Client Central: The Future of IT Service Management

It’s common knowledge that consumer expectations are shifting, with customers now expecting brands to provide seamless experiences and to live by their values as standard. What does this mean for IT service management going forward? Ian Thomas, Chief Operating Officer of Node4, has his say…

Customer service matters more now than ever before. As far as customers are concerned, the pandemic is a distant past – they have adjusted to a new level of customer experience from organisations that adapted digitally to meet their needs. In fact, this jump in digital maturity by progressive organisations has left competitors who didn’t invest reeling in their wake. As McKinsey & Company points out:  “In times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on his or her sense of trust and loyalty.”  

With reports that the quality of customer service in the UK is actually declining in 2021, organisations must rank customer experience as a top priority and rethink how they operate. 

In 2022, it’s just as important for a managed service provider (MSP) to be strategic as it is to be able to set KPIs and do the day-to-day work. Having a robust customer service team couldn’t be any more important for tech consultancies that provide IT services to organisations, who in turn deliver services to their own customers. Effective advice that leads to the rapid resolution of problems, promoting business continuity, means everything to clients. This customer service, IT service management (ITSM), is the specific branch of expertise that is required to ensure a high standard of service delivery. 

It goes without saying that customers’ needs must be at the heart of ITSM, as its impact and importance filters directly to the customer. There are some key considerations when choosing a technology partner to ensure this brings real value to the business. 

Service Must Align to Business Goals

When tech partners deliver ITSM, goals and impact must be clearly established prior to provision to ensure all processes and measurements align to these business objectives. Delivering a service for service’s sake is now unacceptable. It’s easy for MSPs to become focused on following processes and output in delivering their service, without considering what value is generated for the recipient for their specific business in their specific industry.

The issue with leading with process is that a process needs to know how it’s going from A to B, and without clear business targets that are driven by insights, it’s impossible to generate an accurate process that has positive business outcomes. It’s just too transactional for the teams and doesn’t deliver a remarkable service. MSPs and tech partners should adopt a client-centric model of culture, which creates intelligent outcomes.

For organisations to gain ‘next level’ service that offers a competitive edge, providers must first understand the goals and objectives to provide a service and surrounding operating culture, which delivers associated business value, not just an output.

Ian Thomas
Chief Operating Officer, Node4


Build Empathy to Boost Customer Engagement

Customers now expect brands to live their values and share their pain. Empathy is the most powerful value for an organisation to communicate. Focusing solely on process, rather than outcomes, is likely to lead to poor customer service that doesn’t identify with the customer’s challenges. This means that an MSPs’ understanding of an organisation and its challenges is key to fine-tuning processes to deliver the desired end goal.

As soon as the organisation recognises a lack of empathy from their service provider, whether consciously or subconsciously, this impedes engagement and can jeopardise the long-term relationship. Businesses are always goal-focused and any set back will be investigated as to what it means for their wider business goals and how it impacts the bottom line.

Generating Business Value from a Client-Centric Approach

It’s interesting to consider what ITSM may look like in the future – how it might evolve to improve client service and offer more competitive advantage. With the introduction of new technologies, focusing on DevOps, agile, the launch of ITIL v4, more and more organisations are reviewing their strategies for service. The values we expect in our personal lives have crossed over into an ever-growing demand for service in our professional lives.

Business expectations aligned to consumer beliefs are growing all the time and the value of service management is no different. Despite this, many tech partners don’t fully appreciate the need to be a strategic partner and to identify business impact. Instead, they are preoccupied with how service is being delivered and measured.

Service Is Business Value

For organisations to gain ‘next level’ service that offers a competitive edge, providers must first understand the goals and objectives to provide a service and surrounding operating culture, which delivers associated business value, not just an output. 

What’s important and memorable for clients is the outputs and impact a service has on their core business and strategic objectives. In 2022, clients are expecting more from their contracts and are partnering based on values. Choosing an IT service delivery that is business orientated and works in true partnership with its clients, as an extension of their business, will deliver real business value. 


Ian Thomas
Chief Operating Officer, Node4

Ian is a successful IT professional with over 20 years’ experience of delivering complex solutions and services for a diverse range of clients, across multiple industry sectors. Ian is particularly effective in leading large service organisations to deliver tangible outcomes. Ian has a broad range of experience of implementing and working with multiple service models whilst engaging, interacting and influencing stakeholders at all levels in a multi-layered delivery environment. Ian is passionate about implementing change and working with people to help deliver great client experience and service excellence.