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John Prestridge | February 19, 2019

What Does Digital Transformation Mean to Service Management

Digital transformation is a concept that, although not new, can get lost in translation. To better understand what it means, let's take a look at some of the definitions given by industry experts.

Jorge Lopez, Research VP at Gartner, gives this term a more specific approach by calling it “Digital Business Transformation.” He explains that businesses should use digital service management, digital technologies, and supporting capabilities to support the overall business strategy.   

According to Greg Verdino, technology author and key note speaker, digital transformation is all about closing the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver. 
James Swanson, CIO at Monsanto, discussed digital transformation in terms of customer centricity. “We talk about automating operations, about people, and about new business models,” he says. “Wrapped inside those topics are data analytics, technologies, and software– all of which are enablers, not drivers.” 

Watch Now: How ITSM Paves the Way for Digital Transformation

How do we define Digital Transformation?

Although we may find hundreds of definitions out there, we can probably agree that digital transformation is all about organizations leveraging digital technology and information to transform how they deliver value to their customers and employees. In other words, it’s about: 

  • Integrating technology into all the different areas of your business to create value for your organization 
  • An organizational cultural shift into a digital mindset in order to adopt new and more efficient practices to operate your business 

A great example that better illustrates this concept is the banking industry. When banks started, all of the customer-centric services were done with a teller at a brick and mortar location, but the cost of having so many branches and employees to manage became expensive. Banks then started to ask themselves: “how can we better service our customers and reduce overall costs?” This question gave birth to online banking, and, eventually, mobile bankingwhere customers can access their bank information anywhere and at any time with just one click. 

IDC’s recent research study, Aligning IT Strategies with Business Expectations for Digital Transformation, estimates that direct digital transformation investment spending will be $5.9 trillion over the years 2018 to 2021. 

The biggest challenge of starting a digital strategy and implementing digital service management, however, is that the organization as a whole has to shift into a digital mindset in order for it to work, otherwise it will be disrupted by companies that are already born into the digital culture. Amazon, for example, can be seen as a technology company that sells products and not the other way around. But this transformation is not achieved overnight, it takes time and strategy, and this is where digital service management comes in. 

What is ITSM’s role in Digital Transformation? 

CIOs have a new role in the organization when it comes to digital transformation. IDC predicts that “By 2020, 60% of CIOs will implement an IT business model and a digital-first culture that focuses on creating digital products and services that improve user and employee satisfaction. Business-oriented IT will take center stage in [digital] journeys.” 

With so many CIOs leading digital strategies, there still needs to be a collaboration between all other departments within the organization. The following section talks about three ways ITSM helps close the gap between those who are implementing the strategies and those who are not.  

1. Increase Agility when Delivering Services 

A well-established IT service management (ITSM) platform can support your organization in becoming more agile in order to quickly react to change and adjust to new opportunities. Agility could mean, for example, being able to roll out new technologies on a regular basis, such as a new mobile app or a software update. A quick-to-react IT service management (ITSM) infrastructure can help predict risks faster and correct problems as they happen. 

Automation also plays a big part in making business processes more agile because it helps eliminate manual repetitive tasks. Encouraging people to help themselves or be more self-sufficient and understanding which technologies can automate certain business procedures will free certain employees, such as the IT service agents, from routine tasks.

2. Transform the User’s Journey 

Meeting the user’s needs through modern, digital IT service management and providing a positive experience to both customers and employees is essential to digital transformation. Improving customer and employee engagement by creating a more personalized approach with the use of self-service and self-help technologies can boost employee productivity and encourage the adoption of new technologies that enable digital strategies

The use of AI technologies, such as chatbots or virtual agents, can also help optimize the way user experiences are delivered. This ties back to our previous point about automation, where users are encouraged to help themselves and knowledge workers can focus on more high-value tasks.  

3. Manage the Complexities of New Technologies 

Having a modern IT infrastructure is important when managing newly-implemented technologies that can give employees the opportunity to be more innovative. Tools that help build more engaging interfaces and automate routine tasks can facilitate the delivery of services to your employees or customers. 

But digital service management is more than just a way to manage software, it helps set a customized framework or base for the implementation of digital strategies while helping support change in all areas of the organization.


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John Prestridge

John Prestridge is an accomplished marketing and product strategist focused on customer needs. He helped drive product innovation and market development within the IT service management software industry to support the digital transformation of enterprise companies. He is a firm believer that ITSM 2.0 is the critical path for companies transitioning to the Digital Workplace. Prestridge brings broad expertise in the technologies shaping the future workplace, including service management, cloud computing, application virtualization, mobility, intelligent automation, and compliance.