For the 4th consecutive year, we’re taking stock of the state of service management. Whereas 2021 was all about fixing the short-term solutions we implemented when Covid hit, 2022 will give us more time to rethink our strategy and lay the groundwork for future-proof improvements. One thing is certain: Covid has changed the service management landscape. Below we discuss the top 5 ITSM market trends for 2022 that will determine your agenda: from employee experience in a hybrid workplace and automation to process hacking.

1. Employee experience (EX) in a hybrid workplace

This year, it has become clear that we won’t be returning to office life as we knew it. Research showed that 72% of corporate leaders plan to offer a hybrid workplace environment.  

But how to make the hybrid workplace work? That’s something we’re still figuring out. 

Covid certainly has made it harder for IT organizations to provide a great employee experience (EX). Since 2020, offering a decent IT environment for everyone who works from home has become the new norm. And expectations about WFH have increasedIn the beginning of the pandemic, many employees were still understanding of the less-than-perfect work situation at their home office. But now that it has become clear that WFH is here to stay, your employees expect both their hardware and software at home to perform at office-level. Optimizing for a hybrid workplace will be an important topic for many IT organization all around the globe. Want some inspiration? This Harvard Business Review article offers 4 strategies for buidling a hybrid workplace. 

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2. Enterprise Service Management is as relevant as ever

The hybrid workplace posits a challenge that IT organizations can’t,and shouldn’t, tackle by themselves. IT needs to collaborate with Facility, HR and other teams to ensure a great EX. That is why we see that an Enterprise Service Management approach will be as vital as ever. 

Take the example of how to set up a meeting room. This used to be mainly a collaboration between the Facilitiy team and the IT team, who jointly made sure the room, furniture and technology was optimized for live meetings and video calls. 

But how should we facilitate meetings in a hybrid officeBecause even if people are coming to the office, not everyone will be there every day, and definitely not on the same days. Should we have a bunch of people in the office in the meeting room, and the rest via videoconferencing? This used to be the standard way for global meetings, but it had its drawbacks. 

A complaint I used to hear often from the people who were dialing in in such a meeting, is that they never really felt part of the conversation. They felt distanced. Now, when everyone is logging in in the same MS Teams call, it feels more like a level playing field. So, organizations will have to rethink how people and teams should collaborate to get the best results – and facilitate the workplace accordingly. 

A collaboration with HR has become even more relevant for IT organizations. Not only can HR advise you on how you deal with staff that has a higher risk of Covid-induced stress or burnout, they’re also a great partner. They can help keep track of employee happiness, and how your IT and Facility infrastructure is impacting that.

3. A culture focused on trust and well-being

In the past years, we’ve seen a decrease in popularity of the traditional command-and-control approach to running an organization. Instead, the tendency has become to empower employees. To give them the responsibility and freedom to make their own choices, and trust them to make the right calls.  

The pandemic dramatically accelerated that development. Because when everyone is working from home, you have no choice but to trust your team members to spend their time wisely, right? 

Well, almost right.  

In an insightful crowd-sourced ITSM tools article, Karen Ferris stated that managing a hybrid team is new to most managers, and that ‘in March and April 2020 the interest in employee surveillance software increased by around 80% compared to the previous year.’ Ferris continues: ‘We need a fundamental shift from command and control to a position of empowerment and trust. We need leaders who lead with empathy, care, and compassion.’ 

2022 is the perfect year to find out how your team can move towards a more trust-based service culture.

4. Process hacking: the return of pragmatism and best practices

We’ve seen an increasing pragmatic attitude from IT professionals. How come? Well, expectations from IT services continue to rise and customers expect to be helped on their own terms, while the budget stays the same or even has to be cut. Many IT teams also need to do more with fewer peopleIn other words: having time to reinvent the wheel for every customer is a luxury many organizations can no longer afford. A need arises to find ways to standardize the way you work, so that things become smarter and simpler.  

That’s why we see an increasing demand for what we call ‘process hacking’: finding ways to transform practices that take low effort to change, but in turn have big positive impact. IT organizations are looking for standardized solutions they can quickly adopt and adapt to their needs. Think of best practices, or other tried and tested methods that are proven to work. 

The demand for best practices isn’t anything new. It’s been around forever. But Covid certainly increased the urgency of best practices, and the level of pragmatism with which those best practices are approachedWe see fewer IT professionals that ask us to design a tailor-made organizational process from the ground up. That’s way too time-consuming for IT organizations that spend their days fire-fighting. Instead, we get the question: what process has worked for organizations like mine? Can’t we just implement that and tweak it where necessary? 

Sure, in 2022 we will further improve on the processes we hastily put together in 2020, and we will make sure they include any necessary checks and balances. But a sense of pragmatism will stay. It’s unlikely we’ll return to the overengineered process of, say, letting every change request be approved by a CAB2022 is not about reinventing the wheelInstead, ‘process hacking’ and focusing on adopting and adapting proven methods in small steps, will gain an even stronger foothold in IT organizations
 

5. Automation: from basic automation to AI-powered solutions

How to improve your services on a tight budget and with limited staff? Another major time-saver that many IT organizations are always looking at, is automation. 

Of course, automation and especially the benefits of service desk automation is nothing new by any means. In the annual survey amongst IT professionals conducted by ITSM.tools, automation has consistently been in the top 5 of most popular topics – it took the number 3 spot in 2021. 

Some of these automation solutions will be AI-powered, such as virtual service desk agents and data analysis. But most won’t be. We see there’s still so much that IT organizations can gain by automating relatively simple requests – think automatic passwords resets or automatic call assignment, for instance. For most organizations, it makes more sense to focus on those kinds of quick wins, than on trying to implement complex AI technology that might not even give the results you need. In the coming years, however, AI technology will advance even more and will increasingly deliver on the promise it made years ago. 

2022: rethinking and redoing 

There you have it: the top 5 ITSM market trends for 2022. The new year will be all about laying the groundwork for more strategic and future-proof service desks. Organizations will spend time to perfect the hybrid workplace environment that Covid propelled, while simultaneously fostering a culture based on employee trust and well-being. It’s perhaps no surprise that automation and AI will continue to interweave and rise in importance and implementation. But what we’re definitely excited to see play out in 2022 is what we termed as ‘process hacking’ – finding out what works in the best, smartest and most simple way for your IT organization instead of relying on overly complex processes.  

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