Juha Berghäll, CEO of Service-Flow reflects on a busy year of discussing the future of ITSM with people around the world. And presents is somewhat challenging view of the industry today.
The last few months have been pretty hectic, but it has made for one of the most enjoyable string of events of my career. Highlights for sure are Knowledge conference in Florida and the SITS exhibition in London, and big and busy as these events are I have managed to meet with a great number of interesting, smart and captivating people.
So what have I learnt? There are a number of strong themes that stay true around the world. The growing obsession/passion for delivering better and better service experiences through IT and digital is certainly widely accepted and celebrated.
The nice thing about this is it gives IT something to talk more excitedly about with its business and customers alike. In my eyes, this is something that has been missing from IT for a while.
The reason it is such a significant topic for IT is that it is by far the most humanising discussion we have in our industry. We are moving on from the jargon filled, technology and process driven conference presentations, and now simply talking about how people interact with other people. Ultimately making IT into something more valuable for the business. It’s great!
But the best thing is that everyone is on-board now. I remember not all that long ago, where people would take to the stage at a conference, present an idea around how IT could be spending more time with people and less time hiding behind screens and it would frustratingly be dismissed as too time consuming or something the IT teams of the day just weren’t ready for. This was a particularly difficult thing for me to hear, so I am pleased to have spent a decent amount of time this year at events around the world, hearing an almost globally unanimous level of support for better and better service experiences.
But it’s not all roses and the world still has some divides. Here in Europe we have been preaching, teaching and winning at SIAM for some years now. Our own business is built around it and the integration challenges that then follow. But this of course differs from place to place. At home in Finland we are working left, right and centre with managed service providers, they underpin Nordic/Scandinavian enterprises and SIAM further underpins our work with them. In the UK again service providers are intrinsic to businesses big and small.
However, the commercial relationships across the ecosystem are quite different and our role in supporting the supplier network also feels different.
Then we jump over to the US where suppliers are of course important, but as a concept something like SIAM is not really widely discussed and people are finding slightly different and more internalised solutions to these complex issues… and again our role in that changes.
As I travel around the globe, discussing ideas with people, hearing practitioners and leaders alike, present on their work and form a world view of where IT is right now. I can’t help but notice some disconnect in where people are starting out from. Consumerism and modern ecommerce has set the worldwide bar for what to aim for. Everyone ‘wants to be’ Uber, Amazon, Netflix etc and the views and knowledge distributed around CX, DevOps, Agile and so on to help people see the light are now well shared. What good DevOps looks like on one side of the planet, can and will look pretty similar on the flip side (that said, we Finnish can be a little sceptical of it all sometimes!). So why have I found a wider disparity with something like SIAM or supplier management?
I believe this is because it is a more staple requirement for IT. In many ways it is more complex. Getting it right or wrong can create both huge risk and opportunities. It also has some longer established text around it (ITIL®), which I dare say… has been widely misunderstood by the masses. And when something as basic as ‘the basics’ is misunderstood, the market is almost organically divided and regions/industries end up running in different directions to each other. They may all think they are running towards the same thing – the ivory castles of DevOps and/or super slick service experience perhaps – but if their starting blocks and foundations are fundamentally different or just weak, there is no longer a single answer to how it can or should be done.
So, my conclusion to my findings, my travels and my discussions is that through the means of globally recognised ambitions such as DevOps, Digital Transformation and such, the world of IT has been fundamentally brought closer together.
The next step is to leverage that stronger sense of community and to start sharing more practical best practice around the core concepts and foundations of modern IT. So that IT teams around the world can have a better chance of getting off on the right foot. I will certainly be doing all I can to help spread a more manageable and consistent approach to adopting more valuable service integration and supplier management practices.
If you have ideas and concepts of your own around the global state of IT, I would love hear from you! Please just get in touch via Juha.firstname.lastname@example.org.