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January 10, 2018

IT service management (ITSM) and executive leadership in organizations need greater strategic alignment to make digital transformation a success, according to a global study by Axelos.

The first Axelos IT Service Management Benchmarking Report 2017* has revealed challenges facing the ITSM function and the wider organizations it supports.

The report’s findings reflect a need for ITSM practitioners to revisit their adoption and adaption of ITIL principles and processes to support successful digital transformation.

Despite 70% of ITSM professionals understanding their organization’s strategy, fewer than half (41%) see a clear alignment between their current goals and the overall direction of the business. This disconnect presents a serious risk, as more than 60% claim ITSM is instrumental to achieving business objectives in the next five years.

Margo Leach, chief product officer of Axelos said: “Digital transformation introduces new types and levels of risk into organizations and ITSM is essential to managing that risk.

“Using evidence to support improvement and innovation will help ITSM teams demonstrate their understanding of an organization’s goals as it undergoes digital change to deliver value for end customers.

“This requires more than reporting just process-based statistics, such as service desk traffic, without providing any business insight into the significance of the data. Our benchmarking study suggests that, currently, ITSM teams are too focused on operational processes and are not doing enough to use evaluation tools, metrics and measurement as part of their working practices in delivering value to the wider business.

“While it’s encouraging that our research shows 40% of ITSM functions in organizations achieving the right level of ITIL maturity – with monitoring and evaluation used to improve established processes and innovate – 60% of ITSM functions within organizations have no monitoring or evaluation in place.

“Striving to demonstrate value to the business in a language executive leadership teams can understand will encourage greater collaboration between ITSM and the wider organization. Gone are the days when ITSM was about infrastructure and service desks alone; now, it is capable of a holistic approach that combines delivering value with necessary controls such as risk and finance management,” Leach concluded.

When asked in the benchmarking study to prioritize their most pressing challenges, ITSM professionals highlighted:

  • Inefficient processes, services, actions or metrics
  • Lack of visibility on projects and workloads
  • Design decisions based on assumptions
  • Siloed working
  • Lack of focus on/understanding of customer needs
  • Lack of collaboration between or inside teams

Larger organizations tend to recognize lack of visibility as a problem, while smaller organizations struggle more with inefficient processes and understanding customer needs.

* 30-minute online survey conducted among 677 ITSM professionals with more 90% of respondents based in Europe, North American, Asia, Middle East and Africa and South America.