In the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to talk to four different industry analysts in quick succession. They wanted to find out more about how Issuetrak is evolving under new leadership and customer trends in incident management technology such as ours. My mission was to find out what industry experts really thought about the IT service management space in general and Issuetrak in particular.
The results were extremely illuminating. Although the conversations surprisingly wide-ranging, I found I could group my key takeaways under four main categories.
A common theme with every analyst was the paramount importance of making it easy for the customer to shape their operations management tools to fit their specific business needs. There was general consensus that, for a solution to succeed, the software vendor cannot try to force-fit a solution that doesn’t match the way the company operates and hope for a long-term success. Since flexibility and customizability are fundamental to Issuetrak’s platform, and have shaped the way our software has evolved from the beginning of our existence, I was in passionate agreement with this part of the conversation.
2. Actionable Analytics
There is a lot of hype associated with big data but the bigger question is what you do with the data. I am convinced that information without insight is a wasted resource. The analysts were all on board with this, and in fact one went so far as to say that legacy vendors were not doing enough to develop actionable analytics. Data has to feed into continual improvement and innovation if the investment of capturing it in the first place is to be justified. As another analyst said, “This is a trend that is long overdue in the industry.”
This is borne out by a recent discussion with one of our customers who is leveraging issue ticket statistics to improve the bottom line. The IT director uses Issuetrak to analyze multiple processes and departments, and has started to provide corporate management with data about what is delivering results and what appears to be falling short, so that bugs can be fixed and better practices replicated. For this IT director, as for all the analysts I spoke with, there is a direct correlation between the data gleaned from ticketing software and financial success.
This was the first time that I’d heard Issuetrak software described like this, but it’s actually a good way of capturing one of the most exciting aspects of our technology. Among other things, our software is a tool that lets our customers build other tools. For example, some organizations are using Issuetrak as part of their machine-to-machine interactions. Within a world where, increasingly, entities are tracking entities, the platform-as-a-service feature of Issuetrak will be a springboard for future developments and we can apply this paradigm across many other aspects as businesses evolve.
The discussion around Information Technology Infrastructure Libraries (ITIL) can be polarizing. For my part, while I see that the ITIL has its merits, I don’t see it working as a prescriptive framework for all companies. In one analyst conversation, we discussed the fact that the way some vendors have implemented ITIL has created more problems than it solved, to such an extent that the analyst was hearing requests for an ITIL compliance framework to crystallize standards. Her viewpoint was that following ITIL is still one of the baselines of the IT service management but is only a means to an end. And in fact, her focus appeared to be more fixed on seeing more of what she called a ‘development DNA’ on the part of the technology vendor.
Ours is a competitive business and, as you’d expect, the larger vendors hold the lion’s share of the market. But during our analyst conversations we heard some rumblings that the world of issue tracking, service management and online ticketing has changed faster than some of the behemoths have been able to keep pace.
The issue of flexibility and configurability came up time and time again. One analyst indicated that customers who had undergone a lengthy and costly process of custom configuration were effectively locked into their solution, which today is perhaps not such a sustainable vendor business model. Indeed, it appears that change is afoot in many of the big organizations to address this issue and to begin to innovate in the central IT service management space, where Issuetrak already has a substantial and growing footprint. For our part, we are accelerating our rate of technology updates to remain ahead of the market.
No one can doubt that these major solutions are highly effective and abound with features. However, when we win business against the larger players it is usually because Issuetrak works, it is ultimately configurable, and it is far, far easier to implement.
These conversations were fascinating. Insights came from both sides of the table and I am very grateful to all the analysts for the opportunity to look at how the future of the industry might shape up. On reflection, I would say that the biggest takeaway of all was that these industry analysts believed that Issuetrak is on the right track, and we are all excited about keeping the momentum going.