Top trends to watch for in IT Service Management

By Phil Fox, Principal Customer Success Advocate at Adaptavist.

  • 1 year ago Posted in

As service management becomes more mainstream, ITSM (IT Service Management) has started to play a key role in delivering customer satisfaction, making it a core asset for service teams throughout the enterprise. But how can companies get the most from their ITSM investment? We all know we need to make regular, iterative changes to keep up to date with the requirements of our customers and our own business, but to stay ahead of the curve we need to embrace key industry trends as well. The challenge is, which ones?  Here are some thoughts on key trends that will impact ITSM solutions the most in 2023.

1. ITSM’s move to Service Management

IT service management (ITSM) is a practice that focuses on how an organisation manages and delivers a service to its end users and was initially adopted by IT groups, hence the name. Today, however, it is becoming widely adopted by other sectors of businesses that deliver an internal or external service, such as Customer Service, HR, or Logistics. This move is going to put ITSM under the broader category of ‘Service Management’ for the first time, allowing the growth of the sub-practices, such as IT service management, enterprise service management and customer service management.

2. XLAs are the new SLAs

XLAs (Experience Level Agreements) and SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are formal communication between the service provider and their customers, managing service delivery expectations and providing data to improve the service offering. My company, Adaptavist, has seen a recent shift in how a service is measured from focusing on the technology's performance to focusing on the service quality, in relation to the customer experience. This change has affected the metrics. SLAs were the favoured metrics, but are limiting as they only measure the performance of the service (e.g, availability, resolution time, success rate), whereas XLAs focus on the customer's experience and perceived service quality using metrics such as customer satisfaction engagement, value of the service, etc.. Including XLAs in routine performance will help shape how the service is optimised vs. relying on what we think the customer values.

3. The continued evolution of ITSM platforms and the differences between tools and platforms

It is common to see the words tool and platform used interchangeably in the world of ITSM, however, they do have different meanings. An ITSM tool is a fixed piece of software built for a specific purpose that can't change to fulfil requirements outside its remit. A platform is a software that can be moulded and shaped by the customer to suit their unique needs. A recent years, tools have evolved and can now accommodate apps and integrations that expand their functionality, creating a platform. 

Platforms that include tools with integration capabilities are increasing in popularity because of their agility, flexibility and scalability. It lets organisations expand their service offering outside IT, by allowing them to customise the platform to suit processes in departments, such as HR and Logistics, instead of investing in separate tools that may not integrate. According to leading technology research and consulting firm Gartner, “I&O leaders will overspend by $2 billion on buying unused features of ITSM platforms in 2026, up from $1 billion in 2021”. An integrated platform, which allows organisations to grow the service, adding capabilities to the solution gradually in line with business growth and prevent initial overspending on unnecessary features, can be the solution.

4. The agile mindset for ITSM/ESM becomes holistic

Agile continues to be a key trend for ITSM – Gartner predicts that by 2024, 80% of ITSM teams that have not adopted an agile approach will find that their practices are ignored or bypassed. But companies need to develop a more holistic approach to agile that allows teams to better embrace change. Applying a holistic approach to agile even before necessary changes are needed within a team, will create a culture that empowers your team to adapt better, minimising red tape and encouraging collaboration.

5. ITSM tool migration and optimisation 

In 2020, the pandemic was the main driver that caused a surge in demand for service management solutions as IT functions and organisations saw their customer requirements change overnight. To maintain a new form of business-as-usual, I&Os frantically sought a solution for in-person restrictions. As a result, digital service management suddenly grew in demand. 

The early adopters who invested in an ITSM tool may have noticed issues with their service management (poor suitability for their requirements) that were tolerable when their ITSM tool was anticipated to be a short-term fix. Now organisations have realised the advancement of the IT industry, due to the unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation, is here to stay. This has caused a rise in organisations needing to either migrate to a more suitable tool or seek expert advice to optimise their existing setup, and it is no surprise that this trend is set to continue throughout 2023.

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