The future of ITSM survey results

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” SysAid and did just that by asking 13 questions related to the potential future challenges and opportunities organizations face.

Some key findings:

84% of respondents think that working in IT will get harder over the next three years
72% of respondents feel “undervalued”
Over 50% of respondents feel that working in IT is adversely affecting their personal wellbeing

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The Future of ITSM –  
Survey Results 2019  
Here’s what’s important for you  
and your ITSM team to know  
Table of Contents  
Working in IT  
Recruitment and Retention  
New Technology  
ITSM Best Practice  
Meeting Service Expectations  
Enterprise Service Management  
As we progress through 2019, the future of IT service management  
(ITSM) and IT support seems to be approaching at an increasing  
rate of knots. In particular, thanks to the respective rates of change  
relative to business operations, technology, and consumer-world  
services and support.  
As to what our ITSM future will hold, it’s in many ways an unknown.  
However, in the words of “the founder of modern management”  
Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  
Hence, in Q4 2018, SysAid and ran a global ITSM future-  
readiness survey to better understand what ITSM professionals are  
thinking and doing to “survive and thrive” in this rapidly changing  
IT service delivery and support world. We asked 13 questions related  
to the potential future challenges and opportunities that the  
survey-respondents and their organizations face. These questions  
were wide-ranging and deliberately spread across six distinct areas:  
1. Working in IT  
. Recruitment and retention  
. New technology  
. Best practice  
. Meeting service expectations  
. Enterprise service management  
Some of the 13 questions replicated those used in the mid-  
017 version of the survey – from which the 2017 responses are  
referenced within this report – while others are new additions. With  
the former providing insight into how respective situations and  
opinions have changed over the last two years.  
The key 2019 survey findings, from a sample of 339 responses,  
include that:  
l 84% of respondents think that working in IT will get harder  
over the next three years.  
l Only one-quarter of respondents feel that their efforts and  
value are sufficiently recognized by management versus 72%  
respondents who feel “undervalued” to some extent.  
l Just over half of respondents feel that working in IT is adversely  
affecting their personal wellbeing – with 75% of these  
reporting that their efforts are not being recognized.  
l Three-quarters of respondents state that it’s currently difficult  
to recruit for key IT roles versus the 12% that don’t see an issue.  
l 9% of respondents are already using chatbots and other bots  
in IT management use cases, plus another 29% are already  
experimenting with them. But 45% currently have no plans to  
use bots in the next 12 months.  
l Only 9% of respondents view artificial intelligence (AI) as a  
serious job killer in ITSM, this level is down from 16% in 2017.  
l In terms of new and updated ITSM best practice sources, 27%  
of respondents will still use what they’ve always used and  
another 23% think the variety of possible best-practice sources  
is becoming confusing.  
l Only 6% of respondents state that ITSM personnel have  
been fully involved in their company’s DevOps activities and  
ambitions, down from 13% in 2017. Partial involvement has also  
dropped to 27% (from 40%) between surveys.  
l 25% of respondents think that their IT organization meets  
employee expectations better than consumer-world  
companies, 28% think they’re at a similar level, and 40% think  
that they lag behind. There’s a strong correlation between IT  
staff receiving recognition and meeting employees’ service  
l Surprisingly, 75% of the non-best-practice-adopters think  
that they’re the same or better than general consumer-world  
companies in meeting service expectations – significantly  
exceeding the position of those who’ve adopted ITSM best  
l Half of respondents already think that employee experience  
is important to their IT organization and another quarter will  
do so by 2021. Just 18% think that employee experience will  
never be important.  
l Two-thirds of respondents state that their organization  
either has, or is planning to develop, an enterprise service  
management strategy.  
l Having an enterprise service management strategy and the  
extended use of ITSM tools are strongly correlated – meaning,  
a strategy clearly increases the use of ITSM tools in multiple  
business functions, whereas the single-use (of a tool) is more  
common where there’s no strategy.  
Greater detail on each of these findings can be found in the main  
body of this report.  
Details on the survey’s promotion methods and respondents are  
included in the endnotes.  
. Working in IT  
Modern-day work life can be a challenge no matter your  
department and role. The days of 9-5 working are long gone,  
especially in management roles, and the mandate for IT  
departments to “do more with less” has been prevalent for at least  
a decade.  
Add to this:  
l The increasing technology and business complexity and rate  
of change  
l The potential need to reskill (because of this change)  
l IT skills shortages (please see a later related question)  
l Higher customer expectations  
l Information security issues  
And the challenge of working in IT becomes apparent.  
So, is working in IT getting harder? And, if so, how is this affecting  
those who work in IT?  
To get answers to these questions, the first survey question asked:  
Do you think working in corporate IT will get harder over  
the next three years?”  
This garnered the following responses:  
A total of 84% of respondents believe that working in IT will  
get harder over the next three years. It’s up only 2% on the 2017  
results but there has been a larger movement between “all IT  
roles” and “some IT roles,” in favor of the latter. Only 13% of survey  
respondents don’t think that their lives (and, one assumes, the  
lives of their colleagues) will get harder – a 2% drop from the  
previous survey.  
As to why there’s an increased response for “Yes, for some  
IT roles” (at 53%) over “Yes, for all IT roles” (at 31%) – this likely  
reflects that some IT roles are getting harder, while others could  
even be getting easier, due to the level of impact from the  
aforementioned changes. For example, service desk agents – who  
are usually under far greater scrutiny than most other, if not all,  
IT roles – are facing the triple pressures of increased technology  
usage, a wider spectrum of technology products and services,  
plus increased employee expectations of services and support.  
Whereas roles related to the management of legacy IT systems,  
say, might be viewed as being less likely to be impacted.  
Additionally, let’s not forget that there might also be the very-  
human assumption that “the grass is always greener” – with  
respondents assuming, especially since they have very little  
insight beyond their own remit, that their peers in other teams  
aren’t affected as much as themselves.  
The second question then asked:  
Do you feel that working in IT is adversely affecting your  
personal wellbeing?”  
This garnered the following responses:  
The survey responses show that a worrying 55% of people think  
that working in IT is adversely affecting their personal wellbeing  
so that’s every other person in IT. Even more worrying is the one  
in ten people who think that the situation is significant by their  
selection of the “Yes, considerably” option.  
The topic of wellbeing is also discussed in the next section when  
the value (and recognition) of individuals is considered.