The three IT service management trends enterprises need to explore in 2020

What does 2020 hold for the industry?

Article Sumit De, Enterprise CIO

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In recent years, the IT service management (ITSM) landscape has been evolving as the industry strives to build its presence within organisations, adding value and becoming a trusted advisor. But what does 2020 hold for the industry?

ITSM guru Stephen Mann once pointed out that changes in the service management field don’t happen overnight. New concepts and developments like AI don’t take the field by a storm, but gradually find their place in the ITSM landscape. You can, therefore, expect 2020 to feature many of the common trends from 2019, alongside some new ones to explore.

Here are the three most relevant trends that I anticipate you will come across in 2020:

Business intelligence before artificial intelligence

Despite the AI hype last year, it transpired that this wasn’t going to revolutionise ITSM just yet. For most service organisations, AI-solutions remain an interesting perspective, rather than the game changer we have been led to expect.

Not only are organisations in need of some time before putting into practice this futuristic way of working, but AI technology is not yet mature enough for every business to reap its benefits.

Chatbots, for instance, are mainly successful when adopted by larger organisations. The simple reason for this is that they have the volume of data to train their chatbot on recognising and dealing with specific types of calls. Whereas, smaller organisations often don’t have the required level of data to make a chatbot effective.

However, data volume isn’t the only deciding factor when it comes to making AI solutions successful. Data quality is vital. Without reliable business intelligence (BI), AI will be as smart or dumb as the data it is fed. All organisations, regardless of size, can benefit from better BI which will help future AI grow more rapidly when it becomes mainstream.

What we are seeing when it comes to AI is a focus shift towards small innovations, little wins where AI can help agents work more efficiently. Think of reducing time spent on registration, improving incident prioritisation, and automating task assignment. This is otherwise known as intelligence augmentation (IA).

Smart automation solutions will popularise – but don’t rush to automate

With AI unable to yet offer the technology organisations need, in a bid to increase efficiency and improve processes – where are service desks turning next? That’s right: automation.

Automation has been one of the hottest topics in recent years, and in 2020 the emphasis continues. The fact is more and more organisations are seeing the relevance and benefit of implementing automation.

However, it’s become clear over the last year that to automate, first we need to cut down on waste and become more efficient. To reap the long-term benefits of automation, re-design processes and build concrete foundations. There really is no value in automating inefficient processes.

As smart automation has been gaining popularity, one form that has come to the forefront of the field is robotic process automation (RPA). This means programming a robot to complete a series of tasks; for example, handing orders or expense requests received via an intranet form. This saves service desk staff time and means they can focus on what really matters: offering great customer service.

It’s expected that more and more service desks will explore and implement smart automation solutions throughout 2020.

An emphasis on enterprise service management

It’s undeniable that the realisation is sinking in that service management is an industry driven by its people.

With that in mind, employee experience is likely to be one of the biggest trends of 2020. As the war for talent has become ever fiercer, organisations are looking for new ways to attract employees. But, how can employers stand out? Well, offering a great workplace is a good starting point.

Breaking down departmental silos is vital for establishing that great place to work. Therefore, 2020 is expected to be the year for collaboration between service departments, a key component of ESM.

This doesn’t necessarily mean merging into one huge supporting department, it could be as simple as a shared self-service portal.

Not only is improving employee satisfaction a driver of ESM, but the likes of automation are too. Keeping processes simple and efficient is getting rid of time wasting, eliminating the duplication of processes or systems, and above all else, presenting to the customer a 360-degree experience, rather than the cumbersome headache of siloed departments.

In September 2019, Forrester published its second Forrester ESM Wave, including quite a few vendors that used to be known as ‘ITSM vendors’. This significant shift demonstrates ESM’s increased presence in the field, and an increasing ambition to improve collaboration between service departments.

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