IT service management used to be mostly synonymous with the IT help desk. Hardware or software malfunctioned, and someone called or emailed the help desk to get it fixed. IT services were back-office functions, and were somewhat set apart from the rest of the business operation.
Today, however, IT service management is not a back-office function, but an important driver of how the business as a whole operates. Great IT service management can help an organization develop a stronger competitive edge and help it remain agile enough to respond to market or customer demands.
Effects of Consumerization of IT on IT Service Management
The consumerization of technology has largely been a result of actions by companies like Google and Apple along with the many mobile devices people use every day. One side effect of consumerization of technology has been a shift in end-user perspective regarding the IT service desk. Before consumerization, people’s technology experiences existed largely within the confines of the workplace, and that technology was controlled by the IT service desk. But that model is increasingly inadequate. End-users want solutions, and if IT doesn’t provide them, they’ll turn to “shadow IT” instead.
Technology Powers Business
Few businesses today exist that aren’t completely or almost completely powered by technology. Whereas before, technology drove efficiency, today it drives efficiency plus just about every other task that takes place within a business. In the old days, when technology failed, it was an inconvenience and a headache, sure, but when technology fails today, business can come to a halt quickly, and costs rapidly add up. End-users may still not quite know what IT service management is, but they certainly know when it’s not there. That’s yet another reason why organizations rely on cloud help desk software as part of a comprehensive IT service management strategy: so technology can continue to make business function, from human resources to marketing.
The “Gatekeeping” Function Has Changed or Gone Away
The traditional model of gaining an IT service, a necessary piece of hardware, or a software package was going to corporate IT and requesting it. The IT department (or the IT service desk) was the gatekeeper to corporate technology. But the cloud changed all that. If IT didn’t respond to needs, end-users sought out their own solutions, from DropBox to Google Docs. If IT said no, they would bypass IT and use a cloud app. This led to shadow IT and the risks that go along with it. Those tasked with delivering IT services had no choice but to double down on control or come up with solutions that empowered end-users to have a say in meeting their needs.
ITSM’s Emerging Strategic Function
In today’s company, as little as 20% of the technology used is responsible for providing an organization’s strategic differentiating value. Much of the rest is technology that is necessary, but that may not alter competitive edge – technology like email, for example. Companies want to invest their important IT resources in delivering technology that makes the company a stronger competitor. And IT service management as a back office operation can’t do that effectively. Instead, IT service management has to evolve to be a key player in the overall business strategy. For that, the IT team needs tools that free it up to focus on helping IT evolve along with the company.
How Cloud Help Desk Software Can Enable Evolved ITSM
Cloud-based help desk software and IT asset management tools are critical to powering an effective IT team. IT teams shouldn’t have to worry about how their IT service management software works; they should just be able to rely on it. Cloud help desk software is automatically patched, updated, and upgraded, so time spent taking care of these tasks can instead, be spent delivering services that add business value. And when IT asset management functions are integrated into it, inventorying, chasing down software licenses, and tracking software installs are efficient enough that IT can be confident day in and day out that all IT assets are accounted for.
IT service management now takes care of the end-to-end chain of technology, regardless of which office it’s in or who it’s assigned to. End-users’ processes have changed considerably in the past few years, and the old model of the IT administrator keeping the servers running and the desktops locked down is going away. IT service management is business-centric and is expected to deliver levels of service that sharpen the organization’s competitive edge.