ITSM evolution on display at FUSION

The reports of ITSM’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Its ongoing evolution was on vivid display at the industry’s premier service management conference.

ITSM evolution on display at FUSION
Credit: Cherwell Software

Trends in enterprise IT are an interesting thing. Can you think of any other industry where hype has its own lifecycle?

Whether it is because of the large budgets at stake or that enterprise IT professionals are uniquely susceptible to them, it seems the enterprise IT market is always awash in “hot new trends.” And as fast as they arise, most fizzle out.

At least from that perspective, the IT service management (ITSM) space has had a pretty good run. It’s been over 20 years since the British government first introduced Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), creating the ITSM market.

And almost since the beginning, people have been predicting its demise.

ITSM’s death, however, has been greatly exaggerated. The more than 1,600 people attending last week’s FUSION conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas can attest to the fact that ITSM is alive and kicking.

Produced by itSMF USA and HDI, FUSION is the industry’s premier service management conference.

While the large, international audience at FUSION demonstrated ITSM’s continued relevance, it was also apparent that the industry is rapidly evolving to keep pace with the larger enterprise IT market.

Evolving ITSM beyond ITIL

Most striking was the almost complete absence of the word “ITIL” from the conference. Out of well over 100 concurrent sessions, only three referenced the industry framework. While there was some focus on traditional ITSM process domains, there was just as great a focus on areas as diverse as DevOps, agile development, microservices, lean IT, business relationship management, cyber-resilience and service integration and management (SIAM).

“ITSM is morphing to adopt lean and agile approaches,” said Kevin Fitzgibbons, a senior manager at Whirlpool. “It’s good to see how others are handling this and that there is a shift to centering our efforts on quality and serving the customer.”

More than just a broad collection of topics, however, there was a larger theme: ITSM as a source of innovation and agility for the enterprise.

FUSION 16 Keynote Roy Atkinson

FUSION keynote speaker Kaihan Krippendorff

Keynote speaker Kaihan Krippendorff challenged attendees to look at their work through the lens of the organization’s competitive posture, while National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones took the general session audience on a journey of exploration in which there is never just a single right answer.

The themes of innovation and business agility were threaded throughout the conference and had an impact on the IT professionals in attendance.

“We are constantly being challenged to prove our worth by showing business value,” explained Victor Rosario of Lubrizol. “We need to adopt innovative thinking and be advocates for the business. If we do that, we can have a big impact.”

The transformation of ITSM technology

The evolution of ITSM extends beyond just new thinking. On the expo floor, numerous vendors showcased innovative technologies and approaches that are extending the bounds of the traditional ITSM technology domain:

  • Leveraging its mobile-first approach and commitment to a no-code configuration environment, EasyVista is emerging as a digital workplace platform.
  • First-time exhibitor Moogsoft demonstrated how artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms are helping organizations sort through the mass of data and alerts to help them get a holistic view of enterprise operations.
  • Bringing the intersection of ITSM, agile, and DevOps into relief, Atlassian showed tools to automate scrum boards, kanban boards and agile development management tools—and how they integrate into ITSM workflows.
  • LANDESK demonstrated how it enables immediate, endpoint security remediation actions through the integration of service management, security management and asset management approaches.
  • Expanding beyond their core ITSM solutions, ServiceNow announced its business command center for CIOs, focused on helping IT run projects and portfolios from a financial perspective through their new IT Business Management Suite.

The future on display

The FUSION conference was a microcosm of the larger tectonic shift occurring in the enterprise IT industry. The traditional boundaries between organizational functions—and the boundaries between technology markets serving them—are blurring.

Silo mentalities and neatly aligned technology solutions have become relics of the past. In an IT industry that is changing quickly, ITSM professionals are creating a broader, more holistic approach to the management of IT organizations—blending the need for rigor, reliability and resiliency with the demand for agility and speed.

Technology vendors are adapting as well, blurring the lines between traditional technology domains while refusing to be put in a one-dimensional box—delivering highly integrated solutions to meet the complex needs of the evolving IT organization.

Together it paints an intricate and complex picture of the future that is both exciting and challenging. With the speed at which the ITSM space is evolving, only one thing is for certain: It will look different again at next year’s FUSION.

Disclosure: I am the volunteer past-president of itSMF USA, a non-profit industry association. As of the time of writing, Moogsoft and ServiceNow are Intellyx clients. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers.

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