As organizations prepare for the future, the pace of digital transformation is accelerating, requiring IT service management (ITSM) to adapt and modernize. Are you ready?
More than 60% of organizations are shifting or increasing their technology spend to pivot their businesses to the digital future, according to IDC, increasing their use of technologies that have a higher change velocity and that are more business-critical.
To cope with this fast-paced setting and the expectations that come with it, service management must become more agile and accessible.
You might wonder why service management needs to change at all. After all, shouldn’t ITSM be a constant amid all of the change? The reality is that parts of traditional ITSM will remain, especially for supporting systems of record.
But considering how the past 18 months have fast-tracked digital transformation, it is clear that ITSM will have to adapt. Here’s what to expect.
The pandemic effect
Pre-pandemic, 61% of organizations saw an increase in volume of support cases, according to IDC. In the post-pandemic “new normal,” the number of support cases has trended even higher, according to the IDC study. This is due in part to the push for remote work and the tools needed to facilitate new goals that the pandemic created.
Meanwhile, as tickets began piling up due to the pandemic, there was a major push for digital transformation in nearly every sector of the workforce. In fact, according to another IDC study, direct digital transformation investment will reach $6.8 trillion in 2023. It will grow at a 15.5% compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2023 as companies build on existing strategies and investments, becoming digital-at-scale enterprises.
And by 2022, some 70% of organizations will have accelerated the use of digital technologies, IDC says, transforming existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resilience.
Despite the obvious connection between rising ticket volumes and increasing digital growth, service management doesn’t always come to mind as a strategic answer. According to a global study by best-practices consultancy AXELOS, over half of ITSM and executive leaders understand the need for greater strategic alignment to make digital transformation a success.
To bridge this gap, consider the benefits of a modernized, agile ITSM.
What does a modern service look like?
To support new operating models and create sustainable service delivery, you need to put in place modern support technologies. There are four main areas of modern support that should be part of digital transformation and evolution in ITSM.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
AI and ML are major drivers in modern service management. AI on its own can power automation, and AITSM, defined by Gartner, applies AI to ITSM to help with tasks, requests, and actions on the IT service desk. It can help improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency for the infrastructure and operations staff, as well as reduce errors.
Paired with ML, AITSM can create an intuitive experience that continues to improve over time. By analyzing user data, incident patterns, and search habits that are continually input, the software will better understand user intent, predict future issues, provide relevant search results, and even interact via intelligent automation such as AI-powered chatbots.
Intelligent knowledge management
Knowledge management isn’t a new concept, but intelligent knowledge management goes beyond traditional wiki articles to offer contextualized, guided knowledge delivery through several channels, such as Microsoft Teams or similar collaboration software, self-service web portals, and multi-experience apps.
Agile methodology and processes
Agile ITSM is gaining so much popularity that, according to Gartner, by 2023, some 80% of ITSM teams that have not adopted an agile approach will find their ITSM practices being ignored or bypassed as a result of more agile ways of working being adopted elsewhere in the organization. Remaining agile will help keep ITSM and service desk teams on track to adapt quickly to digital transformations and future pivot projects.
The human element of change
Humans aren’t the same as technology, of course, but they are a main area of modern support. To keep up with digital transformation in ITSM and at the service desk, you must have people who are willing to change and adapt while bringing new ideas and honest feedback to the table.
Integrating modern technologies into the service desk has been the strategy of effective teams for years and will continue to be the future. For example, integrating cloud technology into ITSM has kept service desks connected throughout remote work scenarios and major changes.
Will modern ITSM and digital transformation replace humans?
The short answer is no. Modern service management is meant to augment the human experience and make digital transformation smoother, not to replace people.
The human element is important in modern support, which means that above all else, humans are now and will remain at the center of everything you do. Allowing service management to follow digital transformation trends should serve to smooth the process for customers and agents.
Perhaps that’s why Gartner predicts that by 2022, some 70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies such as ML applications, chatbots, and mobile messaging. Gartner’s even gone so far to say that in the future, more people will converse with chatbots than with their spouses. While that remains to be seen, there is no denying that AI’s and digital transformation’s impact on ITSM is great, since AI plays a major part in supporting human agents and customers.
For an example of how modern service management and AI can positively impact people, consider that AI can reduce the number of Level-0 and Level-1 tickets, effectively freeing up agents to work on higher-priority, more complex tickets. The combination of AI and ITSM also can provide contextualized answers to help agents find the right information quickly while supporting their own customers, rather than replacing agents with AI on the customer end.
Change versus transformation
When it comes to digital transformation and its effects on ITSM, this is not about enacting only a few changes. It’s about full-on transformation.
Change occurs when external forces are in place to modify actions. For example, you can change the technology to create a different type of interaction, but transformation modifies deeply held beliefs. With transformation, actions become natural, and in this way you achieve the desired result.
Here’s an example: Changing out your laptop for a new one might create a faster process, but at the end of the day you still work the same way and use the technology in the same way.
To transform, you might start using new software on the laptop and discard deeply held beliefs about how you work and interact with co-workers and how you resolve tickets or research problems. Think of how the cloud has affected ITSM: We have transformed the way we connect because of cloud technology, rather than merely adopting and using the technology change in the same way we did when these systems were on-premises.
In short, change is reversible, but transformation isn’t. This is true on the service desk, in a digital transformation, and in life.
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