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The Power of People at Pink 14

By | February 20, 2014 in ITSM

The PINK ITSM Conference was all about the people

On the third day at Pink14 I was fortunate to have a much better opportunity to chat with delegates and attend more sessions, which gave me great insight into some of the challenges and struggles attendees are currently dealing with.

One theme that seemed to keep appearing was that no matter what the specific problem was that someone was dealing with, the stumbling block was people. This was heard throughout the presentations too, that ITSM is becoming less and less about tools and processes and increasingly more about the people.

Another reoccurring theme that kept popping up from practitioners was that they knew what they needed to do to be successful in ITSM, they knew what they needed to change, but that they can't get management interested. Unfortunately we see this a lot across the industry; it's easy for us to assume that problems stem from the IT department not knowing what to do on specific projects, but in a large number of cases it's not a matter of what they know or don’t know that is the problem. It is understandably difficult to get management to buy-in, specifically when no relationship really exists between the management and IT teams, and unfortunately there is no holy grail answer to this. However at SysAid we recommend that you start with transparency. Set up and hold weekly meetings with management for sharing and reporting your deliverables. If management doesn’t know what you're doing they’re likely to be less interested when you approach them about anything you're working on.

This will give you a great opportunity to not only show what you're doing NOW and the effects your work is having on the business, but also to outline what you COULD do with changes, and the increased benefits that those changes would have on the business.

If IT can show its ROI to management, then this helps. IT needs to speak in the business language.

Another hot topic of the day was service catalogue. In a session by David Cannon, VP, Consulting Director at Forrester Research, he stated that 30% of ITSM organizations don't have a service catalogue, which leads to me wonder how many of the other 70% are actually USING their service catalogue? At SysAid we highly recommend that everybody set up a service catalogue, because without one:

  • You're highly likely to have IT teams doing things they are not meant to do
  • You increase the likelihood of conflicts and arguments with your end users regarding the service you give or not give, and the associated SLAs with them

We see the primary benefits to having a service catalogue as:

  • Creating transparency between IT and the business
  • Having mutually agreed expectations
  • Providing focus and structure; it helps define the connection between the services you give and the processes behind these services

Our top tip for creating a service catalogue is to go and talk to the people on your IT team and ask each person to write down all the services they gave in the past 60 days. Collect the information, group them into categories, and voila this is your service catalogue. We recommend you repeat this activity every 6 months just to be sure that you cover everything (including all changes within the organization), and then amend your service catalogue accordingly.

In a session by Jack Probst, Principal Consultant at Pink Elephant, he recommended a few example service catalogues to look at including:

There are plenty of other resources online discussing service catalogues too, such as this one from the IT Skeptic, or Barclay Rae’s paper on the subject. And of course if you have any questions or need help creating your service catalogue, please just let us know we'd be more than happy to help!

Another question that came up in a session that appeared to cause confusion amongst delegates was: How should you approach root cause investigation? Again there are plenty of resources online to help you better understand processes around root cause investigations, but our recommendation is to:

  1. Collect all current known open issues suspected to be related to the problem.
  2. Analyze the problem based on time, location, and setting:
    • What happened just before the problem occurred, and what happened right after?
    • When does it happen - what time of day?
    • Consider environmental factors – is it very cold or very hot?
  3. Research previously resolved issues that are related to the problem.
  4. Search external sources that may have ran into the problem and resolved it.

Finally, back on the topic of people, there were questions raised about what characteristics make great service desk professionals, given that hiring the right people is key to success. There was a wide range of answers, and really there is no right or wrong answer and only opinions, so here is ours - we believe the following characteristics are needed by ITSM professionals:

  • They need to be service-oriented
  • Should be a "Techie" – updated in the world of technology
  • Someone who can handle operations
  • Have the ability to communicate both with service providers and the service consumers (end users)
  • Have the ability to listen!

What do you think?

Overall it was another great day at Pink, not least at our booth where the fun of Sunday and Monday continued! Joe the IT Guy continued to be the superstar that he is, with other vendors clambering to be photographed with our resident IT celebrity. In between all the kisses and cuddles from the ladies at the event he was busy making lots of new connections for his vendor interview series, that has already kicked off with features from Hornbill and Microsoft.

We hope we made a great impression at our first exhibition on US soil. As far as we could tell people liked us (if bumping into people in the lifts for them to say "oh you're the fun guys" is anything to go by), and we really loved all the amazing people we met. A shout out too to some of our incredible customers who dropped by to catch up and pick up their SysAid portable mobile charger. You really should check out the photos on our Facebook page to see just how much fun we had.

If you didn't attend Pink I highly recommend looking up the Twitter stream for #Pink14 and keeping an eye out for other write ups. There were some real gems of information at the event, not just from the sessions, but to be perfectly honest from the discussions in the bar! If you're fortunate enough to be able to get to any event like Pink, my primary recommendation would be when you get there find out which bar people are gathering at in the evening. The networking at these events is invaluable, and often what you learn in that relaxed atmosphere at the bar with your peers is ten times more useful than anything you can learn in the actual presentations.

If you're thinking of attending an ITSM event in the near future, we highly recommend checking out HDI, 1-4 April in Orlando (there’s a charge to attend) and/or SITS, 29-30 April in London (free to attend). Oh and if you do decide to go to either of these please let us know, our team will be there providing the fun at both events!

Again if you have any questions about any of the topics discussed here, or events in general please get in touch. We'd love to help you.

Finally, I just want to take the opportunity to thank Pink Elephant for having us involved in their event. We learnt a lot, met amazing people, and all in all had a fun packed few days in Vegas. We hope to see them again in 2015!

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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