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Why Implementing IT Service Management Is More Crucial Than Ever

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After suffering from the catastrophic pandemic in 2020 and 2021, this is an important year for organizations operating in major industries worldwide. The Covid-19 situation resulted in a sharp drop in the demand for all non-essential products and services. When people were not allowed to go out of their houses, companies with a traditional approach were forced to close their doors and let go of their valuable employees.   

However, organizations have started getting back on track. The pandemic has made everyone realize the importance of digital tools and platforms. Organizations with a robust digital infrastructure were able to sustain the pandemic without facing many hurdles. Online collaborative platforms helped employees stay in touch with their peers and work in a virtual workspace.  

This has resulted in more responsibilities being shouldered by IT teams within organizations. As more and more processes are carried out digitally using advanced tools, an organization’s IT infrastructure needs to be managed with utmost precision. This has made it important for organizations to focus on improving their ITSM processes.  

What is ITSM?  

IT Service Management (ITSM) is the process of delivering IT services and support to users by the IT department of an organization. These services can be provided to customers and internal employees to get their IT-related issues resolved in the best way possible.   

ITSM revolves around designing, creating and delivering robust IT services to the users through digital platforms. The key difference between IT and formalized ITSM is that ITSM is used to optimize the IT infrastructure of an organization. The core of ITSM deals with providing IT as a service to the end-users and providing them with seamless support across multiple channels.   

A dedicated IT service desk allows you to provide ITSM solutions to your customers or employees and streamline your IT processes. Implementing an IT service desk in 2022 is an important decision and requires you to consider a range of factors before going ahead with the same. Gone are when employees and customers were content with generic IT support provided to them by an organization. Today, users demand personalized support from an IT service desk that understands the context of their issues and tailored solutions that are best suited for them.   

Related: Using HR Helpdesk to Enhance Employee Productivity

Why is implementing ITSM in 2022 more crucial than ever?  

If you are still on the fence about implementing ITSM within your organization, here are some essential reasons why the technology is needed now more than it ever has been. 

1. Catering to changing needs  

The needs of both employees and customers have changed significantly. They require quick and personalized IT support from an organization to get their issues resolved. Also, the increasing use of mobile devices requires an organization to set up ITSM solutions compatible with a range of digital devices.   

Employee needs in particular have significantly changed in the post-pandemic world. Employees working across the world prefer flexible work hours and are willing to work remotely as long as it does not affect their work. This has given rise to hybrid workplaces. It is extremely difficult for IT teams to cater to the employees’ ever-changing needs with a traditional approach. This makes it important to implement robust ITSM tools for providing proactive support to employees.  

2. Establishing clear connections between individual contributions and organizational goals  

Implementing ITSM allows you to align the IT services provided by the professionals with the goals to be achieved by your organization. It gives an organized structure to the IT services provided to your customers and employees and allows you to measure their effectiveness periodically.   

Implementing ITSM allows you to streamline processes like change management, incident management, request fulfilment and more, leading to increased transparency for services delivered by your IT professionals across the organization.  

The lack of ITSM in 2021 is likely to indicate that many professionals are working on the same project without clarity on who should be making important decisions. In such situations, IT employees are often confused about:  

  • Their definite roles and responsibilities while working in the IT team.

  • Their priorities while working on every project. 

  • The services they are required to support.

  • The service levels and standards to be maintained.  

  • Their integration with their peers in terms of making decisions, solving issues and delegating responsibility.

With the help of ITSM, you can get rid of these issues by:  

  • Creating well-defined processes for addressing all the crucial issues faced by the users.  

  • Establishing the roles and responsibilities of each IT professional.

  • Prioritizing the IT processes while working on every project.  

ITSM helps you organize the overall approach to providing IT services to the users and clear all confusion.   

Related: Tips To Evaluate Your Organization’s ITSM Needs

3. Implementing change management seamlessly  

New technological trends are emerging, and new tools are being introduced to the market at an astonishing rate. This makes organizations change their approach to work and the tools used to carry out their processes regularly. This calls for seamless change management.  

Without effective change management, it becomes difficult for an organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page and every employee can operate the new tools at an optimum level.  

ITSM helps you streamline change management by providing your employees with all the required resources and materials regarding the new tools on a centralized platform. With a modern IT service desk, you can add all relevant resources to your enterprise knowledge base and drive the necessary change.

Moreover, if your knowledge base has all the required information about the new tools to be implemented, you can provide quick answers to all the questions and queries they may have about working with them. This helps ensure that all your employees have adopted the change and are well-versed in the new tools.   

4. Optimizing your collaborative platform  

Over the last two years, online collaborative platforms like Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have had immense adoption across industries. These platforms have helped organizations to operate virtually and employees to interact with their peers.

ITSM allows you to optimize your collaborative platform by integrating your IT service desk with the same. This makes it easier for your employees to obtain quick IT support from their work platform. Also, the integration allows you to centralize the IT support provided to all the employees within your organization, irrespective of the department they work in.   

Modern IT service desks are equipped with the technology of conversational AI that allows your employees to interact with AI chatbots. When you integrate a modern service desk with your collaborative platform, your employees can seamlessly chat with the virtual assistants from their respective accounts.  

Once an employee asks a question, the chatbot scans your knowledge base for the solution and returns a suitable answer within a few seconds. This way, modern ITSM tools help you automate the first IT support level without getting the agents involved.   

Moreover, if your employee is not satisfied with the primary support, the AI chatbots route their cases to a suitable support agent via an automated ticketing system. A simple chat from the collaborative platform allows your employee to create a support ticket and send their cases to an agent within seconds. A modern IT service desk tracks the case and closes the ticket automatically once the issue is resolved.   

5. Implementing microlearning with ITSM  

Effective employee onboarding and change management require your employees to get trained in specific tools and skills. Modern IT service desks allow you to provide seamless training to your employees via microlearning.   

Microlearning is a modern learning methodology that involves consuming training content that takes no more than 10 minutes of the learners’ time. With the help of modern ITSM tools, you can add the training resources to your knowledge base and have your employees access the same from their respective devices. If you have integrated your service desk with a collaborative platform, your employees can get trained while working on the respective platform.   

Microlearning helps you get your employees trained without getting them exhausted by reading lengthy handbooks and manuals. A modern IT service desk allows you to track your employees’ progress and ensure that the training sessions are successful.   

This makes the implementation of ITSM instrumental in boosting self-reliance and confidence within your employees as they train themselves through microlearning.   

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Cyber Monday shopping expected to set record but annual growth has slowed | Adobe

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Cyber Monday shopping sales hit at least $6.3 billion through part of the day in the U.S. today, according to the latest online shopping data from Adobe Analytics.

It’s not unusual for Cyber Monday and Black Friday online shopping results to break records, but it this economic climate it’s encouraging to see it happen. Still, growth has slowed from 2021 and 2020 holiday seasons.

Consumers spent $6.3 billion up through 3:00 pm Pacific time for Cyber Monday. Adobe expects that when the final tally is in, consumers will spend between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion for the day, making Cyber Monday the biggest online shopping day of the year (and of all time).

Today, the top 15 hot sellers (not in ranked order) have included Legos, Hatchimals, Disney Encanto, Pokémon cards, Bluey, Dyson products, strollers, Apple Watches, drones, and digital cameras. Gaming consoles also remain popular, along with games including Mario Party, FIFA 23, Madden 23 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

Over the past weekend, the top sellers were included Hot Wheels, Cocomelon, Bluey, Disney Encanto, L.O.L. Surprise dolls, Roblox, and Fortnite in the toys category. Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 remain the top selling gaming consoles, with popular games including FIFA 23, God of War Ragnarök, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Madden 23, and NBA 2k23. Other hot sellers included Apple iPads, Apple MacBooks, digital cameras, Roku devices, drones, gift cards and Instapots.

Black Friday online shopping sales were $9.12 billion, up 2.3% from a year ago, and Thanksgiving itself came in at $5.29 billion, up 2.9% from a year ago. Those were above Adobe’s projections. Last year, consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday.

Strong consumer spend has been driven by net-new demand, and not just higher prices. The Adobe Digital Price Index, which tracks online prices across 18 product categories (complements the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, which also includes prices for offline only products and services like gasoline and rent) shows that prices online have been nearly flat in recent months (down 0.7% YoY in October 2022).

Adobe Analytics says Cyber Monday will set a record.

Adobe’s numbers are not adjusted for inflation, but if online inflation were factored in, there would still be growth in underlying consumer demand, the company said.

On a category basis, toys were a major growth driver in the days leading up to Cyber Monday, with online sales up 452% over the average day in October 2022. Appliances (up 305%) and baby/toddler products (up 289%) also saw strong demand, in addition to electronics (up 276%) and apparel (up 258%).

Shoppers will find record discounts today for computers (peaking at 27% off listed price). Deals will also be found in nearly all categories tracked, including apparel (19%), toys (33%), electronics (25%), sporting goods (16%), televisions (15%), and furniture (11%). Those looking to buy an appliance should consider waiting until Thursday (December 1), when discounts are set to peak at 18% on average.

Weekend spending remained strong

Consumers spent over a Black Friday’s worth of ecommerce over the weekend at $9.55 billion, up 4.4% YoY ($4.59 billion on November 26, up 2.6% YoY / $4.96 billion on November, up 6.1% YoY). Season-to-date (November 1 to November 27), consumers have spent a total of $96.42 billion online, up 2.1% YoY.

And while the big days (Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday) have reached new heights, consumers spent at record levels all season. Since November 1, shoppers spent over $2 billion every single day, with 19 days above $3 billion in online spend. Broad, early discounts were the main drivers for the shift in consumer spending.

“Shoppers have seen massive discounts this past week, which is the exact opposite situation from last season when supply chain constraints kept prices elevated,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “While discounting will have an impact on margins for retailers, it is also driving a level of demand that can help brands build long-term loyalty and net some short-term gains.”

Additional Adobe Analytics Insights

Over the weekend, online sales of toys were up 383% (compared to average daily sales for the category in October 2022), with baby toys seeing strong demand (up 252%). Other categories that surged over the weekend include jewelry (up 230%), sporting goods (up 239%), and apparel (up 217%).

With online spending hitting new records and inflation impacting consumers, flexible payments have become a big story this season. In the last week (November 21 to November 27), “buy now, pay later” orders have risen 68% and revenue has increased 72%, when compared to the week prior.

Over the weekend, smartphones drove over half of online sales for the first time (52%, up from 48% last year). Adobe expects mobile shopping to dip on Cyber Monday however, based on historical trends. Many people are back at work and using laptops, which will be the preferred device for shopping online.

Forecast for Cyber Week

Adobe expects Cyber Week (the five days from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) to generate $34.8 billion in online spend, up 2.8% YoY, and represent 16.3% share of the full November through December holiday season.

Cyber Monday is expected to remain the season’s and year’s biggest online shopping day, bringing in between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion. Black Friday generated a record $9.12 billion in online spend, up 2.3% YoY, while Thanksgiving brought $5.29 billion in online spend, up 2.9% YoY.

Adobe analyzes direct consumer transactions online. The analysis covers over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories.

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Snowflake 101: 5 ways to build a secure data cloud 

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Today, Snowflake is the favorite for all things data. The company started as a simple data warehouse platform a decade ago but has since evolved into an all-encompassing data cloud supporting a wide range of workloads, including that of a data lake

More than 6,000 enterprises currently trust Snowflake to handle their data workloads and produce insights and applications for business growth. They jointly have more than 250 petabytes of data on the data cloud, with more than 515 million data workloads running each day.

Now, when the scale is this big, cybersecurity concerns are bound to come across. Snowflake recognizes this and offers scalable security and access control features that ensure the highest levels of security for not only accounts and users but also the data they store. However, organizations can miss out on certain basics, leaving data clouds partially secure. 

Here are some quick tips to fill these gaps and build a secure enterprise data cloud.

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1. Make your connection secure

First of all, all organizations using Snowflake, regardless of size, should focus on using secured networks and SSL/TLS protocols to prevent network-level threats. According to Matt Vogt, VP for global solution architecture at Immuta, a good way to start would be connecting to Snowflake over a private IP address using cloud service providers’ private connectivity such as AWS PrivateLink or Azure Private Link. This will create private VPC endpoints that allow direct, secure connectivity between your AWS/Azure VPCs and the Snowflake VPC without traversing the public Internet. In addition to this, network access controls, such as IP filtering, can also be used for third-party integrations, further strengthening security.

2. Protect source data

While Snowflake offers multiple layers of protection – like time travel and fail-safe – for data that has already been ingested, these tools cannot help if the source data itself is missing, corrupted or compromised (like malicious encrypted for ransom) in any way. This kind of issue, as Clumio’s VP of product Chadd Kenney suggests, can only be addressed by adopting measures to protect the data when it is resident in an object storage repository such as Amazon S3 – before ingest. Further, to protect against logical deletes, it is advisable to maintain continuous, immutable, and preferably air-gapped backups that are instantly recoverable into Snowpipe.

3. Consider SCIM with multi-factor authentication

Enterprises should use SCIM (system for cross-domain identity management) to help facilitate automated provisioning and management of user identities and groups (i.e. roles used for authorizing access to objects like tables, views, and functions) in Snowflake. This makes user data more secure and simplifies the user experience by reducing the role of local system accounts. Plus, by using SCIM where possible, enterprises will also get the option to configure SCIM providers to synchronize users and roles with active directory users and groups.

On top of this, enterprises also should use multi-factor authentication to set up an additional layer of security. Depending on the interface used, such as client applications using drivers, Snowflake UI, or Snowpipe, the platform can support multiple authentication methods, including username/password, OAuth, keypair, external browser, federated authentication using SAML and Okta native authentication. If there’s support for multiple methods, the company recommends giving top preference to OAuth (either snowflake OAuth or external OAuth) followed by external browser authentication and Okta native authentication and key pair authentication.

4. Column-level access control

Organizations should use Snowflake’s dynamic data masking and external tokenization capabilities to restrict certain users’ access to sensitive information in certain columns. For instance, dynamic data masking, which can dynamically obfuscate column data based on who’s querying it, can be used to restrict the visibility of columns based on the user’s country, like a U.S. employee can only view the U.S. order data, while French employees can only view order data from France.

Both features are pretty effective, but they use masking policies to work. To make the most of it, organizations should first determine whether they want to centralize masking policy management or decentralize it to individual database-owning teams, depending on their needs. Plus, they would also have to use invoker_role() in policy conditions to enable unauthorized users to view aggregate data on protected columns while keeping individual data hidden.

5. Implement a unified audit model

Finally, organizations should not forget to implement a unified audit model to ensure transparency of the policies being implemented. This will help them actively monitor policy changes, like who created what policy that granted user X or group Y access to certain data, and is as critical as monitoring query and data access patterns. 

To view account usage patterns, use system-defined, read-only shared database named SNOWFLAKE. It has a schema named ACCOUNT_USAGE containing views that provide access to one year of audit logs.

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WhatsApp rolls out new ‘Message Yourself’ feature globally • TechCrunch

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To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

We’re joining the Cyber Monday fun with 25% off annual subscriptions to TechCrunch+ content and analysis starting today until Wednesday, November 30. Plus, today only, get 50% off tickets to discover the vast unknown and attend TechCrunch Sessions: Space in Los Angeles!

Okay, we haven’t done a newsletter since Wednesday, and while the U.S. team was chillin’ like villains, the rest of the team was hard at work, so here’s some of the highlights from the last half-week of TechCrunchy goodness! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Talking to yourself just went digital: Instead of having that internal monologue stay in your head, now you can play out all of your thoughts to yourself in WhatsApp, Jagmeet writes. The messaging platform began rolling out an easier way to talk to yourself today after completing beta testing.
  • Great Wall of porn: That’s how Rita and Catherine describe the bot surge in China that is making it difficult to get any legitimate Twitter search results when trying to find out something about Chinese cities. Why, you ask? Rita writes that “the surge in such bot content coincides with an unprecedented wave of (COVID) protests that have swept across major Chinese cities and universities over the weekend.”
  • Your calendar, only more productive: Get ready for your calendar to be more than just a place to record things you have to do that day. Romain writes about Amie, a startup that grabbed $7 million to link your unscheduled to-do list with your calendar. The app also enables users to be social with coworkers.

Startups and VC

Dubai-based mass transit and shared mobility services provider SWVL has carried out its second round of layoffs, affecting 50% of its remaining headcount, Tage reports. The news is coming six months after SWVL laid off 32% (over 400 employees) of its workforce in a “portfolio optimization program” effort geared toward achieving positive cash flow next year.

There’s a couple of new funds in town, too! Harri reports that Early Light Ventures plots a second, $15 million fund for software ‘underdogs,’ while Mike writes that BackingMinds raises a new €50 million fund to fund normally overlooked entrepreneurs. He also writes about Pact, an all-women led VC for mission-driven startups, backed by Anne Hathaway.

And we have five more for you:

Lessons for raising $10M without giving up a board seat

Blackboard showing soccer strategy

Image Credits: Ihor Reshetniak (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Over the last two years, intelligent calendar platform Reclaim.ai raised $10 million “using a more incremental approach,” writes co-founder Henry Shapiro.

“We’ve done all this without giving up a single board seat, and Reclaim employees continue to own over two-thirds of the company’s equity,” rejecting conventional wisdom that founders should “raise as much as you can as fast as you can.”

In a TC+ post, Shapiro reviews the process they used to identify follow-on investors, shares the email template used to pitch the SAFE, and explains why “a larger cap table means more founder control.”

Three more from the TC+ team:

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

Amazon’s recent cost-cutting measures seem to be affecting more than just its delivery business. Manish writes that the company is shutting down its wholesale distribution business, called Amazon Distribution, in India. Amazon had started this unit to help neighborhood stores secure inventory. The company didn’t say why it was closing this particular business down, but Manish notes that this is the third such Amazon unit to be shuttered in India.

Meanwhile, Natasha L reports that Meta has gotten itself into trouble again with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (aka, the agency that regulates data protection). Facebook’s parent company is being hit with $275 million in penalties for what the agency said was breaches in data protection that resulted in some 530 million users’ personal information being leaked.

Now enjoy six more:



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