IT service management leaders have arguably one of the most far-reaching roles in IT. There’s a lot that now falls under the scope of ITSM, and ITSM trends are always changing.

ITSM training and consultant group Pink Elephant is helping organizations navigate the demands and priorities of this new age of ITSM.

Pink Elephant's upcoming conference, PINK18, will feature more than 140 sessions in 12 different tracks tailored for every role in ITSM. We asked one of the session owners, Ivanti’s Kevin J. Smith, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, to talk about this year’s conference along with the trends ITSM professionals should be keeping pace with.

Q: Pink18’s theme is ‘Adopt, Adapt & Apply’. What do organizations need to know about these three ideas?

KJS: Be Agile and be ready for change.  Make this a competency and a priority.  Then, when the time comes to adopt and adapt, you are ready and don’t need to figure out what comes next. You have already done the planning and are ready to mobilize. 

Q: At Ivanti, we talk a lot about integration and unification when it comes to IT. What’s ITSM’s role in this?

KJS: ITSM is a key enabler as it is often the ‘hub of the wheel’, by driving workflow and business process associated with service catalog and other request channels, which ultimately call us to deliver great service to a large cross section of the business. 

Q: What are some of the new ITSM trends?

KJS: Automation and AI will have a big impact on ITSM over the next five years. These technologies will change much of what we do - offloading our people and allowing them to focus on what they do best.  This is now possible because Automation and AI are better than ever and can do some of the heavy lifting around high volume and repetitive tasks. Further into the future, AI will be able to take on some of the more advanced work.

Q: The Cloud’ isn’t just a buzzword anymore. Why should organizations invest in cloud-based technologies?

KJS: The Cloud has proven to deliver a great deal of value and, today, is a reliable and productive resource for IT. Part of the appeal of Cloud and SaaS is that the service provider can take on the administration and upgrade processes, which have traditionally fallen on the shoulders of IT. This is good for everybody. Taking this a step further, we normally see the best user experience and many innovative features first emerge in Cloud applications, as it is a priority for IT solution providers today.

Q: PINK18 promises to show how to go beyond just theory to achieve true business value and outcomes. With that in mind, what are your suggested top 3 initiatives for ITSM in 2018?

KJS: 1. Automation, 2. Leveraging AI, 3. Unifying our IT teams to perform better for the business. IT has worked in localized silos for 30 years. We now understand that by rallying our full IT staff around business problems and strategic initiatives, we can do our best work and move at a new level of velocity.  With this goal in mind, automation and AI can help us bring our new strategy in IT to life.

Q: Resources like PinkVERIFY help IT leaders when researching new solutions. What other advice do you have for IT professionals in the search for an ideal solution?

KJS: Take the time to look deeply at candidate solutions as most solutions look good at a high level. The best solutions separate themselves when put through the paces of solving real use cases and building real business processes. This could include a proof of concept phase, or an extended blind demo. The latter can be effective, because it gives a good indication of how flexible, agile, and configurable the solution will be. Any solution looks good when a vendor has weeks to prepare for a demo.

Q: What are the most common challenges orgs face when approaching ITSM?

KJS: Unrealistic expectations are probably the biggest enemy of any new ITSM project. This challenge is magnified when implementing best practices including ITIL. Overly optimistic schedules and poor communications create risk and pressure that does not allow us to do our best work. Take on a realistic, timeline, communicate often, and build-in multiple phases with phase debriefs after each block of work is completed. This is a proven formula that will support success.

Q: Let’s talk about the future. What will the ITSM landscape look like in 5-10 years? 

KJS: The fundamentals will remain the same, but we will rely heavily on automation and AI tools to complete our work much faster, while offering virtually all our services 24/7. This will create a new engine for the full business and will enable IT to drive better service to both employees and clients. We should also expect IT to move closer to external clients in order to better support the business and to deliver more robust business-oriented solutions. ITSM will help to facilitate these changes across IT as an ambassador to the business.

Check out Kevin’s session at PINK18: “Odd Couple Or The Perfect Pair: Security & ITSM?”, where he’ll explore the new synergies of ITSM and security, further discuss what to expect in the future, and how you can best prepare your organization for this transformation. You can also buy Kevin’s book, The Practical Guide To World-Class IT Service Management, on Amazon.