More Future of IT Management
In which the IT Swami updates his vision of the future of ITSM and the IT Skeptic looks forward to upcoming conferences.
Usually at conferences I'm either being rude about ITIL or vendors; or I present about the future of ITSM. I like bringing my skeptical bent to prognosticating (if nothing else I provide a counter-balance to my mate Chris Dancy's apocalyptic enthusiasms).
Back in 2008 I did "Which Way with IT Service Management?" for Jan van Bon's team in the Netherlands, based on my "Seven Visions of the Future of ITIL" blog posts. More recently I have spoken on the current and future threat to our production core from "Cowboys, Acrobats, and Rainmakers (and Chatterers)" and about how the future of ITSM is governance, service and assurance e.g. "Service is so last decade; ITSM in the twenty-teens" for itSMF Australia.
I've been banging on about governance, service and assurance for five years now. The message is that as we lose control of both Build and Run, and ultimately lose ownership of information entirely, IT's Run role will shift to defending the organisation's information value.
We didn't hear much about the future at this week's itSMF New Zealand conference (certainly not from me: I spoke about CMDB, CSI, and Green IT), so I thought it was a good time to check in with the IT Swami again to get an update on the future since his last forecast. Regular readers know the IT Swami is the source of my peeks into the cloudy future (pun intended). You'll also know he's hard to find, hence his sporadic appearances here.
Ever since the latest New Zealand government put an end to overseas research into hip-hop and such, the IT Swami fell back to more horticultural sources of revenue. But with increasing interest in his activities from the authoraties, he took advantage of Hollywood's fad for buying land like Peter Jackson's, to sell two of his farms to minor American actors and he hasn't had to work since. That meant I couldn't rely on court records to keep track of him. But I saw his face in the back row of a photo of a New Zealand dairy trade mission to China (he went as the melamine expert) and managed to find him in a hotel in Shanghai. We discussed the future of ITSM via Skype video in his room, where he was in conference with several Chinese trade ambassadors. (I'm impressed by how quickly young females can attain such senior positions in China... or at least he TOLD me they were trade ambassadors. With title inflation that might mean something different in Shanghai.)
I digress. Here is my summation of the conversation:
Predictions of the demise of IT are misguided: no matter how business transforms itself, there will always be organisational specialists tasked with looking after at least some aspects of Finance and HR, and so too with IT (as the Swami put it "we'll always need the bean-counters, air-heads and geeks").
Every organisation needs experts looking out for informational risk and opportunity. The Build/Solutions/Development side of IT will morph into a focus on Architecture, Acquisition, and Innovation (opportunity). And our Run/Operations/Production/Delivery side will morph into a focus on Governance, Service and Assurance (risk).
- The naïve concept of "business IT alignment" will mature into Governance of IT. Organisations will govern their IT properly, and IT will need to be governed and to execute governance fulfilment.
- Service management will only become more important, as IT's role focuses on ensuring that increasingly complex value chains composed of disparate third parties are actually delivering the intended service to the customers.
- There will be increasingly explicit acknowledgement and understanding that IT's role is as much about protecting the existing investments in information and systems and ensuring we get full VOI, as it is in enabling new value from information. So IT will focus on assuring the safety of the organisation from an information perspective through monitoring, measuring, defending and auditing to ensure controlled risk and adequate compliance.
The IT Swami also said the future of ITSM will be written in hànzì, that I should ensure my son learns Mandarin and that he wants me to be godfather to his future Chinese babies, but that's another story.
So expect to hear more from me about governance (as well as keeping up the service-related content and mostly avoiding assurance 'cos its boring). Regular readers and conference audiences know you already are hearing plenty about governance from me. For example, I've become a bit of a COBIT fanboy of late. Never fear: the more I learn about COBIT the more skeptical material I uncover - all in good time. But whatever warts I find, I do think COBIT is a horse to put money on as governance grows in importance; as IT matures from a service focus to a wider management/governance/assurance one; and as the ITIL fad cools. Consider COBIT as your primary IT framework; or at the very least be familiar with it.
In Australia in August I'll be speaking at the itSMF LEADit conference on
- "What Governance Isn't", a much-updated version of an article I did some time ago for Novatica in Spain
- "Plug and Socket", about governance fulfilment by IT
At Oceania CACS here in Wellington in September my topics are
- Never Mind the Auditors or Why COBIT Wins (well it is ISACA's CACS)
- Cowboys, Acrobats, Rainmakers and Chatterers, defending the production core from irrationality
And at PINK13 in Las Vegas next February I'll be presenting on
- Plug & Socket: Preparing IT For Governance
- What IT Governance Isn't
- ... as well as case studies of my Tipu CSI method
- and an attempt to set some sort of world record with "Service Management in 40 minutes"
That covers a fair number of readers, and there is the possibility of more appearances, so I hope you can come hear me and we can discuss the future of ITSM, perhaps over a beer. If you can't get to those events, sorry but unlike some of the travelling pundits I don't have a software mega-vendor funding me and I don't get automatic sponsor slots at conferences. Talk to your local conference committees about putting up some funds to hear an independent view for a change.