Why IT Service Management and Automation Should Be Knowledge-Based, Not Process-Based

If you think IT service management (ITSM) is similar to industrial production, think again. While it too often follows the same structure, its optimization actually requires a whole different approach.

Over the last decades, IT operations have commonly been modelled on the principles of industrialization, such as standardization and scientific management, also known as Taylorism.

This has resulted in a focus on processes, which have become the standard road map in ITSM. In practical terms, this means that IT operations typically take a task along all experts possibly needed, like an assembly line would.

Now let’s take a step back and consider the employee’s profile that Frederick Winslow Taylor had in mind when he defined his scientific management theory in the 19th century: unskilled factory workers, who wouldn’t be able to handle the production cycle from A to Z.

Conversely, IT engineers are skilled professionals whose training and experience prepared to handle large portions of these operations. Yet, too many companies rely on an approach that neither fosters innovation nor creates an environment where talent can thrive.

To be fair, finding experts is difficult and expensive enough not to bother them with minor tasks once hired. This is where a new productivity booster comes into play: knowledge-based automation.

While many automation tools try to ensure proper process completion, automation at its best needs to have expert knowledge as its starting point. Once entered into the engine, this data can later be actioned to solve similar problems in the most efficient manner.

To make a difference in this new world, the leading IT provider of the future will be the one that can hire the best experts to constantly feed its knowledge pool, which it will excel at archiving and subsequently using in an automated way.