by Jim Rinaldi - 3GC Board Advisor: Former CIO of JPL, IRS, FDA and Marriott
As a CIO, I always worked to make sure our customers (internal and external) had as seamless an experience with IT enabled services across functional areas. The functional areas included, HR, Sales and Marketing, Finance, and product areas. As technology became more capable and accessible, supporting customer needs became more enabled but complicated too. Building workflows across these areas to integrate services as much as possible was a challenge. The idea of IT service management was a tedious and costly effort. But as customer demands grew, so did an industry around service management that now offers the promise of a better experience through a consistent and customer friendly capabilities.
The IT service management industry is constantly evolving, and the year 2023 will be no exception. As the need for technology grows, so does the need for IT service management. Companies must stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the needs of their customers in order to remain competitive. This includes the company workforce as well. Employees are internal customers of many services that benefit from a solid ITSM strategy. Here is a look at what to expect in IT service management over the next few years.
Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular as a way to store, manage, and access data. With cloud computing, IT service providers can offer their customers a more efficient and cost- effective way to store and access their data. This will enable businesses to save money and reduce their IT costs. Keep in mind, there will most likely be several cloud providers and applications to work across and manage. In my time at JPL, we first experimented with multiple clouds to gain experience first hand. We ended up using AWS the most due to it fitting our technology architecture across the board. But it took working with AWS leaders including Andy Jassy (then CEO of AWS) to make changes that benefited us and subsequently other organizations. For example, I had to worry about ITAR and securing the data properly in AWS cloud. My team and I worked to encourage a “Gov” cloud option. This was done and increased our use of the cloud and government agencies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more prevalent in the IT service management industry. AI can be used to automate manual tasks, such as monitoring and analyzing data, which can save time and money. AI can also be used to identify and address potential problems before they become major issues. The recent notoriety of ChatGPT brings in a more user friendly aspect with broader potential. AI was used by my team to improve our cyber security proactively. Through AI tools, we could catch abnormal behavior and determine if something was wrong. Another example included working with our search tools to more closely find what people were searching for and give time saving results.
Data security is a major concern for businesses, and with the increasing use of cloud computing, the need for data security is even greater. IT departments must ensure that their customers' data is secure and protected from potential threats. This includes implementing the latest security protocols, such as encryption and two-factor authentication, to protect customer data. Obviously this was important to me and the institution. As the threats increased and became more sophisticated, I had to balance the need for people to work as they were familiar with vs. locking everything down to the point we became a barrier to productivity.
With the increasing use of mobile devices, IT departments must be able to provide support for these devices. This includes ensuring that their customers can access their data and applications on their mobile devices. Certainly, during the pandemic, we learned how valuable this was. New ways of onboarding new employees as well as off boarding some required using mobility to another level. This includes being mobile and using mobile devices. I had always supported a remote workforce. This was just the nature of what and how we worked. The administrative areas were more used to being physically in the office. But expectations have changed and now I would want the whole remote experience to continue to improve.
These are just a few of the trends that will shape the IT service management industry in 2023 and beyond. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the need for IT departments and IT providers to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the needs of their customers. Companies must be prepared to adapt to the ever-changing landscape and be prepared to provide the best possible service to their customers. In my own experience, I needed to support my IT workforce with external expertise that could focus on the adoption of newer technologies and train my people as well.
All the technologies and their rich capabilities listed above, were great in their own right, but integrating them into a cohesive and better customer experience was a challenge. One other benefit to note through my own experience was efficiency gained by having meaningful workflows and experiencing end to end services. For example, opening a problem ticket lead to better partnership with other organizations like HR to solve problems beyond technical. This led to thinking of the employee (in this case) getting the information they needed. Better yet, this lead to HR developing a related help desk.
In my case, it was always "eat your own dog food" so that you knew what the customer experience looked like and could make changes before complaints grew!