A popular topic of debate and projection, IT service management is the focus of a newly released research report from Enterprise Management Associates®. Written by Dennis Nils Drogseth, the report delves into changes and challenges happening in ITSM in companies across North America and Europe.

“In this report, we examine ITSM from various perspectives—organizational role of respondents, company size and vertical, geographical differences, and success-related patterns of behavior. Targeted at IT executives and technical adopters across not only ITSM teams but also operations, development, and IT asset management (ITAM) teams as well as those in other related areas, this report shows what’s really occurring with ITSM initiatives.”

One area the report focuses on heavily is how new technologies are being adopted by ITSM teams, which revealed a strong desire to improve communication not only in IT but also between IT and users. The report examines in particular:

  • Technology and analytic priorities
  • Data and service modeling
  • Service catalogs and app stores
  • Impact of cloud
  • Agile/DevOps

Technology and analytic priorities

Under technology and analytic priorities, “Social IT across ITSM staff and end users” led as the top functional priority followed by “New or enhanced project management capabilities.” Both tie directly to communication. Making use of tools like instant messaging, microblogging, and other social media technology that is common in users’ daily lives for IT operations eliminates much of the learning curve and quickly improves communication across IT and across the business. Users can get answers quickly, and the ITSM team has more time to improve service.

Data and service modeling

When asked “Which of the following data sources are used for your company's ITSM-related, ITAM, or integrated operations initiatives?” 24 of the 25 options listed were used to some degree, an indicator of the spreading reach of ITSM. For a chart showing the popularity of the different data sources, see Figure 9 in the EMA report. With regard to CMDB adoption, the survey revealed:

  • More than 50% of respondents had a CMDB or a CMS deployed and already in use
  • 60% of respondents were already federating data, and 25% had plans to federate
  • 77% of those with a CMDB/CMS viewed themselves as “extremely successful” or “very successful” overall with their CMDB/CMS initiatives

CMDB/CMS success correlated strongly with overall ITSM success.

Service catalogs and app stores

When asked whether their organization had one or more service catalogs or app stores in place, only 1% responded as having neither. Nearly three times as many service catalogs are in place versus app stores, and of those in place, 75% support cost and usage data. The research also showed that cost and usage support in catalogs could be correlated with overall ITSM success.

“In the age of cloud and agile, service catalogs and app stores are becoming yet more central to ITSM teams, both in terms of enabling service delivery in a more efficient and consumer-friendly manner and in terms of aggregating services into an accessible central venue for superior financial optimization and performance management.”

Impact of cloud

Cloud is creating drama for ITSM teams. While executives see cloud as a way of changing how companies are organized, the impact on ITSM is still new and challenging. Survey respondents indicated cloud is:

  • Making asset management more challenging
  • Shortening the review cycle for managing change
  • Changing how we approach release management
  • Requiring higher levels of automation
  • Putting more pressure on us to justify costs
  • Pushing us to pay more attention to DevOps


In contrast to cloud, survey responders rated the value of integrated support for DevOps very high. “Thirty-six percent (36%) viewed such integrations as ‘extremely positive/transformative’ and 44% viewed them as ‘very positive.’ No respondent indicated a negative outcome from such integrated DevOps support.” One would hope that bringing operations and development engineers together from beginning to end of a service lifecycle would lead to a positive outcome, and indeed it appears it has.

ITSM self-image

The best news is the impression ITSM has of its success is going up.  Two years ago, only 16% rated themselves as “extremely successful.” In 2017, that number doubled to 33%. In 2015, 36% rated themselves “very successful,” and in 2017, this number grew to 43%. Making the most of new technologies and innovative processes will help ITSM progress and grow even more in the next decade.

For a complete look at the survey data and analytics, download the EMA report “Next-Generation IT Service Management: Changing the Future of IT.”

What's driving the next generation of itsm