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ITSM tools enter the consumerization era

BMC's MyIT app aims to bridge the gap between traditional ITSM tools and today's empowered, mobile end users.

Although BYOD is about empowering end users, they still must rely on IT to deliver the necessary services -- and that's a point of contention in the workplace.

If it's not user-friendly or intuitive, people aren't going to use it.

Dean Barry,
CIO, Cast & Crew Inc.

IT service management (ITSM) hasn't kept pace with the shift towards mobility and consumerization, said Eveline Oehrlich, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Sixty percent of IT workers think they are doing a great job in supporting the business, but only 35% of the business actually agrees with that sentiment, according to a recent Forrester study.

"How we receive support and help has been pretty poor," Oehrlich said. "Think of your last connection to your service desk. How happy did you end up with the service?"

ITSM tools of the future

The problem with ITSM at many companies is that the multiple processes involved aren't integrated or efficient to begin with, and are generally too complex for both IT departments and employees to use.

With the new MyIT application from BMC Software Inc., it might not be long until employees deliver their own services. The application, scheduled for release in the spring, aims to streamline services management by providing a portal where employees can request IT assistance anytime and anywhere -- either through an HTML5 Web browser or native mobile applications. MyIT delivers a set of services, including help desk requests, an enterprise app store, a secured content locker, intranet information, printer configurations and more.

The new era of ITSM tools also includes ServiceNow's Software as a Service application, which integrates multiple ITSM processes into a single console and offers the same promise of other user-friendly applications.

Anxious for new ITSM tools

Four years ago, Cast & Crew Inc., an entertainment payroll company based in Burbank, Calif., didn't even have a help desk ticket system. That has since changed, but employees have various degrees of technological tolerance and don't always abide by that ticket system, Chief Information Officer Dean Barry said.

Having a liberal bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, multiple office locations and several different repositories for company information also complicate matters. As a result, Barry is anxious to roll out MyIT for service management.

"I look at [service management] as the universal remote for everything our IT department is trying do," Barry said.

He's hesitant to deploy another platform within his company, but a more modern approach to delivering services and help desk requests will ease growing burdens on the IT department, he said.

Barry previously tried a unified services management console from Novell, but the product had difficulty catching on with employees and was ultimately scrapped. He's hopeful the planned MyIT rollout will have different results.

"If it's not user-friendly or intuitive, people aren't going to use it," he said. "But a unified service management tool that is both of those things will hugely reduce the number of calls to our service desk and make us much more productive."

IT in need of culture change

Not everyone is sold on MyIT's mobile-first approach to service management.

Most employees only think about their company's IT department when something isn't working, said Stephen Mann, an operations analyst at Forrester. Changing the culture around service management requires more than just a well-designed application, especially if that application isn't part of users' natural workflow or there is no training on how to use it, he said.

"What customers get out of MyIT, not what BMC puts in, will be the real yardstick for success," he added.

When IT and the business are on the same page for delivering and requesting services, it can help mitigate the negative aspects of consumerization and save money, improve agility and increase job satisfaction on both sides, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, an enterprise research firm based in San Jose, Calif.

Still, BMC's approach is a welcome one for the consumerization and mobility era that continues to push forward.

"For that new way of working, we need new ways of support," Oehrlich said. "There needs to be much more self-service to satisfy the consumer-user."

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