It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … IT service management?

If IT's looking out for end users, then who's looking out for IT?

One of the recurring themes of the graphic novel "The Watchmen" is the question, "Who's watching the Watchmen?" -- i.e., if superheroes are looking out for the regular people, then who's looking out for them?

That analogy sorta holds up in the context of consumerization and the changing role of IT: if IT's looking out for end users, then who's looking out for IT? Believe it or not, the answer may lie in a very traditional market: IT service management.

Axios Systems, a Scotland-based software vendor that's been around for 25 years, recently released assyst10, adding significant new features aimed at IT departments struggling to adapt to this new era.

The assyst application is based on a traditional IT service management software stack, offering up service desk, asset management, business intelligence, configuration management and other applications. The new features, however, are anything but traditional, including: bring your own device management capabilities, an enterprise app store, an information zone akin to a social networking wall, a chat box for real-time peer-to-peer support and crowd-sourced community help, which lets users bypass IT altogether when it comes to troubleshooting.

Axios said it rolled out these features out in response to customer demand. They seem to suggest that, eventually, IT pros will benefit from consumerization as users learn to help themselves, freeing IT up for more strategic tasks.

IT people are generally early technology adopters, at least in their personal lives. They're the ones telling family and friends about Dropbox, Google Docs, etc. and how these disruptive technologies can make life more efficient and less stressful. Ironically, IT is often put in a position to fight these technologies at work, while receiving almost none of their benefits. Rarely has anyone been looking out for IT. Maybe that's about to change, especially when you consider the changing face of IT service management and the growing number of remote administration tools and remote systems management apps available for mobile devices.


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The idea of "who watches the watchmen" isn't about who looks out for them - it's about who governs them (basically, who polices the police force).