ITSM 2021: A year in review

The IT Service Management landscape has shifted enormously over the last 12 months. From companies leveraging AI to modernize ITSM/ITOM capabilities to prioritizing employee experience in the workplace, the past year has seen ITSM emerge as an organizational superpower to implement highly cognitive technologies.

In this article, we give you a complete rundown of what happened in ITSM in 2021. 

1. Digital Transformation continued to change and impact ITSM

The rise of digital transformation in 2021 resulted from organizations adopting newer ways of doing work brought about by the pandemic. Businesses hit hard by the pandemic sprung into action with reformed business continuity plans and rapid technology adoptions to enhance their business growth. Modern support technologies like AI/Ml capabilities and intelligent knowledge management were put in place to embrace digital transformation in ITSM.

2. AI was top of mind for IT leaders

IT’s centrality to overall business operations, and success requires intelligent service and operations management that is intuitive, fast, scalable, and dependable. And given the challenges associated with complex and diverse IT infrastructure, AI technologies emerged as the not-so-secret weapons in the effort to upgrade and modernize ITSM/ITOM capabilities.

According to our recent research with IDG, 93% of respondents said they were already deploying or exploring AI to augment their ITSM and ITOM modernization efforts. More broadly, large majorities of the survey respondents indicated that any AI solution for ITSM/ITOM should be intuitive, scalable, collaborative, and easy to deploy.

3. Workflow automation

According to Freshworks’ Service Desk: 2021 and Beyond Survey, 97% of respondents agreed that technology had improved their working life and the vast majority of respondents said that the automation of processes, tasks, and ticket handling was the main focus area for IT departments in 2021.

The combined force of AI and automation has enhanced service desk solutions to reduce manual efforts and costs. Simple automation rules and built-in functionalities have reduced redundant tasks and simplified work further for IT agents, thus putting back time into their day to focus on more strategic IT initiatives. 

4. Age of Employee Experience 

A research report from Harvard Business Review Analytics Services says 82% of respondents say employees’ happiness on the job is significantly impacted by how well their workplace technology performs. 

In response to the downtime and low employee productivity caused by complex and clunky legacy ITSM tools, organizations prioritized employee experience to provide flexibility and accessibility to be built into the tools and services they use at work. And as AI continues to improve and develop, the self-service experience can be elevated by providing relevant responses to employee service requests based on their intent and appropriately transferring the request to a service desk agent.

5. ESM is the new ITSM

If you didn’t know already, HR, Travel, and Legal teams also have similar operational and request fulfillment needs as IT. Moreover, employee experience is closely intertwined with how organizations strive to support their workforce and not just their technology during remote work.

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) has time and again proven that many of ITSM’s best practices have applicability beyond IT. The global pandemic and the corporate need for digital workflow enablements have accelerated the growth of companies adopting ESM in 2021. Wider adoption of the technology will continue to be imminent as organizations pursue to extend the core IT service desk practices to other lines of business.

Final thoughts 

Many of the aforementioned trends will continue to be a key focus in ITSM in 2022 and beyond. As businesses are on the path to recovery to scale their growth post-pandemic, the aforementioned trends present both opportunities and challenges for businesses to change and adapt to the growing technology landscape and consumer needs. Ultimately, the future of ITSM will be a combination of technology and the human touch. And technology will extend to play its part in improving the working lives of staff while increasing productivity and cutting costs.

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