Boring Boring ITSM – time for a rebrand?

This week, I attended SITS – the Service Desk and IT Support show. It took place in the mecca for all trade shows – the Excel centre – and was sandwiched between the Stone Show (a trade show devoted to everything you could want to know when it comes to stones) and Accountex – Europe’s largest Accountancy and Finance expo.

SITS is a great platform for vendors and partners who showcase their technology to IT Service Management professionals, so you would imagine that it would command a large attendance, buoyed by IT budget waiting to be spent on service improvement initiatives.

However, what struck me this year, and less obviously so in previous years, was just how few people attend. When compared to both the Stone Show (because who doesn’t want to know about stones?) and Accountex, the floor space occupied, the number of attendees, and the number of exhibitors seemed significantly smaller. Why is this?

Historically, SITS has taken place alongside Infosec so has benefitted from that alignment in terms of profile and footfall. But this did not happen in 2019, so this may have had an impact. But more importantly, when I looked with a critical eye at what the vendors and partners were showcasing, there is in fact little variety. Large vendors with multi-million dollar R&D budgets seem to be spending money on making themselves seem more like their competition, rather than different. Interestingly the market leader, ServiceNow, had no features or benefits displayed at all. None! They simply rely on their brand to bring the punters in.

I am proud to say that Fusion is trying to stand out from the crowd with our own initiatives around AI and outcome-based services. But perhaps it reveals another truth. And that is that Service Management for IT is no longer where it’s at. Digital transformation has moved the spend away from IT to the business, and whilst IT is of course fundamental in supporting digital business, the budget holders are in the business. Which leads me to ask if the vendors attending SITS are driving at the wrong thing? In my opinion – yes. Perhaps this is why ServiceNow with its’ absence of messaging is leading the pack.

So instead of talking about automated workflow for creating AD accounts, or service catalogue bundles that mean you can order a laptop, USB mouse and keyboard, and a docking station in one go, why don’t we talk about how Service Management for digital business can underpin critical business applications that drive revenue?  Banking applications that offer right product / right time / right channel services to consumers, or networks for media and broadcast companies (imagine our horror if these failed mid GoT E3 S8!!), or blue light services that save lives? These are things that impact our lives in ways that are genuinely significant, all underpinned by service management technologies that go unmentioned.

To evidence this, the Head of Service Management for one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country told me that when he talks about Service Management to his board they hear ‘Service Desk’.

Is all stone the same? Is all accounting software? Judging by the queues for Accountex in the morning I’d say not. These industries seem to have got their messaging right.

It’s time for ITSM to represent itself as Service Management for critical, leading edge services, and show the people with the discretionary spend why they need to attend and how we can benefit their businesses.

By Sunil Duggal