In November of last year I spent a week in Sweden talking to IT folk about something which I termed post-ITSM. With this phrase my intention was to was to be provocative, yes; but also to suggest a future in which IT service departments work under a new paradigm, something that both encompasses and extends ITSM, while being based on a alternative premise.
Those knowledgeable about such things may detect the influence of Thomas Kuhn in the above, and indeed you would not be mistaken. Anyhow, the result of a week of conversations with the completely charming Swedish audiences and hosts was that I found myself revisiting all of my old certainties on this topic. I needed to be sure that the approach which I have been developing over these last five years could handle the various Scandinavian criticisms that were aimed at it.
I’m happy to say that some in the sessions were in total agreement with both the call for a new paradigm and, even better, my particular proposal for it. However, others found it harder to let go of what they described as the order and structure of the old way. In response, I argued that transformation of IT service could enable much-needed technological innovation within the entire enterprise (important as many businesses now operate in a fast-changing landscape), as well as increased sightings of the lesser-spotted amazing customer experience in exchanges between the corporate workforce and internal IT service providers.
The best part of the week was meeting highly supportive audience members. One (a COO no less), commented that new methods such as those I was outlining could help with other contemporary challenges such as corporate citizenship for young firms operating in a global context. Nevertheless, my feet were kept firmly on the ground by the many others who seemed dead set against the idea of change.
Let’s not tell fibs, there are areas in which ITSM excels; for example, delivering reliability, efficiency and such like – the systemic, the mechanistic. The resistance of some Swedish workers may have been due their focusing on these particular areas. They may be comforted to know I am certainly not advocating disrupting these back end functions. However, in this era in which enterprise success and longevity increasingly comes at the price of agility and innovation, at the front end something more than processes and targets are needed.
In my view, the goal of the new customer facing IT should be a responsive, innovative and utterly customer-centric IT service. However, you’ve no doubt heard this before from many others. Indeed, while analyses of the challenge are many, there are few fully formed solutions around. As I am fond of saying, I’ve been working on it for several years, and with my work psychology academic background allied to a three-decade work history in IT and ITSM, I feel that I can say that my particular solution is based on more than just a little light reading. Indeed, I’ve written one book and countless posts on this subject.
I’ll say it once again, the challenges facing 21st century IT service organisations are human ones, not those of process or technology. I’m very happy to report that the approach which I advocate stood up pretty nicely to the critiques hurled at it in Scandinavia. This has resulted in my wanting to take these ideas to the next level. I’m not exactly how to do this – I’ll probably start with conversations with some of my key contacts in this area. Many out there are realising that the unresponsiveness of the old horse that they have been flogging is telling them something. That message might be that client facing IT support needs something else to help it meet the needs of the 21st century enterprise.
I’ll be posting more of these over the coming weeks, and will be unwrapping the finer detail of the approach that I keep referring to. As I said above, I’m eager to engage with the industry to gauge reaction to all this. So if you are interested in discussing new IT service paradigms further, don’t be shy. Drop me an email or DM, or why not even call the CXI office for a little chat.
It would be great to hear more from the people at the coalface.