by Sarah K. White

5 ways businesses are modernizing ITSM

Aug 24, 2018
Digital TransformationIT Governance FrameworksIT Leadership

ITSM is more than service management; itu2019s a framework for supporting business needs. As new technology moves in and digital transformation takes hold, ITSM strategies must grow and adapt.

IT service management is a constantly evolving practice that adapts and grows with the pace of technology — or at least, a good ITSM strategy does. By being flexible enough to accommodate sudden and rapid changes, ITSM at leading organizations ensures service and support practices and processes continually align with transforming business needs.   

“IT service management is not going away, but rather will continue to evolve to meet the needs of businesses. Emerging technologies may help streamline processes or automate change, but the need for managing services to the expectations of businesses will remain,” says David Rea, practice advisor of cloud infrastructure at SPR. 

A push for automation

Automation has helped streamline IT support — especially when it comes to routine tasks such as ensuring tickets get routed to the correct person or department. With AI and machine learning, businesses can automate redundant work, so employees are free to focus on more complex tasks.

“Automation plays an ever-increasing role in streamlining IT support, from the basics of routing tickets to the right team or pre-approving the flow of standard changes, to the complexity of connecting external systems via webhooks. Automation also serves as the key for improving data sharing between IT and development teams,” says Paul Buffington, principal solutions engineer of ITSM at Atlassian.

Businesses will need to make room for more automation and determine which tasks will benefit from AI or machine learning.

Open and collaborative work environments

As IT deploys more collaboration software, it’s easier for business units to interact with IT staff, check on the status of projects and collaborate directly with IT. Your ITSM strategy will need to accommodate an open work environment, where IT is more accessible to the organization than it has been in the past.

“An open work environment for IT teams increases visibility and understanding of recent releases the software team has shipped,” says Buffington.

But as IT becomes more open and collaborative, you’ll have to be ready to test the agility of your ITSM strategy. With more voices and opinions in the mix, it will be important to reasonably accommodate everyone’s needs.

“An ITSM program must be flexible in adapting to the needs of the business and to its primary stakeholders. In a developer-driven organization, the ITSM model must be able to deliver rapid but robust change entirely driven by automation technology. In more diverse organizations, it must be inclusive of all stakeholders with more manual control gates,” says Neil Forester, vice president of platform engineering at Ensono.

Slow and steady ITSM strategies

If your ITSM strategy is lagging behind, you can’t expect it to adjust overnight. It takes time to rebuild and restructure your service management philosophy.

“ITSM exists in some form across all companies. The more maturity in the process, the more measurement and governance exist, therefore driving IT services to continuously adapt to the ever-changing needs of the business. CIOs should be prepared for a multi-year roadmap to maturity and accept it to be slow at first until adoption is implemented across multiple teams,” says Rea.

You’ll run into plenty of roadblocks along the way — especially when it comes to governance and compliance. But as long as you set firm business goals and stay on track, your ITSM strategy will eventually grow with your business. 

Embracing agile for faster delivery

Businesses are embracing agile as a way to improve service management and to speed up software and product delivery times.

“We are seeing more IT organizations move from waterfall to agile practices. This enables them to better respond to the needs of the business and it also places them on a path to transform their service management capabilities,” says Buffington.

Agile adoption typically starts with smaller IT teams and spreads out to other business units and departments. With this method of “starting small and growing,” you can give everyone time to adjust to using agile in the workplace.

DevOps to bridge communication gaps

DevOps is a “set of practices that spans the entire pipeline from development to deployment,” and it’s driven by agile, according to Shaw. When used in ITSM, agile can help bridge communication between IT and developers, maintain consistency in performance and get IT on board early in the development process.

“By bringing ITIL and agile development together through DevOps, ITSM can experience the benefits of improved deployment frequency, faster time to market, lower failure rates of new releases, shortened lead times between fixes and faster mean time to recovery,” says Shaw.