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Service Management: An Essential Part of an Organization's Digital Transformation

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IT service management is an essential part of an organization's digital transformation efforts—even for smaller and mid-sized organizations that have never seriously considered such solutions as options.

Most organizations recognize the value of robust shared service management processes; many have shifted from their legacy or homegrown solutions to something that is more adaptable and formal to capitalize on the technology and their users' experiences. However, while 70 percent of large enterprises are moving to "enterprise" solutions, most are nowhere near this point nor are they in need of a solution that dwarfs their efforts.

While enterprise service management is currently in vogue, most organizations crave a service management solution that meets their immediate and near-term needs while also allowing them to grow and scale their shared service efforts. Based on the feedback I've received, a customized IT service management (ITSM) solution is critical. Most organizations seek an out-of-the-box solution that meets their most essential needs: self-service, establishing a knowledge base, a central repository of service items for all departments within the organization, problem management, and reporting capabilities.

Research and analyst firm Research In Action says that large enterprises, contrary to their smaller counterparts, are driving the market toward enterprise service management because they are further along in their digital business evolution and realize the benefits of adopting service management technology.Footnote1 In addition, large organizations understand that their needs vary significantly from that of smaller and mid-sized companies. Likewise, most large organizations have the resources and budgets to fund their service management efforts.

In its 2021 report, Vendor Selection Matrix™ — Enterprise Service Management, Research In Action noted that the adoption of enterprise service management is accelerating as large organizations look to expand their digital services to users. As organizations move into these solution sets, their primary objectives are usually two-fold: create a central point of contact for providing administrative services and engage users in the service to the organization.Footnote2

Research In Action points out that future service management investment priorities fall into three buckets, two of which are of notable: cloud and hybrid cloud expansion and improving support for the remote- and home-based workforce, a result of the pandemic.

For these priorities, digital transformation is vital to organizational health. Moreover, digitization has become one of the most important current economic and development themes [https://www.wsp.com/en-GL/insights/digitization-change-and-economic-growth] of the day, affecting entire swaths of the economy.Footnote3 Digitization is boosting productivity, creating jobs, and enhancing the quality of life for society at large.Footnote4 As a result, some efforts to implement shared service management solutions are directly tied to digitalization efforts.

According to the results of the Transforming the Norm survey, digital transformation is now upon us, and it continues to evolve at a breakneck pace.Footnote5 For example, we've all seen announcements from Slack and Salesforce, among others, saying that they're transforming their businesses to allow all employees to continue working remotely if they choose to do so (some of these organizations have since backtracked a bit from the worst of the pandemic).Footnote6 These policies are possible only because of digital transformation.

Many digital transformation efforts have become less like moonshots—previously thought to be insurmountable—and are instead becoming actionable and possible. The pandemic challenged fears and assumptions about what organizations can accomplish digitally and broke barriers where habit and disbelief had been holding back advancement.

Some of the most apparent digital transformation trends include faster connectivity and increased digital capabilities.Footnote7 In addition, businesses are grabbing what they can when it comes to technological advancement to leverage their efforts to remain digitally relevant in the emerging age. Moving from a legacy service desk to a fully capable ITSM solution checks this box, and this is not just a capability of enterprise service management and those organizations with gargantuan budgets.

ITSM is an essential part of an organization's digital transformation efforts—even for smaller and mid-sized organizations that have never seriously considered such solutions as options. ITSM enables an efficient and effective path toward the automation of the service delivery needed to support employees' productivity regardless of their location. This is significant because the provisioning and delivery of services is no longer the job of IT departments only.

Similarly, as employees and departments within organizations continually demand self-service models, decision makers are joining in on strategy development and tool selection to drive positive impacts for the whole. IT leaders hope or are beginning to realize that ITSM will improve the bottom line and create substantial gains versus any duct-taped solutions they may be using or hope to build in-house. ITSM solutions are foundationally more robust and efficient. They also provide automation, smoother processes (meaning less wasted time), better connections, fulfilled priorities, and clearer communication for all involved in these processes.

We'll continue to move toward digital services at an unprecedented pace, whether there is a pandemic or not. However, organizations that do not focus on providing modern digital services to their employees and partners will be left behind—even in service management.

Service management requires businesses to service their employees' needs collaboratively while providing connectivity across many organizational domains. Without such solutions, challenges—including managing the network, securing reliable connectivity, performing data integrations, managing internal governance, facilitating employee self-service, and even managing devices and their usage—will remain. These challenges are manageable from a connected, shared service desk.

So, as service management focuses on the IT workflows, when implemented and carried forth correctly, ITSM solutions are helping drive workflow automation and coordination of IT and other connected services while boosting an organization's digital transformation efforts. Ultimately, the success of these endeavors creates value streams for all connected departments and allows the organization to develop robust business processes while allowing leaders and users to navigate previously complicated processes digitally—no "enterprise" required.


  1. Vendor Selection Matrix™ – Enterprise Service Management, research report (Hartenfels, Germany: Research In Action), March 2021. Jump back to footnote 1 in the text.
  2. Ibid. Jump back to footnote 2 in the text.
  3. Fredrik Bergström, "Digitization of Change and Economic Growth" [https://www.wsp.com/en-GL/insights/digitization-change-and-economic-growth], WSP (website), April 18, 2016. Jump back to footnote 3 in the text.
  4. Bahjat El-Darwiche, Roman Friedrich, Alex Koster, Milind Singh, Digitization for Economic Growth and Job Creation, research report (New York, NY: Strategy&), 2013. Jump back to footnote 4 in the text.
  5. Transforming the Norm: A Comprehensive Survey of 500 C-Suite Professionals from a Variety of Industries, (Manchester, UK: TOPdesk, 2020). Jump back to footnote 5 in the text.
  6. Jack Morse, "Slack Finally Realized that Slack Makes Permanent Remote Work Possible," Mashable, June 12, 2020; Sasha Jones, "Salesforce: Employees Can Work from Home Forever," RealDeal (website), February 10, 2021. Jump back to footnote 6 in the text.
  7. James Anthony, "12 Digital Transformation Trends for 2021/2022: Current Predictions You Should Know," Finances Online (website), March 30, 2021. Jump back to footnote 7 in the text.

Ruben Franzen is President at TOPdesk USA.

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