That was the year that was (2013)

Here’s the trouble with year-end retrospectives: everyone has a different view of what the most important themes and events of the last 12 MicePies.jpgmonths were.  As I write this from my cabin shed on a blustery mountainside in southeast Wales, I am acutely aware that you may have a very different view of what mattered in 2013.

 

So given this is the season of indulgence, please bear with me as I ponder some of the key things that I saw give shape to ITSM teams, processes and technology in 2013. Now, sit back, relax and enjoy another mince pie (or is that just us?)

All hail the age of the customer

Outside-in thinking, the customer-first approach, customer-centric support, however you choose to describe it, it was hard to escape what many are heralding as ‘the age of the customer’ in ITSM.

Let’s get one thing clear: it’s a mistake to suggest this is the first time IT support teams have decided to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. However, it’s clear that technology, especially mobile technology, now enables you to give customers a massively enhanced service experience.

These days we can tell who customers are, where they are, what they use and what they might need next. That context-rich view of the people you support enables you to remove much of the more laborious form filling associated with self-service. It also allows you to offer much more personal and therefore helpful support (and with a great deal of efficiency too).

So, yes with a little digital help perhaps, the age of the customer came of age in 2013. Too cheesy? hey, it’s Christmas!

Mobile First

The launch of Salesforce.com’s Salesforce1 platform and its ‘mobile first’ design philosophy signals a clear and accelerating trend to develop for mobile devices as the primary computing platform. We’re seeing greater and greater demand for mobilization from the providers and consumers of IT support services too.

Many organizations were relatively early adopters of mobile technology in ITSM, especially those with large physical estates or a number of remote sites to support. However, the proliferation of devices and a significant increase in their sophistication is fuelling a real revolution in how and where people access their service management systems. But more of that later…

Things suddenly got cloudier

Ok, it’s not exactly news that ITSM processes and tools lend themselves very well to delivery and consumption via the cloud. However, this year saw a notable uptick (25% growth) in organizations choosing to deploy their ITSM solutions in the cloud.

It’s clear that confidence has increased in Cloud solutions in general and it seems like that confidence extends to the ITSM domain. It’s also true that more and more of the supporting ecosystem of solutions that surround ITSM technology, such as enterprise app stores for example.

But don’t write off the on-premises approach yet, it still accounts for the majority of the ITSM systems being deployed around the world. It will also be interesting to see how this trend develops in 2014 and what effect recent revelations over online privacy have on cloud adoption (if any).

We looked at clouds from both sides (I know, I know)

When you’re supporting a technology environment where someone else owns and manages a large part of the infrastructure i.e. public cloud applications and cloud infrastructure, things change in ITSM…

Many ITIL process definitions and other best practice recommendations assume that you have stewardship of the whole technology stack: from the business service to the hardware. This is clearly not a good working assumption in the case of cloud applications! Increasingly, IT support teams are managing a complex exchange between suppliers and consumers of technology.

For some reason this is often over looked by many pundits. However in 2013 I met several customers who were really getting to grips with what it means to support technology in the cloud era.

SLAs Rule, it’s official. A recurrent theme among those I spoke too about how they’d adapted their working practices was a resurgent interest in SLA automation. Supporting ITIL-recommended SLAs, OLAs, and underpinning contracts may have felt like an unproductive use of your time in the past.

With the clouds on your horizon (see what I did there?), you can no longer avoid service level management (SLM). You need to rely on it. Your services will now depend on several interconnected components, sourced internally and externally.

With an ITSM solution that facilitates effective SLM, you can:

  • Understand the interdependencies
  • Create accountable SLAs with third-party providers and the business
  • Monitor everything to ensure SLAs are being met

So, SLAs are cool again. Who knew?

And in 2014?

Get ready for even more mobile. I mean the mobilization of more job roles, using more devices, consuming a broader range of IT services, from more locations for more of the time.  You can also expect BMC to be leading the charge with some very exciting announcements in this area throughout 2014.

Personally speaking, I am hoping the UK can avoid the fate that befell her exactly 1000 years ago this Christmas: In 1013 Sweyn Forkbeard, the King of Denmark, installed himself on the throne, placing whole chunks of the country into the ‘Danelaw’.

We can all laugh at his name from the safe distance of 1000 years, but he was a bit of a handful by all accounts – so fingers crossed this Xmas.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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Chris Rixon

Chris Rixon

Chris has worked in IT Operations Management technology since 1990, in roles spanning: IT helpdesk, software engineering, consulting, architecture, sales engineering and marketing. Chris joined the Remedy Corporation in 2000 and came to BMC during the acquisition in late 2002.