The Future Of ITSM Drops The “IT” And Replaces It With Automation


Here’s the hard truth:IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams are becoming less relevant. This will only accelerate now that we are in what Forrester calls “the age of the customer” where bring-your-own-technology policies and “as-a-service” software and infrastructure proliferate.

In this new world, developers still need compute and storage to keep up with growth. And workers need some sort of PC or mobile device to get their jobs done. But they don’t necessarily need you in corporate IT to give it to them. Case and point: employees pay for 70% of the tablets used for work.

At the end of the day, if you can’t deliver on what your workforce and developers care about, they will use whatever and whoever to get their jobs done better, faster and cheaper.

Much of this comes down to customer experience, or how your customers perceive their every interaction with the IT organization, from your staff in the helpdesk to corporate applications they access every day. Here’s a proof point on how much customer experience matters from Forrester’s soon to be published book, Outside In: over a recent five-year period during which the S&P 500 was flat, a stock portfolio of customer experience leaders grew 22% percent.

ITSM has the potential to deliver the experiences and outcomes our developers and workforce need and want. But today’s ITSM falls short because it is more inside-out than outside-in. A few examples. We still measure success based on internal IT efficiencies, not customer value, financial value or satisfaction. We still associate ITSM exclusively with ITIL best practices. And we continue to perpetuate ourselves as just providers of technology components, not brokers of end-to-end technology services.

To evolve, we need a new approach. For starters, forget ITSM and focus on its evolution – that Forrester calls, “Service Management and Automation” – that is more customer-centric, service-focused, and automated operations. Dropping the “IT” from ITSM reinforces that the customers and services comes first. Adding automation allows you to be faster, cheaper, and at a higher quality.

But this is much more than a rebranding exercise. You need to understand and internalize the trends, develop the business case, and assess how prepared you actually are. Based on this insight, you then need to carefully plan your people, process and technology. From there you have implement, from hiring new skills to selecting the right vendor, and developing a governance model to enforce the right behaviors. And to continually improve, you need to focus on metrics, peer comparison, and change management.

Forrester’s new “Playbook” approach is designed to do exactly this: A consistent and comprehensive approach to help you succeed at your most important initiatives. Like all of our other Playbooks, the Forrester’s Service Management and Automation Playbook is a practical guide that focuses our research and recommendations to help you discover, plan, act and optimize:

The Service Management and Automation Playbook is living, so be sure to check in regularly as we will update these core reports with new data and examples. Beneath these core reports, expect a wealth of “toolkit” research, such as Forrester Waves, TechRadars and Total Economic Impact reports, as well as Excel based models, PowerPoint templates and checklists.

To get started, I suggest reading the executive overview that sets the stage for and the entire Playbook. It introduces the shortcomings of today’s ITSM and why it’s evolution, service management and automation, is a better approach. From there, read “Become Customer-Centric, Service-Focused, And Automated” that identifies key trends across your people, process and technology you need to plan for.  

For a more hands-on approach, Forrester Consulting offers full-day workshops and consulting projects aligned to each phase of your service management and automation strategy.

So what do you think? How does Forrester’s vision of ITSM compare to yours? And will our Playbook be useful? This is only the beginning. Me and the rest of the Service Management and Automation team here at Forrester –@GlennODonnell, Jean-Pierre Garbani, @StephenMann, John Rakowski and @DougWashburn – want to know if this resonates with you.


CA Technologies

Totally agree with the premise that IT Operations are becoming irrelevant. In fact my experience is that this in many forward thinking organizations has already taken place especially in organizations leveling DevOps and highly outsourced. This doesn't mean that the overarching accountability of service delivery, quality of service or compliance is removed, these continue and the organizational constructs and responsibilities transition to the new world.

Robert E Stroud CRISC CGEIT

Need to think new world

Absolutely! What we are already seeing is that IT Operations folks are looking for new roles and adding value in other areas like DevOps. Our playbook will evaluate and look at roles of the future. I am always looking for new roles and job descriptions - if anybody out there has anything to share - feel free to do so. Thank you.

Interested in your view

I too agree with the premise. I would not go as far as saying that I&O is becoming irrelevant. IT is too important and embedded to become completely obsolete but no doubt that "times they are a changing". CIOs need to act but more importantly the same way we should drop IT from ITSM, we should also note that this is not an IT problem. it is a business problem. Would love to know what you think about I expressed very similar views


We are at an inflection

We are at an inflection point: With consumer adoption of desktop browsers widespread and web developer understanding of the technology rapidly maturing,whatever and whoever to get their jobs done better, faster and cheaper...

I have got the same opinion

I have got the same opinion as of premise on this. IT would never die since it is impossible to do anything without it. It can change a little but cannot be replaced totally.

I am agree with that Amazing

I am agree with that Amazing truth IT infrastructure and operations teams are becoming less relevant. You must really have a great knowledge on this topic. Extremely informative and very detailing.

Superbly explained…I like the

Superbly explained…I like the way you have researched and explained every minute concept in detailing.