The Future of IT Service Management – New Research from EMA

Two recent posts here have explored predictions for IT trends in the coming year and what IT may look like by 2020. While specifics vary, the common thread is that IT teams will be expected to accelerate their own workflow while delivering technology to transform business processes.

Future of IT support - EMA researchA new study from EMA Research on the future of ITSM, reported by Dennis Drogseth on APMdigest, reflects this theme as well while adding new insights. Here are half a dozen key findings from EMA’s survey, along with additional commentary and observations from this blog.

“Nearly 50% of ITSM organizations (are) slated for growth” over the next few years.

It’s surprising this share is only 50% given the massive technology disruption IT service groups are already beginning to support, and with the pace and scope of changes in areas like big data analytics, the Internet of Things, wearables, and hybrid cloud infrastructure continuing to increase.

“Improved user experience management and integrated operations for incident, problem and change management led in ITSM strategic priorities.”

A key enabler for improving the user experience by providing one-stop shopping for both IT service requests and incident reports is implementing an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy. The ERM approach combines a single intuitive portal with back-end process automation to simplify the process of requesting services from IT (as well as other internal service groups, as noted below), and checking the status of pending requests, at any time.

Automating approval and scheduling processes also improves ticket routing accuracy, reduces manual fulfillment efforts, and reduces service delivery costs. In addition, the ERM portal can be integrated with actionable enterprise calendar software to improve change management visibility and avoid resource scheduling conflicts.

Self-service, project management and CMDB/CMS/ADDM led in functional priorities.

An ERM portal, as noted above, simplifies self-service for employees to obtain resources or get problems fixed. Implementing ERM typically leads to significant increases in the use of online self-service, while dramatically reducing less efficient and more costly phone calls and support emails.

And understanding common project management mistakes (such as lack of executive support,  scope creep, improper team selection) can help avoid them and increase project success rates.

“50% offered mobile support for ITSM/consumer interactions. 63% were using mobile in support of ITSM professionals.”

Addressing the first point, an ERM portal is again a powerful mobile tool enabling employees to request services and report issues as well as check the status of pending requests at any time, from any device. Regarding the second point, problem collaboration tools enable IT support to easily assemble a team of experts, wherever they are, to work together to resolve urgent enterprise issues.

“Only 11% had no plans to consolidate ITSM outreach to support enterprise (non-IT) services.

In other words, an overwhelming 89% are looking for ways to enable employees to request services and items from any internal group—IT, HR, finance, facilities, etc. —via a unified portal, as ERM provides. Research from HDI and itSMF reported last fall found that ““51 percent of organizations are applying or are planning to apply service management principles in areas outside of IT, which indicates that there is interest from non-IT business units.” The increased interest reflected in the EMA research is significant.

And finally:

“When looking at success rates, we also analyzed the data to contrast how the 16% “extremely successful” performed…Compared to that 12% with marginal success rates, extremely successful ITSM initiatives were:

  • 2X more likely to be leveraging mobile for ITSM professionals;
  • Far more likely to have an integrated approach to support enterprise services; and
  • Much more likely to get an increase in budget.”

The first two bullets make the case for utilizing mobile problem collaboration tools and implementing an ERM approach, as outlined above. The third shows a key benefit of doing so.

Drogseth concludes that EMA’s research findings indicate “a trajectory that underscores the need to bring process, workflow, automation and dialog between the service desk and the rest of IT into a far more unified whole than in the past.” Indeed it does—but it also shows the need for IT to take the lead in helping other internal service groups integrate their offerings into a single unified request portal. The bottom line is reduced costs, higher service quality, and an improved user experience for employees.

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