Note: There is an updated version of this post for 2023. You can read it here. What will we all be concerned about in IT service management (ITSM) in 2020? What will be the hottest ITSM trends for 2020? To help, and because my “5 Hottest ITSM Trends and Topics for 2019” article was very popular last year, here’s another poll-results-based article that looks at what will be the hot trends and topics – in terms of reader interest – in 2020. If nothing else, you’ll probably be surprised at where some ITSM topic areas place in the table below.
Why we run this ITSM trends poll annually
In my experience, our peers in ITSM and IT-support roles often find industry statistics to be helpful, reassuring, inspirational, or maybe even unbelievable (which can be both a good and bad thing depending on their credibility). And there’s usually significant interest in what everyone else is doing, or is planning to do.
It’s one of the two reasons why ITSM.tools ran its third ITSM future-content poll to better understand the hottest ITSM trends for 2020. First, we get a steer on which ITSM topic areas our readers want more information and help on in 2020. Second, the results of the poll help us to see where the ITSM industry is looking, and potentially heading, in the year ahead – in this case during 2020, and likely beyond.What did #ITSM pros select as the most important ITSM topic areas for @ITSM_tools to publish content on in 2020? Find out here. Click To Tweet
And the ITSM Trends for 2020 survey said…
We asked the voting ITSM pros to select up to five of 30 topics which they feel would be the most important ITSM topic areas for ITSM.tools to publish content on in 2020. The results were:
|#||Topic||Percentage of Voters|
|2.||Artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning||35.3%|
|3.||Customer experience (CX)||30.1%|
|6.||People (including attitude, behavior, and culture (ABC))||23.3%|
|8.||Enterprise service management||21.1%|
|9.||Service integration and management (SIAM)||20.3%|
|11.||Business relationship management (BRM)||14.3%|
|18.||IT asset management (ITAM) and software asset management (SAM)||10.5%|
In terms of the hottest ITSM Trends for 2020, ITIL 4 was the winner for the second year running and automation – the 2018 winner – dropped from second place to fourth, with both AI and CX now ahead of it. I’ll cover the five top choices in more detail in a moment, but first a quick look at the bottom of the list:
- The obvious stand-out for me is that three of the bottom four places are again occupied by IT management/ITSM approaches – IT4IT, ISO/IEC 20000, and “vanilla ITIL.” The latter is likely victim to ITIL 4 being top. Then just above these are VeriSM and COBIT – so either voters already know everything they need to know about these other approaches, or they’re struggling against the market dominance of ITIL (4).
- The fact that “security” is in the bottom seven of the topic-area table (again) – although slightly higher than in the previous two years – is still probably symptomatic of the ongoing “silofication” of wider IT operations and the disconnect between ITSM strategies/activities and business wants/needs. As with 2019, in 2020 IT security surely has to be a top-3 concern for company boards and should definitely be an operational concern for more than just corporate IT security personnel.
- While “people” has dropped from its joint-second place of last year (to just outside of the top five), the very topical “wellbeing” continues to be low down in the table, which seems crazy to me. The ITSM.tools’ 2019 Future of ITSM survey found that 55% of respondents feel that working in IT is adversely affecting their personal wellbeing. So, when is the industry going to finally realize that these people issues need to be addressed? I hope it’s not when we no longer have enough high-caliber staff to do what’s needed?
So, that’s the bottom of the table covered – now on to the top 5.
Hot Topic #1 – ITIL 4
ITIL 4 holding onto its number one place across the 30 topic areas is again both a surprise and yet unsurprising. So many organizations have built their ITSM capabilities around ITIL that there’s a huge audience awaiting the new ITIL 4 best practice guidance. Whether this is the official AXELOS content or the shared experiences of others in blogs, webinars, papers, etc.
If there are particular ITIL-4-related topics that you’d like to see covered on ITSM.tools, then please let us know in the comments. In the meantime, please check out the 2019 ITIL 4 blogs we feel are still very much worth a read in 2020:
- It’s Here – ITIL 4 Explained
- The ITIL 4 Service Value System Explained
- ITIL 4 is Quite Engaging – the Service Value Chain Explained
- ITIL 4 Dummies
- ITIL v3 to ITIL 4 – There is a Way to Transition
- Knock, Knock – Who’s There? ITIL 4 … ITIL for Who?
Hot Topic #2 – AI
I think that most people would have bet that AI would be in the top five most popular ITSM topics, in part thanks to the attention it received in 2019 – from general IT media articles to the marketing of the AI-enabled capabilities being introduced to ITSM tools. Had I created a single topic called “AI and automation,” it would have been top.
There’s much that we need to get right with AI though, and not just getting the technology to do what we need it to do. As with many other changes within our service and support capabilities, there will be a raft of people-related issues to tackle.
So, for 2020, please let us know in the comments if there are particular AI-related topics that you’d like to see covered on ITSM.tools. In the meantime, please check out some of our 2019 AI articles:
- Good ITSM Hygiene Means Better Use of AI
- What Service Desk Managers Should Know About AI
- ITSM Futures: Will AI Unlock Self-Help?
- 6 Ways AI Can Transform ITSM Tools
- Redefining Enterprise-Level ITSM Through AI-Powered Smart Automation and Chatbots
- Will Your ITSM Data Issues Deliver Bad Experiences and Bad Bots?
Hot Topic #3 – CX
In many ways, this topic is a little like the aforementioned “AI and automation” option, because CX will mean different things to different people in ITSM. For instance, does it only relate to external customers or does it include employee experience too? Then there are other terms that are also used for both CX and employee experience, such as “service experience” and “user experience.” So, if CX and employee experience are combined in the poll, we again have another potential top dog.
Please let us know if there are particular employee experience or CX-related topics that you’d like to see covered on ITSM.tools. In the meantime, please check out some of our 2019 articles:
- 4 Tips for Improving the User Experience
- How to Provide Great Service on the IT Service Desk
- How Intelligent Chatbots Enable Better Enterprise Service Experiences
- Improve Customers Experience with Customer Journeys
- How to Drive and Measure User Experience on the IT Service Desk
- Experience Matters: 9 CX and ITSM Nuggets from Refresh19
Hot Topic #4 – Automation
As I wrote when automation topped the 2017 poll (for 2018 content):
“Automation is nothing new. IT management and ITSM solutions have been sold for decades based on the ability to automate previously manual activities for speedier and better outcomes, plus lower costs.
And now, in addition to traditional IT automation capabilities – such as scripts, process-workflow automation, and third-party system orchestration – AI, and in particular machine learning, is capable of extending and enhancing automation capabilities.”
It’s likely that AI stole much of automation’s thunder in this year’s poll (and in the articles written for ITSM.tools) and there’s no doubt of its continued importance to ITSM and other business functions. So, please let us know in the comments if there are any automation-related topics that you’d like to see covered on ITSM.tools.
Hot Topic #5 – Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is another top-five holdover from the 2018 and 2019 results, taking fifth place again for 2020. Here, the words from my 2018 article still hold true:
“There’s no doubt that a key ITSM challenge for 2020 will be delivering against the business need for “digital transformation” – from generating new revenues (driven by technology and data), providing better customer engagement capabilities, and the need to bring corporate back-office operations into the 21st century.”
And I’ve still not seen anything that contradicts the point of view that enterprise service management (and thus ITSM) can be a great platform for digital transformation – from better designing, delivering, managing, supporting, and improving IT/business services to helping to improve business back-office capabilities using ITSM principles, thinking, capabilities, and technologies.I’ve still not seen anything that contradicts the point of view that enterprise service management (and thus #ITSM) can be a great platform for digital transformation, says @SophieDanby #digitaltransformation Click To Tweet
Please let us know if there are particular digital-transformation-related topics you’d like to see covered on ITSM.tools. In the meantime, please check out:
- 8 Tips for Starting with Digital Transformation
- 7 Tips to Optimize Your Service Request Processes for Digital Transformation
- Don’t Let an ABC Earthquake Destroy Your Organization’s Digital Transformation
- How Enterprise Service Management Can Learn from Digital Transformation Initiatives
- Why Managed Service Providers Should Connect with Customer Systems
The Year Ahead (and not just the ITSM trends for 2020)
As with previous years, this has been a long article, so thank you for getting this far.
ITSM.tools was, and continues to be, created with the ITSM-pro reader front of mind – so please let us know which ITSM-related topics will best help you in your day (and future) jobs. In the meantime, we’ll be using these poll results to drive our content plans for the year ahead. And, as always, please contact us if there’s anything specific you’d like or need help with.
Plus, of course, if you have ITSM-related knowledge, opinions, and expertise that you wish to share with your peers, especially that align with the key topics referenced above, then please submit an article. Thank you.
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. Y