ITSM That’s Ready When Tomorrow Happens Today

by Valerie O'Connell, Research Director, IT Service and Business Management

In ancient times—February 2020—EMA research found that more than 50% of IT leaders surveyed were considering new ITSM platforms in the near future. The future arrived with a bang as IT organizations turbo-pivoted to deliver and support unprecedented levels and types of services to a global workplace suddenly working from home.

Overnight, ITSM organizations aimed existing platforms, people, and processes at the moving target of unprecedented and unpredictable change. Their aim has been surprisingly good. Although there have been some public glitches, the move from fire drill to productivity has largely avoided chaos as an interim step—but success has been neither universal nor smooth.

From competitive advantage to competitive table stakes

Organizations that were advanced in their digital transformation agendas were also well-placed to take these changes in stride. Across industries and organizations of all sizes, change is the new normal. Always a desirable attribute, the ability to support business in a rolling sequence of scenarios is now a baseline requirement. That ability, which was formerly seen as a competitive advantage, has been promoted to competitive table stakes.

EMA research indicates that the installed base of ITSM platforms and solutions is a very mature one. More than half have been in place for three years or more, with 20% passing the five-year mark. If half of EMA’s survey base was exploring new options back in February of 2020, it is logical to assume that the experiences since that time will swell the ranks of ITSM shoppers in the near future (1-2 years).

What should they be looking for? Of course, they should be looking first at their own environments, objectives, advantages, and challenges to formulate requirements specific to the needs of their organizations. It is a mistake to choose a solution primarily because it has been named a winner, crowned in the vacuum of pure theory and features. When EMA ranks vendor solutions, it does so within the context of use cases and requirements rather than against static feature weightings.

However, there are foundational characteristics and attributes that can inform the vendor selection process. The goal is an ITSM function that facilitates today’s business and is continually tomorrow-ready no matter what tomorrow may bring or how often tomorrow changes its mind.

Three strategic considerations for tomorrow-ready ITSM

Beyond the specifics of platform or solution functionality, there are three overarching strategic areas of consideration:

Ongoing transformation and innovation: The phrase “get back to normal” represents an understandable but wrong-headed sentiment. There is no going back. Normal is a state of change. Organizations have the opportunity to not only do better now, but to do things differently. EMA research finds that scalability, extensibility, and ease of both integration and use are the primary attributes of a successful, agile, strategic ITSM investment decision.

Automation: Part cliché, part mandate, the drive to do more with less has been a constant presence in IT since the earliest mainframe. The challenge remains current; the opportunities change with time. Technology and vision are finally on par. With automation today, ITSM organizations have the chance to radically alter and redefine the types, quality, and speed of service it offers and supports. EMA research shows that automation can be a double-edged sword. ITSM platforms must be capable of vigorously incorporating automation, while pacing implementation to an organization’s ability to productively consume it.

End-user experience and productivity: As the lines between business and IT rapidly blur, end-user experience has become almost indistinguishable from productivity. ITSM platforms need to deliver services that are meaningful in purpose and excellent in execution to both internal and external users. Whether offering non-IT functionality in enterprise service management (ESM) offerings, a range of self-service capabilities, or the DevOps advantage of bringing code closer to its performance, ITSM solutions must be flexible and innovative to consistently meet and exceed user expectations for service excellence.

ITSM is logically positioned to drive innovation, unite automation initiatives, and unify collaborative, cross-functional processes. However, the ability to execute requires a strategic vision and valuation of the ITSM function and an ITSM platform that is ready when tomorrow happens today.

Tomorrow-ready ITSM today: 3 key strategies, EMA webinar

Join EMA research director Valerie O’Connell for a research-informed webinar on these key strategies for an ITSM function that will thrive long past this current crisis.