It’s the time of year when social media is awash with links to “IT service management (ITSM) in 2023” articles and blogs. These opinions and insights can be helpful to ITSM practitioners, assisting them in forming their future vision for IT service delivery and support. However, practitioners can and should also benefit from looking back. To this effect, this blog tries to capture and share what we, as an ITSM industry, learned about ITSM in 2022. To build on our strengths and hopefully address our weaknesses (including learning from our and others’ mistakes).
ITSM learning #1: The ITSM “basics” are still important
The ITSM practitioner need for help with ITSM “basics” will likely never go away. Not only because new organisations start with ITSM or ITSM-focused organisations add new capabilities but also because so many organisations still think their ITSM capabilities need improvement.
For example, the 2022 AXELOS ITSM Benchmarking Report research found that while 50% of organisations were considered to have achieved “great” or “good” ITSM success, the ITSM capability self-assessment was significantly lower. This data is shown in the table below.
|Practice||Adoption level||Working well||Needs improving|
|Service request management||85%||39%||61%|
ITSM basics change over time, too, as factors such as business needs, service management thinking, and technology enablement change. So being good at something today doesn’t necessarily mean being good at it tomorrow.
Unfortunately, this crucial 2022 learning and 2023 need will likely get overlooked if an organisation only looks forward to the trends and shiny new things the IT industry is excited about. For example, think about the quality of what enterprise service management strategies share or the application of artificial intelligence (AI) – is it right to share or automate suboptimal capabilities?
ITSM learning #2: ITSM practitioners have missed in-person ITSM events
Whether it was the Service Desk and IT Support Show (SITS) event in the UK or Service Management World in the US, if you were at these or other events, hopefully, you felt the attendees’ excitement. Whether they wanted to network with their peers, learn from the educational sessions, speak with ITSM tool vendors regarding new capabilities, or something else, it was apparent that despite the opportunity to attend virtual ITSM events during the pandemic, people missed having face-to-face contact with like-minded individuals.
In addition to these opportunities, ITSM events are a great opportunity to understand what’s currently of interest in the ITSM industry. Importantly, it’s not just the “new stuff”, and even the “new stuff” often isn’t that new (as per the following ITSM learning). For example, the Service Management World session on problem management was standing-room-only, despite it being a decades-old ITSM practice. This demand for the “older” ITSM best practices reinforces the need to focus on getting the basics right covered in learning #1.
ITSM learning #3: ITSM-industry change takes time (and a pretty long time to be fair)
This learning builds on a statement in #2 – that even the “new stuff” often isn’t that new. We need to recognise that while we might get excited about ITSM trends, they tend to take a long time to become mainstream.
For example, enterprise service management is over a decade and a half old, and it’s still something organisations are interested in adopting and benefitting from. Or the adoption of AI in ITSM use cases has taken close to a decade to move from something “coming in the future” to being a commonly found and used element of the most popular ITSM tools.
The important point here is that while your organisation shouldn’t beat itself up over not being at the cutting edge of ITSM thinking and change, it also doesn’t want to be left behind on industry changes that might adversely affect business operations, outcomes, and competitiveness.
ITSM learning #4: The ITSM world is starting to revolve around employee experience…
…But organisations still need to understand how to turn their experience-management interest into people-centric action.
Multiple Service Management World sessions backed up the high level of industry interest in experience management, along with the continued interest in enterprise service management as a proxy for corporate digital transformation. However, the sessions also made it evident that while there’s significant interest in employee experience, much still needs to be done to convert it into people-centric actions that make a difference in experiences, employee productivity, and business outcomes.
A critical learning for ITSM practitioners is that while ITSM tools offer experience-improving capabilities, it requires more than adding technology to improve experiences. Instead, an organisation needs to work with experience data and insights, perhaps received from employee feedback, to understand the issues and “what matters most”. It’s the latter of these that makes the real difference when investing in experience improvement initiatives.
ITSM learning #5: IT employee well-being worsened in 2022
This people-related area is again nothing new, but it’s a critical learning from 2022 (and the previous few years), where organisations finally need to grasp the proverbial nettle. The latest well-being data from ITSM.tools shows that IT-employee well-being is worsening after a pandemic-related improvement, where:
- 88% of survey respondents think working in IT will get harder in the next three years
- 14% of respondents feel their personal efforts aren’t recognised by management, and another 57% state recognition sometimes happens but not enough – a total of 71%
- 67% of survey respondents state that working in IT has adversely affected their well-being to some extent
- 32% of survey respondents believe their line managers are not suitably skilled to identify and deal with employee well-being issues and another 29% that they are only partially skilled.
Even accounting for survey bias, these well-being insights are cause for concern.
While knowing the above statistics is important, what’s more critical is acknowledging the issue, understanding the root cause(s), and doing something to improve the situation in your organisation.