3 Ways IT Service Management Works for Both Sides of the Business

Information technology is no longer a fraction of the business whole - rather, it is ancillary to all aspects of modern business regardless of industry.

As such, organizations with IT (which is to say, everyone everywhere if they know what's good for them) ought to manage these services the same way they would any other department, right? Not quite - IT should operate exactly as the business at large like a shrunken facsimile.

What does that mean exactly? Let's break down what businesses are and what they do in a general sense, then demonstrate how that applies to the future of IT and IT service management.

1. Businesses Sell Goods and Services
Nothing surprising here, yet the adoption of higher enterprise IT throughout the world has made its mark on not just how companies sell, but what they sell.

In 2015, Forbes projected software revenue for the worldwide software-as-a-service industry would expand by more than one-fifth between then and 2016, reaching a total of $106 billion. Popular SaaS companies like Salesforce and Microsoft Office have wriggled their way into the operations, analytics and transactions of businesses everywhere and, in turn, grown to rely on them the way they used to rely on past technology like computers, fax machines, telephones and refillable fountain pens.

Like we said, though, adoption and integration is only half the picture. The SaaS has evolved sales and in many instances, combine product-based and service-based business models into one. Netflix doesn't just sell you movies and TV shows. For a monthly fee, it will update its library regularly, recommend things depending on your interests and offer round-the-clock help should you need it.

Soon, the same will be true - or at least similarly so - for all industries, if not with customer-facing solutions via web or mobile applications then certainly internally with in-house or third-party software used. That said, the only path for enterprise IT service management is the one leading to greater complexity.

2. Businesses Run on Omnidirectional Collaboration
DevOps constitutes one of many steps enterprise IT has taken to become less siloed and fractious, but now businesses must continue drawing the threads of service management out so they reach all parts of a business.

A 2014 HDI study revealed more than half of surveyed businesses made plans to "apply service management principles in business areas outside of IT." This trend creates something of a feedback loop on our discussion: We need to run IT like a business, but a business that runs like the most cutting-edge IT department. Make sense?

Let's put it another way: Businesses have long sought to empower intradepartmental collaboration to drive efficiency and productivity, understanding its importance but lacking the resources to implement the ideal. IT service management suites create a centralized pipeline leading directly to the professionals who can enact vital technological change, thereby connecting the branches of business departments via one sturdy trunk. The impetus for achieving real agility through ITSM in the IT department now extends out to the business, which in turn gives it the freedom to strategize about how to better manage enterprise IT.

3. Businesses are Accountable for Protecting Their Customers
With big data comes big responsibility. In a time when sensitive information travels at the speed of a touch-screen tap, businesses have an obligation to operate under the strictest standards of privacy and protection.

A 2015 Gartner survey, however, demonstrated the gap between data acquisition and security businesses are still trying to overstep. Major enterprise investments in big data technology centered around customer experience, process efficiency and smarter marketing. Unfortunately, only 23 percent of polled organizations invested in enhanced security. Even though security saw the largest increase among possible responses between 2014 and 2015, it's more of a desperate scrambling at this point than a measured response.

Like protections businesses have always afforded trade secrets, they must now provide the same for for big data in spades, especially regarding sensitive customer information. Independent regulators, journalists and the government will target businesses with easily assailable configurations that do not update as cyberthreats grow more powerful. The only person whose attention an insecure business won't attract is the tech-savvy consumer.

To retain value from big data investments and prevent breaches, IT service professionals require innovative tools. Advanced service management software boasts features like CMDB, which automates the auditing of a proposed change against a current configuration to ensure a clean release. Moreover, the best ITSM suites automatically save detailed documentation of how professionals handle tickets and deploy change in case of emergency.

We need IT to run like a business, but that doesn't mean we should stop expanding what it means to do business. Advanced ITSM software enhances both.

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