10 Trends That Will Impact the Future of ITSM and IT Operations

What will the future of IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Operations look like? For me, it’s best to start with two things about modern business that are now both apparent and very important and these will both influence the future of ITSM and IT Operations.

Firstly, success in any business is due to the great people you hire and how you invest in them, and ITSM success is very much aligned to the adage of “people, process, and technology” (in this order). Secondly, the opportunity and need to make efficient and effective related changes in operations through to products, services and support is never ending!

With these two points front of mind, let me share with you what the future of fit-for-purpose ITSM and IT Operations looks like.

There’s so much change going on in IT service delivery and support right now, and this doesn’t look like its stopping any time soon. Some of this relates to the technology used to deliver the required IT and business services, but there’s also so much more to take into consideration when planning and preparing for the future.

In my opinion, there are ten key trends that IT organisations and service providers need to understand, consider, and address in order to stay relevant to their customers.

1. Improvement Based on Business Value

It’s becoming more and more apparent that businesses today are thirsty for improvement and the digitalisation of business processes from an internal perspective as well as externally.

IT processes, plus those of other business functions, need to be designed and implemented to speed up ways of working, reduce manual errors, and to ultimately make the lives of both customers and employees much easier. These improvements need to be focused on business outcomes over IT outputs.

2. Meeting Customer Demands Across Speed, Quality and Cost

Customer experience (CX) is the number one business and marketing strategy for many business-to-consumer (B2C) companies right now. Thanks to consumerisation, employees bringing their personal-life, consumer-world, experiences and expectations into the workplace and with the aforementioned B2C advancements, employee expectations of all internal service providers, including IT, are rising at a rapid rate. Your IT department needs to continuously raise its game to meet these.

3. Automation Exploitation

Interest in automation is everywhere right now and IT service desks in particular are seeking ways to do all three by increasing speed, reducing costs, and improving quality. Automation and AI, both offer a solution to overworked, underfunded, and under pressure IT departments that will positively affect IT departments across all three of speed, cost, and quality.

4. AI Adoption

I believe that AI will play a huge part in the future of ITSM and IT operations, ensuring effectiveness and ease of use, and providing new functionality. Initial support use cases are already being seen in external B2C customer support scenarios, which will be the blueprint for IT service desks (and other business support functions) following suit, starting with chatbots, AI-assisted data analysis, and intelligent automation.

5. Improving IT and Business Change Capabilities

This ties in with trend #2 and the need for speed and flexibility. Businesses can no longer afford to wait for IT to keep up – if they ever could! In order to stay relevant, IT organisations need to embrace:

  1. Change management best practices, including change models for low-risk, pre-approved changes
  2. The benefits of automation (and then AI)
  3. The concepts of DevOps, the required people change, and the related technologies that will ultimately help with the desired better business outcomes.

6. Reducing IT Wastage

Through the lens of the Lean Six Sigma methodology, it’s vital for IT Operations to look at internal process efficiency and the opportunities to reduce waste. It is a key way of not only reducing costs and rework, but also for speeding up delivery and improving end-user experiences.

7. Enterprise Service Management Adoption

My COO role makes me well positioned to understand the need for, and the power of enterprise service management – the use of ITSM best practices and technology in other business functions such as HR and facilities. This extension of ITSM best practice and technology (to other business functions) will help the rest of the business to run as efficiently as possible, while also making sure that employees are suitably equipped to best support both internal and external customers.

8. Improving Employee Productivity

Referring back to many of my earlier points, many of these trends, while improving IT Operations, are ultimately aimed at better business outcomes including the improvement of employee productivity. Whether this is the productivity of the many users of IT services or the people that work in other internal service teams such as HR (thanks to #7).

9. The Need to Change or Reimagine Technology Usage

We are currently seeing an unprecedented speed and volume of change in the IT landscape. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that it would be easy for IT departments to feel that understanding new technology innovations, and the business opportunities they bring, is an endless task. Unfortunately, it is. And not to do so is opening your company up to the risk of falling behind competitors that are already benefiting from such new technologies.

Importantly, this “digital transformation” doesn’t only apply to the use of new technology, it also applies to new use cases for existing technologies as the IT department does whatever it can to:

  1. Help create new products, services and revenue streams based on technology and data
  2. Improve customer engagement – again using technology and data
  3. Improve back office operations to support the first two bullets.

10. The Impact of All These Changes on ITSM and IT Operations Skills/Capabilities

All the above might sound great, the many ways to improve the value your IT department delivers to the parent business. However, there has been one very big omission so far though and that is your people. Especially when investing in your people was one of the first things I mentioned. Think of this as me saving the most important trend to last.

And all of these changes will impact people and offer up a number of challenges, including:

  1. Successfully “bringing people along” with the changes to ways of working, ideally using organisational change management (OCM) tools and techniques
  2. Upskilling people to reflect the people demands of the new ways of working from “living and breathing” CX through to leveraging the new technology
  3. Losing some redundant roles, and maybe people, while also filling new roles and skills gaps with new people where upskilling is not possible.

So that’s my 10 trends that will impact the future of ITSM and IT operations – what would you add?

Moses Soussis
Group COO

Follow me on twitter @MosesSoussis


By Daniel Swann