service management response breaks down into three phases:

  1. Responding to the crisis – Ops takes the lead here, with the focus being on getting staff enabled for home working, providing support, and maintaining availability for overloaded services and websites.
  2. Stabilization – we’re in a “new normal,” but it won’t last forever. Dev teams start to work on the rapid development of projects and apps to make life easier, new tools for video conferencing and collaborative working are in use but need to be checked for security and suitability.
  3. Planning for the future – here, service management (enterprise, not just ITSM) will be called on to build the organization of the future. Smart organizations will not replicate exactly what was there before; instead, they’ll embrace some of the change that has been forced onto them and emerge stronger, more resilient, and more flexible.

Organizations with a strong service management capability will be able to apply automation and innovation to accelerate their transformation. Enterprise service management will apply across the organization, including IT, HR, finance, and more. Employee experience will be improved through more flexible working patterns, and customer experience will be improved as businesses engage with their consumers and learn more about what they need.

Employee experience will be improved through more flexible working patterns, and customer experience will be improved as businesses engage with their consumers and learn more about what they need – @ClaireAgutter #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Roy Atkinson Photo

Roy Atkinson, Group Principal Analyst, HDI

There are two answers here: One is about short-term effects, and the other is about longer-term effects.

In the short term – say the next six months to a year – there’ll be a shift of emphasis mostly out of necessity and also somewhat out of management reaction. Projects and new software acquisitions will be put on hold, as we’re already seeing. Consulting will, in large part, be deferred to 2021 if not canceled, except for certain subject areas such as business continuity planning. Disaster recovery and business continuity will be front and center in the short term, and then begin to fade to more traditional levels of being the topics no one really wants to discuss.

In harsh economic climates – and I think we don’t know yet how harsh this is going to be – training is usually one of the first casualties. That means that new hires will not be getting some of the basic education they should have and that veterans may not be getting recommended or required certifications to step up to the next level.

In the long term, I think that a new normal will have established itself, after the lessons of this crisis sink in. It’s my hope that some of the innovative ways in which organizations have responded to rapid and changing demands will take root in organizations, and that those innovations will be shared with the community to inform and enrich the bodies of knowledge and frameworks we use.

Disaster recovery and business continuity will be front and center in the short term thanks to COVID-19, but will then begin to fade to more traditional levels of being the topics no one really wants to discuss – @RoyAtkinson #ITSM… Click To Tweet
Charles Araujo

Charles Araujo, Founder, The Institute for Digital Transformation

On the one hand, the fundamentals that have always underpinned ITSM will remain unchanged. IT organizations will still need to function and we’ll still need operating practices and processes that guide those efforts. That said, as we come out of this pandemic there’ll be no question that the nature of *how* we work will change – and that will demand that organizations adapt their ITSM practices to best support a workforce that operates more remotely, more asynchronously, and more collaboratively.

Post COVID-19, #ITSM practices will need to adapt to best support a workforce that operates more remotely, more asynchronously, and more collaboratively – @charlesaraujo #COVID19 Click To Tweet
Kevin Baker Photo

Kevin Baker, Founder and CEO, Sollertis

One change we’ve seen, and I think we’re likely to see long term, is the impact on ITSM from home working. With so many of us around the world now working from home, IT service desks have gone from being an internal support function to an external one; with teams geographically dispersed – there is no ‘controlled environment’ in the form of an office. IT service desks are being forced to develop a greater awareness of the multitude of working environments created – by home working, and of issues faced by those working from home, whilst at the same time working from home themselves. This huge uptick in the number of people working from home is likely to change the demands on IT service desks, as their role shifts to one of facilitating home working that is as seamless as possible.

As this crisis unfolds, there is more and more talk about a more permanent move to working from home. Many businesses that may have once been reluctant to operate remotely, possibly through fear of productivity losses or a lack of communication channels have had their hands forced; and in many cases have been pleasantly surprised by the results. Individual fears of not being able to maintain productivity or a loss of communication have also been allayed, with many experiencing higher levels of productivity thanks to a more relaxed working environment, free of long commutes or distraction.

The impact on infrastructure is also significant; increased home working creates the need for a greater, more accessible knowledge base and is likely to lead to greater investment in cloud services to meet increased demand. This increase in investment is likely to be offset by a reduction in other fixed costs associated with running a business, such as property and utilities.

So, despite all the unknowns, it’s clear that ITSM will be changed by this event forever, in one way or another. With more people working from home than ever before, the infrastructure supporting businesses and IT will change, with a focus on a strong knowledge base and cloud technology. During these troubling times, we can be confident that when this ends, which it will; we’ll have gained much in the way of an improved outlook on life and business. I believe that people’s perception of the service desk will have changed for the better, with a greater appreciation for the work they do, and stronger relationships through the inevitably high levels of communication during the most unsettled of times.

After COVID-19 I believe that people’s perception of the service desk will have changed for the better, with a greater appreciation for the work they do – @k3vinbak3r #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Karl Bagci

Karl Bagci, Head of Operations, Cronofy

COVID-19 has forced the hands of many businesses to adapt to changes that certainly weren’t part of their roadmaps. Companies that have previously had strict IT security policies have had to flex them to allow their employees to work from home. Potentially working on insecure networks, with some employees even having to use their own devices.

Many companies simply aren’t set up to support this from the off. But going forward, with employees now used to working remotely and it clear that businesses can support it, we’ll likely see more flexible working arrangements.

To cope with this, ITSM must be leaner in order to support these modern working methods. For example, in-office interactions and dependencies are being removed, in favor of remote conversations and new, leaner processes and tooling.

I’ve already spoken to friends, who work at larger (5000+ employee) companies, who are adopting Agile practices in their day-to-day operations. The results of this, unsurprisingly, is a reduction in risk and friction. For example, daily stand up meetings replace change advisory boards. Changes are now being shipped incrementally as opposed to twice a week/month/year.

While COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, a massive test for all of us, the long-term effects for ITSM, and the workforce in general, are positive. However, there are new challenges for ITSM to tackle.

First, processes will need to adapt to working remotely. An example is incident management. This will rely more heavily on tools like Slack, Pagerduty, and Zoom, and less on the face-to-face “war-room” type scenarios for managing major incidents in particular. Playbooks and documentation will become the norm, where “incident managers” may take a back seat.

Change management will also evolve. In-person standup meetings will be replaced by daily “sit down” meetings (it’s how we’ve always operated at Cronofy), with changes discussed and deployed by CI tooling, with automated testing against them. These tools and processes must support asynchronous communication and take into account that everybody isn’t necessarily going to be available at the same time.

Second, compliance with processes will need to be monitored in new ways. Tools like Puppet, Chef, and Fleetsmith help to ensure endpoint compliance, but the adherence to processes (such as change enablement), and monitoring of that, will move to the forefront. The old checks you previously had in place will be moved into tooling, and automated.

None of the future changes ITSM needs to make are negative but they are significant. In my opinion, COVID-19 has helped us prove that ITSM can be as effective and as successful as ever, even under times of great stress and change, if you’re flexible, innovative, and positive.

COVID-19 has helped us prove that #ITSM can be as effective and as successful as ever, even under times of great stress and change, if you’re flexible, innovative, and positive – @irutsun #COVID19 Click To Tweet
Scarlett Bayes Photo

Scarlett Bayes, Senior Research Analyst, Service Desk Institute

COVID-19 has seemingly kick-started a lot of organizations’ digital transformation projects, and IT support teams are at the center of ensuring employees can work from their homes to their best abilities to keep the organization running. Furthermore, many are having to do this while IT employees are working remotely themselves.

While this situation is temporary, it’ll undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the ITSM industry. Firstly, organizations may not be quick to return to “normal” and bring all employees back into a physical office. By allowing more flexible remote working policies, organizations would need less office space and work in a more “hot desking” fashion. Not only will this mean that IT teams need to continue to support a remote workforce they also need to understand what this means for the organization long term.

Undoubtedly, IT teams are currently receiving a lot of repetitive tickets or requests, which takes up time and resources to tackle. This will hopefully result in IT teams creating more robust and capable alternative support channels, such as knowledge bases, self-service, and chatbots. It also presents a challenge of effective, fast-paced project management while teams are not physically together. Perhaps this will see a larger proportion of organizations working to Lean or Agile principles.

My hope is that IT teams use this opportunity to change rapidly and engage with customers and the business in finding what’s working well or not working well, allowing them to ensure that issues can be resolved quickly and the organization can perform to its best abilities.

#COVID19 has presented a challenge of effective, fast-paced project mgmt while teams are not physically together. Perhaps post-pandemic we’ll see a larger proportion of orgs working to Lean or #Agile principles? – @SDIScarlett Click To Tweet
Bas Blanken Photo

Bas Blanken, Service Management Consultant, TOPdesk

The obvious consequence of this crisis is that supporting working from home (WFH) has become a necessity, instead of a nice-to-have. I don’t expect this to change when we’re all back at our offices. A work environment supporting WFH will be the new normal, including 24/7 self-service, virtual agents, and a knowledge base that’s accessible to your customers.

In the slipstream of WFH, we’ll see the increased importance of a collaborative culture. Working remotely can be pretty efficient, but the threshold to reach out to one another is undeniably higher. Which can slowly but surely impact your team spirit. This makes a collaborative culture, where people know each other and take initiative to contact each other, all the more important.

Now, and in the future, thanks to COVID-19 a collaborative culture, where people know each other and take initiative to contact each other, is all the more important – Bas Blanken, @TopDesk Click To Tweet
Sally Bogg

Sally Bogg, Head of Live Services, NHS Digital

Over the last three to four weeks, I’ve watched in awe as my frontline IT support teams have achieved the impossible and have successfully supported the transition to a predominantly online support model for staff and students at our University. And they’ve done so with great humor, professionalism, and care for their colleagues. I could not be prouder.

As the volumes start to decrease and we’re gradually settling into these new ways of working it has become clear to many, in a way that wasn’t previously tangible, just how important the IT service desk function is and the critical role it plays in the success of any organization. For us at Leeds Beckett, this recognition has been reflected in the volume and range of feedback we’ve received since the beginning of March, with people thanking us for our knowledge, expertise, patience, and most of all kindness at a time when many were experiencing great stress and anxiety.

As we continue to implement more and more technology, automating many of the routine tasks previously undertaken by the service desk, I think the ITSM industry will finally recognize and value the importance of the human interactions and the service desk will no longer be seen as the “Cinderella of IT.” And my hope is that the service desk gets to take a seat at the table, with appropriate salary and remuneration packages as deserving of a critical function. After all, it has not been the technology and the processes that have seen the successful transition to remote and online working, but the people in the frontline teams that have made this happen!

I also think that the world of work will change forever – how many organizations are going to be able to say “no” to remote and home working after this? For the ITSM industry, this means changes to the services we provide and the types of support we have to offer. I’ve seen over the last few weeks, engagement with our self-service portal increase in a way that I could have only dreamed of a few months ago. We’ve seen our end users find their own solutions to problems, often through third-party applications, because IT has been too slow to respond.

What does this mean for ITSM? I think we’re being forced to be more agile and creative, and to give up control. We’ll need to be more focused on supporting our end users in the way they want to work, with the applications they want to use, at a time and location that suits them.

Post COVID-19 my hope is that the service desk gets to take a seat at the table, with appropriate salary and remuneration packages as deserving of a critical function – @sallybogg #servicedesk #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Patrick Bolger

Patrick Bolger, Chief Evangelist, Hornbill

Now, IT is all about business continuity. As tempted as I am to make immediate predictions about ITSM the survival of our livelihoods depends on the depth and length of the disruption and the shape of the economic recovery.  Right now, it’s all about business continuity, and enabling people to work safely from home. As the economic picture becomes clearer, the next business challenge is to protect cashflow and implement plans to ensure survival. Now that entire organizations have implemented working from home, many will question whether expensive premises, commuting, and even travel to meetings are necessary.

The ITSM impact – for IT groups, the immediate future is focused on enabling newer, faster, and more effective ways of working. One obvious prediction is an explosion of cloud technologies. Legacy on-premises IT solutions were already a dying breed, and this crisis has hammered the final nails into the coffin. The amount of heavy lifting required to deploy, administer, configure, and upgrade these solutions are costs that businesses will not be willing to bear. First-generation SaaS tools that place significant overheads on internal resources, where upgrades take 6-8 weeks, will be scrutinized according to cost vs. value.

Cloud-native SaaS solutions will have the edge, because of the levels of simplicity and innovation they deliver, both for the customer and the SaaS vendor. With all customers on the same software version, vendors can focus most of their development resources on adding new features, getting feedback, and updating software based on customer needs.

As organizations become more reliant on the cloud, and loosely coupled integrations, these tools provide scope for faster innovation with rapid implementation, low/no code configuration, seamless integration, elastic capacity, automatic upgrades, and increased business agility.

And finally, ”digital transformation happened last month.” You may have seen the meme on various social channels, which posed the question “Who drove digital transformation at your company?” alongside three choices: 1) CEO, 2) CIO, and 3) COVID-19. The IT industry will now be pushed from slow inertia and lower levels of maturity, as business rushes to embrace technologies that are available TODAY to support a lightning transition. Full-on, no holds barred digital transformation is happening now…no excuses.

For further insights from Patrick on this topic, please read his article “How Will COVID-19 Change the World of ITSM?

Legacy on-premises IT solutions were already a dying breed, and the COVID-19 crisis has hammered the final nails into the coffin – @Patb0512 #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Daniel Breston

Daniel Breston, Consultant and Coach, Virtual Clarity

The world has changed. Governments are exercising the extreme ability to try to keep their countries safe by ordering people to stay home or closing borders. Governments are strongly asking for self-isolation or have given their police the right to keep people at home. This has created a new set of technology practitioners: the Homelinials. These people use technology to work and keep their jobs, to keep up with family and friends, to watch TV and movies or read books, or to learn something new. Yes, I agree that many did this before, but not to the extent we’re now seeing.

Homelinials do not necessarily have the skills to keep their data or friends safe. Homelinials cannot appreciate what they have allowed profiteering individuals access to as they move about and utilize the internet. ITSM can help. The conventions of managing the services Homelinials are using such that they’re safe are integrated into the tools and practices of ITSM. ITSM advocates can use their skills to teach their friends and communities how to use technology, better, faster, and safer. This is what we do and this is where we excel. This is the time for ITSM to show how much we can contribute to the way people benefit from technology.

COVID-19 has created a new set of technology practitioners: the Homelinials. And it is #ITSM tools and practices that will teach these Homelinials how to keep their data and friends safe – @DanielBreston #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Matthew Burrows Photo

Matthew Burrows, President, SkillsTX

It’s true that some people will lose their jobs thanks to the COVID-19, and find themselves looking for work. It’s also true, however, that we currently have shortages in some skills, and an ever-evolving requirement for additional digital, ICT, cybersecurity and other technology-related specialists. Even before this pandemic, there was a need to identify what will be required and develop or recruit people for these new roles. However, we don’t know if the same number of opportunities will exist in our current roles, so change is probably inevitable.

So, it’s important to use your time wisely during the crisis. There’s increased opportunity for some individuals to develop new skills and complete online training to better prepare for a future which might involve a change in responsibilities or job.

Organizations may need to change their operating model and the organizational skills profile, and respond to a different economic reality. Some organizations are already using SFIA (the Skills Framework for the Information Age) to identify, attract, and develop the skills and talent they need. SFIA provides a common international language for describing skills/competencies.

What we’ve learned from the organizations that are getting this right are that the vital ingredients for closing the current and future IT skills gaps are:

  • A consistent competency (skills) framework – such as SFIA
  • Knowing what skills your organization has against the framework
  • Knowing what skills your organization needs now and into the future
  • Skill gap analysis
  • Career development action plans.

For further insights from Matthew on this topic, please read his article: “The Impact of COVID-19 on IT Staffing and Skills”.

In light of COVID-19, orgs may need to change their operating model and the organizational skills profile, and respond to a different economic reality, says @MatthewKBurrows. #ITSM #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Christopher Chagnon

Christopher Chagnon, ITSM Architect, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

I believe COVID-19’s impact on ITSM is that it’s focused a huge spotlight on why service management matters. One of the biggest things I’m seeing in my own company and with my peers is that the shift to remote workforces has solidified a need for strong service management practices. Defining what we offer, how we offer it, and of course putting it together in a catalog has been more important than ever so that our workforce, stakeholders, and other users know what we do, how we do it, and how we can manage their expectations through the use of service levels. The other major aspect that has been strengthened has been the need for shift-left and our self-service tooling. Those with strong self-service capabilities could have had a near-seamless transition from on-premises to a remote workforce.

What does this all mean for the future of ITSM? Job security is nice, but I think the biggest changes we’ll see for ITSM is that buy-in will no longer trickle in from one or two champions, but as with Dorthy in Oz, the friend’s we’re making along the way will become our new champions. In my organization we had Enterprise Service Management thrust upon us by the pandemic – new groups now have a taste of the delicious ITSM goodness, and I think this will spread throughout the organization. I believe that we’ll see people start to understand why we define services, why we use these big ITSM Platforms, and how when we all work together, and plan and define, it benefits us.

One of the biggest things I’m seeing in my own company and with my peers amidst COVID-19 is that the shift to remote workforces has solidified a need for strong service management practices – @chagn0n #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

John Custy Photo

John Custy, ITSM Consultant, JPC Group

The business economic impact of COVID-19 is likely going to change almost every organization for at least the next 2-3 years, including how service consumers and service providers interact with each other, i.e. service management. Examples of some of the changes are:

  1. The business value of ITSM investments will need to be demonstrated
  2. Value creation will require a focus on what can be done well
  3. Review of the IT operations status quo will be mandated
  4. Continual improvement will be key to business success
  5. Selling will require a new approach
  6. Remote working will continue and change ITSM practices
  7. Security issues will be heightened with the new or different services
  8. Service management frameworks will be more important going forward.

For further insights from John on this topic (with each of these eight changes explained in more detail), please read his article: “Post Pandemic: the Long-Term Changes to ITSM Best Practice

Post COVID-19 continual improvement will be key to business succeed and service management frameworks will become more important, says @ITSMNinja #ITSM #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Rob England

Rob England, Managing Director, Teal Unicorn

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on service management will be specific instances of more general shifts that are happening under the pressure of crisis response. There are four main areas of impact: new ways of working, resilience, mobility, and new ways of thinking.

Organizations are having to adopt some of the new ways of working, so they’re getting forced immersion in the new ways. Many will come out liking what they saw, with proof points from experiments, and some of the new ways of working will stick. Anybody who reads Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, or Forbes will know what we mean by new ways. So will those immersed in Agile and DevOps. We write extensively about these new ways on the Teal Unicorn blog. And we highly recommend reading Brave New Work, by Aaron Dignan.

As a result, the first major impact on ITSM is accelerated demand for new ways of working, including Agile, empowerment, invitational leadership, open collaboration, visibility of work, and continuous everything.

Impacted areas of ITSM include: continual improvement, service design, project management, change and release management, acceptance and testing, governance, financial management, and program and portfolio management.

A second major impact on ITSM will be the realization of the need for greater resilience. This will become an increased focus in the future, both at a systemic level and a service level.

The impacted areas are: supplier management, infrastructure, operations, continuity, capacity, system design, and resilience engineering as a discipline.

Obviously, a third major area is mobility and remote working. Again, there may be no way back from what we’re experiencing now. The impacted areas are: desktop, security, deployment, and networking.

The fourth area of impact is more profound and more esoteric. For decades now, humanity has been going through a sea change in social consciousness; a new Renaissance that’s exhibited in the rise of humanism, an understanding of complexity and systems thinking, and increased responsiveness to exponential levels of change.

At Teal Unicorn, we call it “new ways of thinking.” This shift can be seen in feminism, antiracism, gay rights, multiple bottom lines, social responsibility, and dozens of other instances of a new consciousness that goes back to the hippiedom of the 60s. In fact, a century back to the rise of social welfare, decolonization, human rights, women’s rights, equal rights, arms control, pacifism, multiculturalism, global collaboration, and democracy. The only ones really bucking this trend are the privileged white males and the rich of every stripe. Hopefully, this virus crisis will be another step change in that global advance for humanity. So will the recession that follows, and the climate crisis beyond that.

So the impacted areas of ITSM: all of them.

ITSM can be framed in a cold heartless way which is no longer acceptable. Maturity isn’t a number nor is human performance. The best people to design work are the ones doing it. Knowledge work isn’t all standardized, and professionals must be liberated to do what they think best.

Resilience is a cultural and systemic design issue, not a component specification. Safety culture and systems thinking are now essential. The chaos and complexity that organizations are experiencing show that complex systems thinking and business agility are basic survival skills.

Planning is essential but plans are all expendable. Outcomes are always unknown until we try – including in production.

ITSM must absorb all these concepts and more.

ITIL 4 has come a long way to embrace the concepts of Human Systems Agility (as Teal Unicorn calls it) which we see in all four of these impact areas, but ITIL is a lagging indicator based on general acceptance. These ideas are well entrenched – it’s time for all organizations to be embracing them.

The first major impact of COVID-19 on #ITSM is accelerated demand for new ways of working; the second will be the realization of the need for greater resilience – @rob_england #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Rajesh Ganesan

Rajesh Ganesan, Vice President, ManageEngine

Remote work could be the new norm, and it will be up to IT teams to facilitate remote work for employees. If not all, a good amount of the current workforce might continue to work remotely even after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. For IT service management teams this means providing secure access to corporate networks, and delivering the necessary tools, technologies, and services to all employees, irrespective of their location and device.

In order to effectively support this hybrid workforce, IT teams across the globe will need to:

  • Accelerate their transition towards the cloud and the adoption of Xaas
  • Ramp up self-service capabilities to include services like self-service user onboarding and device enrollment to access company services
  • Increase attention towards areas like user identity and access, service monitoring, and endpoint management
In a post COVID-19 world remote work could be the new norm, and it will be up to IT teams to facilitate remote work for employees, says @rajesh05 #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Liliana Gary

Liliana Gary, CEO, InvGate

Companies will need to mature their processes and be prepared to provide solutions for employee or operational issues that in the past were solved on a coffee-break in the office. Well-defined processes and enterprise service management tools that guarantee service fulfillment will be a must in a post-COVID-19 world.

IT service desks will see a notable increase in requests that must be addressed more efficiently and incorporate predefined workflows with automation. With a need for self-service knowledge management and promoted organized requests that are automatically sorted and distributed to the correct service desks.

Unfortunately, headcounts will likely be reduced post-COVID-19. Reduced service and support teams will need to manage these higher levels of work. Efficiency and organization will be paramount for this to be successful.

Consequently, people and teams will need to reinvent themselves. New processes and ways of working will need to be implemented. Constant adaptation will be required, and changes will need to be implemented in a very quick and simple way. Continuous improvement should never cease. Versatile enterprise service management tools will prevail.

For further insights from Liliana on this topic, please read her article “Are Your People, Processes, and Technology Prepared for the “New Norm”?

Post COVID-19 people and teams will need to reinvent themselves. New processes and ways of working will need to be implemented. And versatile enterprise service management tools will prevail – @Liligary #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Suresh GP

Suresh GP, Managing Director, TaUB Solutions

In my opinion, the advent of COVID-19 has become a boon to the ITSM industry. It’s not only accelerated the digital transformation journey across the enterprise but has impacted short-term and long-term changes.

Short-term:

  1. Prioritization will be on the customer experience quotient more than SLA’s and contractual obligations. Proactive communication will become vital to ensure continual feedback loop and telemetry are in place to prevent value leakages.
  2. Business Continuity Plans and Disaster Recovery measures will have to be amended drastically to cope with lockdowns and resource availability.
  3. On a DataCenter/NOC support of 24*7 support, there’ll be more of a push to see if we can operate/maintain remotely with advanced security controls.
  4. Site Reliability Engineers will be of great demand to ensure ultra-scalable, reliable, and stable solutions. They’ll focus on looking at operations from a Software Engineering mindset and focus on development tasks and eliminating toil.
  5. Collaboration tools between cross-functional teams will leverage ChatOps as the preferred option to troubleshoot and resolve issues.
  6. Employee engagement will see a new dimension in the form of work-life balance along with upskilling and being market-ready to serve the business

Longer-term, the situation will trigger the following aspects:

  1. Upskilling ITSM professionals to T-Shaped, Pi-Shaped, or Comb-Shaped profiles will become mandatory to become adaptable to changing IT and business landscapes (Skills such as Agile, Lean, DevOps, and SRE will become essential for ITSM professionals).
  2. AIOps will become the norm to filter out the noise from alerts, but also provide actionable insights for making intelligent decisions.
  3. Use of ChatBots and RPA will gain more relevance to help in self-healing and diagnosis of routine issues and improve the overall Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS)
  4. ITSM practices will now need to become converged with general management practices and technical management in the form of value chains and value streams to realize business results.

Finally, ITSM professionals will continue to evolve by blending themselves with technology and set productivity and results benchmarks higher than today in the era of the digital enterprise.

The long-term impact of COVID-19 to #ITSM? We’ll be required to upskill ITSM pros to T-Shaped, Pi-Shaped, or Comb-Shaped profiles. This will be mandatory to become adaptable to changing IT and business landscapes. – @SureshGP #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Jayne Groll

Jayne Groll, CEO, DevOps Institute

While the global human and economic toll from the COVID-19 crisis has been horrific, this situation has also forced organizations to examine how quickly they can adapt to changing business needs and ways of working with little or no notice. The need for speed and agility across the enterprise has never been more apparent as demonstrated recently in challenges facing ITSM practices such as continuity, capacity, security, service level management, and change enablement.

Services will always need to be managed but the future and value of ITSM will no longer be as a governance model but rather as using process as an enabler of consistent flow that embraces self-regulation, intelligent automation, reliability, and integration with other teams and practices.

The value of #ITSM will no longer be as a governance model but rather as using process as an enabler of consistent flow that embraces self-regulation, intelligent automation, reliability & integration – @JayneGroll Click To Tweet

Simone Jo Moore

Simone Jo Moore, Senior Consultant, SJM

There’s no doubt our perspective of normal is shifting with the impact of COVID-19. Each country is dealing with it in their own way and not all the measures are the same. This is no different for each organization and the people within them.

Many are questioning their purpose and are fighting for their very existence so there is a large question mark around not just sustainability but survivability. This is certainly a test of resilience and even the word ‘test’ is inadequate here.

Now a few weeks into lockdown we can already see initial changes in the way work is approached. Remote work has been around a long time and now there is no choice but to ramp it up and look at it as a long term viable method. All the talk about the wonders of technology making it easy to communicate and collaborate over geographic distance is being explored and for some, a surprise discovery. They’ve known about it but had not yet felt the need to experience its potential.

If nothing else, it’s brought a stronger microscope bearing on a number of questions to be answered and problems to solve. These include, although are not limited to, the different avenues in managing information security, knowledge management practices, remote team leadership, support and setup of remote environment, new skill sets required, balancing personal/work space and expectations within the home environment, and a bigger lens on people’s mental health and emotional shifts.

In regard to the ITSM arena, I’m thinking there’ll be changes in organization structure, a shift in their business models to a more network style of capability resourcing and even more intimate one-on-ones with customers and staff given the remote style of working. Certainly virtual events, training and team get-togethers have shown there is a relaxing of expectation – a suit is not needed to tap into your brain and share your knowledge. There is a comfort factor growing in being more human at work. It’s always been a key issue to bring the whole person to work (our mind, body, and heart) so leadership is critical in having an approach and creating an environment that helps their people become resilient. We’ll be learning new skills but also there may be a need to reprogram ourselves in terms of our perspective, thought patterns and most certainly, our behaviors.

The future is an unknown and this journey already has some interesting twists and turns. That will continue. There is no going back to the pre-COVID19 norm. People (customers, employees, partners, suppliers etc) have experienced something different and in the nature of that, have uncovered new feelings and thoughts. We’re watching closely how well organizations support us and communicate with us through the unknowns that still exist. Organizations are under the pressure of doing what’s right morally and legally in looking after their human responsibilities. They need to be transparent and innovative in how they meet the challenges of remaining not just viable but able to help co-create our possible future.

Post #COVID19 there’ll be changes in org structure: a shift in business models to a more network style of capability resourcing & even more intimate one-on-ones with customers & staff says @simonejomoore Click To Tweet

Sami Kallio

Sami Kallio, CEO, HappySignals

I believe that the remote working we’ve seen during the COVID-19 crisis will stay on a much bigger level after it. We can already see from our remote working feedback (18,500 pieces of feedback between 17th  March and 7th April) that there are more than four times as many people who think that remote working is efficient than those who think it’s not. Also, the happiness score for remote worker IT support has gone up from 37 to 45 and is now in the 50s as we end April. This remote work happiness score cannot be compared to the usual HappySignals IT incident happiness score as it measures different things. However, the usual IT incident happiness score is now better than it was before COVID-19 and the migration of employees to homeworking. So, the hard work of IT and/or working from home is making employees happier.

For IT as a whole, I believe this means that we’ll start to use more and more cloud services. The need for VPNs is now high, but it’s not needed as much as it was ten years back thanks to cloud services.

My estimate is that during the next weeks and months we, employees, will start to suffer a lot due to being apart from our colleagues, but after that we’ll kind of get to used to it when we have found our new ways of working. In fact, I then believe that most IT and support organizations will start to think of developing IT from the perspective “remote first.” So, yes I kind of believe that remote work is “the new black.”

The step changes to expect here are:

  1. We’re technically able to work (I believe this level has already been reached in most organizations)
  2. Meeting culture has to be created and supported
  3. From meetings to real co-operation and working together
  4. Remote first ways of developing services.

For me, the big question is whether some of the support organizations should also start to work mainly remotely and distributed. I believe this will be the case and it means that the leading of our teams changes. But on the other hand, it also changes such that it’s easier not to care about team or company boundaries. When everybody works remotely everybody is in an equal position when it comes to online meetings and cooperation.

ITSM post COVID–19? I believe that most IT and support organizations will start to think of developing IT from the perspective remote first – @SamiKallioHki #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Matt Klassen

Matt Klassen, Vice President, Product Marketing, Cherwell Software

I believe that the COVID-19 crisis will expose the maturity of IT organizations, specifically in their processes and capabilities in self-service, automation, omnichannel employee experience, and collaboration.

As many organizations get to steady-state, they’ll realize that analytics-driven innovation, automation, real-time collaboration, and omnichannel self-service are critical capabilities they must embrace.

The future of work has simply been accelerated – these are all things most organizations were hoping to attain at greater levels, but now it’s a necessity and many that were behind are struggling.

Organizations will become leaner with a focus on turning Level 1 agents’ roles into automation engineers (citizen developers) that focus on building a very solid service catalog as the basis of self-service and automation. They’ll use virtual agents, Slack bots, and machine learning to help employees to identify the right service and data, and to supply with ease – then it can be automated to much higher degrees with a high level of utilization.

I believe that the COVID-19 crisis will expose the maturity of IT organizations, specifically in their processes and capabilities in self-service, automation, omnichannel employee experience, and collaboration – @mfklassen #ITSM #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Emma Lander

Emma Lander, Alliance ICT Analyst, Devon and Cornwall Police

I think that the ITSM industry has been slowly moving toward supporting more home working but the current COVID-19 crisis will accelerate the industry towards this reality. Businesses that have now been forced to enable their employees to work from home are realizing that remote workforces are still effective, flexible working is beneficial, and technology to support this work style is readily available.

While plenty have already made this realization, there are still many businesses out there clinging to an office-based, 9-5 way of working that may well make permanent changes once this is all over.

Being propelled into this way of working, ITSM will need to prepare to enable the required changes to IT infrastructure to support a remote workforce, along with ensuring effective cybersecurity protocols are in place. Plus, supporting tools and concepts such as using virtual machines to enable employees to use personal devices rather than businesses supplying them with corporate hardware. Knowledge management, I think, will play a key role as it will be imperative for ITSM professionals to empower end users to resolve their own IT incidents/requests wherever possible.

I think the challenges of enabling and supporting a remote workforce were always going to be faced by the ITSM industry as we progressed through the digital age. However, it looks like we will be facing these challenges far sooner than anticipated as the benefits of a digitally-enabled remote workforce continue to be highlighted during this pandemic.

In a post pandemic world, #ITSM will need to prepare to enable the required changes to IT infrastructure to support a remote workforce, along with ensuring effective #cybersecurity protocols are in place – @EJLander #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Ivor Macfarlane Photo

Ivor Macfarlane, ITSM Consultant, MacfPartners

This has been a global issue – with no country able to block out the virus’s travel. Solutions to global issues need to be addressed globally. Sadly, this hasn’t been done, with in-fighting and competition evident. ITSM also needs to learn that issues that affect everyone need to be addressed by everyone, with all parties consulted. Imposed solutions just for the few can’t solve underlying issues.

Crisis management needs a different skillset from usual management. Decisions need to be taken quickly and acted upon, even if they might not be the perfect solution. Often some non-optimal action now is better than a perfectly thought and analyzed response later. This is also true in ITSM and, hopefully, we can understand going forward that – on occasion – we need to empower people and support their actions, not just wait. This all fits in with accepted ideas like “intelligent disobedience” (and, of course, I was always going to plug that) and Rob England and Dr. Cherry Vu’s agile management ideas. So – in summary – I hope we’ll learn that we need to trust and support our people.

The biggest thing to learn though has been evident in just about every country affected and, if you look carefully, in every company too. The people we thought were important are not so critical when it really comes down to it. The essential workers that are keeping us going and helping us survive are not the senior managers, not the well-paid managers, and were not previously well-respected or well-treated. Medical staff like doctors and nurses obviously, but also all the other “lowly” jobs that keep hospitals going. Delivery drivers, shelf stackers, and many more who’ve been previously dismissed as “low skill” and considered easily replaceable. They are all critical. One can only hope that this gets recognized in the future. And – for me – I might single out the check-out operators in supermarkets. Where I’m living, they’re absolutely frontline and putting themselves at risk – face-to-face with a non-stop line of people all day, every day.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that the people we thought were important are not so critical when it really comes down to it. One can only hope that this gets recognized in the future – @ivormacf #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Stephen Mann

Stephen Mann, Principal Analyst and Content Director, ITSM.tools

While the whole world struggles to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, it’s been great to see how so many people have been working together to help others. Whether it be neighbors helping other neighbors who are at high risk, our wonderful health workers, or the people who are ensuring that society continues to function (from supermarket workers, through refuse collectors, to mail people). Plus, of course, the IT support staff and other IT professionals who’ve successfully transitioned a previously unimaginable number of employees to remote working (potentially including themselves) while also keeping their respective organizations functioning. My heart also goes out to those who have lost jobs or haven’t been able to earn the money they need to live during these difficult times.

Looking forward, to hopefully happier and healthier times, there are a number of changes I expect to see post-crisis. Here are five, along with the impact they’ll have on ITSM:

  1. Homeworking will be the new “consumerization of IT” and a groundswell of employee feelings (and demands) will allow many employees to stay as homeworkers post-crisis. Usually where there’s no legitimate reason for them to drag themselves through a 2+ hour commute each day just to sit in an office. In addition to the ITSM aspects of this change, there’ll be the employee wellbeing and “collective productivity” aspects to address, including for those employees that want to come back to work in the office (for a variety of reasons).
  2. What many IT organizations achieved (in a short period of time) in response to the crisis, including the mass movement of office workers to homeworkers, has raised the bar for speed of IT and business change. I expect this to be the new expectation for change going forward despite the fact that it was likely achieved through a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and unpaid overtime. For many organizations, ITSM practices will need to be reimagined to meet this new expectation (and the word “agile” will get a lot of use as a result).
  3. The ITSM employment market will potentially see a significant upheaval – I say “potentially” because it’s difficult to predict how many people will initially stay with “the bird in the hand.” First, there’ll be those people who’ve unfortunately lost their jobs. Perhaps with companies that didn’t survive the crisis. Second, there’ll also be those who aggressively seek out new roles in new companies based on how their current employer treated them during the crisis. Third, there’ll be staff movement based on “the grass being greener elsewhere,” with some organizations better appreciating the importance and value of good IT professionals. These and other factors – including the opportunities that arise from my next point, the increase in automation – will potentially cause significant people-movement throughout the IT world post-crisis. On the one hand, it’ll be great to see an influx of high-caliber ITSM pros to your organization but, on the other, those who chose to leave might leave big holes.
  4. Digital transformation will be an unstoppable force post-crisis. Both for the organizations that used technology and data well during the crisis and those that are finding they’re now even further behind their competitors than they were before. ITSM has a key role to play in this, delivering the automation and other technologies that allow organizations to be all three of “better, faster, cheaper.” Unless, of course, your IT organizations and people simply haven’t kept up with the need for IT thinking, activities, and outcomes to reflect what’s most important to the organization and its employees. For example, value creation and employee productivity (and the wider employee experience). And, in the short term, survival.
  5. Despite all this potential change, both Opex and Capex budgets will be tight post-crisis. Making ITSM improvements that can’t be shown to directly, and significantly, impact the bottom line difficult to progress. ITSM organizations that don’t understand how what they do creates business value will struggle as a result. Not only in eliciting change but also in demonstrating their validity and ongoing existence.

In addition to these five points, there’s another that’s worth mentioning. That the continued adoption of cloud services – and other third-party solutions – touches all of the five, with the crisis potentially delivering the knockout punch for many on-premises and in-house solutions that were already on the ropes. There’s a need to “go with this flow” here unless there are legitimate business, and potentially IT, reasons not to.

And finally, I’d like to think – and desperately hope – that employees and their organizations will both exit these times of crisis with a higher appreciation for IT employees, and for IT support people in particular. That, along with the newfound appreciation of some of the social-world roles I called out earlier, these people who have long been taken for granted are finally understood and remunerated in line with their worth.

Digital transformation will be an unstoppable force post-crisis. Both for the orgs that used tech & data well during #COVID19 & those that are finding they’re now even further behind their competitors than before – @StephenMann Click To Tweet

Simon Morris

Simon Morris, Director, Solutions Consulting, ServiceNow

Coronavirus is a humanitarian disaster first and foremost, but this will pass. When it does, we’ll be able to examine the economic disaster through the lens of a possible recovery and what it will mean for businesses and, by extension, its impact on ITSM.

The potential impacts are vast. The “economic virus” that spread and almost collapsed the global economy in 2008 resulted in a 4% shrinkage in global GDP. The current situation might shrink it by between 8 and 13%.

So, as we’ve drawn comparisons between today’s health emergency and the last comparable event of Spanish flu in the early 20th century, we can draw comparisons between 2008 and what’s likely to happen in 2020/2021.

Some companies will have to cut extremely deep, while others will want to invest to grow back to a healthy state. An interesting case is High Street retail that had already had a tumultuous time and had cut as deep as it could. These companies will have to invest to grow, or now die as further savings are probably not possible.

All of this leads to my prediction on the impact of ITSM. A new economic crisis, where capital is tight and companies look to reduce costs, will simply amplify the role of the CIO within the top team in an organization.

If the IT organization was seen as a cost-center pre-coronavirus, then it will be forced to cut deeper. Any investment in ITSM projects will require more-promising business cases and shorter payback periods. This is hard when you want to spend money on productivity improvements, and so I predict these companies will plateau on their investments and simply try to work harder to become more efficient.

If IT was seen as a business enabler before the crisis, then it’ll be an essential partner during the recovery and will receive investment to build new channels and business models.

Two final predictions. Companies that didn’t really understand digital transformation agendas and how it would improve their businesses will now give up. An economic crisis is not the time to be investing in fads.

Lastly – ITSM vendors are companies too and are looking hard at the impact that this will have on their ability to invest in research and development. We’ll see some marginal software vendors fall by the wayside, especially those that offer on-premises ITSM solutions. Remember that one legacy of the 2008 crisis was that companies turned to the promise of cloud platforms. So what new innovation will come from this current crisis?

A new economic crisis, where capital is tight and companies look to reduce costs, will simply amplify the role of the CIO within the top team in an organization – @Simo_Morris #COVID19 #CIO #ITSM Click To Tweet

Vawns Murphy Photo

Vawns Murphy, Lead IT Partner – Service Delivery, Silva Homes

The reality is that none of us has a crystal ball but here are my thoughts:

  • There’ll be more focus on digitization – much is made of digital transformation but sometimes there was more talk and conjecture than actual delivery. Now the onus is on us to see it through.
  • Remote support will become more frequently used if not the norm. Service desks will use remote support software to troubleshoot issues without being physically present. This will be a shift for both the IT tech and the user – both will have to get used to new ways of working.
  • Self-service adoption will continue to increase.
  • There’ll be the use of smart lockers if equipment can’t be delivered to home addresses.
  • Change and release functions will shift from the traditional big-bang deployments to a more continuous delivery model – easy to continue or rollback if needed. Basically lots of small incremental steps instead of major deployments.
  • There’ll be more focus on business and service continuity. Every so often we have a big event that changes the world. September 11th. The Boxing Day tsunami. Now COVID-19. We need to think long term about how we keep people running in the event of the worst happening.
  • Embedded continual improvement – with marginal gains – where people try to do one small thing to improve things every day. It could be as simple as templating that form for requesting new software. But all these things add up over time.
Post COVID-19, change and release functions will shift from the traditional big-bang deployments to a more continuous delivery model – easy to continue or rollback if needed, says @Vawns #servicedesk #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Ollie O’Donoghue

Ollie O’Donoghue, Senior Vice President, HFS Research

Right now, organizations are understandably focused on bringing a bit of certainty to the short-term. Decamping thousands of workers from central hubs to decentralized remote working has not only been a huge societal and economic shift across the globe that many companies are still wrestling with, but it also has a personal element. Because a huge portion of the workforce may never have worked from home before and will be using a technology stack they’re completely unfamiliar with. Obviously this puts a huge strain on IT service desks.

In the medium term, I would expect to see hurried transformation work and potential investment roadmaps condensed – particularly in any areas that either offer greater accessibility from remote sites or accommodate the unprecedented burden on core IT. I’d expect to see more focus on cloud migration, investment in SaaS, and automation to paper over any cracks in IT infrastructure.

For some businesses I’ve spoken to, this has been the burning platform they needed to execute detailed transformation plans. For others, it’s a reactive move that, frankly, will leave a huge amount of work to unpick and rationalize once things return to business as usual, or more long-term measures can be made.

In the long term, I think this situation will leave business and IT leaders with several major questions to answer. Specifically, why our economic model has focused on centralizing work in key hubs fuelling rapid urbanization. With the idea that the same levels of productivity could be achieved from remote and decentralized workers has been disregarded. Well, now that great experiment has been thrust upon us. And when the time comes, businesses will need to seriously think about whether their business is more or less successful based out of a city office, like before, or if they should continue decentralized and remote working.

The future of the modern workplace may be manifestly different than it is today – and trends we have seen the gradual development of, such as the shrinking of desk-side support in favor of remote support, BYOD, cloudification, and automation, may well see a “big bang” implementation moment fuelled by short and medium-term demand, cemented in position by a broader business and economic shift to remote and decentralized work at scale.

In the long term, I think #COVID19 will leave business & IT leaders with several major questions to answer. Specifically, why our economic model has focused on centralizing work in key hubs fuelling rapid urbanization - @HfSOllie Click To Tweet

Anthony Orr

Anthony Orr, Chief Cloud Expert, SAP

I hope that COVID-19 will positively impact the future of ITSM by improving how we think about business strategy and supporting value chains. And many organizations, public and private, need to improve how they contribute to society.

Peter Drucker stated, “Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.” We live in a very reactive society with very little proactive behavior to mitigate people’s risk and do the right thing.

We shouldn’t normalize our current behavior by not doing anything and continuing business as usual after COVID-19; we need to improve services and capabilities. There are many other disasters besides COVID-19 – fires, floods, hurricanes, etc. that we can put better proactive measures in place to reduce the loss of human life.

Hopefully, long term, the COVID-19 challenges will not be forgotten and will help us to improve our ITSM practice focus and compassion across all organizations for helping people. “All” people first, every life matters.

Hopefully, long term, the COVID-19 challenges will not be forgotten and will help us to improve our #ITSM practice focus and compassion across all organizations for helping people – @AnthonyOrr #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Don Page

Dr. Don Page, Strategic Director of Service Management, Marval Software

In short, I think COVID19 will impact the future of ITSM and seriously focus the minds of business leaders as to how ITSM contributes and why it’s so important.

If we look at the unique challenge that all of our emergency services are facing, ITSM would help reduce its impact and assist in making informed decisions. It’s about having the availability of, and access to, critical and up-to-date information, which of course includes people, process, practices, and technology, for example:

  • What working and available equipment have we got?
  • Where is it and how much of it?
  • Which available staff skills have we got, and where are they?
  • What support policies, processes, and plans are in place?
  • What skills gaps have we got?

Yes, I’m referring to having an up-to-date and accurate ITSM system, configuration and asset management system, and a skills matrix to name but a few elements.

Referring to the adage “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”

I also believe that business leaders will be, or should have been, asking a lot of challenging questions to their service suppliers about:

  • an asset & configuration register
  • a capability plan
  • an availability plan
  • a continuity plan

Many business leaders may be very embarrassed at the response from IT, and some will be further embarrassed that informed service managers have been asking for service management to be taken more seriously and invested in, long before COVID19 appeared.

So, in conclusion, the COVID19 outbreak has consolidated my belief that ISO/IEC 20000, the international standard for ITSM should be adopted and embraced by business leaders by default, for any part a business requiring service and support. Businesses needs to seriously invest in its service teams, and service delivery infrastructure. Adopting ISO/IEC 20000 is a business decision and not an IT or technology decision. All we can really do, is be better prepared for when something similar occurs again, which it will.

The #COVID19 outbreak has consolidated my belief that ISO/IEC 20000 should be adopted & embraced by default, for any part of a business requiring service & support. This a business decision and not an IT decision – Dr. Don Page,… Click To Tweet

Barclay Rae

Barclay Rae, ITSM Consultant, Barclay Rae Consulting

I’m pleased that we’ve been embracing “new” ways of working and thinking in recent years – agile, DevOps, transparency, flexibility, servant leadership, customer focus, and employee satisfaction. While this has not been fully embraced, it has helped many organizations to deal with the current situation more flexibly and to be able to prepare for the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

Holistic and collaborative working has been a fact of life rather than a choice in this crisis. The need for flexibility and adaptability has thrown most of the residual service level agreement (SLA) culture out of the window, as service desks see three or four-fold increases in calls and requests overnight.

The ITIL 4 guiding principles are particularly useful here – “focus on value,” where value = human life or business survival. “Start where you are” is also relevant, i.e. we need to react to the current context, not an ideal abstract model.

There must now be a clear understanding of the need to build IT and business services that can be simply adapted to meet changing business needs, reflected in simple expectation levels for customer experience and business outcomes. IT departments and providers need to get out and engage with their customers to do this – the era of the IT-defined SLA has hopefully, and finally, been killed off by the coronavirus. Customer journey mapping and relevant value stream creation will now be a normal and expected activity.

“Social continuity” has emerged as a clear area for development – while “business continuity” is, of course, an essential factor for systems and processes, many people have missed the natural interactions that happen around formal meetings and recognized the need to engage with colleagues and stakeholders at a social and personal level as well. The value of good employee relations and management has never been more clear and vital – the focus in the crisis has been on people, where everyone has to view not just their position and mortality, but also that of others. Collaboration and human empathy are strong factors in how we are dealing with this situation and how we must also consider the future.

The obvious outcome of these factors for ITSM must be the continued and resurgent interest in developing more quality and capability in IT service desks. With more and more virtual and home-based workers across organizations, the need for intelligent, fast, and people-focused support services will grow. While we may see new models for how the service desk practice is delivered – e.g. with virtual teams and swarmed support – there will still be the need for people who can support people quickly and effectively so that they can work effectively.

For further insights from Barclay on this topic, please read his article: “ITSM Predictions for a Post COVID-19 World”.

With more and more virtual and home-based workers across organizations, the need for intelligent, fast, and people-focused support services will grow – @BarclayRae #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Prasad Ramakrishnan

Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO, Freshworks

The modality shift to working from home that most organizations have adopted will likely change both how they look at remote workers going forward and how much investment they have in cloud infrastructure and software. In terms of remote workers, I expect ITSM practitioners to be more cognizant of remote work environments as a mainstay in their extended infrastructure. With this shift, I expect an increased interest in and expectations for cloud asset management in their ITSM tools.

I expect #ITSM practitioners to be more cognizant of remote work environments as a mainstay in their extended infrastructure post COVID-19 – @pramki #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Alan Rodger

Alan Rodger, Senior Analyst, Enterprise IT, Omdia

COVID-19 has been a trigger for huge change in the world, much of which will not be reversed. Digital transformation has been vastly accelerated, as organizations of all kinds have had to become “virtual” across multiple channels. For example, employees in diverse roles have been newly enabled to work remotely wherever possible, and customers to use services online or via phone calls that are distributed to teams’ diverse and remote locations.

Many lessons will be learned but, with the steps having been taken, the focus post-isolation will be on the formalization of mobile/remote-enabled processes as key foundations for permanently adding capabilities that were used during the early period of the pandemic. Remote working, and other digitalization steps, commonly require a baseline of robust IT service desk processes, therefore many organizations will find sponsorship for advanced or enterprise-wide service management much more readily available. Common complementary focus areas will include the integration of the service desk with identity and access mechanisms, unified enterprise collaboration systems, and key means of service supply and administration. To be used to best advantage, these cannot be separately managed islands, so must be coordinated via the service desk.

In prioritizing service desk investments, many organizations will have in mind the need (heightened by the COVID-19 crisis) for business continuity planning to be fit for purpose. In times of crisis, survival is not just a matter of having digital tools but also in their being integrated with people and processes – objectives which service desks are able to serve uniquely well.

Many organizations will find sponsorship for advanced or enterprise-wide service management much more readily available post COVID-19, says @AlanRodger_UK #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Doug Tedder Photo

Doug Tedder, Principal, Tedder Consulting

The recent events prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the deep integration between business and technology. Although there were more than a few organizations that had to scramble, most employees are now working from home, thanks to the efforts of IT organizations, large and small, around the world.

At some point, the world will move to some “new normal.” Because  I don’t think that we’ll return to the “normal” of a few weeks ago. And my questions now are “what are we learning?” and “how will ITSM evolve?”

What are we learning?

Here are some things that I’m seeing:

  • Successful use of technology is more about enabling businesses to deliver results and value, and less about methodologies or frameworks.
  • When there’s a compelling business requirement or reason, businesses will gladly invest in technology.
  • That the successful use of technology depends significantly on the people using it.

How will ITSM evolve?

It’s hard to say. It’ll be too easy for many to fall back into the bad habits that some IT organizations call “ITSM” and fail to recognize that the world has changed.

What I hope is that IT organizations finally realize that ITSM is not just about IT Ops. ITSM is not “dev vs. ops.”  ITSM is not even about IT. It’s about taking a holistic approach – which includes and involves non-IT colleagues – for using technology to enable and deliver end-to-end value for an organization.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, my hope is that IT organizations finally realize that #ITSM is not just about IT Ops, says @DougTedder #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Dave Van Herpen

Dave Van Herpen, Independent Consultant, Van Herpen Impact Consultancy

What’s currently happening in our global context is what I would call a fairly unexpected acceleration of digital transformation. COVID-19 has disrupted the way we look at education and healthcare systems, data-driven decision making, and our work-life balance. It has challenged the way we collaborate, communicate, and socially engage with our colleagues, clients, and partners.

It has proven to be a true resilience test for many organizations. Over the next months, or even years, I’m confident these events will have changed the way we look at work-life balance, collaboration mechanisms, and the essence of building in agility and resilience.

On the other hand, we’ll see a sort of relief when people can actually return to their work again. They’ll surely be more mindful of the time they spend at work, and of the direct interaction with their colleagues and the serendipity this brings. More than ever, professionals worldwide will feel more committed to their teams, thrilled to achieve common goals, eventually leaving behind the former downsides of forced isolation.

After COVID-19 professionals worldwide will feel more committed to their teams, thrilled to achieve common goals, eventually leaving behind the former downsides of forced isolation – @daveherpen #COVID19 #business Click To Tweet

Paul Wilkinson Photo

Paul Wilkinson, Business Development Director, GamingWorks

Collaboration and communication skills have long been, and still are, top two scoring skills required for enabling effective end-to-end ITSM capabilities. And now COVID-19 has forced the global ITSM community to learn to effectively collaborate and communicate via video conferencing. From what I’ve seen, while some people are already used to videoconferencing, many are struggling, some are embracing it after initial fear, uncertainty, and doubt as well as the stress and emotional strain of the COVID-19 crisis itself.

Looking forward, however, and once we all find our feet, I think that this is one positive impact that will survive after the horror of COVID-19. Online meetings will be more acceptable and more comfortable, hopefully reducing in the longer term a lot of the existing reasons for air travel.

At the same time COVID-19 is speeding up the adoption of digital transformation as companies, including our own, are forced to innovate new digital solutions that match the current needs of social distancing and potentially isolation. From our perspective, it’s also impacting the drive for online experiential learning. Something that the market has been wanting for a long-time.

For example, right now, organizations are seeking an online simulation that fosters good communication and collaboration skills within remote teams, that can be used to translate theory into practice, retains the class discussions and dialogue, and captures agreed takeaway actions.

Ultimately, I think what has happened with COVID-19 will significantly impact the way ITSM teams work and learn remotely, enhancing much of the e-learning consumer model into an e-learning engagement and collaboration model.

I think what has happened with COVID-19 will significantly impact the way #ITSM teams work and learn remotely, enhancing much of the e-learning consumer model into an e-learning engagement and collaboration model – @GamingPaul #COVID19 Click To Tweet

So, that’s what a number of ITSM industry authorities think will happen post-crisis. What do you agree with and disagree with? And what would you add? Please let me know in the comments. Also, if you’ve any pressing needs for ITSM help during these difficult times, please let me know and I’ll see if I and others can assist.

Marketing Manager at Socommunity

Sophie is a freelance ITSM marketing consultant, helping ITSM solution vendors to develop and implement effective marketing strategies.

She covers both traditional areas of marketing (such as advertising, trade shows, and events) and digital marketing (such as video, social media, and email marketing). She is also a trained editor.

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