My last blog examined the specific stresses being placed on ITSM operations by the technology powered “digital wave” and concluded that there was a need for a transformation in ITSM to respond to the challenge. In this blog I want to put into context the scale of that transformational challenge, just so we know what we are all facing!
Speaking from my own personal experience I would observe that, although there are certainly outliers, the last 5-10 years in ITSM operations has been characterised by the following key trends:
- A focus on labour arbitrage: especially where services have been outsourced in pursuit of cost reductions there has been a heavy focus on transitioning workload from high cost locations to nearshore and offshore location. On paper the economic logic was compelling, as much as a 5:1 cost ratio on an FTE basis. The competence with which this has been done gradually increased over the decade but has rarely resulted in material capability improvements and in some cases been partially reversed.
- A gradual proliferation of tools which have been acquired to address point issues, increased costs and have not been exploited or integrated fully with each other. This has increased complexity of management and diverted ever more resource to maintaining the toolsets.
- Pendulum swings in sourcing strategy moving from fully insourced to fully outsourced back to hybrid tasking models. Each of these direction changes can take 2-3 years to make measured from the start of the procurement process through to the end of transformation. Often these swings bring improvements in some areas of ITSM at the expense of capability elsewhere in the model.
In my opinion, this has resulted in a very gradual increase in the overall level of ITSM capability.
Now the digital wave is here, this level of improvement is no longer good enough. Expectations and complexity are rapidly escalating and enterprises whose ITSM operations cannot ride the digital wave will have serious market impacts.
This step change in the rate of capability improvement is characterised in the chart below:
Traditional “waterfall” methods of transformation alone will take far too long and cannot deal with the fast evolution of requirements – agile mindset and methods must be an important part of the picture. I can’t see any other way to achieve this acceleration other than by making agile ITSM transformation a core competence in your organisation.
My new book, Agile ITSM Transformation, which is released today, provides a practical and actionable set of steps that you can take to ensure your enterprise can reach and ride the crest of the digital wave.
About the Author:
Graham Ramsden has worked for the last 20 years as an ITSM service architect and consultant in the telecoms industry, designing, building and improving ITSM capability for clients primarily in the retail banking, investment banking and insurance sectors. He won the UK Management Consultancies Association (MCA) award for Performance Improvement Consultant of the Year in 2009 for a continuous service improvement programme he led for a major UK bank.
He has been a leader on global deals and projects worth approximately $2bn and which have employed more than 3,000 people. As a result, he has seen an awful lot of situations, and witnessed and indeed made significant mistakes, most of which he hopes to have learned from along the way and have informed his writing!
Graham is from the fine English county of Yorkshire, enjoys cycling and wine, although usually not at the same time, and would like to take up golf if only his lawn and hedge would just stop growing for five minutes.
Graham can be reached through LinkedIn at