​Why getting the basics right in ITSM is the real advantage for businesses

Survey shows how IT Service Management is critical to businesses
Picture: steven powell, Flickr.

Picture: steven powell, Flickr.

As the world around us changes rapidly, it’s critical that organisations don’t overlook the fundamentals of IT management.

In fact, to truly compete in an era of cross-industry disruption and digital transformation, investment in IT Service Management (ITSM) is more essential than ever. But not in the way we once knew it.

Long-regarded as the set of practices and solutions that ensures end-users are happy and IT challenges are mitigated day-to-day, ITSM is now the vehicle capable of steering and delivering value and competitiveness for businesses in the digital economy.

And it’s not just for IT. As digitisation spreads across enterprises, it serves the needs of all departments.

Service Management has expanded to represent new ways of thinking about how technology systems can be provisioned and made available across enterprises, and they now have the opportunity to leverage ITSM solutions for everything from HR to customer service, finance and facilities to support their functions and operations.

Yet, as ITSM shifts from department enabler to digital catalyst, the reality is that for many organisations, the majority of IT budget is still being consumed on maintenance and management, and ITSM activities are still fragmented.

So while it might be the foundation upon which future technologies are built, new research from BMC shows that organisations aren’t even getting the basics right.

The survey of IT professionals, conducted in partnership with Forbes Insights, showed that while 88 per cent see ITSM as important to their digital transformation efforts, over half (55 per cent) state that the share of IT budget spend on ongoing maintenance is growing.

Despite the clear call to invest more in innovation and new digital solutions, more money and effort is being put towards “keeping the lights on.”

Startlingly, 75 per cent believe the time, money, and resources spent on ongoing maintenance and management is actually affecting the overall competitiveness of their organisation.

In the race to launch and offer new services this needs to be flipped on its head, especially at a time when skills are lacking and IT staff are asked to provision more with less.

Current strategies for getting around these challenges, include cloud services and increased automation or self-service IT options.

Other organisations are responding by:

  • Shifting staffing to outside contractors and consultants
  • Implementing DevOps and agile practices
  • Using micro-services, containers or virtualization.

To truly roll out an effective ITSM solution though, technology and business teams must work closely together. The key to success is balancing agility with cost, control, and security. A smart ITSM approach will include methodologies and solutions to address the changing requirements of IT and business technology, today and tomorrow.

When done right, the benefits can be significant, particularly when it comes to cost savings and employee productivity. And this applies to firms and business of all types, in all industries, from manufacturing to automotive, retail, architectural—ITSM can play a pivotal role in every business that relies on technology to run smoothly.

As ITSM steadily expands its role as an enabler of those digital initiatives that are delivering real competitive advantage, it will be businesses who choose to first look at their ITSM function for its potential, rather than what it’s offering now, that will truly differentiate themselves to their customers, staff and to the industry in which they operate.

Chris Gibbs is MD of BMC Software