Continual service improvement (CSI) is integral to the ITIL® framework and should be fundamental for any IT Service management (ITSM) strategy.
After all many of us are constantly looking to innovate, improve our business model, reduce costs, risks and improve the overall value of the services we deliver and support.
But the big question is how can we do this? We all know about practices like ITIL, Big Data and DevOps and there’s a lot of talk currently that to get the true value from CSI in ITSM we need to be combining these approaches with project management, governance and other best practice disciplines. What is not being discussed so loudly is the need for organizations to be taking advantage of the newest technologies that help improve the performance of both people and processes while leveraging these practices.
When we say “The Internet of Things” (IoT) we are referring to any device connected to the internet, from your smartphone to your fridge. Many devices have sensors embedded that collect data, detect movements, location, recognize faces, voices and remember searches. IoT sensors can be thought of as digital agents that work for us. All of them are designed to make our life easier and pass data and information on to companies and organizations for advertising, research, to understand how we think and even follow behavioral patterns in our lives that can be linked with our health.
This will change the approach to ITSM because everything connected to the internet needs process and technology support and, consequently, service management. Technology is changing constantly how we deploy service management; it’s speeding up and increasing our capabilities in creating and maintaining valuable automated processes all of which have the power to grow and transform a business and our lives.
One aspect of ITIL is people and understanding how the people side of IT affects the decisions we make; the metrics (Big Data) we’re getting from the IoT is already enabling us to make better decisions, find solutions to problems faster and, sometimes, before the end user has even realized there’s a problem.
But, at present, ITSM and the IoT is discussed only in whispers whereas we should be shouting about it from the rooftops! Imagine a service desk that knows a business user’s service experience using their computer device isn’t working appropriately or that the user can’t access certain programmes because the sensors embedded within their devices flagged the problem automatically. The service desk or event management solution could solve the problem even before the business user logged on for the day. Or, imagine never needing a service desk or reducing the number of calls significantly because the service was self-diagnosing based on the usage. This represents the next evolution in self-help, enabled by IoT digital sensor agents, analytics and ITSM.
Currently, the ITSM industry is very concerned with processes and technology management and until we shift that focus more towards service management for our customers and users we won’t see the true benefits IoT can bring. A number of key markets are increasing their investments in sensor enabled devices and the IoT and ITSM should be following suit; markets such as healthcare, retail, sports and fitness, safety and security, all using devices that connect to the internet.
These organizations are trying to learn more about their customers and consumers through the zero moments of truth (ZMOT) – the moment before a consumer first interacts with a brand or business – and the IoT is significantly improving the quality of quantitative data we get from ZMOTs. Already today we can see the influence IoT is having in retail, with a consumer searching for a product in one place leading to them seeing advertisements of the product in another place online. We’re also trying to learn more about ourselves before we experience noticeable symptoms by monitoring our personal data with sensor-enabled devices.
The IoT with its numerous sensors embedded in our devices and around us in our environment is collecting and analyzing data that can demonstrate human behavior and improve technology, health services, products, customer service and service management. IoT is covertly intrusive and is changing traditional behaviors and business models all around us already.
Best practices aren’t discussing the potential of IoT enough and service management practitioners often need more tangible guidance that can be followed and implemented in order to generate the understanding of why it’s important and how we can use it. How else do we expect practitioners to understand the IoT in order to reflect the advances in ITSM? But it’s not just best practice where changes are needed to truly tackle the IoT, it’s culture too. Service management practitioners should be embracing new ways to improve service management capabilities by increasing consideration for delivering valuable design services and processes with customer value and business outcomes in mind. In doing so you’ll be delivering better services, improving creativity and seeing better outcomes, all of which improve the practice of service management and business outcomes.
The IoT is really about people to people collaboration to enable service support and better service delivery through managing the user experience and overall user engagement. Put simply, the Internet of Things will help deliver the promise of service management best practice.
For more information, see the Continual Service Improvement page in our ITIL section.
Do you agree that increased interconnectivity of devices and the amount of data they use impacts conventional IT Service Management processes? Have you changed how you manage services to accommodate this? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. Also, if you have any ideas for future AXELOS blogs, please use our Suggest a Blog form to tell us what you would like to read here.