Trends like digitalization change the way IT is operated, managed, and delivered. It offers tremendous opportunities, but only for those businesses willing to act. According to a recent Gartner study, “Digitalization is no longer a sideshow – it has moved to center stage and is changing the whole game.”

While the technology landscape is changing, so too is the personnel landscape – and today’s evolving workforce. Millennials bring unique capabilities, especially as the first “native technologist” generation. They are “more technologically adept,” and are not afraid to seek out answers to their questions. They also have definite expectations about how digital systems should behave. Millennials see a significant gap between their experience of digital systems on the consumer side and the reality of what digital systems in the enterprise can deliver. IT must shrink that gap if it wants to boost millennials’ productivity and, more importantly, harness their talents to help differentiate the business moving forward. The same is also true for non-millennials.

As technology evolves and workforce expectations change, businesses, IT leaders, and workers must adapt – instead of digging their heels in – if they want to succeed moving forward. Success in this digital world, according to Gartner, requires “flipping from a ‘legacy-first’ to an outside-in, ‘digital-first’ leadership mindset.”1

Some businesses, intent on creating competitive differentiation, are looking to their IT Service Management (ITSM) systems to accelerate service delivery and provide solutions that empower a growing millennial workforce. Unfortunately, legacy ITSM systems – typically aging, on-premise solutions – aren’t up to the task and are hindering IT’s ability to keep pace and ultimately putting businesses at risk of falling behind, for four key reasons.


On-premise delivery mechanism contributes to high IT costs.
Most legacy ITSM systems are based on an on-premise model. The application stack is implemented in the data center and is supported by on-premise servers, operating systems, databases, and other infrastructure components. With this model, legacy ITSM systems that are supposed to act as a business accelerator ironically contribute to the high cost of merely keeping the lights on. As such, the on-premise delivery model further drains IT budgets and prevents teams from pursuing innovation and progress.

Multiple technologies create added complexity
Many legacy ITSM systems are based on a cobbled set of different technologies that have come together through mergers and acquisitions. These pieced-together systems make central visibility and reporting a nightmare for IT teams as they struggle to get systems talking to each other and reporting out the same data. These systems are not easily integrated, and they’re difficult to customize and adapt to constantly changing business requirements. The technological reality is that they are actually holding the business back, making it that much harder to turn IT into a business driver.

Closed frameworks block agility
Legacy ITSM systems typically involve closed frameworks that are set up in an authoritative manner. These systems are likely delivering against a predefined set of best practices that tightly adhere to methodologies like ITIL or ISO 20000. While these processes are beneficial, many businesses today want to couple IT tooling with business innovation, and a cookie-cutter set of best practices can only take them so far. They want the ability to build a unique set of processes – customized ITSM service delivery capabilities – aligned with the way they do business. Legacy ITSM systems simply don’t have the agility required to adapt and support requests coming from the business side of the organization.

Not all clouds are created equal
There’s no denying that the cloud is a business accelerator, meeting high standards for performance, security, quality of service, and business continuity. The public cloud market is growing faster than projected, and Forrester predicts it will reach $191 billion by 2020 . As more and more businesses embrace the cloud as a trusted enterprise infrastructure, they’re also expecting to work with real cloud solutions that conform to a modern cloud environment. It’s not as simple as taking the functionality of an on-premise solution and moving it to a cloud. When looking for the right cloud solution, it’s important to consider how your data is handled, multi-tenancy issues, performance expectations, security, and more. The reality is that many vendors aren’t equipped to deliver to the expectations of a modern cloud environment.

Information technology looks very different today from just a few years ago. Virtual environments, private/public clouds, mobility, and big data are no longer considered disruptive technologies, but part of the natural fabric that makes up most IT infrastructures today. These trends are changing the way IT operates. Similarly, ITSM solutions must change the way employees work today – how they request and receive services and ultimately perform.

IT departments that are “getting by” with their legacy ITSM systems will very soon hit a point when the challenges and risks become prohibitive. Change is inevitable, as forces outside the business demonstrate. It’s up to businesses to decide how they’re going to respond to that change. For many, it requires a major internal shift that allows IT to quickly and flexibly offer the services that best equip a modern workforce. This is the way that organizations can move toward greater differentiation and, of course, stay relevant in today’s digital world.

by Vernon Saldanha