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Interop: a First-Timer’s View

By | October 2, 2014 in General IT

Interop: a non ITSM event

Well, SysAid’s and my first day at Interop New York was a busy one.

As Joe the IT Guy states in his pre-Interop blog, SysAid is the only pure-play IT service management (ITSM) vendor at the event, which meant that we had some very meaningful conversations with attendees about ITSM, service desks, IT support, and improving IT service delivery. It was a very different experience to the many ITSM events we have previously exhibited, and in a good way.

But you don’t want to read about the SysAid booth traffic. And, while I was on the booth most of the day, I still managed to attend the four keynotes and a Women in IT lunch panel.

Keynote Gems

I enjoyed the four keynotes to different extents based on what I took away from them and how the presenters engaged me. I’m quite black-and-white with presentations – I’d rather listen to a poor presenter deliver great content than a great presenter with poor content. Plus, of course, the personal relevancy of the presentation makes a massive difference.

The first keynote, Ben Haines of Box being interviewed by R Ray Wang, offered up a number of gems such as:

  • "The common thing across all industry verticals is the need for speed of change."
  • "We talk in weeks and months for delivering new services not years."
  • "We need to think about users at the center of everything we do now."

With R Ray Wang throwing in an insightful: "Users want IT to be simple, scalable, and sexy."

In the second keynote, Steve Comstock of CBS Interactive, aimed to convince the audience that Shadow IT is an opportunity for, rather than a threat to, corporate IT departments. It was humorous and engaging, recounting Steve’s personal journey with Shadow IT over the last 15+ years and how the IT organizations he has worked in needed to change. I particularly liked the statement that: “My IT conversations with business partners used to be like awkward first dates. We couldn't converse.” I think this resonated with many in the audience.

But the real piece of wisdom was:“The problem with ‘engaging with the business’ is that IT people are rarely given advice on HOW to do this successfully.” How often is this true with non-technical aspects of IT management? We are frequently pointed in the right direction (on a journey of change) but are rarely offered a map and compass to help us make the journey successfully, and as swiftly as possible.

Then John Jeremiah of HP offered advice on mobility, starting with some potentially hurtful home truths for IT, that:

  • "IT organizations often have mobility initiatives because they want to do mobility not because of user needs."
  • "It shouldn't be a mobile first mantra, it should be users first."

This and more - before talking about how HP can help throughout the mobility lifecycle.

The fourth and final keynote was comedian Seth Myers who sent the audience off to the Expo with smiles on their faces.

Women in IT

As I mentioned in the pre-Interop interview I had with Adrian Bridgewater on Computer Weekly, I was really looking forward to the Women in IT lunch panel. And, as evidenced by the relatively small number of women (compared to men) in the day one keynotes’ audience, such initiatives stack up against valid concerns over workplace diversity. If you pardon my potentially inappropriate humor, I usually find IT conferences to be one of the only places where it’s the men’s restroom that has the queue.

Sadly though, the Women in IT lunch panel didn’t live up to my expectations. I guess I had expected, and wanted, to hear a series of tangible things that female attendees could personally leverage. Proven plans, practices, activities, or techniques that had been shown to repeatedly help women succeed in IT work environments.

Instead, the panel delivered personal stories of how they had individually triumphed within their own careers that, while sometimes interesting, did not leave me with my desired list of concrete things my female colleagues and I could use to our advantage.

My disappointment soon disappeared though, thanks to the ladies of Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE) who came over to chat to us at the SysAid booth. I was totally blown away by their enthusiasm and passion for technology. They are the future of Women in IT.

So a mixed bag for me, but that is often the case for events - in that you can’t please everyone (given our individual wants, needs, and expectations) all of the time. And I’m really looking forward to day two of the Expo. More content to follow!

Like this article? You may also like: Like a Virgin - ITSM for the Very First Time.

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Sophie Danby

About Sophie Danby

Sophie is a freelance IT service management (ITSM) marketing consultant, helping solution vendors to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. As a vocal and collaborative member of the international ITSM community, you can often find her at global ITSM conferences or engaging in "ITSM chatter" on Twitter. Sophie also previously worked with at SysAid as our VP Marketing.

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