New study yields eye-opening IT Service Management benefits

New data from Forrester and itSMF shows that ITIL has a positive impact on organizational productivity, service quality, IT's reputation with the business and operational costs. Glenn O'Donnell blogs.
Written by Glenn ODonnell, Contributor

In April and May of this year, Forrester and the IT Service Management Forum’s US chapter (itSMF-USA) conducted a joint study to assess the state of ITSM. We collected data from 491 qualified subjects that are heavily involved in ITSM efforts (69% have two or more years of ITSM experience and 95% hold some level of ITIL certification; 50% at an advanced level). Since it was in conjunction with the US chapter, the responses were heavily US-centric.

The results offer empirical evidence of something ITSM professionals already know: ITSM offers significant benefits to the organization and to the professionals themselves. The full report is now in the final editing stages and will be available soon to all Forrester clients, all itSMF-USA members, and all participants who do not already fall into one of those groups. Forrester clients and itSMF USA members will receive email notifications when it is ready. Others will be contacted directly by itSMF.

This morning (Monday, September 26, 2011), I presented the results at the itSMF-USA’s national conference known as Fusion 11. Here are a few key insights from the study:

  • 51% of ITSM efforts are driven primarily by IT or business executives
  • ITIL has had an overwhelming positive impact on:
    • Organizational productivity: 85% positive and 2% negative
    • Service quality: 83% positive and 1% negative
    • IT’s reputation with the business: 65% positive and 3% negative
    • Operational costs: 41% positive and 4% negative

  • 70% received a positive salary increase in the past year with 31% over 5% (the general US population fell and general IT salaries were flat)
  • 77% indicated a positive relationship between their Application Development and Operations teams. This indicates DevOps success is far stronger in ITSM-focused organizations than in the general enterprise. DevOps is a movement formed to foster better cooperation between App Development and Operations. This is fundamental to ITSM so the evidence tells us ITSM makes a difference favorable to DevOps.

The news is certainly good for ITSM professionals and their employers, but there were also a few areas still in need of improvement. The most notable of these is how change management execution still causes too many incidents. 58% of the subjects say over 10% of their incidents are caused by change. 25% are excessive (over 40% of incidents) and a beleaguered 22% don’t know. These numbers are not good, but convey a better scenario posited by the urban legend that about 70% of all incidents are the result of a change.

Management software vendors are always part of any ITSM discussion, so we captured many details of this market. Some come as no surprise (e.g., smaller vendors are more innovative than larger ones), but software vendors need to be aware of some realities:

  • SaaS is viewed very favorably as a service desk software delivery option. 96% were satisfied or very satisfied with SaaS whereas the numbers for traditional software models and homebrewed tools all hovered around 70%.
  • Despite some dissatisfaction with service desk, buyers are unlikely to switch vendors. 57% said they would not switch and 21% said they would. 22% did not know.
  • The anchor-boutique “shopping mall” model for management tools seems popular. Major vendors are well entrenched (see above bullet) but 37% will fill gaps in their portfolios with smaller boutique vendors.
  • The Big Four (BMC SoftwareCA TechnologiesHP Software, and IBM Tivoli) management software vendors have some potent new competition. When asked to rank several vendors on their ability to solve their broader management and automation challenges, the Big Four ranked a bit better than expected. On a scale of 0 (worst) to 4 (best), they averaged 2.23 (HP was tops at 2.40). This is a vote of some confidence, but it’s not stellar. The group of CiscoEMCMicrosoftOracle, and VMware averaged 2.51. The best was VMware with an impressive 2.91 and all beat the Big Four average. It’s clear that these “Improved Titans” will play a big role in your future ITSM efforts.

We at Forrester are extremely excited about this study and we hope the ITSM community gets some value out of it! Please let us know what you would like to see in the 2012 version and please push all itSMF chapters around the world to join us so we can make it a truly global study. It means more work for us, but we are more than eager to take on the task.

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