2016: Looking Ahead at ITSM - Want to Place Any Bets?
January 19, 2016

Dennis Drogseth
EMA

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I thought I’d begin the year by making some predictions about what to look for in 2016 in the area of IT service management (ITSM).

For those of you who have been following my blogs with any regularity, and particularly for those who sat in on our webinar for the research report What Is the Future of IT Service Management?, these predictions won’t seem terribly radical. So I thought I’d add a little color by placing some personal bets about the likelihood of real progress in each area in 2016. Feel free to share your own thoughts on these. If you’re more accurate than I am (which could easily transpire), I promise to celebrate your insights in December 2016.

The categories I’m going to look at are the following:

■ Integrated operations

■ Integrated DevOps/agile

■ Integrated IT asset management (ITAM) with ITSM

■ Unified mobile/endpoint management

■ Social IT/social media

■ Enhanced workflow support for enterprise processes

■ Extended support for managing enterprise assets (IoT)

■ Integrated user/customer/digital experience management

Probably the one thing that may stand out as missing here is integrated security. That’s because the tidal wave of interest in security and governance overall places it as a key component within many of the categories here.

Want to Make a Bet?

Here are the categories ranked in terms of probability from least likely to most likely. If you feel strongly or at least have an opinion about what’s likely in 2016, go to HEAT Software’s 2016 predictions portal and let us know how you would rank these.

■ Integrated user/customer/digital experience management: 40%

■ Extended support for managing enterprise assets (IoT): 50%

■ Integrated DevOps/agile: 50%

■ Social IT/social media: 60%

■ Integrated IT asset management (ITAM) with ITSM: 75%

■ Enhanced workflow support for enterprise processes: 90%

■ Integrated operations: 95%

■ Unified mobile/endpoint management: 100%

Integrated operations

While it’s still not that visible to many tracking industry trends, integrated ITSM and operations is beginning to become more than a promise. It is showing value when it comes to everything from integrated workflows and runbooks for incident and problem management, or for change and configuration management, or service provisioning and IT governance overall. This need for integration should also include more advanced levels of automation and shared analytics between operations and the ITSM team. I believe that the likelihood of more serious advances in ITSM/operations integrations across the industry in 2016 is 95%. Hopefully, more industry opinion makers like myself will also begin to notice.

Integrated DevOps/agile

While our research data shows that this is really beginning to happen as well, “beginning to happen” is the operative phrase. Most of what’s shared today between ITSM and DevOps teams is project management and workflow scheduling. But we saw some serious movement toward provisioning via advanced configuration management systems (CMSs) and associated automation. Development is also seeking feedback from ITSM teams on services on relevance and value, as well as quality. Nonetheless, given cultural barriers and heady distractions (such as the move to containers and microservices), I would give this only a 50% chance of emerging in 2016 as a critical trend. Hopefully 2017 will be a different story.

Integrated ITAM

Admittedly, the integration of ITSM and ITAM isn’t a new thought at all. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t more relevant than ever, especially with the need to assimilate internal and external cloud-related interdependencies and dynamically optimize assets for service delivery. Time lost in the tangled jungle of audits is also something that IT can ill afford as it seeks to optimize itself for business as well as IT efficiencies. I’m making a 75% bet that significant progress will be made in integrated ITAM.

Unified mobile/endpoint management

The rising requirements for mobile also aren’t brand new, but they are profound. These include everything from provisioning, to consistent service access across devices, to enhanced service performance across devices, to effective endpoint lifecycle asset management. In other words this arena is one of many that cries out for more effective integrated ITSM and operations. Will the industry have to move forward here in 2016? Yup. My bet is 100% that at least some aspects of unified mobile/endpoint management will have to jump forward in 2016.

Social IT/social media

Of course this area isn’t limited to ITSM teams, but our research shows that social IT is a powerful catalyst for much enhanced IT (including operations) efficiencies, while social media is showing impressive value in bringing service consumers and ITSM teams together. Mobile access is a catalyst for this as well. But getting the dialogs right and understanding the personas will take time. While I believe that there will be some solid exceptions, I think 2016 shows only a 60% chance for the industry as a whole to meaningfully move forward here.

Enhanced workflow support for enterprise processes

Our data (and it’s not unique) shows that IT process creation to support enterprise teams in facilities, HR, or marketing, etc., is already a rising opportunity and well on its way to being an established trend — one that also enhances the role of IT in business stakeholders’ eyes. My bet is 90% that this trend continues apace in 2016, with the move toward digital transformation as one of the catalysts.

Extended support for managing enterprise assets (IoT)

Here the progress is much less defined when looking across the industry as a whole. Instrumenting and monitoring enterprise assets from buildings and utilities to airports and cows (first done to my knowledge on a farm in Tennessee with SNMP in the mid-90s) is still not yet common practice. In spite of the rising hype, I’m giving this only a 50% likelihood of making serious strides across the industry in 2016 — with some individual exceptions.

Integrated user/customer/digital experience management

This was the topic of my very last column, so I’ll be brief here. While you might say that this is another example of ITSM/operations/DevOps integration, it carries with it its own requirements for putting two and two together. Although the value of doing this could be extraordinary, will the industry really figure this out in 2016? Probably not quite yet. Sad to say, I’m giving this my lowest ranking yet — 40% — with much fonder hopes for 2017.

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
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