New Study Yields Eye-Opening IT Service Management Benefits

In April and May of this year, Forrester and the IT Service Management Forum’s US chapter (itSMF-USA) conducted a joint study to assess the state of ITSM. We collected data from 491 qualified subjects that are heavily involved in ITSM efforts (69% have two or more years of ITSM experience and 95% hold some level of ITIL certification; 50% at an advanced level). Since it was in conjunction with the US chapter, the responses were heavily US-centric.

The results offer empirical evidence of something ITSM professionals already know: ITSM offers significant benefits to the organization and to the professionals themselves. The full report is now in the final editing stages and will be available soon to all Forrester clients, all itSMF-USA members, and all participants who do not already fall into one of those groups. Forrester clients and itSMF USA members will receive email notifications when it is ready. Others will be contacted directly by itSMF.

This morning (Monday, September 26, 2011), I presented the results at the itSMF-USA’s national conference known as Fusion 11. Here are a few key insights from the study:

  • 51% of ITSM efforts are driven primarily by IT or business executives
  • ITIL has had an overwhelming positive impact on:
    • Organizational productivity: 85% positive and 2% negative
    • Service quality: 83% positive and 1% negative
    • IT’s reputation with the business: 65% positive and 3% negative
    • Operational costs: 41% positive and 4% negative
  • 70% received a positive salary increase in the past year with 31% over 5% (the general US population fell and general IT salaries were flat)
  • 77% indicated a positive relationship between their Application Development and Operations teams. This indicates DevOps success is far stronger in ITSM-focused organizations than in the general enterprise. DevOps is a movement formed to foster better cooperation between App Development and Operations. This is fundamental to ITSM so the evidence tells us ITSM makes a difference favorable to DevOps.

The news is certainly good for ITSM professionals and their employers, but there were also a few areas still in need of improvement. The most notable of these is how change management execution still causes too many incidents. 58% of the subjects say over 10% of their incidents are caused by change. 25% are excessive (over 40% of incidents) and a beleaguered 22% don’t know. These numbers are not good, but convey a better scenario posited by the urban legend that about 70% of all incidents are the result of a change.

Management software vendors are always part of any ITSM discussion, so we captured many details of this market. Some come as no surprise (e.g., smaller vendors are more innovative than larger ones), but software vendors need to be aware of some realities:

  • SaaS is viewed very favorably as a service desk software delivery option. 96% were satisfied or very satisfied with SaaS whereas the numbers for traditional software models and homebrewed tools all hovered around 70%.
  • Despite some dissatisfaction with service desk, buyers are unlikely to switch vendors. 57% said they would not switch and 21% said they would. 22% did not know.
  • The anchor-boutique “shopping mall” model for management tools seems popular. Major vendors are well entrenched (see above bullet) but 37% will fill gaps in their portfolios with smaller boutique vendors.
  • The Big Four (BMC Software, CA Technologies, HP Software, and IBM Tivoli) management software vendors have some potent new competition. When asked to rank several vendors on their ability to solve their broader management and automation challenges, the Big Four ranked a bit better than expected. On a scale of 0 (worst) to 4 (best), they averaged 2.23 (HP was tops at 2.40). This is a vote of some confidence, but it’s not stellar. The group of Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, Oracle, and VMware averaged 2.51. The best was VMware with an impressive 2.91 and all beat the Big Four average. It’s clear that these “Improved Titans” will play a big role in your future ITSM efforts.

We at Forrester are extremely excited about this study and we hope the ITSM community gets some value out of it! Please let us know what you would like to see in the 2012 version and please push all itSMF chapters around the world to join us so we can make it a truly global study. It means more work for us, but we are more than eager to take on the task.

Thank you to everyone who participated! You are the wisdom of the crowd!


Smaller vendors are more innovative than larger ones

So glad to see this comment come out in the research. "smaller vendors are more innovative than larger ones". So true.

Looks like the storm clouds of an ITSM war are forming where the big 4 will battle it out with the up-and-coming, "potent new competition". Should be interesting to watch from the view of the "smaller", but "innovative" vendors. Grabbing my popcorn now.. ;-)

Happy helpdesking,

Question about Survey

Glen hi, I was wondering if you had any figures on the amount of ITIL initiatives that didn't get the value they had hoped for. The figures show a very rosy picture of improvements.
Based on our ABC surveys of more than 3000 companies world-wide it doesn't look so rosy. The number 1 ABC worst practice being 'It has too little understanding of business impact and priority', also if you look at the summary of my session at Fusion11 (which matches with sessions all around the world there are some serious issues still to be solved). Or am I the inly one to experience see this?

I would like to see the results of Forrester surveys that show the need, and the areas, that need to change if ITSM really is to become the Strategic asset we want it to be. There are some great successes out there it would be equally great if we could survey the critical success factors and the critical fail factors so that more great results can be achieved.


Audience targeting was intentional

Thanks Paul!

We targeted this study specifically at those who have made a commitment to ITSM. As such, the results are admittedly biased toward that crowd, but that was a big part of the design. This study does not aim to get the temperature of the general community. It was intended to gain some insights from those who have "done it" already. The study reflects their experiences. We wanted to know if their attempts worked and to what extent. We expected the results to be positive, but the magnitude of just HOW positive surprised even us. In fact, we dug into the data to find an anomaly to explain the magnitude. We found no anomalies to explain it. The explanation is that these people really DID see such benefits.

The general market is not at the same level of enlightenment. This broader audience should look at these results and learn something. As with almost anything in life, if you want to excel at something, observe those who already excel at it and then try to emulate their behaviors.

As noted, everything is not rosy. The perpetuation of poor change management is a good example. Exploding complexity will exacerbate this problem. Even the good people have a way to go. ITSM is a work in progress and will always be.

I would love to do broader research in addition to this ITSM study and I plan to. My daily conversations support what you state about the dire situation for IT. The majority of IT organizations are in trouble, some terminally. Those in our ITSM study are not. THESE are the organizations that are demonstrating the right path and they are therefore moving their enterprises to a more competitive position. If you want to win, emulate these people. If you want to lose, just keep plodding along and you will get there pretty quickly.

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