Last week, Forrester’s Service Management and Automation team attended FUSION 13, an annual conference jointly hosted by itSMF USA and HDI, in Nashville, Tennessee. FUSION is a key conference for IT Service Management professionals - for three days ITSM pros are immersed in a content rich environment where they're encouraged to share knowledge and learn from one another, as well as from a plethora of industry experts, practitioners, vendors, and thought leaders alike. It's impossible to leave without having made new friends and new discoveries in the realm of IT Service Management. Approximately 2000 ITSM professionals attended the 2013 conference, with the theme "graduate to better service management."
The buzz of this year's event can be easily put into two terms: revolution and status quo. Yes, you read that correctly. And while these two terms are quite contradictory, when put into context they actually are somewhat related - don't worry, we'll explain. First, the status quo:
At FUSION 13, we presented the results from our third annual ITSM survey Forrester does in conjunction with itSMF USA, and not much changed year-over-year. Aside from a few minor rumblings, ITSM maintained the status quo, and in this case, no news... is news:
It's that time of year again - the US Open is under way in New York City, the end of summer looms, and Forrester Research's third annual joint survey with itSMF-USA to understand the state of ITSM is out in the field and calling for your participation!
Last year, the year-over-year data collected gave us some good and not-so-good news.
Compensation for ITSM professionals overwhelmingly increased.
ITIL's positive influence on the organization was compelling with over 70% of service management professionals agreeing the best practice framework improved productivity, and 65% finding it helps to deliver better service quality.
25% of survey takers did not know whether their incident mean time to resolution (MTTR) had increased, decreased, or remained the same over the past year.
A whopping 31% of them did not know what percentage of incidents were the result of a change to infrastructure, applications, processes or tools!
This week I have been travelling to see Forrester’s I&O Leadership Board (FLB) members in Paris and working on my I&O FLB workshop session for Orlando and London happening in October, titled ‘An Outside In Approach To Your IT Strategy’. During my conversations I have been discussing Forrester’s excellent new book entitled ‘Outside In, The Power of Putting Customers At The Center Of Your Business’. It contains great insight and examples on how successful companies are adapting to the “age of the customer” by ensuring experience rich relationships.
So what does 'putting the customers at the center of your business' mean to I&O Professionals?
Firstly, we need to ditch the word ‘users’. It’s a dirty word in my vocabulary as it conjures up images of employees being ‘addicted’ to our IT services. Our employees are not going to go ‘cold turkey’ on us if they don’t get their corporate IT fix. They are our internal IT customers who have feelings, needs and wants plus are increasingly able to source their own technology services to increase their productivity.
Ciscoannounced today its intent to acquire NewScale, a small, but well-respected automation software vendor. The financial terms were not disclosed, but it is a small deal in terms of money spent. It is big in the sense that Cisco needed the kind of capabilities offered by NewScale, and NewScale has proven to be one of the most innovative and visible players in that market segment.
The market segment in question is what has been described as “the tip of the iceberg” for the advanced automation suites needed to create and operate cloud computing services. The “tip” refers to the part of the overall suite that is exposed to customers, while the majority of the “magic” of cloud automation is hidden from view – as it should be. The main capabilities offered by NewScale deal with building and managing the service catalog and providing a self-service front end that allows cloud consumers to request their own services based on this catalog of available services. Forrester has been bullish on these capabilities because they are the customer-facing side of cloud – the most important aspect – whereas most of the cloud focus has been directed at the “back end” technologies such as virtual server deployment and workload migration. These are certainly important, but a cloud is not a cloud unless the consumers of those services can trigger their deployment on their own. This is the true power of NewScale, one of the best in this sub-segment.