Every year, digital tech companies take time out of their busy schedules to participate in New Zealand’s world-renowned ITx event.

Comprised of twelve tech-focused conferences, ITx attracts top-notch thought leaders, innovators, and experts in the industry.

This year, our product evangelist Matt Hooper presented on two topics facing tech companies today: the role of ITSM in 2020 and integrating ITIL with Agile and DevOps.

We recently sat down with him to get his insights from this year’s ITx. Here’s what he had to say.

1. What were three big takeaways for you from ITx this year?

The ITX event in New Zealand is a big event with lots of tracks and a diverse set of amazing speakers.

The three main takeaways for me this year were, for the most part, a validation of things I had already suspected.

1. IT, as we know it, is going to completely change. 

Listening to speakers talk about rapid change, innovation, and the focus on moving from a process-centric organization to a risk-based organization confirmed my feelings that DevOps is more than just a buzzword. IT organizations need to build structure to support rapid change.

2. DevOps is not the answer, but it’s a step in the right direction.

During the talks from both Rob England (@theitskeptic) and Mark Smalley (@marksmalley), my belief was reinforced that the DevOps movement is only the beginning of the new paradigm in which enterprises will operate their IT.

Despite the many improvements DevOps practices are bringing to the industry, there are still gaping holes in the long term effects of development supporting production, lightweight logging of changes, and scaling feedback loops.

3. Shifting from a command mindset to manageable risk mindset.

Going from a traditional command and control mindset to a manageable risk mindset will require a lot more education to the marketplace. Despite the excitement, many ITSM professionals are struggling with how ITIL can be adapted to DevOps, which, frankly, is the wrong question.

2. You attend a lot of events and talk to a lot of customers. What are the biggest trends in ITSM right now?

I do. I’ve hit PINK16, itSMF Sweden, HDI16, Beyond2016, Palmer, Interchange16, SITS16… and it’s only August!

Three hot trends right now are:

  • DevOps
  • BRM (Business Relationship Management)
  • Security

Some interesting sub-trends involve new frameworks like IT4IT, a comprehensive operational framework for operating IT infrastructure, as opposed to the ITIL framework which focuses on delivering sustainable IT services.

ITSM has always been about how IT gets work done. The disruption in traditional ITSM thinking is that IT is no longer a single department, but a competency that exists across a business.

More and more departments are owning their own IT function. Thus, the role of BRM, security, and other ITSM disciplines are forcing governance models to change their focus from IT to business.

In other words, business managers no longer see IT services as an internal function. IT has become so imperative to business operation that business services and IT services are seen as equals.

3. Which way are the industry winds blowing?

The winds are blowing toward security management. It is impossible to have a meeting, a conversation, or a project that does not incorporate security reviews and approvals.

What’s interesting, though, is the current emphasis on speed. Usually the winds of security blow in the exact opposite direction of speed, to the point where it can sometimes seem like IT isn’t moving anywhere fast enough or securely enough.

This can pose a real challenge to staff to keep up morale when trying to balance innovation with operational excellence.

4. Why should IT departments consider changing their ITSM solution?

Most ITSM solutions were originally designed around managing workload queues, and when IT was a single department focused on IT services, this satisfied most business requirements.

But in today’s digital economy, IT services are now critical business services. We have layers of IT suppliers and service providers, and we critically need transparency and automation to push through the conundrum of security and speed.

Unfortunately, traditional ITSM solutions don’t cut it.

We need solutions that are more comprehensive. They need to support design and configuration for complex workflow, based on contextual data, events, and risk. With the increasing demand on IT analysts and managers, the ITSM tools also need to be leveraged for better decision-making, so they have to be constantly available and easy to utilize.

Many ITSM solutions also fail to deliver a great user experience. They don’t offer mobile capabilities or provide highly visual dashboards.

5. What does ITSM in 2020 look like?

2020 isn’t that far away, and for most companies, ITSM will continue as it is today. Fixing things that break and reacting to changes that were not managed well will continue to be a daily routine. However, progressive organizations today are setting new benchmarks of performance and operational excellence that will force lagging organizations to rethink their IT disciplines.

DevOps will continue to refine itself into “best practice” framework. As more and more “how-to’s” are documented and validated by the industry, standards will evolve around full lifecycle management of IT services.

We will also see a major push to fill the skills gap that exists in IT asset management. As requirements for increased security and durability of IT assets and suppliers continue to add up, more and more analytics and real-time reporting will be required.

How to track the value and risk of IT assets is such a huge gap in our current ITSM guidance, that organizations like the OpenGroup are hoping to fill with guidance such as IT4IT.

So ITSM professionals today will do well to learn more about Lean IT, Agile, Feedback Loops, and Software Defined Infrastructure. These areas are disrupting traditional ITIL thinking, and will require new skills, new processes, and new tools to support business IT in 2020.

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