IT service management (ITSM) is a broad category encompassing supporting procedures an organization performs to plan, deliver, operate and control the IT services it offers to internal and external customers. It's a multi-billion dollar industry, involving companies such as ServiceNow, which is a cloud-based ITSM platform and one of the leaders in this space.
Even though ITSM is such a large industry, many companies - like ServiceNow - have skipped over some aspects of unified communications in the services they offer. There is robust planning around server management, network management, management of operational flow, and trouble ticketing. However, those management and ongoing operations often don't extend to unified communications. There's a valuable opportunity for the same concepts of ITSM that have been developed over the years to take unified communications into account.
One of the reasons ITSM has skipped its relationship with unified communications can be attributed to the way it tends to proliferate within an organization. The business' communications may have originally involved a company that owned the PBX and ran copper to the desk. The service was always on, and it just worked. (Think about the early Sprint commercials from the 1990s that showed a pin dropping.) Once communications began to shift into a VOIP application that relies on the network, new problems would arise, ones not previously considered.
It has now got to the point where there isn't always a clear boundary between server, network, and telecom groups. A single group of people is now often managing the network as well as voice. Companies like Microsoft are creating edicts where the network team has become responsible for voice quality, corporate-wide. This gradual change, where dedicated lines are no longer available, has created the necessity for ITSM to pay attention to the quality of unified communications.
There's a lot of potential for ITSM to add service components as unified communications becomes more critical within an organization. Whether you're having phone conversations with customers in a contact center or reaching out directly for sales, conversations need to be managed and well-understood. Opportunity is centered around the fact that as you bring the overall concepts you deploy with ITSM to unified communications, the service of communications will continue to improve. There will be less outages and downtime while the quality of experience improves to make it a more seamless aspect of the business.
The idea of melding ITSM with unified communications could be somewhat of a culture shock within the organization. Some of the first steps a manager can take to begin implementation (besides talking with us) is to sit down and have a conversation with the group of people in their organization responsible for ITSM. Ask them how its been deployed within the environment, what policies and procedures are in place operationally as well as in moves, adds, and changes? The already existing ITSM structure can be effectively leveraged system-wide to incorporate, and perhaps improve, unified communications.
Author: Eric Bauer, Head of Product Marketing