Service management: where are we headed?

With it nearly being the time of year when we review what has happened in the previous 12 months and we set our New Year’s resolutions, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the developments that have occurred in 2014 in the world of service management, and offer my opinion on where we are headed in the future.

Community driven development

One of the things that has struck me over the last few months is that there appears to be an underlying call from the service management community for more engagement in the development of best practices. One such initiative is the ITIL® Manifesto, which is a community-driven effort to come to some consensus on how ITIL is used and developed now and in the future.

While such initiatives in themselves may not be new, their prevalence is increasing. This leads me to believe that in the future developments in best practice will be more community-driven rather than by large, monolithic organisations based in some far-flung part of the world, i.e. the Cabinet Office.

Multiple approaches

Another trend that seems to be gaining traction is the prevalence of leveraging multiple approaches to service management. Organisations are becoming more pragmatic with their service management systems, utilising parts of different approaches such as ITIL, ISO/IEC 20000 and COBIT 5®.

Here at IT Governance, we have been involved in developing the Five Anchor Approach, which is codified in the book Pragmatic Application of Service Management by Suzanne Van Hove and Mark Thomas.

Going forward, I believe that service management will be more pragmatic, leveraging the benefits of multiple approaches rather than concentrating solely on one or the other. Why reinvent the wheel when using the benefits of several approaches will do the job?

Soft skills

Soft skills is another topic that has been widely discussed over the last few years. There seems to be common agreement in the service management industry that there is a big knowledge and skills gap, particularly in the area of soft skills. By soft skills, I mean particularly communication, negotiation, time management, managing people, etc. While these skills come naturally to some, in others these skills need to he honed and developed through training.

I believe we have come to the point where we have finally grasped that these skills are essential for anyone in service management. If a service management project is to succeed, it is dependent on the skills of those involved. We are likely to see managers attending soft skills training courses more regularly.


There also appears to be a growing interest in Agile. Approaches such as DevOps are becoming increasingly popular. This is quite a new trend that I have noticed, so I won’t go into it too much here. However, AXELOS® is working on guidance on using Agile with PRINCE2®, which will have some relevance for service managers.

Value delivery

Finally, I think that over the coming years we are going to see a refocusing on delivering value to end users and the organisation. At times, we focus on adherence to process rather than the goal of delivering value. Adherence to process shouldn’t be the overriding driver in service management, it should be value delivery. Only by delivering IT services that deliver the desired value do we ultimately achieve our goals and become more productive as organisations.

These are my thoughts on the major themes that I think we will see emerging over the next couple of years in the area of service management. What do you think?

One Response

  1. Christian Tijsmans 23rd November 2014