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Enterprise Service Management

5 ITSM trends for 2019

By Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord on January, 3 2019

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Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord

President, TOPdesk USA

2018 has come and gone, which means it's time to focus on 2019! What will happen in the ITSM world this year? Which new trends will pop up? And how will current trends develop? I collected the 5 most notable shifts I currently see in the ITSM landscape.

1. A.I. expectations will normalize

There hasn’t been a more talked-about subject in 2018 than Artificial Intelligence. A whole gamut of blog posts and presentations answered fundamental questions such as: what is A.I. exactly? How is A.I. different from Machine Learning? How will A.I. change our future? And how can we apply it to improve our service delivery

We’re slowly realizing that, although A.I.’s long-term impact might be huge, its short-term impact on ITSM is far smaller. As Bill Gates put it in his book The Road Ahead: ‘We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.’

In 2019, our expectations of what A.I. can do for us right now will normalize. There will definitely be some applications where A.I. will provide added value. But in most cases, A.I. technologies hasn’t advanced far enough to automate processes without negatively impacting Customer Experience. Yes, you can offer your customers a chatbot. But the chances it will provide a better service than your service staff are very slim.

2. Employee Experience (EX) will become increasingly important

2018 saw the rise of Employee Experience. Forbes proclaimed 2018 to be the year of Employee Experience and Forrester renamed their Workforce Enablement playbook to Employee Experience. For 2019, Forrester sees Employee Experience moving to center stage, and ITSM.tools’ Stephen Mann’s predicts EX measurements will be one of the main focus points of ITSM in 2019.

Why? A few reasons. For one, employees’ expectation of what IT does for them continues to increase. In addition, websites like Glassdoor make employer branding more important. So in 2019 we’ll see Employee Experience becoming a recurring topic in the ITSM community. One of the main questions to answer will be: how to offer great service to your colleagues?

3. Enterprise Service Management (ESM) will hit mature service organizations

In the slipstream of the increased attention for improving Employee Experience comes another trend: Enterprise Service Management (ESM). The aim to improve EX will serve as the main driver for ESM.

The realization that various service departments need to work together in order to offer great service, isn’t new. Why should your customer have to guess whether to contact IT or Facility for a new company phone?

What is new, however, according to this HDI report, is the increased adoption of IT processes and tools by other supporting departments, such as Facility, HR and Finance. This makes the leap to ESM a bit easier. Especially for mature service organizations, ESM is quickly becoming the norm.

4. Agile meets ITIL 4 – the moment of truth

For a while now, Agile has been spreading from the development world to other areas. This has been impacting ITSM for the past few years. The DevOps community flourished, IT teams started using Kanban boards for their run and change activities. One of the biggest challenges left to tackle is: how to combine the ITIL best practices with the agile mindset?

ITIL 4, which will be released early 2019, aims to answer that question. In the words of Marcel Foederer, one of ITIL 4’s lead architects: “The main point of adopting ITIL is to help IT organizations move at the speed that the business needs while aligning the framework with other methods such as Agile, DevOps and with Cloud computing.

How to make ITSM more agile will be a much-discussed topic in 2019. To what extent ITIL 4 will be able to answer that question, will partly decide the viability of this new ITIL version.

5. Culture will earn its spot alongside process & tools

In the past years, we saw the focus on Customer Experience (CX) and Employee Experience (EX) increasing. Last year we learned that for most organizations, A.I. will not significantly contribute to increasing CX or EX any time soon. So where do we look to? Surprise, surprise: people!

The topic of company culture has popped up more frequently in blogs and events such as Service Management World and HDI. Service Management World 2019 is even dedicating an entire track to the subject: “People Make the Difference: Attitude, Behavior, Culture”.

In 2019, the traditionally process- and tool-focused world of ITSM will – partly – shift their focus to their most valuable asset: their service staff.

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