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Increasing demand for digitalisation and automation of enterprise operations has caused IT Service Management (ITSM) to evolve considerably over the last decade. IT service departments are now faced with new challenges including a growing dependence on IT solutions due to rapid rates of digital transformation, legal and regulatory compliance such as International Standard ISO/IEC 20000 and increasing complexity of IT. On top of this, IT teams have had to move from serving the business to working with the business now that the people within it have become more IT literate.
Life used to be simple; IT used to control IT and there were clear demarcations between IT and the business. However, one of the key changes has been the democratisation of technology, alongside an ever more IT literate workforce. This has created a situation where IT must collaborate more and work with the business, not simply for it. This means ITSM as a concept needs to evolve. It needs to find ways to work with the business on solving problems at enterprise scale, through the use of technologies such as low-code.
The new era of cross team collaboration
Where before ITSM was essentially a gatekeeper between business teams and IT, the growth and incorporation of tech into everyday business tasks has led to teams becoming increasingly IT literate. Instead of simply pinging service requests back and forth, business teams want to take ownership of their IT processes, and for good reason. Staff outside of IT can add valuable input into IT processes with an alternative business focussed perspective. Ultimately collaboration can help to create slicker processes more quickly, and better suited to the business’ needs. ITSM must now facilitate a bridge between IT and the wider business. It’s a win-win for everyone. The business gets the systems it needs in order to change and digitalise more quickly, while IT gets to retain control and be more efficient in its service delivery.
There’s more than one benefit to collaboration for ITSM. There is also a shortage of developers and the skills needed for creating and maintaining workflow applications. This means that when an application needs to be updated, adapted or a new one created, the IT team is left with a bottleneck of work due to a lack of resources which can then have a ripple effect on the wider business. This further highlights the growing need for a level of digital democratisation that allows staff from across teams to make a creative and strategic contributions to IT development.
Where ITSM meets low-code
Low-code has evolved to offer immediate and very high impact in enterprises. While organisations have been using forms of low-code for years, in the past it was essentially an accelerator for developers, but now that's changed and we're seeing more and more collaborative low-code apps emerging that foster the kind of collaboration IT service teams need with the business to make digitalisation happen.
First generation low-code started out as a developer-based tool – offering a range of capabilities that developers could build with, as well as built in governance controls for enterprise grade applications, covering development, testing, production, licensing, and data. But while they offered speed and structure for developers, the complexity of these tools meant they weren’t accessible to the wider business. This made it near impossible for cross-team collaboration, continuing the problem of translation from business requirements to system outputs.
Second generation low-code went in the opposite direction, giving complete freedom the wider business to develop the apps they wanted. However, IT then had no control over the apps that were created in terms of licensing, environments, changes, updates, or integrations. What’s more, the usability of these tools also meant they couldn’t measure up to the complex functionalities of first generation low-code.
Meeting in the middle
Effective modern ITSM is about coming together, not relinquishing or keeping control otherwise you can risk stifling transformation and collaboration. Third generation low-code allows users to meet in the middle. It empowers business teams to help develop ITSM apps, at the same time as allowing IT to retain control and ensure governance. This leads to a faster, more efficient, and successful digital transformation, as the business receives valuable input from across teams.
The accessibility of third generation low-code allows people from across the business to kick-start the development process as soon as they identify an opportunity. Business experts can map the application and the data model by setting up teams, roles and users and inserting rules for process behaviour, all without the need for coding. All of this can be achieved in a matter of hours, as opposed to the possible months of waiting for a developer. The process is achieved by dragging and dropping visual elements and connecting them to make a process flow. This enables the business to become highly adaptable, with the ability to react quickly to any external or internal changes and automate workflows in a way that best suits the people using them.
Although low-code encourages collaboration and enables input from people across the business. It is important for IT to retain a degree of control. IT still has a pivotal role to play in this process. Democratization is about generating and embracing a new, collaborative operating model. The development of any ITSM application with low-code is still safeguarded by the platform itself, ensuring security and compliance standards are met, meanwhile IT manages the platform, ensuring any applications are not opening the business up to unnecessary risk before setting it live.
With the rapid evolution of ITSM, low-code offers the accessibility, flexibility and governance to take it to where it needs to be. As businesses increasingly head towards digital transformation, the need for cross-team collaboration will become even more crucial to keeping momentum going. Low-code can help break down the traditional walls of ITSM and open up a new era of IT development.