The State of ITSM Two Years into the Pandemic

State of ITSM

Let’s talk about the state of ITSM. In late 2021, ManageEngine surveyed 437 IT professionals across various topics to understand how their IT organizations have coped over the now two-year-long global pandemic. These topics included the impact on IT operations and the factors that influenced success. The report that shares the survey results is now available, including the deltas related to an initial pandemic survey in 2020. In which, it’s interesting to see the state of IT service management (ITSM) two years into the pandemic versus the position after the initial phase.

This article shares the highlights of the most recent State of #ITSM report from @ManageEngine looking at the impact of employee remote working, challenges related to the pandemic, technology adoption, and the business view of IT. Click To Tweet

The ITSM topic areas covered in the survey

  1. Work locations
  2. The impact of employee remote working
  3. Financial and asset management implications
  4. The business view of IT
  5. Security and governance issues
  6. Third-party services and technology assistance
  7. Business continuity success levels
  8. Looking forward

Examples of the State of ITSM survey findings

Work location

While pre-pandemic, employees were often office-based, this is no longer the case. The survey results showed that while working-from-home is now minimal (at 11%), half of organizations prefer hybrid working – where employees work both remotely and in the office. Hence, three-fifths of the workforce is now working remotely at some point, necessitating the continued requirement for remote-employee IT support. Interestingly, the smallest (with 1-49 employees) and largest organizations (with 5,000+ employees) are most likely to allow employees to work at home.

State of #ITSM survey results: half of the IT professionals surveyed state they prefer hybrid working, with three-fifths of the workforce now working remotely at some point. #hybridworking via @manageengine & @ITSM_tools Click To Tweet

The impact of employee remote working

In the State of ITSM survey, only 6% of respondents thought that ITSM was ineffective when done remotely during the pandemic. This question could involve remote end-users, remote IT personnel, or both.

The challenges in offering remote IT support during the pandemic

It’s interesting to see how the remote IT support challenges changed between 2020 and 2022 – “managing IT assets” jumped to the top of the table. “Communication and collaboration” jumped to second place. Finally, “user training and knowledge management” – where limitations could adversely affect both end-users and IT personnel in their support – remained in the top-three challenges, albeit losing the top spot.

Managing IT assets35%46%+11%
Communication and collaboration34%41%+7%
User training and knowledge management40%40%0%
VPN issues: Configuration, scalability, and troubleshooting31%33%+2%
Lack of appropriate technology27%25%-2%
Securing company and client data in a distributed network36%22%-14%
Too many L1 tickets (more than usual)21%21%0%
Other -10%-

The most significant state of ITSM swing was for “securing company and client data in a distributed network” –this dropped from 36% to 22%. This change was most likely the result of the proactive efforts of IT organizations to ensure that their remote working risks were minimized.

Providing increased flexibility and resilience

Only 29% of organizations provided mobile-capable assets to employees before the crisis, likely influenced by their industry vertical or level of “knowledge workers.” The pandemic changed this – with an additional 47% of organizations now providing mobile-capable assets to employees. At the end of 2021, only 16% of organizations hadn’t changed their procurement policies to provide greater mobility and flexibility.

State of #ITSM survey results: Only 29% of orgs provided mobile-capable assets to employees before the pandemic. That figure is now at 47%. #mobile via @manageengine & @ITSM_tools Click To Tweet

The business view of IT

The State of ITSM survey found that 52% of respondents thought IT is still better viewed because of the pandemic. Another 14% thought it had always been considered highly. Only 21% thought IT had not been regarded more favorably because of its pandemic efforts.

Tackling the remote-working security issues

83% of respondents reported that their organizations could tackle the increased security and privacy concerns related to the move from office-based working to remote environments. While 10% of organizations viewed themselves as under-equipped to tackle the increased security and privacy concerns.

State of #ITSM survey results: 83% of respondents reported that their organizations could tackle the increased #security & privacy concerns related to the move from office-based working to remote environments. Click To Tweet

Self-service adoption and success

The State of ITSM survey found that 34% of organizations still don’t offer self-help capabilities. Of those that do, there’s a split (at 29% each) between those that found self-service more helpful than anticipated and the those that didn’t see it as effective (including those organizations for which self-service adoption didn’t take off).

Compared to the 2022 survey responses, the 2022 findings were very similar, bar the level of self-service “failure” shrinking from 18% to 6%.

State of #ITSM survey results: 34% of organizations still don’t offer self-help capabilities. #selfservice via @manageengine & @ITSM_tools Click To Tweet


52% of organizations don’t use chatbots (yet). Of those who do, just over two-thirds think they helped with remote support during the pandemic. This negative view of the third that didn’t rate their chatbot use as successful could be caused by the quality of the chatbot technology. However, it’s more likely related to the implementation of the chatbots and the level of organizational change management used to gain end-user buy-in. As with traditional self-service capabilities, if an end-user wastes time with an ineffective chatbot, they’ll likely not return to use it again.

Looking forward

The State of ITSM survey asked a final question about the pandemic’s impact on ITSM practices. The greater use of automation was unsurprisingly top, chosen by 59% of organizations—the second and third most popular responses related to meeting end-user expectations and improving productivity.

Only 32% of respondents felt AI would be used to assist with repetitive ITSM tasks. However, more AI will inevitably find its way into these organizations’ ITSM automation capabilities as specific use cases mature.

State of #ITSM survey results: Only 32% of respondents feel #ArtificialIntelligence would be used to assist with repetitive ITSM tasks. Via @manageengine & @ITSM_tools Click To Tweet


More automation will be used59%
End users will be more demanding49%
ITSM staff will focus on end-user productivity more45%
Deeper analytics will drive ITSM improvements39%
Enterprise service management adoption will increase37%
AI will assist with repetitive ITSM tasks32%

If you’d like to read more about the State of ITSM findings, you can find the full survey results here:

If you would like to read more ITSM articles, here are some suggestions:

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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