Charlie Miles, Principal Consultant – Pink Elephant
The digital landscape has changed the rules of business and has transformed how almost everything gets made, delivered, sold and bought. To keep pace, almost every organisation has had to engage in some form of digital transformation. What does this mean for IT service management? Since digital transformation starts with and relies on how IT services are delivered and managed – it means a lot. Are you ready?
I had the chance to talk about these technologies this past February with practitioners, professionals, and tool vendors at Pink20, Pink Elephant’s IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition. Through our discussion, we were able to uncover a number of new(er) technologies that provide several benefits – and challenges – to service management.
Some existing technologies available include chatbots, machine learning-based monitoring and event correlation, machine learning-based knowledge, and voice-activated knowledge (“Hey, Google”). These technologies promise the ability to free up human resources from routine tasks such as having to look up knowledge, manually identify and correlate events, and answering phones – at least initially. One of the potential dangers of implementing these technologies is the tendency for management to see them as a way to cut costs by reducing their headcount, instead of reallocating human resources to more value-based activities.
At the conference, I hosted a lively discussion with about 50 attendees where the dialog focused on the technologies they are using, or are considering using, to support their ITSM practices. In addition to all the previously noted technologies, the topic of robotics came up when our discussion shifted to future technologies, those that don’t quite exist yet.
The Future of Robotics
Imagine using robotics to deploy laptops and desktops. Amazon is already using drones to deliver products to consumers, so it is entirely conceivable that robotics will be used to deliver end-user assets, if not already in use today. And while you’re at it, why not use robotics to install software, run diagnostics, and perform repairs. How cool would it be to have R2D2 and C3PO arrive at your desk as the ‘IT guy’? I had other sessions at the conference where I spoke about how smart devices and the internet of things (IoT) are poised to disrupt service management even further in terms of security and asset management.
As we were talking about this, a concern was immediately raised about the human impact of these technologies, specifically the robotics discussion. I think it is great we all still have enough humanity left to be really concerned about the human element; at least those of us in that session.
Advanced technologies should not be viewed as a cost-cutting measure, but rather as a resource refocus effort. Otherwise, the fine balance of keeping-the-lights-on versus grow-and-transform-the-business will not improve.
Technological Disruption Is the New Normal
All technology, relative to existing technology and the ways of doing things, is disruptive. The fact that we call what we are experiencing today disruptive is not really all that new. Wasn’t the invention of the wheel disruptive? Wasn’t the printing press disruptive, leading to the transformation of western civilisation as we know it today? So, too, was the invention of the assembly line, the train, the automobile, air travel, the telephone, and on and on. The personal computer and, later, laptops were the disruptive technologies of my day. So are mobile devices, virtual machines, and cloud services. We have two choices as humans: We either adapt and evolve, or we don’t.
What is common about all of these disruptive technologies? They disrupt people. They disrupt our knowledge and skills, our jobs and responsibilities, our relationships, and organisation and cultural structures. They are not so disruptive if we, as leaders, work to empower, engage, educate, encourage, handhold, and, occasionally, kick people in the butt to change and, most importantly, train them to do new and different things. However, if we simply look at these technologies as ways to reduce our headcount and increase the bottom line, well – yeah – they are really disruptive then.
The Transformational Power of Technology
The irony is if we, as leaders, choose simply to reduce headcount and make the bottom line more attractive, we are not really gaining any of the transformational power that all of these technologies can enable by allowing us to re-allocate our human resources.
There’s no question we are in the midst of a transformational time and businesses need to ensure their IT management resources and processes are able to meet the demands, particularly the human element, that comes along with the changes. With the right service management solutions and processes in place, your teams can engage in digital transformation effectively.
When talking about service management technologies many organisations are still trying to implement automated password reset capability and even skills-based call routing – technologies that have been around for at least 20 years. Which begs the question: Are we really ready for the digital transformation? And are you up for the challenge?
This article was written by Charlie Miles, Principal Consultant
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