The future of service management: A leadership manifesto

The future of service management: A leadership manifesto
Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord is president of TOPdesk US, a division of the global provider of IT service management solutions and services.


Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” A pillar of the United States and a foundation of the very civilisation in which we live, Franklin was an innovator, a person who helped us live within our current time. He was a businessman and an entrepreneur, and he understood the requirements of service to others, even those people within his own organisation: “As we enjoy great advantages from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.”

His was a life of service. He dared to dream, becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs, businessmen and political consultants of his or any time. He also ran one of the most successful printing operations of his day; served at the highest rank of the US Post Office and innovated it; invested in paper production; and ran a sundries shop with his wife. He also believed in the need and necessity of networking to grow and expand one’s brand and position in the community. He even developed a franchise network with his apprentices that allowed him to expand his print operations rather than have them become competitors.

Franklin was a genius of innovation in a time when even the simplest advancement took the greatest amount of effort. Where the time to move messages from New York to Philadelphia took at least a day – longer before Franklin made changes to the postal service route between the two cities – and a journey from the US to Europe was several months via treacherous ship voyage (Franklin crossed the “Western Ocean” eight times), even then he built many devices that were designed to help improve or solve everyday problems. He served mankind through his work, given to building libraries and hospitals.

We go online to purchase products, log into accounts and find answers to questions – why would our customers expect anything less from us?

In many ways, unbeknownst to him, he might even be considered a father of service management. Perhaps it’s a stretch, but Franklin did not patent one of his inventions or try to keep his knowledge from others in the world. His knowledge and what he created essentially became a catalogue of the numerous inventions Franklin created, he did not patent a single one. Franklin believed that “as we benefit from the inventions of others, we should be glad to share our own…freely and gladly.”

Service management, by definition, is a customer-focused approach to delivering information technology, focusing on providing value to the customer and also on the customer relationship. But from a pure service point of view, Franklin lived his life in service of others. Service management and its future rely on such beliefs, as those shown by this founding father. In fact, the future of service management is built not on innovation and advancement alone, but on the core of service and the need to provide service to those within our organisations so that they can serve customers outside the organisation. It is also built on past achievement.

Yet, the future of service management also must not be what we’ve known it to be for the last two decades. As we cross this threshold of service management, we must position ourselves in a forward-serving manner, for the good of all being served. That means innovation. Franklin became the man he was through his ingenuity and forward thinking, but his ‘products’ per se only created a foundation upon which to build. For example, look how far printing has come (it’s now three dimensional) and the Post Office (despite its financial problems, it gets packages from here to there overnight) and bifocals have evolved since he invented them two and a half centuries ago. The same can be said of our technology.

Foundationally, IT service management technology has helped forge industries, improve customer communication, manage workflows and keep track of assets. Above all, the software is, for the most part, simple and attractive to use (with some exceptions) making it pleasant to use and quick to adopt.

But now that is not enough. The future of service management has arrived and the solutions must be more responsive, cloud-based, continually deployed and customisable by users. Service management is no longer a database-driven content and task management process. The technology is fluid, even responsive to users, providing them updates and ‘news’ to keep them up to date on changes or updates to the service module. Such solutions need to allow service desk leaders to place their finger on the pulse of their organisations and serve users seamlessly in real time, while meeting service needs as they develop.

We need solutions that finally help us lean into leadership positions while foregoing static, archaic database-driven management systems of the past. The future of service management is found in less repetitive knowledge-based service catalogues that allows for the logging and tracking of requests all in one portal without the need for pointless and endless clicking and scrolling.

It’s time for a shift to the left, where service teams bring their knowledge to their customers and makes it more accessible to all who need it. It’s time for a shift from our 20th century roots and to deliver mobile solutions for the mobile market.

Service management now must mean serving people so that they can find the exact resources they need when they need them to meet their service requirements

We’re always on. So are our customers and so are their needs. Thus, we need to evolve, we need to serve them how they expect to be served, whether they are inside our organisations or out. Like Franklin, we need to fill the needs of our customers with excellent service for the greater good and make life easier for everyone involved. Service management now must mean serving people so that they can find the exact resources they need when they need them to meet their service requirements. The technology solutions, therefore, must always be up to date with the most recent enhancements and improvements, continually deployed, as it were, so that there’s no need to wait for the next version a pre-scheduled fix.

It’s time for leadership. Leadership that even among the giants can stand out and innovate. Leadership is more than about organisations, but about people.

Service management leaders will come to understand that users seek customisation and empowerment in the use of solutions to help them meet their service needs. Customers also need answers. By shifting toward this need we can better serve and empower them, helping them gain access to needed answers more quickly. Thus, we need solutions that help fill the needs of those we serve in the same manner as leaders like Franklin, who wanted nothing more than to make lives better for himself and all of mankind.

Now, people are extremely self-sufficient. We go online to purchase products, log into accounts, book flights and find answers to questions – and, often, outside of normal business hours. Why would our customers expect anything less from your services than excellence and leadership and providing them with the best of your skills and all that your organisation has to offer? in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.


View Comments
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *