Where does IT service management (ITSM) fit into an organization\u2019s overall objectives and why should CIOs care about how well it\u2019s integrated into the IT organization and C-suite strategy?\nToday, we are seeing more business-type targets for IT, i.e. objectives tied to the success of organizations as a whole. For example, the IT goals for an ambulance service are likely to coincide with its organizational goals \u2013 so its IT department\u2019s targets relate to getting ambulances quickly to accidents. In other words, IT and the organization should be working towards the same thing.\nIn turn, the goal for the ITSM function is to find out what\u2019s important to the business and focus on how it can contribute to that bigger picture. Unfortunately, IT and ITSM often haven\u2019t figured this out, frustrating the business and sometimes leading to poor, though predictable, outsourcing decisions.\nThe latest ITSM benchmarking study from AXELOS suggests there is a problem; I would contest the problem might be worse even than the research suggests. The findings point to only 41% of ITSM professionals seeing a \u201cclear alignment\u201d between their current goals and overall business strategy.\nWhile the senior leadership in the business should be setting strategy, ITSM clearly needs to be more aligned and translating what it does into meaningful business outcomes.\nService Management objectives will relate to the operational aspects of how to achieve these outcomes. IT and ITSM people need to get out and see for themselves how this happens in their customers\u2019 daily work.\nThe above figure of 41% alignment can be turned around into activity that supports the goals of the organization. And this is something not to ignore, as 60% of professionals in the study acknowledge ITSM as \u201cinstrumental to business objectives in the next five years\u201d.\nThis is even more critical in the context of the new devops world, which promises the end of service desks and service management without knowing how it will run IT services after deployment. Any attempt to do this cheaply will inevitably end up costing the organization more.\u00a0\nAnd how does this sit with digital transformation?\nThe move in organizations towards mobile, cloud and big data needs both excellent development and service management practices and support. For example, the winners of last year\u2019s itSMF UK digital transformation project achieved a complete redefinition of IT services based on a top-down strategy for how to engage with a local community using new technologies.\nAlignment between ITSM and senior leadership \u2013 who and how?\nHow to align the C-suite and ITSM is neither a new question nor one that has been properly answered yet.\nHowever, now IT is pervasive in organizations it should be taken more seriously by senior leadership in a way it wasn\u2019t previously. This needs a re-positioning of the IT organization, such as having representation in the C-suite. In turn, the board should be looking at the organization through a technology lens, which means understanding enough about IT to appreciate its value. It\u2019s no longer acceptable to say \u201cI don\u2019t get it\u201d. In fact, there\u2019s a standard \u2013 ISO\/IEC 38500 \u2013 written for business people to give them an insight into effective and efficient use of IT in their businesses.\nIn addition, the CIO \u2013 the de facto owner of the IT organization \u2013 has to be a modern thinker; customer and digitally-focused and willing to challenge their own IT organization to be more business-focussed and aligned. While any number of people associated with IT and ITSM can drive better alignment, they need support at the top of the division from the person \u2013 the CIO \u2013 who is listened to at board level.\nDevops, ITIL and delivering services\nWhile we want to see better alignment between IT, ITSM and the businesses they support, there is also the growing array of best practices to contend with. How do practitioners respond to the pressure of the new while retaining the best of what\u2019s already established?\nITSM professionals in the AXELOS ITSM benchmarking study highlighted their reasons for interest in emerging practices:\n\nthe identification and elimination of wasteful work\nthe value they can bring to the organization\nthe adoption of practices such as continuous testing, integration and deployment.\n\nClearly, that places devops highly among their areas of interest, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of technology built with the intention of reducing support needed later. However, it\u2019s the running of a technology product rather than the design and build that tends to cost the most \u2013 often up to 75% of investment. That\u2019s why ITSM using frameworks such as ITIL should be involved to manage set up, understand business objectives and service ownership. \u00a0\nGood service management should be part of the design, build and test process to create a better product that is easier and cheaper to support and to ensure the service and warranties are well-defined.\nThat said, the challenge remains to address the \u201cthem and us\u201d attitude between ITSM and devops, for example. Devops is not just a \u201ccool, new\u201d thing though I think it has been appropriated as such and focussed too much on development. It is, in fact, a way of collaborating in service management and moving closer to customers and their requirements.\nSetting up service management for the future\nSo, what should happen with ITSM in the next five years?\nIt\u2019s about making sure things are done well and in line with what organizations are trying to achieve. That needs joined-up, collaborative working with attention paid to customer experience and business outcomes.\nIt\u2019s about ensuring that business targets are universally understood and worked towards. This means using business intelligence and metrics to seek continuous improvement.\nHowever, maybe more important, the concept needs to be recognized as service management rather than just IT service management, which is about the business, governance, consistency and, above all else, value (VOCR \u2013 value, outcomes, costs, risks\u2026).\nService management needs recognition higher up in organizations for what it delivers. Any decent CIO knows that their primary challenge is people and how well they work together. Therefore, service management \u2013 which requires collaboration and interactions between people \u2013 should be well-resourced and supported. It simply can\u2019t be done \u201con the cheap\u201d.\nDigital transformation thrives on new technology and the opportunities it offers. However this still requires people to make it happen, working together to achieve real success and value.