Why are the analysts dumping IT Service Desk

I heard it first on @ServiceSphere's tweets. The analysts are losing interest in IT Service Desk tools.

Four months ago Forrester announced that their WAVE tool assessment would no longer cover Service Desk tools. Recently, Gartner followed suit and announced that they would retire their Magic Quadrant for Service Desk tools.

Perhaps because it is a commodity market: they pretty much all do the same thing. Chris Dancy blames ITIL - he says it drove all the innovation out of service desk technology as everyone standardised. I'm not so sure that is the main factor: arguably all tools should converge on best practice. I think this loss of innovation happens to all software markets. I saw it in AV, firewall, storage management, and systems management, to name a few. Initially a few innovators set the pace and the others struggle to keep up, but catch up they must ... or perish. Read Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker: nearly all evolutionary "arms races" reach some limiting tradeoffs and balance out (a few explode off into exponential absurdity and you get peacock tails). With software I think they reach a point where noone wants any more features, the vendors have recovered their R&D investment, and competition starts driving the prices down - choking off funding for any new innovation. Finally open source tools arrive and really kill the market.

We seem to be seeing a resurgence of innovation in the Service Desk space, with both SaaS and Social functionality. SaaS is real, but it remains to be seen just how significant all the Social features are. Clearly Gartner and Forrester have already decided.


That makes the differentiation in the doing, not the product

The analyst firms have, as you clearly describe, come to believe that IT Service Desk software is now a commodity.

It seems to me at this time that two things coming out of this. Probably think of more later.

First, prices if commodity items tend to go down.

Second, the way in which the company using the tool implements policy, process, measurement, and organization around the tool - which was always more important - now is the only thing upon which companies can focus.

This is great.

Perhaps we'll now see more focus on the ability of Service Managers to do Lean Value Stream Analysis, Design their execution with Six Sigma measurements in mind, increase the modularization and loosely couple the design of their services...

Will the sales battlefield change from driving sales with a demo to something else?
Does this reduce the value of ITIL in the eyes of software manufacturers?

Will the PS sales battlefield change from hire the software manufacturer who knows about the product to hire a consultant that knows how to create value?

What's your take on how this will change the software market for IT Service Desk tools?

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