Summer is the busiest time of the year for the ITSM industry, and we at Axios are no different. The great news about this is that we get to meet you, the IT professional, to find out what you want from us and what challenges you are either currently facing or are likely to encounter throughout the next 12 months.
We distributed a survey at SITS17 asking for your feedback, to gauge what needs to be developed in our flagship ITSM solution. assyst.
The results indicated the top five ITSM challenges organizations are facing over the next year.
Using the feedback from our surveys, we will have a look at what is causing these headaches for the ITSM professionals, what they can do to mitigate the associated risks, and strategies they should be implementing.
Challenge 1: IT Security
Whichever way you look at it, IT Security was the main challenge among our respondents with 65% stating this is a genuine concern for their organization over the course of the next 12 months. The surge in security issues, such as Malware and the recent WannaCry data breach, have invariably contributed to increased concern in this area.
What we have discovered when speaking to IT professionals, is that while many remain coy on how concerning security is publicly (in external communications), privately they invest a substantial amount of time, money and effort in finding ways to address the ever-increasing likelihood they will encounter such security breaches in the future.
The best way to mitigate such risks within an IT organization is by integrating ITSM and ITAM in a single solution. Consolidating both solutions into one allows for increased visibility over all assets, both hardware and software, and reduces the risk of having assets corrupted or lost entirely.
Effective Windows Patch Management allows organizations to maintain a clear vision on all Operating Systems’ patches, meaning they can automate approvals and deployments and reduce the risk of security breaches and Ransomware attacks.
Operating from what is effectively a single pane of glass ensures that you have access to all devices on your network and can easily identify unpatched servers and computers. You can also configure it to run on your schedule so that the patches are always up to date.
Substantial cost savings can be achieved by running an effective, secure Patch Management system which prevents computers from locking and files becoming corrupted and/or lost.
Challenge 2: Knowledge and Collaboration
Focus on social knowledge and collaboration was rated as important to IT organizations, with 38% of respondents highlighting it as one of their main challenges. For many in the industry, defining what social knowledge measures to put in place remains a bit of a mystery.
Knowledge and Collaboration has distinct ITIL® roots, so it is encouraging to see that over 26% of respondents rated compliance with the industry standard as an essential criterion in selecting a new ITSM tool.
In order to continue development in line with ITIL® best practice, think about the following: move away from the traditional methods of social knowledge management and shift from creation to capture. How can you curate the knowledge that is already flowing around the organization to make it more useful and shareable?
As for collaboration, develop use cases and align resources to ensure that all staff are working from the same knowledge and expertise. This will create an environment with greater accountability and clarity for the wider business.
Challenge 3: Migration
Another top priority for IT professionals to conquer in the next year is being able to migrate to a new ITSM solution with ease. Of the respondents surveyed, 33% deemed this critical to the success of their organization over the next 12 months.
The process of moving from one ITSM solution to another is often a lengthy and laborious task and may dissuade some from taking the plunge, however beneficial it may be for the organization as a whole.
Migrating to a new ITSM solution can be a large and sometimes complex project. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and time and effort needs to be spent on careful planning and preparation if you want to deliver an ITSM solution that meets your organization’s current and future needs.
A guided process is the best way to ensure you reach the right outcome for your business. Typically there are seven steps your organization must take to make sure you are able to optimize the migration from your current solution to your future one. In addition to this, ask yourself the accompanying questions to ensure you remain on target to achieve as seamless a migration as possible.
- Define objectives: are we engaging with the relevant stakeholder groups?
- Understand your requirements: do the requirements map back to the set objectives?
- Select the right technology and vendor: can the vendor connect you with similar customers for references?
- Define scope of migration: what data and processes are we implementing and what are we leaving behind?
- Identify risks: what external and internal factors may cause costs and delays?
- Document design: what do we need to build the systems and meet requirements?
- Manage as a project: which stakeholders do we need buy-in from?
Challenge 4: Upgrades
Of the surveyed respondents, 29% considered upgrading their ITSM solution to be one of their main challenges for the next 12 months. There are a number of common upgrade headaches experienced within the industry, namely complexity with applications, being able to migrate customizations and integrations and ensuring your versions are compatible through multi-stage upgrades.
The challenges were reflected in the ITSM solution criteria, with 17% saying this was a key area of consideration ahead of selecting a product.
In order to ensure you overcome the difficulties in maintaining and upgrading enterprise applications, you need to find an ITSM solution that offers the shortest, simplest and lowest risk in the market. One that has been intelligently designed to make such maintenance as seamless as possible.
In doing this, you will be able to save on overhead costs and maximize the lifetime value of the software offered to customers.
Challenge 5: IT Maturity
To a lesser extent, IT Maturity is also listed as a key challenge for IT organizations over the next year. IT has been seen to have reached an impasse as far as maturity levels go, and many are still stuck at stages two and three of the five-step process.
Around 18% of respondents revealed they thought a higher maturity level was important in the development of their IT department. In parallel, 61% are focused on ITSM solution functionality, while another 46% feel a suitable and user-friendly interface is essential. Optimizing each of these are important steps to improving overall maturity.
Achieving a higher IT Maturity is a unique journey for every organization; there isn’t a standardized path within the industry. However, the seven principles that follow form a framework on which you can hang a tailored IT Maturity roadmap.
IT leaders must, therefore, make efforts to progress each of the following key attributes in a sustainable manner while balancing this with the immediate priorities of the business.
- Strip wasteful projects from the IT portfolio and take an outward-looking-in perspective by always taking into account what the customer wants from your product or service.
- Identify redundant services that don’t support business differentiation and decommission any “dead wood” legacy systems.
- Aim for a structured fusion with the business; it serves to go beyond alignment or integration.
- Value people over technology: keep IT staff happy and motivated by offering them adequate training, support and mentoring, ensuring the dip in IT staff morale associated with increased maturity is reduced.
- Communicate a persuasive vision for IT