What’s hot in IT service management?

Analysis of the presentations at the upcoming IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) UK Conference reveals three “hot topics” coming to the fore. Last year’s emphasis on people is continued, while the oft-neglected ITIL v3 disciplines of service design and continual service improvement get significant coverage. All three need greater exposure and attention within IT organizations. Without this, IT functions place themselves at risk of being unable to adapt to tougher business demands and the rapidly changing IT landscape.

Are IT organizations capable of leveraging people talent?

For last year’s itSMF Conference, Ovum offered the opinion that “the people side of IT, while lauded as part of the oft-quoted ITIL mantra (of people, process, and technology), is well due its time in the spotlight.” But while it’s great to see this year’s conference again focus on people, one has to ask what IT organizations have achieved in this area since last November.

Given the fact that IT functions’ struggle with people (or “talent”) management is a long-held area of concern, one has to ask whether they are ever going to get it right. But something’s got to give. With the increasing focus on IT delivered “as-a-service” and the changing technology landscape, more will be demanded of IT people, and especially of their non-technical capabilities. In particular, the advent of cloud computing will change the way that IT organizations look at, and eventually deliver, IT services. While not requiring an immediate technology change, IT organizations need to be addressing cloud-related people issues and opportunities now.

As the adoption of cloud computing services becomes more prevalent, IT organizations will face a variety of new IT service management challenges. Not only will they need to ensure that existing policies, processes, procedures, and supporting technologies are fit for externally delivered IT services; they must also ensure that the IT organization and its people remain a relevant and effective part of the IT service delivery chain. IT organizations will need to evolve to reflect the change in focus caused by the externalization and loss of immediate management of some infrastructure and services, with an even greater need for IT or business resources to manage service delivery using best practice IT service management processes.

Service design and continual service improvement are key to improving IT organization performance

Many IT organizations neglect the ITIL v3 service design processes of IT financial, service portfolio, and demand management. However, IT organizations cannot continue to ignore the need for IT financial management maturity; they need as a minimum to get the IT financial management basics right. Service costing should also be seen as mandatory, and IT funding models will probably need to change in line with the shift in IT delivery models, potentially with a capital-light and service-centric budget model.

We believe that reactive cost management is no longer enough, and that IT financial management needs to go beyond traditional disciplines to add in the dimension of “value.” An example would be for IT organizations to not just look at the cost of an IT service, but also to gain an understanding of how the related expenditure ultimately delivers value to the organization in support of business processes and corporate goals. Portfolio management processes, tools, and techniques can play a key role in this.

Continual service improvement is not just another ITIL v3 process that can be adopted in isolation. It should be applied across all ITIL domains and processes, and is a capability that needs to stem from a culture of improvement. In our opinion, the continual service improvement process will be sub-optimal without a culture that actively seeks improvements from any part of the organization – an organization where innovation is not just the preserve of senior management. The contribution of people to continual service improvement must therefore be treated as an integral part of ITIL v3 adoption.

Originally published on http://www.ovum.com/news/


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