ITSM In 2013: Time For Superman To Put Clark Kent Away

IT service management (ITSM) – what Gartner calls IT service support management (ITSSM) – has been around for years but there are big changes ahead, said FrontRange’ Kevin Smith VP and GM of the Cloud Business Unit. “We’re seeing that IT is pulling off the Clark Kent suit and putting on the Superman suit. Let’s move beyond this obsession with efficiency and look at real impactful business measurements. It really is about results and IT is really in position to deliver those results.”

The company has been involved in service management for more than 20 years and works with 15,000 customers globally, including half of the Fortune 500, he said. IT can have a much more meaningful impact on the business. “We’re more interested in being an enabler for the business.”

ITSSM tools offer a tighter integration of functions that correlates with the activities of the broader IT support organization (Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools, August 2012). They leverage a business view of IT services, enabling the IT support organization to quickly resolve or escalate issues and problems, improve root cause isolation, and provide higher levels of business user satisfaction.

There are more than 80 vendors providing IT service desk tools, but Gartner only covered 11 in its ITSSM report, including BMC Software, ServiceNow, IBM, CA and HP, as well as FrontRange. It believes the new category was required because in the ITSSM tool market, product selection criteria is more focused on enabling the tool to evolve to keep pace with new technology and user demands. In addition to the usual IT service desk criteria, the ITSSM tools will focus on how the various features of tools integrate from the perspective of people, process and technology, with a specialized focus on:

-optimization for mobile device usage for incident update and resolution, authorization approvals, and access to reporting and metrics;

-end-to-end visualization of hierarchical and peer-to-peer relationships of configuration items that deliver IT services;

-social IT management capabilities that enable improved collaboration, generate ideas and share best practices;

-integrated suite in conjunction with a larger, integrated IT service management vision; and,

-advanced analytics capabilities that IT service support organizations can leverage to correlate service support performance with business outcomes.

Forrester analyst Stephen Mann offered his take on the top 10 ITSM challenges for 2013, although like Gartner, he prefers another term, “IT service delivery”. In addition to things like value demonstration, agility and availability, his list started with IT cost transparency. ‘Something has still got to give in terms of what IT costs — IT is and will continue to be a sizable expense to the business. The IT organization is spending the business’ money, and so the business wants to know whether it is being spent wisely (and who can blame them). How many IT shops know if they are investing the business’ money wisely outside of projects? ‘

Gartner’s Jarod Greene offered a number predictions for 2013 in a new blog, including: ITSM are going to take on the look and feel of CRM tools. ‘It’s going to take a while for I&O (infrastructure and operations) organizations to become a Service Provider for IT in a service aligned delivery models, but at the core, ITSSM tools have to begin to place greater emphasis on the bi-directional exchange of value between IT and the business.’

BMC and Service-Now will continue to wage war for the upper mid-market and enterprise revenues, but SaaS will NOT be the distinguishing factor between the offerings, he said. All throughout 2012, a key theme of customer requirement conversations has been flexibility and ease of use – licensing has been less of a hot button issue – rarely do a get a call where a user says “We want a SaaS solution and won’t consider anything else”.

FrontRange is pushing a hybrid approach – cloud, on-premise or some combination of the two – because customers want that flexibility, said Smith. “The thing about hybrid is you don’t have to compromise.” A good CIO is going to invest in flexibility, he said.

Quoting Gartner numbers, Smith said the adoption of cloud-based ITSM solutions will peak in 2014; and by 2015, 30% of those companies that swung to cloud implementations will go back to on-premise ITSM deployments. “It’s very easy to get seduced by the cloud,” said Smith.

Kaseya just upgraded its K2 ITSM offering (V6.3) so that for the first time both the hosted and on-premise versions are now identical from a user perspective. The Swiss-based, privately held company which plans to drop K2 from the product name, has 10,000 customers, evenly split between SaaS and on-premise. But there are another 5,000 unpaid SaaS users using free or trial solutions, said the company.

Besides flexibility, ITSM customers will be focusing on quality of service, empowering employees and having meaningful impact on the customer experience, said Smith. “It’s all about the quality of the service delivered through the organization to the customer.”


Author: Steve Wexler

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  1. IT “customers” have been struggling with technology issues for years. As IT shifts from keeping things running to focus on the Customer Experience there is a great deal of promise that we will finally make technology truly invisible. End users will then be free to be more productive and push their businesses forward.

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