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Why ITSM is on the cusp of a major shift

Thor Olavsrud | July 15, 2016
While the IT service management community has stepped up its collection of performance data from its customers, it's been slow to take the next step of applying data-driven automation. A new survey suggests adoption will happen in a big way within the next two years.

A subset of that group, 44 percent, are already "data-driven"; they collect, store and act upon performance data drawn from customers' IT estates.

Of the 92 percent of service providers that have yet to deploy data-driven automation strategies, LOGICnow found nearly 75 percent believe data-driven automation will allow them to deliver a range of new services, and 49 percent believe it will allow them to offer more sophisticated services that can win more business. Additionally, 85 percent believe data-driven automation will give them a competitive advantage and 52 percent said they actively fear they will lose out to more advanced competition if they don't adopt automation. Six percent believe late adoption or no adoption will lead them to go out of business within two years.

While it seems there is consensus on the need for data-driven automation, Forbes says the lack of data expertise is one important reason automation isn't already the norm in ITSM.

"It's partly the expertise within the service providers in terms of the data analytics and manipulation of data," he says. "If [the insights] come directly out of the system, they can use that. But a lot of service providers, their focus is more as network engineers."

Domain expertise is another issue, he says. In general, actionable insights depend on more than just data — they require experts that can put data in context. Here, MSPs that specialize in verticals, like healthcare, have an advantage. They typically speak the same 'language' as their customers and are conversant with the issues.

"Domain expertise, if you're a relatively non-verticalized service provider, is harder," Forbes says.

Ultimately, Forbes says, IT service providers are facing many of the same pressures that internal IT departments face: They need to learn the language of the business and they need to think in terms of business outcomes.

"[Internal IT] has internalized that message, 'I don't want to know what the CPU utilization is, I want to know about business outcomes,'" Forbes says. "That's much less developed in MSPs. I think it is an opportunity for MSPs."

How IT service providers can get started

To get started, Forbes says IT service providers need to take stock of their current infrastructure and assess their capability to capture, store and interrogate their customer data. It's likely that process will uncover a gap in talent as well as technology. LOGICnow notes MSPs may need to assess and change their recruitment priorities if they're serious about achieving data-driven automation.

Once IT service providers have acquired the tools and talent they need, the next step is to alter the service provision itself. LOGICnow says service providers will need to examine their current service portfolio and identify areas in need of enhancement and potential immediate wins. With that in place, providers need to build a roadmap for transitioning the remainder of services.


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