Sid Suri of Atlassian explains the huge changes in ITSM he has witnessed in recent years and how IT support professionals need to change their perspective to stay relevant.

Q: Tell us about your early career in ITSM
A: Prior to Atlassian, I worked in CRM for three and a half years, first at a knowledge management startup that was acquired by Oracle, then at Salesforce.com doing marketing for Service Cloud.

Customer IT support has its unique challenges but has many similarities to ITSM; the primary one being a focus on solving the customer’s problems in an efficient manner. These last few years we’ve seen a further convergence in these two areas as ITSM has stepped up its game on customer experience. Employees, especially the younger generation, will no longer put up with a clunky, outdated solution inside the workplace. ITSM tools are becoming more like their customer support counterparts and focusing more on the user experience.

The gig economy or, essentially, employees as contractors; globalisation and remote workers; and partners further blur the line between internal and external support. Many ITSM vendors including Atlassian now also offer customer support solutions or have customers who use their products in both areas. So three years ago, when Atlassian was looking to bring on a senior marketing leader to run the JIRA Service Desk and IT practice, it was a good fit with my background and interests. I believe there’s huge potential for us in this market as more and more customers opt for an elegant, easier to use, and cost-effective solution to solve their basic ITSM challenges.

What part has SITS played in shaping your journey through the industry?
SITS is valuable in helping me keep track of industry trends and the competition. The sessions are a great way to keep a pulse on where the conversation is, what challenges customers struggling with, and what’s top of mind for them. The show floor demos and vendor announcements are a great way to keep up with what the competition. If a vendor chooses to announce a certain feature or new module at the show there’s a reason for that. It gives you insight into their roadmap and priorities.

What trends do you think service management and IT support should be investigating now?
Automation and machine learning will continue to become a bigger part of our lives and especially in IT. No IT professional wants to spend their day doing password resets or even simple tasks like provisioning access to a database or ordering new hardware. Every minute spent on a low-value task is time not spent on collaborating with your business partners, investigating new technology solutions, or getting the next promised service out on time. With Machine Learning (ML) this goes a step further. ML is primarily confined to consumer tech right now but as it becomes a bigger part of how we interact with technology, the scope of what kinds of tasks can be automated will continue to increase. Rather than be threatened IT needs to embrace this changing role and position themselves to excel at higher value tasks like selecting the right piece of technology their marketing department needs. The kind of tasks that leverages their technology expertise and knowledge of the business.
What one tip would you offer to IT service and support professionals to drive their IT services forward?
Think like a product manager or entrepreneur. IT is a product like no other. What was once a monopoly is no longer. With cloud and the emergence of shadow IT, the threat of bypassing IT very real. Every product manager and entrepreneur knows if they don’t provide a great product or service that is focused on filling the customer’s needs and giving them a delightful experience they will leave you and that reality is it’s no different than IT. IT needs to take a customer-centric approach to how they prioritise, build, and roll out new services to the organisation. That’s a new mindset for IT and will require not just a new way of thinking, it will take new processes, and new skill sets they need to hire for.

Sid Suri is head of IT solutions for Atlassian.
Atlassian will be showcasing its latest solutions at SITS17, stand 200.

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James West

James West

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