The First Responder Model for ITSM

In today’s increasingly complex and dynamic world of IT, we as IT professionals are called to do many things:

  • Protect and secure the valuable assets of the business
  • Deliver timely and high-quality services
  • Leverage technology to better serve our customers while creating competitive advantage

This mission for IT remains timeless, but the global markets around us bring new challenges and new layers of responsibilities that go far beyond this fundamental mission. 

Of course, IT is expected—even more so entrusted—to keep this core mission close to our hearts while at the same time being aggressive and innovative on behalf of the business. 

Keeping Pace with Change

For example, how we can better leverage technology, including the new generation of mobile devices, to empower a mobile workforce? How do we proactively and effectively detect and respond to growing security threats?

These are but two of the many questions faced by IT every day, and they will be at the core of the transformation of IT over the next decade. It will be both a challenging and exciting journey for IT professionals.

Let’s explore one element of this new model for IT a little more closely, which is the opportunity to leverage an existing pillar of IT operations—the IT Help Desk and extended Service Management team—as an early warning and response mechanism on behalf of IT and the business.

This makes a lot of sense given that so much activity and so much information flows through the ITSM team, guided by the structure of best practices, including ITIL. 

This flow of information is enabled by Workflow Automation tools that continue to get more robust and more intelligent, which in turn brings us access to actionable information more quickly. This hub of activity brings us an opportunity to look at the wealth of data more closely while creating partnerships within IT, including Security and Asset Management functions that allow us to think and act more holistically and in a more unified manner across IT. 

1. Is a question coming to the IT Help Desk an early indication of a potential risk to the business? 

2. Is an incident in the Incident Management process more than just a simple issue and really an early warning of a new threat? 

3. Is an escalation truly a symptom of the early stages of a serious impact that is growing rapidly? 

4. Can we channel ITSM borne information to key stakeholders that can use high-quality and real-time information to take more proactive action in their own roles? 

With this expanded mindset, the IT Help Desk and extended ITSM team can provide a broader range of oversight and faster, ideally truly proactive responses and targeted actions to aggressively address new threats and risks. This, in turn, can reduce the impact to the business or prevent any impact entirely. 

Many of these actions can be triggered and executed immediately by leveraging IT and ITSM Automation tools. These tools are increasingly intelligent and can execute activities when specific conditions are met and compress action and response times from hours or days down to seconds or minutes.  This speed is tremendously valuable and can’t be overestimated.

The New Model for IT

This will be the new standard for IT: highly aggressive and proactive actions that greatly reduce or eliminate entirely risks and impacts to services and the business. A single purpose that brings the teams of IT together in a more collaborative and business-focused way.

Reacting to and fixing incidents and problems even within the framework of ITIL is not enough. IT is now called to a higher standard. This first responder model for ITSM is valuable in itself, but is just the beginning of empowering all the teams of IT to be on watch and ready for anything. 

To anticipate, to prevent. This concept is not new, but is more a matter of the degree to which we must live this principle every day. Being good is not good enough. IT must be Good, Smart, Agile and Fast. And the pace of business will only grow faster. But with the teams of IT working together in unison as stewards of both IT and of the business, we can meet and exceed this new standard.

For more IT insights, be sure to follow Kevin J. Smith on Twitter @kevinjsmith4IT.