Thankfully We Are Not Defined By a Name

Rod Duncan

by Rod Duncan

A buzz word to some, a sleep-aid to others, SERVICE MANAGEMENT is the questionable subject of this post. These 2 words are life changers for IT careerists. SERVICE – tends to make one think of providing some sort of IT utility – like compute, backup, virtual machines for hire, etc... MANAGEMENT just sounds like unnecessary overhead – so let’s face it, together they are not creating any natural sex appeal.

So what’s the rub? Why did ServiceNow’s recent user conference Knowledge ’17 in Orlando have more than 15,000 eager attendees?

Here is my take on what is surely the next great area of IT transformation.

At my age....closer to 50 than 40....I can still remember having to stand in line to get money from a bank teller who would in turn update my bank book. The banking service model has changed so radically, those line-ups are now completely unnecessary, except for one-off cases that cannot be handled by the automated processes.

The same will be said 10 years from now about today’s model of presenting IT services to internal Enterprise customers.

  • Wasn’t it absurd that new employees had to request their own IT services even if the company was the one that hired them in the first place?
  • Remember when a person had to open a ticket to indicate that there was a problem with an online system
  • Remember when the only automated IT service was Password Reset and you had to open a ticket or send an email for literally every other thing that you might need?
  • Remember when the company had a Knowledge Base that was used by Service Agents but wasn’t even shared with the end-users that were experiencing the issue in the first place?
  • Remember when companies were so afraid of change that they had designated times like Sunday at do the changes just in case they had to roll back one minute to the system state just previous to the changes?

Let’s face it, IT is ripe for change. If you are like me, the whole self-driving car thing snuck up and passed you on the left (pun intended) while corporate IT processes are still stuck in let’s say a pre-YouTube era.Sovereign Systems has reviewed the players in this space and quickly got shacked up with ServiceNow – who is the gorilla of this space. Yes, it’s a space. Service Management is clearly a thing.

One of the things that drove our decision, apart from already being chosen by the lion’s share of the Fortune 500 is that it is Cloud based (ie no on-prem gear needed) and does not require a multi-tenant architecture (so bye-bye traditional Cloud Security concerns for Sovereign’s many Healthcare and Financial Services customers).

Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) has traditionally been the place where the Service Management journey starts for companies – this is the – snore – ticketing system used by IT to interface with its user folk.

The next step has been to layer on the complementary modules like Asset Management (ie. What software titles are assigned to Jessica Smith ?), Facilities (ie. Which cube does Jessica Smith sit in?), Change (ie. If we upgrade the code on the switches tonight....what conflicting activities might be taking place and does Jessica Smith’s team need to know?)

Now with the IT foundational elements in place, we can get to the good stuff. ServiceNow is jumping head first into Human Resources (HR) as a new set of modules to leverage all of that stuff into a transformed employee experience. At the conference, they mentioned that 72% of HR employee time is spent working on one-off tasks (ie. I got married and changed my name, what do I need to do for my 401K and email account?). To see how absurd this is, think of how many people get married in any given year in a Fortune 500 account. Lots. So theoretically, this approach should give back 72% of HR’s time to developing and innovating employee- centric services that add new value and competitive differentiators.

So, Service Management wins the prize for The Most Boring Name – Considering the Profound Impact on the Business Award – hands down – and I’m happy to play my small part, evangelizing it along the way.