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Pink16: Some of the ITSM Wisdom That Shouldn’t Stay in Vegas

By | February 25, 2016 in ITSM

ITSM wisdom at Pink16

As always, the annual Pink Elephant IT service management (ITSM) conference (and Las Vegas itself) was a blast. Some of what happened in Vegas of course has to stay in Vegas, but much of the session content deserves to be shared with a wider audience. You’ve heard of “Joe Public,” well you can now think of me as Joe Public Service.

It’s not easy when you’re an intergalactic ITSM superstar but, with the help of a blonde wig, sunglasses, and a few pseudonyms, I was able to sneak into a number of Pink16 sessions without the attendees being distracted from the presenter by my sheer awesomeness. Sadly, it happens a lot if I don’t go in a little like Daniel Radcliffe at Comic-Con.

My Pink16 Key Learnings

Learning number one, unfortunately, is that people still know that it’s me if I try the Spider-man suit approach. It didn’t help at Pink16 that The IT Skeptic didn’t follow my lead with a superhero pants-outside-the-tights costume. So I won’t try that again.

I did get some good ITSM learning though. If you read my good friend Dena Wieder-Freiden’s pre-Pink16 blog, you’ll notice that I took her advice on which sessions to attend. Plus, I snuck into fellow New Yorker Alan Berkson’s session on enterprise service management.

So here is my session-by-session breakdown…

“The IT Renaissance” with Rob England, The IT Skeptic

One of the great things about Rob’s presentation was that it joined, or pulled, a number of things that we tend to talk about in isolation together. Just as the Renaissance period between the Middle Ages and modern history was filled with new ideas, a new culture, new ways of thinking, and a new beginning, Rob’s concept of “The IT Renaissance” covered:

  • New ideas
  • A new IT culture
  • A new way of doing IT
  • A new beginning

Hopefully Rob won’t mind me borrowing four of his Pink16 slides (© Two Hills Ltd.) to articulate his points (and to save on my typing):

The IT Renaissance: New ideas

The IT Renaissance: A new IT culture

The IT Renaissance: A new way of doing IT

The IT Renaissance: A new beginning

“Don’t Rain On My ITSM Parade – Transitional Change Management When Moving to the Cloud” with Earl Begley

You can’t beat good quality practitioner presentations at ITSM industry events. It was great to hear Earl talking to why the University of Kentucky made the move to the cloud – it might be similar to what cloud vendor marketing collateral says, but it’s great to hear it from the horse’s mouth:

  • The inability of the infrastructure team to scale configurations to meet peak loads for critical academic events
  • Shrinking operational budgets, meaning longer gaps in hardware refresh and limited opportunity to change architecture
  • Increasing labor time spent on maintenance functions versus new project/creative solution work
  • Risks around natural disasters, security, and resource management

And no, I’m not saying you’re a horse Earl.

In his offered lessons learned, Earl used two great images* in particular to talk about how:

Practice is different to theory

Practice is different to theory

User experience will always trump design

User experience will always trump design

I’ll definitely be stealing them for my future presentations.

“Why Governance of Enterprise IT (GEIT) Is Not a 4 Letter Word!” with Robert E. Stroud

Firstly, you have to watch Rob Stroud and his four-letter words!

One of the key things that I took away from Rob’s presentation is the ISACA, or at least Rob’s, multi-faceted definition of IT governance:

  • “IT Governance is the responsibility of executives and the board of directors, and consists of the leadership, organizational structures and processes that ensure that enterprise IT sustains the organization's strategies and objectives.”
  • Integrate and institutionalize good practices
  • Take full advantage of information
  • Satisfy quality, fiduciary, and security requirements
  • Optimize resources
  • Balance risk versus return

And that it’s all too easy to have a narrower view of what IT governance is, probably determined by the limitations of our knowledge of different governance capabilities. I’d bet that if we asked eleven people to define IT governance that we’d get at least ten different definitions.

Also that governance and management are different, in that:

  • Governance ensures that stakeholder needs, conditions, and options are evaluated to determine balanced, agreed-on enterprise objectives to be achieved; setting direction through prioritization and decision making; monitoring performance, compliance, and progress against agreed direction and objectives.
  • Management plans, builds, runs, and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance body to achieve the enterprise objectives.

Finally, Rob showed a great visual representation of how COBIT fits in with ITIL and other IT frameworks and standards:

COBIT fits in with ITIL

“Helping Managers Enhance Skills & Services With ITIL Practitioner” with Kaimar Karu

Kaimar started by covering the skills gaps in modern-day ITSM:

  • Challenges with communication
  • Challenges with metrics and measurement
  • Challenges with organizational change management

His slide on “understanding how good metrics help” was of great importance to all those of us just “going through the motions” with their ITSM metrics – you know what I mean, the endless cycle of collect-report-collect-report with little done outside of this. Instead, ITSM metrics should:

  • Support validating decisions and assumptions
  • Set a clear direction for activities and improvements
  • Justify what we do and why we do it
  • Provide the means of healthy intervention for failing services
  • Utilize balanced, meaningful KPIs
  • Link the vision, mission, objectives, goals, CSFs, and KPIs

But where was the free craft beer you promised me Kaimar?

“Enterprise Service Management: It’s Time To Share ITSM Best Practices Outside Of IT” with Alan Berkson

Of course anything said by a native New Yorker sounds great and has a good chance of being ITSM gold dust… or at least that’s what I tell my boss.

It was great to be reminded that IT didn’t invent service management. Plus, that IT isn’t the only corporate service provider that can benefit from service management or, for that matter, ITSM. Also that enterprise service management (or whatever you prefer to call it) is nothing new – with ITSM technology used by other business functions for at least the last decade.

I especially took away Alan’s suggestions for improving an organization’s chances of enterprise service management success:

  1. Don’t treat enterprise service management as an IT project
  2. Allow for the differences between different business functions
  3. Don’t try to help other corporate service providers before helping yourself
  4. Don’t assume that enterprise service management will sell itself – justify it in business terms
  5. Think long and hard about how to deliver the enterprise service management project – starting small, focusing on a single business function or capability

Who’d have thought Alan went to school with Dena? It IS a small world after all.

So some great ITSM learning from Pink16, although I’m sure Dena will put it down to her great session selections. If you were there, what nuggets did you come away with?

*Earl’s image sources:

Joe The IT Guy

About Joe The IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).

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