Breaking Down Gartner's Magic Quadrant for ITSM Tools
September 12, 2017
Kevin J. Smith | Senior Vice President | Ivanti
Matt Hooper | ITSM Evangelist | Ivanti
David Martinez | Sr. Product Marketing Manager | Ivanti
Melanie Karunaratne | Senior Manager, Product Marketing | Ivanti
Ian Aitchison | Director, Product Management | Ivanti
What should you look for in an IT Service Management vendor? What does Gartner say about the ITSM market? It's all in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for ITSM Tools. Join our panel of ITSM experts as they dive deeper into Gartner's analysis, and also share their observations on ongoing trends and predictions for future developments in service management. All registrants will receive a download of the report, compliments of Ivanti.
Dave: I'd like to welcome everybody to our webinar today titled Breaking Down Gartner's Magic Quadrant for ITSM Tools. My name is Dave Martinez. I'm with the marketing department here at Ivanti, and I have a distinguished panel joining us today to take a look at the Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Tools. I'll have Ian, Matt, and Kevin introduce themselves in a moment, but before we get started with the meat of the conversation, I'd like to take care of a few housekeeping items. We are in a WebEx session and all callers should be on mute, but if you could also mute on your side of the conversation, that would be great. Sometimes WebEx has a few issues so we like to have the additional level of protection to make sure we don't have any audio issues.
This is going to be a panel discussion, and we really want your involvement so please enter any questions you have, comments, or insights into the Q&A Chat panel you see on the WebEx there, or you can do it in the Chat, as well. We'll try to get to your questions during the session, but if we don't get to them during the session, we'll follow up afterwards with answers. This session is being recorded and will be distributed later along with the presentation and a link to the Magic Quadrant report, so you can download it, take a look at it, and follow up with any additional research you want to do after the session. We are on Twitter, you can see the hashtag for Ivanti webinars. If you’d like to follow some of our distinguished panelists, you can see their handles there. I highly encourage you to go ahead and follow them. With that, let me ask our panelists to introduce themselves, and I'll go alphabetically. Ian, if you could give a short introduction about you and what you do at Ivanti, that'd be great.
Ian: Yes, okay Dave. Thanks very much for asking me to come along. My name is Ian Aitchison. I'm the senior product director over Ivanti's IT Service Management product line, which means I'm responsible for the roadmap and strategy and the releases and the features coming up through the product.
Dave: Great. Thank you, and it's a pleasure working with Ian I have to say. Somebody who is also very good to work with is Matt Hooper. Matt, if I can ask you to give an introduction.
Matt: Sure. Thank you, Dave. I'm Matt Hooper. I'm director of sales for ITSM for the Americas, and I'm happy to be on this panel. Thank you.
Dave: Thank you, Matt, and last but not least is Kevin J. Smith. Kevin, if I can ask you to do an introduction, as well.
Kevin: Thank you, David. Kevin Smith, senior VP at Ivanti working on strategic initiatives. I have been with the business for 15 years, am an avid follower of the Magic Quadrant, and look forward to discussing that more today.
Dave: Okay, great. With that, why don't we jump right into it and talk about the Magic Quadrant. The Gartner Magic Quadrant is seen as a key report for the IT service management market. It's highly anticipated every time it comes out in the summer, and is a profile of the market for enterprise ITSM tools, the market for ITSM tools, and also the vendors with an evaluation of the vendors, their tools, their strategy, and the business results.
There's a companion report that usually comes out with it called Critical Capabilities, which has a lot of good information as well, but during this session, we're going to focus on the Magic Quadrant. With that, Kevin, staying with you, I'm going to ask you to kick off our conversation. What were your initial thoughts when the Magic Quadrant came out this year?
Initial Reactions to the MQ
Kevin: I guess my initial thoughts were there were no big surprises, which in itself is not a big surprise. It continues to be a reflection of the state of the market. Gartner does a good job of capturing where the market is today. There are changes that happen each year, and we all look forward to seeing what those are, but I think what Gartner does is explore in more depth some of the trends that are important to companies that operate a service management organization, a service management model. We've been through a lot of maturity. We've been through a lot of changes over the years, and there are a lot of vendors that do all the basics, many vendors. Behind this quadrant, there are a large number of vendors that don't meet the Gartner qualifications for being included in this discussion. I think it’s good that Gartner continues to offer insights into how companies can get value in service management and what the latest trends are we all need to be paying attention to. No big shocks, but a good profile of where the market is today and how we expect that market to go forward.
Dave: Matt, what were your thoughts when you saw the MQ come out?
Matt: Super excited. First, the position for Ivanti is great. It's good to see us in that challenger quadrant. You can see the separation of the pack between the ones who are focused on the market, bringing new products to ITSM, bringing new capabilities to ITSM. The investment in that is shown here and a reflection of that organization's focus on being an ITSM player, so I was excited to see us there. It's been a big year for us with the merger of HEAT and LANDESK. Bringing that together and coming into the analysis was interesting to see from the sidelines. I know you carried most of the work, Dave.
Dave: Brings back memories.
Matt: You still have a twitch in your eye, I'm sure. It's good that Gartner is so thorough, and it does put vendors through the paces. Every company has to determine for themselves what product meets their needs in a lot of ways. I wrote a blog not too long ago saying you're buying a partnership, not a product. That's important, and this helps you set the list you're going to go forward with, or at least evaluate. As Gartner says, there are over 400 players in this market, so I was excited to see us clearly in that leadership area. That, to me, was very exciting.
Dave: To your point about there being over 450, I think, vendors in the marketplace, I know a lot of people on the webinar try to use the MQ as something to give them a short list of vendors they should look at out of that 450, especially in the enterprise market. Thank you. Ian, your thoughts? If you want to talk a little more about how the MQ is structured, that'd be fantastic.
Ian: So initial thoughts, I wish Gartner wouldn't publish this in August because it always happens, literally, right as I'm heading off on vacation. I don't know how they do that, but again this year, I was literally heading off on my family holiday as the trigger was pulled and they published. Obviously, as an ITSM vendor, this is one of a number of reports across the market that are important to us, possibly the most important because everybody references Magic Quadrant across all markets. I was relieved when it came out because if there hadn't been one, people would be referring to old documentation that doesn't reflect what's been going on in the market. The movement’s really important. Understanding how a vendor has moved in the report is an interesting reflection, and I was very pleased that Ivanti had a significant shift in part due to the merger of the LANDESK and HEAT businesses. That was very positive.
In terms of how the report’s put together, I can't speak for the experts at Gartner on anything other than a reminder that this is an assessment of the vendor. To Matt's point about partnership, this is about the vendor you'll have a relationship with for many years. With a service management solution, it might be for 3, 5, 10, 20 years. It's a judgment of that vendor's abilities through a Gartner lens, through the things they measure. It's based on their clients, so it's a particular bubble view of the world, but it's one that's pretty well aligned to the market, and most people reference it.
They have their scale, the vertical scale and the horizontal scale. The vertical is about the vendor's ability to execute, which is many things, including how they communicate with the markets, the business and viability, and things like that. Then you have the horizontal axis, which is more around completeness of vision. There are many pieces there, geographic strategy, business model, but I like to think innovation plays a part there, too. A lot of work goes into it, you know that Dave, a great deal of work in preparing the submissions, preparing the product demonstrations involved with this, and the critical capabilities. I’m pleased to see it, and I think it's a good report.
Dave: The more you and Matt remind me of the amount of work that goes into it, the stronger that twitch in my eye gets, so thank you for that.
Kevin, let me come back to you. You said at the beginning you didn't see any surprises when the report came out. Every time I see the report, I'm intrigued by the movements in the vendors from year to year. Aside from that, was there anything else that surprised you now you’ve had a few minutes to think about it? Was there something that surprised you in the report this year?
Kevin: I don't think so. I think the key is depth, all of us taking time to look at what happens in the Quadrant and watching in amazement at how IT service management continues to evolve. It's important to take time to look at the depth of what's happening in the market and the trends that are happening because we all want to do IT service management well.
Many people have been in IT and service desk and service management for many years now, and we're looking at how we'll continue to move forward and take our organization to the next level. I was very pleased, as were the other panelists here, to see Ivanti take a nice step upward. Beyond that, I think we all look at all the vendors, the nine represented here and the many that are beyond the nine, to see what's happening and how Gartner is evaluating those vendors. There's always the story behind the stories that show up in the Quadrant, and I think maturity is important as to how we continue to get better, and the changes in service management.
Service management is amazing in that right when we think we know exactly what service management is, we are reminded that it continues to evolve and change, and some of that is reflected here. I think we all share that sense of anticipation and interest academically in what's happening now and how we all continue to get better and deliver more value to our clients.
Dave: That's a good point. Matt, the same question to you: Any surprises or was this exactly what you predicted?
Matt: I think the biggest surprise, probably, if you look as you said, year over year, and which is one of the biggest things I always take away from the Quadrant, is to see who's moving up, who's moving down. You saw players like ServiceNow go from a niche to that favorable position in the leaders quadrant, and others who were leaders moving back down into that niche. That's always interesting, but when you see a new logo, a new brand, it's like "Who are these guys?" so I think we're probably the biggest surprise in the Quadrant because you saw HEAT and LANDESK positioned in different areas of the Quadrant over the past few years, but now, combined, to move into that challenger quadrant is very interesting. It's very surprising,
There are names we don't see anymore. That's always surprising, and it makes us look to see what might happen in the future. With HPE selling off their software to Micro Focus, you wonder if Micro Focus will be the new brand up there next year? Will that be a surprise or is this really the market they're focused on? It's interesting. We'll have to look and see. Overall, the others, no real surprises there except for the shift, how people are moving in and out.
Dave: It's always one of the interesting things year-to-year, how the market and vendors move around. Ian, closing out this question with you, although I know nothing surprises you. Anything in the report that surprised you?
Ian: Well, the drop of an "S" wasn't a surprise. We kind of knew, it's no longer IT service support management, ITSSM. It's now IT service management. I won't speak for Gartner on why they made that change, but it seems like the right thing to do. It avoids people asking, "What's ITSSM?" That feels like a good piece. Other than that, there's always an element of surprise because no matter how hard as a vendor you try to communicate to an industry-analyst organization what you do and what's working, you're also dependent on feedback from clients, you're dependent on their opinion, on the documents they've read. You never know what's going to come out. I never know for sure, so opening it up, it's like, "Okay, did our message get across? Do they understand what we're doing? Were we clear enough?” So nice surprise, we thought we communicated well.
Dave: That's a good point. I don't know if our attendees understand this, but one of the big things in the evaluation for the Magic Quadrant is Gartner reaches out to a lot of our clients. For all the vendors they evaluate, in fact, client input is important. It's one thing they take into consideration very strongly.
Let's move on beyond our initial thoughts and think about other things that would be of more interest to our attendees. Ian, staying with you, what would be your top recommendations for attendees on the phone and in the recording later, regarding how they should view the Magic Quadrant Report? How should they be thinking about it?
How to Intepret the Magic Quadrant Report
Ian: The first point is to remember it's about the vendor. I mentioned that earlier, and I think it’s important. We tend to default to it's about the product, but this is about the vendor, and that's the most important thing, speaking as a product director. It’s important because a relationship is what makes success. A good relationship can influence how the product works in the future and ensure your business becomes successful. That's the first one.
The other one is to remember it's Gartner’s review. Every business is different, every vertical is different, every industry area is different, and every organization has different needs. I've heard the Gartner analyst a number of times say this gives you an overview, but you should judge based on your needs. Their position is not an absolute; it’s an indication of how they're measured with the criteria Gartner use. What you then need to do is engage with those vendors, meet them, talk with them, spend time to understand what they do, and spend time to get past the initial flurry of PowerPoint slides. Get to know them as people, understand their culture, and understand what's important to their business because, potentially, you're going to have a long-term relationship with them. Maybe it's an introductory letter. If you're not already with a vendor, this is the introductory letter that helps you meet and go on your first date to find out if you have a long-term relationship with them.
Dave: Okay, it's a little background on the vendor, some questions you may want to ask them, getting a feel for the landscape.
Ian: Yes, very much so.
Dave: That's great. Matt, same question to you. Any recommendations? I know you do a lot of speaking opportunities in the industry. In fact, I know you have one coming up with Fusion in a few weeks. In your conversations with IT professionals, how do you position the MQ report?
Matt: It's a reference check. The vendor you might be talking to or who you met at a market event, if they're not in this, it doesn't mean they don't have a good product or they won’t solve your need. You may want to continue that conversation, but it's going to be harder for you to sell to management. MQ is one of those validation points. Management will ask you as you justify the budget and spend on tools, where does Gartner view this vendor? Where do they sit on the MQ? That's relevant because it's a sanity check. As Ian said, you're buying a relationship, you're buying a partnership.
Feature-wise, a lot of us leapfrog each other in the marketplace. We'll come up with something, then the next vendor will come up with that same feature or something a little more enhanced, and then we respond to it. If you get into a features war, over three to five years those features will come and go and become table stakes. What the MQ tells you is the vendor probably does most of your ITIL processes, and they probably have most of the capabilities you're looking for in self-service and support, so it's kind of a sanity check. That’s not to devalue it but to keep it in perspective. If you're going to select a technology solution, think about where you are as an organization, the partnership you're building with that vendor, and where they can take you. Can they start with you where you are, and can they take you where you need to go? Those are ITSM 101 principles.
Dave: That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for that. Kevin, with your engagements, I know you talk to literally hundreds of clients. What do you tell IT professionals about the MQ and how they should view it?
Kevin: It's a good barometer of what's happening in the market today, and I think Gartner does a good job with that responsibility. It’s a report that's been in the market for many years, and it's closely followed by many practitioners. I would suggest to people that it's easy to focus on the dots on the MQ. As we can see, it's a very visual thing, it's become iconic in our market, but it's important to look beyond the visuals and at the report itself. People need to take time to read the report and read it carefully, because it provides depth and context for what's happening on the MQ. That's something we look at right away when the report comes out. As Ian and Matt said, we look at it wondering what changed year over year, but take the time to read the report. There's good commentary in it about the market. Gartner provides an overview of what's happening in the market.
There's commentary on each of the vendors, and Gartner is very evenhanded in how they do that. There are, I think, three cautions and three strengths highlighted for each vendor. It's the same for every vendor. More and more, organizations understand it’s a partnership. We've made that point. It's an important point. We're entering into a partnership, so it’s an important decision. This partnership is an important decision, so companies should take the time to understand what's happening in the market and what each of the respective vendors can offer and contribute to that partnership.
The trajectory of a vendor is important, too. We're very pleased with ours at Ivanti. Look at what’s happening with all the vendors. There's always a story. There's a story that goes along with every vendor and what's happening over time, what's happened the past three, four, or five years and what you can expect to happen in the future. It's important to understand that, as well. There are several layers here, which is part of what makes the report so interesting. It's much more than the Quadrant itself.
Dave: That's great. What I hear from all of you is this is more than selecting a tool, you're looking for a partner who's going to help you be successful. MQ does a good job of laying out what the different vendors are doing, what to look for, what to look out for, and what to appreciate. It sets the table for that engagement going forward. Kevin, let me stay with you and ask you to flip that question. How should IT professionals not view or use the MQ report?
The Magic Quadrant Report Isn’t the Only Thing to Consider
Kevin: Don't be too feature-enamored, I would say. There are a lot. Every vendor is represented on the Quadrant. As Ian described, there is an element to this which is evaluating a product set, and that has a place. It certainly has a place when you're making a partnership decision, but I think it's important to not make your partnership decision based only on what a product offers. There's so much more to IT service management success than just a product, a technology. Products have a place, and we all love to talk about the products. There's an element of product capabilities in here in product feature functions.
I recognize this is an investment companies make in a partnership and a solution―I'll use the word solution, which sort of captures the combination of the vendor and what the product offers―but don't make the decision purely based on what a product offers, what looks good in a product or demo, because all vendors are good at showing off their product in a demo. It has a place, but make sure it’s in the broader context of a solution and a partnership and that you don’t get too distracted by the product. Take the time to look deeper and more broadly at an overall solution and what the vendor offers in support of a partnership.
Dave: Great. Don't take the quick view of it and run with that. You have to be a little holistic about it. Matt, same to you. Anything for which IT professionals should not consider or not use the MQ as shorthand or rationalization?
Matt: I probably would not use it as a dartboard to pick your vendor. It could lay out really well, actually, see where your dart lands and go with that. As Kevin said, it is a reference guide, and it has great value to the market space, but it comes back to the basics. What problem are you trying to solve? If you're trying to uplift your tools and uplift your skillset with your people because you have major GRC initiatives, take that into consideration. It's this ITSM quadrant along with who’s in the security space and who's a player in the audit space. You can cross-reference, triangulate, and say, "Here's a vendor who could check those three boxes. That makes a lot of sense. Let's go that route."
It's one data point you have to factor in, but what I hate is when I see companies get a little lazy and say, "We'll go to the MQ, pick the top four vendors, and blind RFP them. That's not helping your organization. Our sales and RFP team, that's fine by us, we'll respond to it, but it's not really going to help your organization. It's not the best way to go about getting the right solution in place. Take the time to understand what your real needs are, and then assess the data Gartner is providing you. This, along with a critical capability study, is what you really want to do.
Dave: Yes, so you have to put some thought into this. I love your analogy of throwing a dart at it in front of whatever quadrant interests you. You have to think about what you need. I want to come back to your question as you phrased it, "What problem are you trying to solve?" but let me get Ian's thoughts first in terms of what not to think about the MQ, how not to use it.
Ian: I think you shouldn't regard it as a stack rank completely. You shouldn't regard it as, "I'm going to take whatever brand name is the highest, top ranked, and assume that's the best thing for my business." I apologize, I haven't checked recently, but a little while ago, the last time I looked on the Gartner site, if you are a Gartner client, you can view the placing of vendors online. There are sliders that let you apply relative weighting based on what's important to you, based on what matters in your industry. There weren't dramatic shifts the last time I looked into the previous years' ones. They don't dramatically shift all over the place, but there's a little shift around, and it lets you apply a bit of weighting. Definitely don't use it as the definitive statement on what's right. We’ve said a few times that it's an introduction or a reassurance about the vendor. It's not a shopping list, and it's not a single point of definitive statement. It's part of your understanding.
Dave: That's key. Thank you for that. Matt, let me come back to you again and your question about what problem you're trying to solve. It reminds me there are a lot of things not covered in the Magic Quadrant. You mentioned, for example, security. Moving the conversation beyond the MQ, if that's okay, what are some considerations or other key things IT organizations should look at beyond the MQ? If you look at the broader IT service management question, what other things do you need to be considering? You mentioned security. Are there other things?
Considerations beyond the MQ Report
Matt: An expression I coined a couple of years back is IT is no longer a department, it's a competency. With that shift in the enterprise, service management, with IT's discipline in service management, we are seeing the value it brings across the organization to governance, to operational governance, business orchestration, allowing various powers within an organization to operate. There is a heavy focus on IT services and its capabilities in providing the tools and capabilities for ITSM in the quadrant. Obviously, we want to be strong there as a vendor, because if IT can't get its house in order, how can it help anybody else? We're seeing a dramatic shift in the marketplace to service management across the enterprise, of looking at ways to leverage these capabilities in providing business orchestration support.
Project portfolio management has a much stronger emphasis on service management solutions today. It's a bigger part of RFPs and a bigger part of the focus. Security and SecOps, real-time security analysis, threat detection, risk posture, it's a much bigger pressure on service management, as is ITAM, IT asset management and software asset management and understanding how to onboard your assets. These are becoming more integrated into the daily operations of IT. We're seeing this unification of IT across departments to become more agile and more transparent, make changes more effectively, more orchestrated across the business with more transparency to all key stakeholders. The boundaries of traditional ITSM are starting to stretch, so I think we'll see some of that stretch in the MQ, as well. Today, as it's evaluated, it's one of the things we have to reflect on.
Beyond the MQ, you have to factor in other things. What am I, as we said, what problem am I trying to solve? What are the organizational pressures? Do I have the right people, do we have to upscale them, do I have to do technology refreshes? Do we have cloud initiatives? Whatever it is that’s driving the impetus to say, "Hey, our tools aren't cutting it anymore, our processes aren't cutting it anymore," that's the driver for whatever ultimate spend on consultants and technologies and training you embark on, so that needs to stay as your focus. At the end of the day, you have a business to run.
Dave: That's a good point. In fact, it reminds me 95 percent of the work in trying to get a good answer is making sure you ask the right question.
Matt: That's right.
Dave: The way you say it is "What problem are you trying to solve?" Don't go to the Magic Quadrant and say, "Oh, here's the answer," and then work backwards to "What's the question?" Think about your situation and what needs are driving you immediately, 6 months from now, 18 months, whatever your timeframe is.
Kevin, same to you. What other considerations would you recommend IT organizations look at beyond what's covered in the MQ?
Kevin: When we're talking to companies today, one thing we see is organizations are looking more broadly and thinking more broadly about IT. Service management is certainly important, and in many ways it's in the middle of this model, but our clients are thinking about how they operate all of IT more effectively, and one thing we need to be thinking about is synergies, the synergies between service management and other key elements of IT like security, asset management, endpoint management, and others. Any organization that's looking at service management and looking at this quadrant needs to be thinking about the synergies with their bigger plan for IT. While we see a lot of consistency from organization to organization, large or small, healthcare or higher education, retail or manufacturing, regardless of that profile, there are elements that are consistent. Also, organizations always have pieces that are unique.
I would encourage anybody looking at their strategy to understand where they are in their IT strategy, what's on their IT roadmap, and look at those needs, as Matt said, look at your priorities, what you need, what you're going to need over the next two, three, four, or five years and think a little more broadly than only IT service management. Think about where those synergies are, how you can get the most leverage out of those synergies, and then select a partner who can best fulfill those synergies and help you do better at operating IT as a whole.
Dave: That's good advice. Ian, any additional comments you'd like to add?
Ian: Well, very similar, but I'll make the point that with Gartner, they assess a vendor, the critical capabilities, the detail of the tool, and they assess its IT service management capabilities. I think the market is shifting in two ways, one in which service management tools are more important than they ever have been before. It’s the platform upon which you can transform IT, transform the business, and do some spectacular things going forward, but service management is not a standalone thing. It’s not an isolated bubble that doesn't integrate anymore.
Service management tools are highly automated, and going forward, they'll continue to be so and will become even more integrated and automated. It's the platform that's talking between technology, unifying IT, and interacting with endpoint management, asset management, and security management automatically as part of a defined service management process. The MQ focuses on the ITSM bit, and it doesn't reflect how that stretches into all the other areas. It's referenced, it's commented, but it's a specific assessment. I understand why they do it. I understand they're in a hard position where you have to draw defined boundaries to measure something, but I think if you look at the bigger picture, that sort of solution is something which is in security, asset management, endpoint management, HR, facilities, or if it isn't now, it will be. That consideration is difficult, but that's my point.
Dave: It sounds like IT service management will become a hub for a lot of activities. Matt, you mentioned security and governance. Ian and Kevin, you mentioned asset management, especially software asset management, making sure organizations don't overspend on their licenses. That discipline's going to become more and more important. IT service organizations would become critical, it sounds like, going forward.
I'm going to take off on Ian’s comment that the Magic Quadrant doesn't cover some of the things we're talking about, and I'm going to ask you to put on your prognosticating hats. Yogi Berra said, "Predictions are really hard, especially about the future," but I'm going to ask you to stay looking ahead. How do you think the MQ report is going to evolve? Will Gartner start including some of these things or not? Will they stay focused on IT service management? I remind panelists we are being recorded, so I'm going to come back and report on how close you got.
Ian: That would be a first.
Kevin: Thank you for that reminder, David. We appreciate that.
Dave: No worries, Kevin, since you're on deck right now. Going back to Yogi Berra and the baseball, you're at the batter's plate. Why don't you take a crack at it?
Predictions for the Future
Kevin: This is a fun question. What could be more fun than thinking about what will happen in the future? The great thing is we can say what we want, and we can't be wrong today. Maybe the recording will prove us wrong a year or two from now, but I love thinking about what's ahead. I think all of our listeners do as well. It's important to think ahead because we're making an investment, and we're thinking not only about IT service management but also about IT.
I believe Gartner will continue to keep the headline as IT Service Management, but over time, I'd expect the report to take a broader look at IT because these implications and these synergies can't be ignored. More and more, we've called IT service management the hub. We could call it a facilitator for what happens in IT. I think the report will continue to look at IT service management but will be more and more influenced by what's happening across all of IT, recognizing that IT service management is unique, is at the crossroads of so much of what's happening in IT, and we have a responsibility to help all of IT operate better and be more effective.
There are a couple of things I would expect to see. One is this concept of unifying IT, leveraging the synergies of all the elements of IT, and making IT more strategic to the business, creating leverage across IT. Things like automation, how we can leverage automation, this theme keeps coming up everywhere we look across IT. Automation can do so much for us. In the past five years, the tools for automation have become so much better. Four or five years ago, it was kind of a hypothetical exercise to talk about automation because the idea was ahead of the tools, but the tools have become so much better and also what we can do with automating workflow and automating decision rules. I think automation will have a bigger influence on this.
Another thing that's interesting to many of us is artificial intelligence, learning systems, intelligent assistants, whatever you want to call it. Our vision was ahead of what the reality was for many years, but we're now starting to see the reality of it being able to help us. I'm excited about how the learning systems and smart systems will start to influence what we do in IT service management and influence all of what we do in IT.
Dave: In fact, in that last point about artificial intelligence, there's been a lot more research, not only from Gartner, but also other analysts and thought leaders on that topic. I'm going to hold out on the AI topic. I'm going to save that for Ian in a bit. Matt, let me come to you and ask you the same question. Any evolution you think will happen with the MQ report, going forward?
Matt: I agree with Kevin. I think it's going to continue to expand. We see movements like DevOps and SecOps and this broader reach into application lifecycle further up the service delivery stack, back into the business origination. I think those are going to be real drivers for how ITSM continues to redefine itself in the market space. Gartner will have to take that into consideration, as well. If we look at where ITSM was, it focused on incident and the service desk approach. It became ITSSM, as Ian noted earlier, so in the whole support arena, how we do support, and what's interesting is we've dropped the "S." We're back to ITSM.
Looking at what ITSM is today, there are really two camps. You have one camp that's still focusing on the basic block and tackle of keeping systems running, and then there's the other camp that's focused on delivering new technology capabilities at high velocity and high durability. That camp is starting to get a lot of traction in the market, and with the tools that are there―the whole DevOps tool chain Gartner has put together, for example―you can crosscheck a lot of the ITSM capabilities, but in some ways, it's not covering it, and it's going to have to. It's going to have to go into those other areas of the DevOps toolkits. The way I see it, we're going to do a lot more on configuration management. We'll see major expansions in change management. We're going to see risk assessment as a bigger driver for it. Organizations that can take business initiatives through the technology delivery lifecycle are going to be the ones, I think, that are going to rank further up the stack in the MQ for ITSM. I think it's going to be the nature of the way ITSM is defining itself in the marketplace.
Dave: It sounds like what's happening is a lot of leading IT organizations are trying to become, are becoming much more of a strategic enabler to the business to do some of the things you're talking about. It sounds like maybe the MQ will evolve to reflect more and more of that. Ian, before I get to the AI topic and other advanced technologies with you, your prognostication, what's going to happen with the MQ report going forward?
Ian: I think it does need to comprehend that bigger picture. I think we will see a continued separation of the vendors shown in the report. It feels like, and obviously we have to wait for next year, but it feels like the shape of the market and the players in the market are separating into those that do one thing, and they all do it well, so those that do one thing well, and those who have a broader, stronger message. What also happens sometimes with Gartner when they start to run out of vendors, is they recut a new definition to make a new quadrant view that brings in new vendors. They may alter the entry criteria. They may increase the scope. They may make it easier for some of the smaller players to get visibility. They keep a close eye on it. It's in their benefit to not allow their report to become stagnant and fail. They always want it to be relevant, so a bit of expansion, possibly new names, and possibly some of the older names separating out or even dropping out completely.
Dave: A lot of interesting things to keep an eye out for. I think in the coming years there will be a lot of things to keep an eye out for, so I thank the three of you for those comments and observations. Again, it's recorded so we may come back and see what it came down to.
The Role Artificial Intelligence Will Play
Continuing with predictions of the future, and again, as Yogi Berra said, it's especially hard to predict the future. Ian, staying with you, I think it was Kevin that brought up AI. That's only one of the future technologies, maybe not so future, one of the technologies that could change what IT service management means or does that we have to look out for. Your thoughts on that and other things that may be coming down the pipeline from a technology perspective?
Ian: I think it's an important topic. I think it's an area that will make a significant impact on how IT operates in a workplace environment, wherever that may be. The first thing with artificial intelligence is what is AI? What is this? There is a famous quote, and I can't remember who, but somebody famous a little while ago said, "Artificial intelligence is what hasn’t been invented yet." If you go back to history over the past 50-odd years, there's always been talk about artificial intelligence, and it's always something that's not quite there.
I'm using the term conversational UI increasingly, and Gartner talk about a conversational AI, but it's that idea of using sentences. They may be typed sentences or spoken sentences, and those sentences communicate with technology that often responds in sentences, spoken or text or maybe a response with something on the screen. We're seeing that shift to talking directly with technology starting to come into self-service. We see it in external support models where virtual agents are already starting to come in, and we'll see it in the industry. We'll see it in service management. It will become part of the expectation for self-service from the user community, the customers of whatever IT service is being offered because that's the way it works. That demand comes into the business and will be powered by automation and learned decision-making.
Let's call that AI, it pretty much is. It may be responding to, "Can you tell me why email isn't working?" It may be responding to, "Can you tell me Hooper's sales performance in the last month?" Okay, that's not an IT question, but it's that idea of phrasing what you need and getting what you want quicker. It may be responding to, "I need new software to look at a PowerPoint document," and the software or the link to the web service you need appears automatically. It's what ITSM does now, but we wait for people to make decisions or talk on the phone, we wait in a queue or we wait for the email. We're always waiting on people because you need people to make decisions, and you need people to take action. That is the tipping point where people can focus on innovating, enhancing, and improving. A lot of their routine activity of waiting to press the button, let's let a machine press the button, and let that person work on improving what's done by looking at what's been done in the past and stopping things from going wrong in the future. Under that umbrella term AI, we’ll see big changes. I think we'll see the difference in self-service coming soon. I think we'll see more and more conversational and bots, which are conversational, becoming normalized as we go forward.
Dave: Here come the bots. Keep an eye out for them is what you're saying?
Dave: Sounds good. It's really exciting. It sounds like you're saying there'll be more and more left shifting going on, from level 1 to level 0 to maybe even more proactive, I guess -1, -2. We'll figure out a nomenclature for it. I think there's one out there.
Ian: It'll get really funny when a bot contacts self-service needing help and is responded to by a bot. That would be interesting.
Dave: Didn’t we have an example of that with Facebook?
Ian: When bots help bots.
Ian: A bot in communication.
Dave: That's going to happen.
Ian: It opens up API level communication with sentences. It's a jokey comment, but technology can communicate with technology in sentences as well as people. There are all sorts of interesting things there, and again, it all falls back to service management.
Dave: We'll keep an eye on it. It'd be interesting, we'll have to service bots and keep them as a user in our work going forward. Interesting thought. Matt, anything you're looking out for?
Matt: To me, everything Ian spoke about is a component of the user experience. User experience is driving a lot of the desire to uplift tools, to change the way IT interacts with the rest of business, the way the business interacts with itself and its end customers. All of this is great, but when Ian talked about bots helping bots, it reminded me of a machine-learning story I read many years ago about two guys who wrote algorithms to find pricing of these books on eBay. They happened to unknowingly or unwittingly point to each other's pricing as part of their algorithm, and they started to uplift their books. This useless, worthless book of $1 ended up priced at several million dollars on both of their websites.
Matt: The user experience and the focus on outcomes are still the major drivers. Machine learning and all the other practices around AI will get there, the conversational UI. If we can get away from forms, what a great user experience that would be. When we don't have to interact with forms or have required forms on all these drop-down lists, we can get to what we need faster. I think those are big drivers for us.
Bringing it back to 2017, I still meet with many customers who don't have mobile access to their ITSM solution to find out ticket updates. It's a challenge when we have to provide to cutting-edge companies, enterprises who are very mature and pushing the envelope but also continue to service the 6,000 or 7,000 customers who are still trying to do basic block and tackle. They’re trying to get end users to enter tickets via a mobile application or a self-service as opposed to calling on the phone. User experience really is the driver. How do we create a better experience overall? Part of that is UI, part of that is AI, part of that is accessibility, part of that is cloud, but it all comes together, in my mind, as part of that general user experience.
Dave: It’s interesting to imagine user experience. It becomes a bigger and bigger topic every year it seems. We've seen a number of surveys from HDI, for example, that put that as either number one or number two in terms of an objective for the IT organization. I'd love to see more of that.
Matt: It's a pain to do. It's difficult to do governance, and if you have to go into a crappy tool or have to jump through a bunch of hoops to do it, it makes it that much more painful. No one wants to write down what they want to do, they just want to do it. If it takes an act of Congress to do it, or if it's really difficult to do, or if it's ugly, it makes it even worse. Aesthetic matters in this day and age.
Dave: As I was listening to you talk, it reminded me that maybe that command I've been looking for forever, the "You know" command is going to come out. You know what I want so just go ahead and do it.
Matt: That's right.
Dave: Kevin, let me bring you into this. We're getting close to the top of the hour, but your thoughts about exciting technologies?
Kevin: We've talked about a theme where what we have to get back to is making people better. I like the idea of proactive, somebody used that word, Ian or Matt used that word. What's important in all this technology we're talking about is ultimately it's not about the technologies, it's about making our people better. The result of that is we're able to move much faster. Speed is going to emerge as a primary theme in IT over the next 5 to 10 years. We know we can do what we need to do; it becomes a matter of how fast we can do it. Whether it's automation or AI, all of those things help us execute faster and allow IT to shift.
We're in this interesting place today where we have one foot in our past and one foot in our future. I'm not sure service management has been there before, but it allows us to work more proactively. It allows us to work more strategically. When we give back a little time in the day to our people, it lets them think. We haven't had the opportunity to think as much as we wanted to in the past, and all of this amazing technology is going to give us a little time to think, which will allow us to find even better ways to get things done and align with the business.
My last thought would be that we've talked about IT being aligned with a business and being more strategic to the business. I really think we'll see IT start to get ahead of the business and start to define models where the whole organization can work differently and deliver more value to clients. That's going to come from IT. Many people wouldn't think IT would be the place that innovation would come from, but with all this amazing technology, IT is going to be an innovation leader for the whole business, not only IT. Big difference between those things.
Dave: That's the key, IT as an innovation leader. I love closing on that thought. I’m mindful of the time, and I think we're getting close here. I know we've asked people for questions, and we have a few coming in. We've tried to incorporate your questions into the discussion with the panel. There are a few we didn't get to. Troy, I know you had a few questions, we'll get to you, and there were a couple of other ones. We'll follow up with you directly after the webinar. I want to thank everybody who's been on the webinar with us. It's been a good conversation, a lot of things were talked about. I hope to see you join us at a future Ivanti event, either in person or at another webinar.
I want to remind you we will be following up with an email. You'll get a link to the webinar recording, and you'll get a link to the MQ report, as well. Take a look through it, use it as a guide for some of your decisions if you're looking for IT refresh. I want to thank everybody for joining our webinar, and I especially want to thank our panelists, Ian, Matt, and Kevin for an enjoyable, informative hour. I look forward to talking again soon. Thank you again.
Matt: Thank you, Dave.
Dave: Our pleasure, and I wish everybody a good day. Take care. Good-bye now.
Matt: Good-bye, everybody.