IT Service Management: Hub or Spoke in the Anxious World of IT?
March 16, 2017

Dennis Drogseth
EMA

Share this

If you're a CIO, VP, director, manager or even a hands-on support professional who cares about the future, you can hear the seemingly contradictory voices in the news.

On the one hand: "You're empowered … You're transformative … It's the digital age and your products are our future."

On the other hand: "You've got to cut costs … How can you justify your operational overhead? … IT is too slow … We have other options, you know."

Based on ongoing data and research, IT leadership is more driven to be innovative than ever, but also more in need of justifying costs and showing value than ever. Combining the two is no mean feat, especially when individual technologies are put forward as the single tantalizing answer.

"It's all about microservices." Or at least, "It's all about cloud." Or maybe "It's all about mobile." Or else speed is held up as sacrosanct: "It's all about agile."

The truth is it's all about all of these things and a great deal more. The "anxious world of IT" is as much about cultural change as it is about new technologies. And that, of course, in a techno-centric mindset, doesn't tend to make things any better.

So where should IT leaders turn to bring the two together?

Culture + technology? One option is to spend a great deal of money on outside consultants, who often focus in a specialized area — e.g. process, or organization, but not both. And this can lead to a lot of circular spinning without real progress, especially since neither group is centered in technology adoption.

But maybe the answer doesn't lie altogether outside the IT organization.

Within IT, there may be a few surprising answers.

And believe it or not, based on many dialogs, hard data, and, admittedly some level of intuition, the "hub" within IT may sometimes be the IT service management (ITSM) team — either in itself, or as a key part of an overlay team brought together to combine operations, ITSM and development.

The irony here, is that the role of ITSM teams, is often seen as "mature" at best, "passé" at worst. And yet progressive ITSM is far more likely to be at the hub of IT transformation than relegated to being a delinquent spoke in going forward.

Here are a few reasons why:

Progressive ITSM

First of all, note the phrase "progressive ITSM." I have written about progressive ITSM, or "Next-Generation ITSM" extensively for APMdigest, but the core attributes:

■ Integrated operations, including ideally integrated analytics and automation.

■ Support for DevOps with insight into service value, project management, costs and usage, as well as integrated support for change management.

■ A more dynamic approach to incident, problem and availability management.

■ Support for IT governance — including documenting operational efficiencies throughout IT.

■ Support for integrated IT asset management, including optimizing IT asset for cost and value. In the best of cases, this extends to public and private cloud resources.

■ Embracing mobile as both a resource to be managed and a resource to further ITSM and operations efficiencies.

Becoming Service-aware

Effective ITSM teams have a history of helping IT become more service-aware. That may sound old-fashioned to some of you, so let's parse it out. ITSM teams can help operations cut through siloed walls with common processes, practices, metrics and objectives. My favorite quote from 2016 was an interview with an ITSM deployment where the CIO described his organization's progress of going from "goat rodeo" to the equivalent of good and efficient. While this can't happen if it's done only within ITSM — it needs executive support, ITSM is well positioned to be the "hub" of best practices within and across IT.

Operational efficiencies

In parallel, I'd like to highlight the focus on operational efficiencies, a requirement that screams out at me in virtually all my research — whether it's Optimizing IT for Financial Performance or User, Customer and Digital Experience: Where Service and Business Performance Come Together, (the two most recent projects from late 2016) just as examples. Based on data from both research projects, operational efficiency is among the most sought-after benefits, while at the same time being one of the most onerous challenges for IT executives and their organizations. And "next-generation ITSM" is well positioned to become a hub in coordinating and optimizing operational efficiencies, not only for the service desk, but for IT as a whole.

A system of integrations

Another attribute of the next-generation ITSM hub is that it is becoming a system of integrations. While ITSM in itself usually isn't a manager of managers, it can provide a core foundation for data exchange, process workflows and process automation, and communication (including social IT). As such ITSM can be an integral part of uniting the IT mosaic for consistency and efficiency, and a key contributor to IT-to-IT and IT-to-business communication on service status, costs, and relevance.

This is what I've seen based on the data and wide-ranging conversations I've had so far. But, like many analysts, I continue to seek validation with fresh data and fresh inquiry, with deeper dives into what's currently happening in all of these areas, as well as others, like the broader impacts of cloud, digital transformation, and growing pressures for integrated support for security and fraud detection. With this in mind, EMA is planning some new research for Q2: Next-Generation IT Service Management: How Real Is It Today, and Where Is It Going in the Future? When the data's in later in April, we should have current fresh perspectives on all of these trends and more.

In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts and comments. Click here to email me.

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Share this

The Latest

July 24, 2017

Optimizing online web performance is critical to keep and convert customers and achieve success for the holidays and the entire retail year. Recent research from Akamai indicates that website slowdowns as small as 100 milliseconds can significantly impact revenues ...

July 21, 2017

Public sector organizations undergoing digital transformation are losing confidence in IT Operations' ability to manage the influx of new technologies and evolving expectations, according to the 2017 Splunk Public Sector IT Operations Survey ...

July 20, 2017

It's no surprise that web application quality is incredibly important for businesses; 99 percent of those surveyed by Sencha are in agreement. But despite technological advances in testing, including automation, problems with web application quality remain an issue for most businesses ...

July 19, 2017

Market hype and growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) are pushing established software vendors to introduce AI into their product strategy, creating considerable confusion in the process, according to Gartner. Analysts predict that by 2020, AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service ...

July 18, 2017

Organizations are encountering user, revenue or customer-impacting digital performance problems once every five days, according a new study by Dynatrace. Furthermore, the study reveals that individuals are losing a quarter of their working lives battling to address these problems ...

July 17, 2017
Mobile devices account for more than 60 percent of all digital minutes in all 9 markets profiled in comScore's report: Mobile’s Hierarchy of Needs ...
July 14, 2017

Cloud adoption is still the most vexing factor in increased network complexity, ahead of the internet of things (IoT), software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV), according to a new survey conducted by Kentik ...

July 13, 2017

Gigabit speeds and new technologies are driving new capabilities and even more opportunities to innovate and differentiate. Faster compute, new applications and more storage are all working together to enable greater efficiency and greater power. Yet with opportunity comes complexity ...

July 12, 2017

Achieving broad competence in event-driven IT will be a top three priority for the majority of global enterprise CIOs by 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. Defining an event-centric digital business strategy will be key to delivering on the growth agenda that many CEOs see as their highest business priority ...

July 11, 2017

It's not especially surprising that a new IT survey shows that cloud use for business and government poses challenges. In significant numbers across the board, respondents cited cloud complexity, compliance and security, cost control, speed of delivery, and domain expertise as the cloud problems their organizations were working to overcome this year ...