ITSM in 2020 – It’s Time to Get Focused on the Right Things

ITSM in 2020

Yet again, I’m another year older but perhaps not another year wiser, and we’re starting another year in IT service management (ITSM). With it another year that holds many opportunities for those who work in ITSM. Now, as I sit at my keyboard to write “The X things that ITSM pros should be focused on in 2020,” I’m reminded of how long it takes this “industry tanker” of ours to turn.

This isn’t a dig at the people, processes, and technologies involved in ITSM. It’s simply what I believe to be a realistic view of how long change takes to happen in ITSM.

So, as I look forward into the year ahead, I again want to avoid listing out five or more things that ITSM pros should be focused on for “ITSM in 2020” (and don’t get me wrong, these lists are important plus I believe in what’s said in many of these lists). Instead, I want to continue in the direction of my into-2019 article.

What are the 3 most important things that your 2020 #ITSM investments need to deliver to your org? This article by @StephenMann aims to help you decide. Share on X

“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any”

I remember repeatedly saying this source-unknown quote a few years back. And sadly, I can’t say that it has always been advice that I’ve personally employed. However, I do think that it’s an important mantra for ITSM in 2020.

“But how do you fit your list of five-plus 2020 trends into this three priorities model?” I hear you say.

And this, my friends, is part of the problem (and the ITIL definition might also apply here too). Not only are we potentially spreading ourselves too thinly (in looking at too long a list of trends/opportunities), is it likely that we’re focused on “sourcing the ingredients” rather than “baking the cake”? Or, to get even closer to the desired outcome(s) – we are “sourcing the ingredients” rather than being focused on “providing the best birthday party experience ever.”

Forget the 5+ trends all the blogs are telling you to focus on in 2020... The fact is, if you have more than 3 priorities, than you don't have any. Share on X

The cake analogy in ITSM in 2020 terms

Think of the many ITSM-related topics in the numerous end/start of the year lists as the ingredients that you’ll need to use to deliver something as part of your three priorities, i.e. the cake.

I can think of many topics that I’ve pointed out personally in the past, including:

  • Improving employee experience
  • Focusing on value creation, i.e. what’s achieved through what you do not what you do
  • Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) adoption
  • Reskilling and a focus on retention
  • Aspects of employee wellbeing
  • Enterprise service management (and back-office digital transformation)
  • Focusing on key enablers such as self-service, knowledge management, automation, and metrics.

And it’s a list that’s still relevant for ITSM in 2020 and not just for 2018, say.

But what is your cake?

This is the killer question (well, almost). What are the three things that you need to “bake” in ITSM in 2020 for it to be considered a successful year?

Hopefully, it’s not just a list of the “ingredients.” For example:

  • Introduce AI-enabled capabilities
  • Provide staff training in new areas
  • Get employees to finally use self-service.

With it, instead, the things that you need to deliver from a business outcomes perspective. Maybe even the things that collectively serve a higher purpose, with it similar to “providing the best birthday party experience ever.”

If your goal for 2020 is simply to 'introduce AI-capabilities (for example) then you're looking at #ITSM success all wrong. Share on X

So, what are the three most important things that your 2020 ITSM investments need to deliver to your organization?

It’s not for me to tell you because you’ll know this far better than I can guess. And what’s your organization’s equivalent of “providing the best birthday party experience ever”?

Here’s an example to help with ITSM in 2020

Having just written “It’s not for me to tell you because you’ll know this far better than I can guess,” I can’t help thinking that an example might make this all a little clearer.

Your organization – like most – might want to “protect and grow its market share” (the best birthday party experience), perhaps on the back of a digital transformation strategy. It then breaks this down into three change elements (as many digital transformation definitions do):

  1. The introduction of new products and services, and revenue streams, based on technology and data exploitation
  2. Improved customer journeys and engagement mechanisms (which again exploit technology and data)
  3. Digitally transformed back-office operations that enable 1 and 2.

With these the three cakes.

Then it’s a case of how the many ingredients can be employed to deliver the best possible cakes (within the limitations of the available resources). Clear as mud (cake)?

So, what are your ITSM and ITSM tool priorities for 2020? Do you have over three? And are you focused on “sourcing the ingredients” rather than “baking the cakes”? I’m sat here thinking that our focus on “sourcing the ingredients” is a very likely key root cause as to why things often take so long to change in ITSM. What do you think about ITSM in 2020? Please let me know in the comments.

Stephen Mann

Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm 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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