There were a lot of announcements at the recent FUSION 17 conference. VeriSM is (almost) here, and AXELOS said there will be an update to ITIL®. Of course, one of the biggest announcements was that HDI will introduce a new conference in 2018. Service Management World will be guided by an advisory board drawn from analyst firms, independent consultants, integrators, and the former chief architect and examiner for ITIL v3.
DevOps is certainly mainstream now. SIAM (Service Integration and Management) has come on strong. SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age) is building an impressive following all over the world.
“There has always been a lot of change in this business,” one veteran ITSM consultant told me, “but everything is changing now, and the change is accelerating.”
Not only that, but the acceleration is accelerating. As one presenter put it, “If things seem fast now, remember that they will never be this slow again.”
How are we keeping up? Keynote speaker Colette Carlson told us that we Americans are now connected to work about 72 hours a week. “We are great at time management,” said Carlson, “but there simply is no time left to manage.” And still we are struggling with trying to accomplish projects and are instead spending our days in “firefighting” mode (i.e., fixing things rather than adding value by moving forward).
How will we be able to keep up at all? Enter artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, cognitive systems, neural networks, virtual agents, data analytics, and bots. The truth is that we humans cannot keep up, and we will need thinking machines to assist us. The complexity of today’s technical environments is almost beyond description, and it is growing more complex each day. We simply could not fall back to analog ways of doing things without causing massive economic disruption and even collapse. We need to automate as much as we can (or as much as we dare, but that is another topic) in order to make things run properly and at the optimum speed. As Donna Knapp put it in her session on DevOps, “The what and the why of service management really haven’t changed; it’s the how that is changing.”
Service management is extremely important to keeping all these complex systems delivering services. CIO Greg Sanker likens trying to run a modern organization without good service management to running an airport without air traffic control.
In the midst of all the searching for answers and trying to decide which frameworks and methodologies can help us in this time of sea change, one word appeared in presentation after presentation: culture. The culture is what must be transformed; the culture is what is getting in the way of accomplishing our goals.
We’ve all heard it: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. What that really means is that we can form a plan and try to execute it, but if our organization’s habits, attitudes, mores, and structures don’t support that strategy, it will fail. It’s true for DevOps, service management (whether ITSM or Enterprise), or anything else.
The service management world (intended) is at a crossroads. We need to be thinking about our organizations as systems (hat tip to David Moskowitz). We need to be focusing on business outcomes and business value. If we do not do these things, we will become irrelevant very quickly, because things will never be this slow again.