5 Top Technology Trends for ITSM to Address in 2018March 1, 2018
Looking at the road ahead, there are at least five top technology trends to consider and address (from an ITSM perspective) in 2018, albeit trends that have straddled multiple years of interest and importance.
2. Digital transformation
3. Artificial intelligence (AI)
4. The Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything (IoE)
5. End-user/customer engagement and experience
Although, these are as much about people change as they are technology change.
Please read on to find out more.
There’s a reason that security tops this list. The very-public humiliation incurred by security breaches in large companies during 2017 has made IT security a nigh-on guaranteed board-level topic for 2018 (and probably forever, because smart people will continue to work out ways to beat the evolving cyber-defenses that companies put in place).
Global analyst and advisory company Gartner, Inc. forecasts worldwide enterprise security spending a total of US $96.3bn in 2018, an increase of 8% from 2017. With organizations spending more on IT security “as a result of regulations, shifting buyer mindset, awareness of emerging threats and the evolution to a digital business strategy”.
The security threats to organizations are very real, with the risks to be managed ranging from employee behaviors (in the context of human-based security good practices), IT, and business-procured cloud services, through to ensuring that endpoint protection includes line-of-business-installed IoT devices in addition to the more traditional IT infrastructure. Thus, with the need to:
- Go beyond the traditional focus of IT security
- Move from “We can’t afford to do it (properly)” to “we can’t afford not to do it (properly).”
2. Digital Transformation
Digital transformation was probably the biggest IT buzz-phrase of 2017. It was almost as if everything spoken, or written, about IT needed a side of digital transformation. Many investments have already been made and hopefully much has been learned – especially from those organizations that have, to date, treated digital transformation as purely a technology thing.
In 2018, successful organizations will appreciate that digital transformation isn’t about better technology; that instead it’s about better business. With it as much about people transformation, with the help of organizational change management tools and techniques, as it is technology transformation.
Organizations will also see beyond the scope of digital transformation being solely limited to one or both of:
1. New products and services that exploit technology and data, and
2. Better customer engagement.
To understand that it’s also about better business back-office operations, and that the investments in points 1 and 2 will be suboptimal without an enabling back-office transformation.
2018 is where the AI rubber hits the road for ITSM. It’s already working in business-to-consumer (B2C) customer support scenarios and it doesn’t require a great leap of the imagination to transfer these externally-facing successes to internal use-case scenarios (in both IT support and other lines-of-business).
While the media continues to focus on the potential for job losses and the end of the world being caused by maniacal and all-powerful AI entities, thankfully the IT industry seems to be a lot more grounded. “Just 16% of ITSM pros view the adoption of AI capabilities as a serious job killer in IT” and Gartner predicts that “by 2020, AI will create more jobs than it eliminates.”
2018 will be about understanding what AI can do for your organization through experimentation and learning and – thanks to the aforementioned external customer service/support successes – the IT service desk in particular will be able to reap some very quick wins such as the use of AI-powered chatbots for the enhancement of Level 0 and Level 1 support (in terms of speed, cost, and customer experience).
It might feel as though the IT industry has been talking about IoT for a decade, which is probably because it has (and it’s actually closer to 20 years). Spurred on by AI and the use of intelligent devices, such as virtual personal assistants, in the workplace as well as “dumber” network-connected devices – IoT offers two important areas of ITSM focus for 2018:
1. IoT-related security – With the security elements to address including: data security, message integrity and secure communication, third-party cloud service provider issues (such as scale, identification and authentication, data access, and legislative boundary restrictions), and privacy.
2. IoT device and network management – Including IP address management, service/fault management, and the Big Data analytics needs (facilitated by AI) related to the growing volume of IoT devices. Plus, traditional IT (service) management capabilities, such as availability and capacity management, will need to understand how IoT devices do, can, and will impact new business operations and models.
Neither of these sub-points are new but with the former firmly part of point 1 (of this list) – and the latter impacting the relative successes of points 2, 3, and 5 – their importance cannot be ignored in 2018.
5. End-User/Customer Engagement & Experience
While this is a subset of point 2, it deserves its own point because the continued rise of end-user expectations related to technology, service, support, and customer service in the workplace (based on consumer-world experiences) will be a critical hurdle for corporate IT departments to traverse in 2018.
Not only the “consumerization of IT” of old that related to the use of personal devices, apps, and cloud services – or corporately-provided equivalents – in the workplace. But also, the service-based “wrap” that envelopes employee consumption of corporate IT services and support.
The bottom line is that employees now expect better – including in terms of the service, or customer, experience – than has previously been viewed as “adequate” by corporate service providers. Failing to deliver against these higher expectations will cause service providers issues and harm on multiple levels in 2018.
Succeeding here includes finally getting IT self-service right, plus the knowledge management capabilities required to support both it and organizations’ current and future AI investments.
For more discussion and actionable tips on these top ITSM tech trends in 2018, I urge you to check out the replay of our recent webinar, “The 5 ITSM Tech Trends That Actually Matter in 2018.”