Over the years, frontline support demands have increased while associated budgets have decreased. Unfortunately, it appears that these trends will continue in the foreseeable future. As a result, organizations are turning to technology as a way to meet the increased service management demands with limited resources. In 2019, we will see a renewed interest in chatbot technology with an expansion of self-service offerings.
As self-service portals and chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) mature, we will see the frontline human ITSM analysts, as we know them today, fade away. Chatbots and intelligent process automation will help ITSM organizations meet increased demands fueled by the rapid expansion of self-service offerings, thus allowing the human analyst to focus on major incidents (one-to-many), problem management, and change management.
With Agile, Unified IT, DevOps, and Digital Transformation on the radar of most organizations, we will see ITSM solutions evolve by integrating into other technology solutions on the network, thus eliminating technical silos we have been accustomed to in the past.
Network issues will be handled by integrated service management processes that will trigger complex sub-processes to automatically detect, then resolve network issues before they are observed by a human analyst.
Requests for IT services will be handled by chatbots and self-service portals which then use integrated automated processes to fulfill the request, eliminating the involvement of a human technician.
Eventually, all service management processes will be satisfied from start to finish by intelligent automated systems that will not require human intervention. As a result, the role of the IT analyst will have to change.
Here are the clearest proclamations with future IT:
SKILLS THAT WILL BE REQUIRED BY THE FUTURE ITSM ANALYST
Service management employers are beginning to seek out talent with a new set of skills in preparation for modernizing their ITSM solutions. These skills include knowledge of technologies such as AI, Unified IT, Agile, and DevOpps. ITSM Analysts and administrators that do not acquire these skills will be considered old-fashioned, and as a result, they might be viewed as impeding the progress of their organization’s ITSM objectives.
Future ITSM analysts will be responsible for managing automated processes instead of performing the processes manually. Analysts with a deep understanding of their customers’ business and business objectives will continue to be valued by their organizations. Analysts and administrators that do not acquire these skills will be replaced.
Modernizing an ITSM solution with chatbots, AI, and integrated automated processes will not be easy. Most organizations will rely on their ITSM analysts and administrators to provide direction and advice to fine-tune the solution and enhance the customer experience.
THE TRANSITION FROM “HELP DESK” TO SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Traditionally, a business department would identify their own IT needs and petition the IT department for the necessary equipment to achieve their desired goal. Business users would then contact their IT help desk whenever they had an issue with said pieces of hardware or software. The perception was that IT departments were there to provide ‘help’ whenever needed and little to no contact was made otherwise. But why should IT be viewed as simply a provider of technology? The supply of specific software/hardware based solely on the petition of a business user is a disjointed process that affords little tangible business value. Today, however, the role of IT has shifted from a mere support function to a strategic service provider. No longer are help desks just reacting to issues as they arise. They are also supporting business delivery. To that end, the term “help desk” is no longer relevant when referring to a business user’s point of contact with IT.
Welcome to the era of the “service desk.” IT departments are no longer viewed as a siloed department out on a limb. In fact, the service management ethos is now spreading throughout organizations enabling more effective business solutions to be delivered. With defined business goals and desired outcomes documented, solutions can be subsequently recommended that represent the best possible return on investment. The future of service management will see businesses and IT providers working closer than ever before towards a common goal.
ITIL IS STILL RELEVANT BUT FAR FROM PERFECT
We believe that ITIL is still very relevant when it comes to ITSM and its framework. Although not perfect, it plays an integral role in the business. Furthermore, ITIL allows for the measurement of performance against a set of definitive benchmarks and monitors the overall effectiveness of IT providers.
With this in mind, it makes sense that other operational departments throughout a business stand to benefit from incorporating ITSM into their working practices. After all, most operational business units follow a set of guidelines and are process-driven. By adopting an ITSM framework, these processes and guidelines can be measured for effectiveness. For example, departments like HR and Finance could all adopt the ITSM ethos and use it to not just measure their performance but also to provide real value to the business.
ITSM PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT
ITSM has fundamentally changed and now plays a key role in the areas of business improvement and business transformation. The transparency it affords and the metrics it produces can be a very powerful combination leading to visibility of performance business-wide.
A unified analytics platform can be introduced to analyze the performance of various teams across the business. This allows for the identification of top performers and can lead to specific business processes–that are providing real value–being adopted in other departments.
Likewise, underperformance can also be highlighted and any potential issues can be addressed before they have a greater impact on the business. The ability to benchmark teams against each other will further underline any deviations from the norm.
ITSM TO SUPPORT ALL PROCESS-DRIVEN DEPARTMENTS
We suggest that any department which uses set processes can embrace service management and use it to improve their service offering. Moreover, with concurrent licensing, enough flexibility is available for certain departments to only implement a solution that fits their needs. This represents a significant cost saving to the business, as well as affording all the other benefits of ITSM.
S U M M AR Y
Eventually, ITSM solutions will have the ability to make decisions. However, for the near future, decision-making responsibilities will not be handed over to AI without a human analyst involved in the process. ITSM analysts and administrators that are able to manage processes and new technologies, such as AI, will be critical for service management teams to be successful.
As organizations venture into unknown territory by implementing new ITSM technology while disrupting traditional service management methods, it will be vital for ITSM Analysts to earn the trust of stakeholders. With service management processes spanning the entire organization, it will be important that analysts have good relationships with non-IT stakeholders in addition to IT stakeholders.