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The Future of ITSM: senior leaders share their hopes and concerns



Thirty senior IT executives from major UK corporates and public sector organisations came together on Monday 6th July at the Sofitel St James in London at the launch of the ITSM Leadership Council. 

The Council, a forum for senior ITSM executives set up and run by the IT Service Management Forum (ITSMF UK), will be meeting every three months to shape the future of the service management industry and discuss common strategies to address today’s business challenges. 

Opening the meeting, ITSMF UK CEO Mike Owen overviewed the changing landscape of IT – with the opportunities and challenges of cloud and social media, the implications of big data and cyber-resilience, the greater focus on customer experience and the rise of Shadow IT.  In response to these very significant changes, he said, there is need for ITSM to up its game – both as a discipline and as an industry.

Guest speaker Mark Hall, Director of Global IT Operations at Aviva, said there has never been a greater need for ITSM, but that “the shape, role and boundaries of ITSM are no longer clear nor is its relationship to a changing world.” Hall cited the need for IT to act more rapidly than ever before to satisfy customer demand, with less formal process and more interaction and collaboration with a broad range of partners and stakeholders.

The audience, including IT directors and heads of service management from large enterprises and public sector bodies (see the side bar for the full list), expressed similar concerns about the need for change in our approach to ITSM. In a 90-minute open debate led by the Forum’s vice chair, Rosemary Gurney, they cited a number of challenges including the need to create a stronger pipeline of young service management professionals with appropriate business skills; demonstrate the value of ITSM to the business as a whole; change the widely held perception that ITSM is constrained by ITIL processes and rigid governance; and find ways to extend the benefits of IT service management to areas such as finance and HR.


New direction for ITSM


ITSMF UK Chairman John Windebank added, “IT ‘solutions’ still tend to be architected and deployed from a technology, not a service, perspective and ITSM needs a clear business context and purpose.” In response to the concerns voiced by Council members, he proposed seven areas of action for transforming IT Service Management and helping it to meet today’s business demands. The ITSM ‘industry’:

  • needs a voice, profile and influence
  • must be capable of articulating the business value from investment in ITSM
  • needs better integration and joined-up thinking
  • needs to consider ITSM as an holistic integrating discipline
  • needs a collective view of the roles, capabilities and skills requirements
  • should be positioned as a profession and a career of choice
  • needs collective leadership.

At the conclusion of the event, the Council agreed to set up two cross-sector strategic action teams to work on the detail of bringing about focussed change:  one looking at how to define and present ITSM as a modern integrated business discipline (beyond ‘just ITIL’) and a second looking at elevating and transforming skills and competencies in the sector. Owen said that further details of these change teams and their objectives will be publicised in the weeks ahead. The second meeting of the ITSM Leadership Council will be in November. 



Member organisations represented at the first meeting of the ITSM Leadership Council included Asda, Aviva, BP, Clifford Chance, Computacenter, Co-operative Group, Domestic & General, EE, English Heritage, Fujitsu, GCHQ, Genesis Oil & Gas, Home Office, HP, Kings College London, LV, Mars, Met Office, Nationwide Building Society, NTT Data, Manchester City Council, OVO Energy, PwC, RWE, Serco, SHL Group, Sopra Steria, and the University of Northampton.

The Leadership Council is open to new corporate members. Contact the office for details.

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