ESG study reveals benefits of modern IT service management

ITSM's evolution from a traditional help desk model to an integrated, automated approach has notable benefits for organizations, according to research by Enterprise Strategy Group.

Gone are the days when IT service management was solely associated with the help desk, characterized by manual processes and reactive problem-solving that relied on the expertise of a small group of individuals tasked with solving IT-related problems. In response to today's rapidly advancing compute landscape, ITSM has undergone a dramatic transformation.

The modern approach to ITSM includes integration into workflows and the use of automation to enhance efficiency, streamline operations and ultimately deliver better user experiences. TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently published research on the experiences of organizations that have modernized their approach to ITSM and found clear business benefits.

The traditional help desk model is painful in today's environment

In the past, ITSM was largely centered around the help desk, where users reported issues or requested support through a ticketing system or phone calls. These requests were handled manually, often leading to delayed responses, longer resolution times and frustrated end users.

Under this model, the help desk functioned in a reactive manner, primarily addressing problems after they occurred rather than proactively preventing them. It was a centralized resource, often viewed as a bottleneck.

Among the one in three organizations ESG surveyed that still had a traditional or legacy ITSM model in place, ineffective communications across teams or silos (38%), limited developer velocity (35%) and a lack of process automation (30%) were the most widely reported pains. It shouldn't be a big surprise that these relatively new requirements were poorly supported by legacy ITSM tools and methods.

As organizations have recognized the critical role of IT in their overall business operations with high-profile initiatives like digital transformation, the capabilities needed in ITSM have also evolved. Today, ITSM is central to and integrated into the fabric of an organization's workflows and processes. It is no longer viewed as a standalone entity but rather as an integral part of service delivery for customer, digital and employee experience.

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Quantifying the benefits of modern ITSM

In ESG's research, organizations with modern, integrated ITSM reported benefits such as improved response to failures (41%), increased collaboration among teams (38%) and lower IT operations costs (35%).

Many of the benefits these organizations report stem from integrations that enable core ITSM systems to interact seamlessly with other tools. These include IT management tools used for monitoring, alerting and observability, such as Splunk and Dynatrace; collaboration software, such as Slack and Jira; and cloud service providers used for cloud-native development work. Indeed, one firm, Oneio, has raised money to become the ITSM integration specialist -- something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Automation has also played a role in transforming ITSM. By automating routine tasks -- including incident management, problem management, change management and asset management, to name a few -- organizations can save time and resources, enabling IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

In ESG's study, 83% of respondents with modern ITSM practices agreed that modern ITSM increased their ability to innovate and be more agile, with 30% claiming that they experienced fewer service outages with more frequent release cycles. Advances such as self-service portals, chatbots and virtual assistants empower end users to solve their own problems, resulting in faster response times and improved satisfaction.

What modern ITSM means for businesses

The evolution of ITSM from the traditional help desk model to a modern, integrated and automated approach has changed how organizations deliver their IT services. By adopting a modern approach and tool set for ITSM, integrating IT processes into workflows and embracing automation and integration, businesses can unlock significant and measurable benefits.

Organizations that haven't yet modernized are experiencing clear pain that comes from technical debt and failing to keep pace with modernization. Organizations would do well to consider modernizing their approach to ITSM and upgrading their core ITSM system if they want their IT operations to keep pace with the demands of cloud-centric computing and operations management.

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