Automation: The Greatest Influence On New ITSM Tool Selection

A recent piece of research conducted by SDI examined the ITSM vendor landscape – warts and all. You can take away a lot from the findings, however for me, one of the immediately interesting results was how strongly automation capabilities influence service desk professionals when purchasing a new tool.

The research reveals that the demand for automation features has grown exponentially since 2012, when only 20% of professionals advised it would influence them, to a massive 63% in 2015. A potential reason for this is relatively simple – automation in service management tools is becoming more widely available, and as a result, the benefits are becoming better known. Quicker delivery of service, reduction in manual and repetitive tasks and an improved customer experience are just some of the considerable outcomes service desks can profit from.

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With these benefits in mind, it isn’t too surprising to see automation take top place. That is until we take a look at all the other influences that it beat. Self-service capabilities, ease of implementation and ITIL alignment are all areas that have been considered important to service management success in the past. Similarly, mobility and other modern capabilities are considered vital for the future, and yet, many of these have been marked as influencers by relatively few when compared to automation.

What is clear is that service desk professionals now expect ITSM tool vendors to provide solutions that stretch beyond standard ITSM features. Many organisations no longer have the resources necessary to support manual processes when automation capabilities can deliver the same, if not better outcomes. As service and support organisations seek to deliver more business value and change the business perception of IT as a cost centre, leverage the value of automation is a welcome relief.

Truly understanding the plethora of motivations service desk organisations have for embracing automation so readily is, unfortunately, where the interpretation of this data stops. As this trend develops, it may be possible to understand if it is the drive for better business value, or the need to deliver the same service with fewer resources that drives organisations on their automation journey. Indeed, it may be that as our workforce changes it’s simply not possible to recruit professionals who are content to undertake the manual tasks necessary in the past. Is this the start of a major shift in the industry?

On a broader scale, the benefits of automation are championed by pioneering advances in modern robotics, often featured in the mainstream media with a warning of a vast evolution of the global economy just around the corner. Several service management thought leaders believe automation will change the face of the industry sooner than we think.

If you want to know what I think and, more importantly, what the data is showing us, then join me at SITS where automation will be one of the trends I will be discussing.

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