I think we all know by now that BYO device and cloud computing are ruling the conferences and conversations at the moment. Don’t get me started on the “cloud” terminology, by the way. Also known as the Internet, non? Anyway, these two things herald some change in approach to IT service management.
- A greater role in knowledge management — When our own devices are allowed to connect to the business network it brings about a new level of complication to the internal support model. There are more devices and operating systems we need to be able to understand enough to support. Of course, we’ll need to develop the policies to define where the lines of ITSM end—not unlike the work laptop, where I always drew the line at iTunes. If your iTunes ain’t working, that’s your problem, not the service desk’s. But apart from policy decisions, there’ll be a bunch more knowledge to manage in terms of how to support mobile devices and personal laptops. The increased use of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS offerings sees a dispersal of third party relationships beyond our own IT departments. Not much different to having support contracts with vendors like Cisco, for example, those cloud services just become a normal part of our escalation chain. Being clear about those escalation chains and the SLAs in place is what will make those relationships more successful. When IT departments owned and controlled all their own devices and applications, even a shoddy functional escalation process was often enough to resolve a major incident. Major incidents involving our outsourced, cloud computing environments will invite the need for hierarchical escalation. They’re outside our control. All we can do is manage the fallout. So I see a greater realisation in ITSM land for IT departments to take a more active role in their own knowledge management in order to provide better support for mobile devices and the cloud. But what about the service desk tools, themselves?
- Mobile service desk apps — SaaS tools have come to the rescue for the remote workforce but those who are on the road doing site visits are really suffering. Thanks to the BYO device push, we may finally see the service desk software devs offering mobile apps that connect to their desktop and SaaS tools. Being on the road or on-site or in a meeting, and able to look up an incident on my iPhone…? The big question is, why hasn’t it happened already? It’s not good enough that I can log into a web-based SaaS tool via iPhone safari, or whatever. I want a mobile app.
- ITSM will become more community-driven — There’ll be a greater desire for tools or methods that capture external collaborative knowledge and then store it in an internal knowledge base. Accessed by support analysts, internally, it might then be shared with the users in a more structured manner.
- IT departments employ community managers — Along the lines of community and collaboration, IT departments will benefit from having a community manager on the payroll. A person who is part of the IT team but straddles HR and marketing, and is personable, approachable, and firm with the user base. When they are part of an IT functional group, they have quick and easy access to answers, and can respond with authority when the community reports an incident.
In short, 2012 will be the year when ITSM grows a personality and accepts the knowledge management challenge. One can only hope. 😉