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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Feb. 25, 2009

Well, today is the last day of our conference. After our usual Breakfast Clubs, we had our morning keynote. David Ratcliffe and George began wrapping up the details of the conference and told us that next year, we are all back at the Bellagio in Vegas again!

I also liked George’s story of the Really, Really, Old Testament. The moral of his story was we (IT) have to make things happen.

To wrap up the day there were a series of two hour workshops. It was hard to choose, but I ended up going to, “There Is No Finish Line,” a joint presentation by my two colleagues Gary Case and Pierre Bernard. It was all about making sure after your processes and services are designed and deployed that you continually improve them.

They started by sharing the Continual Service Improvement Model which includes asking the important questions:

Where are we now?
Where do we want to be?
How do we get there?
Did we get there (did we improve)

This model is a way to view your improvement initiative. This was followed by a discussion of the 7 Step Improvement Process, then the Deming Cycle.  Lot’s of great discussions that were very enlightening.

We are at the end of the conference now. It was great run! I interviewed lots of attendees and spoke to vendors. Everyone seemed to have a great time and took away a lot of valuable information that they plan to take back to the office. One of the most gratifying conversations I had was when attendees came up to me in the hall to than k me for my workshop because they learned something they plan to use.

I am already looking forward to next February to come back to Bellagio again to have a bigger and better event than this year’s successful endeavor. Thanks for being a part of it!!!.

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Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/25/09 at 03:58 PM
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Tuesday Feb 24, 2009

Hope you have had a chance to see one of the many Breakfast Club meetings this year. I realize it’s early for Vegas (7:15AM), but you can bring your breakfast since most of the rooms have tables. That way, having you coffee and sweet roll while learning some great content is possible. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch a couple of those myself.

Tuesday’s morning keynote had Nick Carr about “cloud computing” and disruptive technology. Thinking of using the cloud for any and all corporate applications is amazing and a bit scary. There are some obstacles, according to Mr. Carr such as security of data, reliability, connectivity, data portability standards, and my personal favorite-fear of change-mommy!!

There were lots of great presentations throughout the day, and there was mine! I did a session on the biggest mistakes IT orgs make implementing problem management and how to avoid them. Seemed successful since no fruit was thrown my direction.

At the end of the afternoon, we had our second visit by Wayne Cotter who as usual, was hilarious. Then the big ITIL birthday bash complete with cake, champagne, bubbles, pointy hats and many prizes. What a day.

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Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/25/09 at 01:06 PM
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Feb. 23, 2009

We start out early here at our conference. The first sessions are called ‘Breakfast Club’ and begin at 7:15AM. After those was our morning Keynote which starred Craig Ferguson and the Early Pink Show.  Craig’s first guest was David Ratcliffe, president of Pink Elephant. Craig gushed on about how exciting it was last year when David came out on stage riding a full-size elephant draped in a gorgeous gown (the elephant-not David). So what does David do for an encore? He rides onto the stage riding (?) on a small inflatable elephant replica. David mumbled something about the more austere opening due to the down economy. Craig suggested he should have come out as something out of Cirque Du Soleil. So David, how about next year you try a trapeze and tights maybe???

Next came George Spalding our event host, trying to not answer Craig’s questions to prevent putting foot in mouth. Nice try but no cigar. We then got a short preview of Professor Moshe Rubinstein as Craig’s next guest. The Professor will be keynote late this afternoon.

Paul Saltzman was Craig’s next guest. He talked a little about his encounter with the Beatles back in 1968 at an ashram in India. He also talked about a film project he has produced and directed called “Prom Night in Mississippi,” about the first racially integrated senior prom ever in a small town in Mississippi which occurred in 2007. He made the film with the help of Morgan Freeman, who paid for the prom and happens to be from that town.

Next, and I’m real sorry I was slow grabbing my pen and pad so I didn’t get her name, was a casino executive from the Bellagio who talked about how they track the high rollers here and what kinds of perks are given to these high rollers. There is no hope for me, however, because I could never gamble (and lose) enough to be a high roller.

Wrapping up was a visit by Wayne Cotter the geek/comedian, who dropped by the show to say hello. He was also seen at lunch today with camera and microphone interviewing attendees for his keynote address tomorrow afternoon. Needless to say, Ferguson’s show was funny and entertaining as usual, and he already started campaigning to be invited back. The negotiation continues…

Cash Cab!

It looks like some of you are interested in Change Management since about 120 attendees showed up for my workshop today on “Who’s Driving the CAB?” Lot of good questions came from the crowd making it an interesting and success experience. I tried to add a little Las Vegas touch to the subject by playing my version of the Cash Cab game show with all questions coming from the Change Management process.  Four ‘volunteers’ who played the game walked away with a token of Pink’s appreciation, each with their very own casino gambling chip worth real cash money!! Thanks all for coming and participating. It was fun for me too.

Afternoon Keynote

“All my stories are true. I just embellish them a little bit.” This was first quote by Moshe Rubinstein during his afternoon keynote. Words to live by. I hope he doesn’t mind me stealing the quote but more importantly, stealing the philosophy.

Moshe told an interesting and compelling story about a bridge damaged in San Francisco Bay that disrupted traffic between Oakland and San Francisco. The story related the ability of the bridge construction company to repair the bridge safely and quickly-often goals that are incompatible-by bringing the future to the present and avoiding uncertainty.  Inspirational results!

Great keynote!! More to come…

(2) Comments
Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/23/09 at 09:18 PM
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Feb. 22, 2009 Part 2

I just finished schmoozing at the Welcome Reception and Exhibition Showcase. Lot’s of whiz-bang technology and services being displayed. Hope you have time to visit all the great vendors.

I tried to talk to a few of the people that were attending the reception to get their first impression of the overall event. Here are some of the quotes I managed to remember:

Randy Durig and Kitt Leonard from Tucson Medical Center both tried Terry Sherman’s process maturity workshop and both were “very excited” about Terry’s presentation. Several other folks including Christina Marckini from Gordon Food Service liked Terry’s presentation. Way to go Terry!

Jack Probst did a Primer session on the Oz principle. Randy and Kitt liked that one too as did Jeff Homan. Steve Zerbe from Serco-MA said “Jack is a great speaker and gave good tips and several ‘aha’ moments.”

George Spalding has some fans in Steve Zerbe and Kim and Tish (no last names in Vegas please). They said George is always fun to listen to whenever he speaks.This time it was on optimizing the conference His buddy David Ratcliffe talked on “What the CEO Wants You to Know.” Jeff Homan liked that one too. Our mystery guests Kim and Tish concurred.

Liz Brewster was impressed by the overwhelming friendliness and enthusiasm of the Pink Elephant staff. Tacy Kieckser thought the registration for the conference was “quick and easy.” Yay! Keep it up Pink staff!!

Gretchen Selinski-Johnston from ICF International Liked the ability to download recordings of the workshops she would miss. Christine Soldahl and Kathy Pappas-Kassaras enjoyed Gary Case’s workshop on Leading Change and got good tips on Kotter’s framework and the CMDB.

I also reconnected with an old friend, Kirk Weisler, and we talked about our many pleasant encounters over the years. Kirk has always been one of the most upbeat people I have met. It is always a pleasure to meet up again. He also introduced me to his young son Jake who looks like he might follow in Dad’s footsteps with his enjoyment of reading books. Rumor has it that Jake might make a contribution to one of Kirk’s presentations later this week. Look forward to it!!

Well, there is some distant murmur coming from the “other” part of the hotel. Something is calling me. I must depart this blog for now. I will be roaming again tomorrow. Look for me.

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Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/22/09 at 11:46 PM
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Sunday Feb. 22, 2009 part 1

Early today (Sunday) as attendees began arriving and registering for the conference, I’ve had a number of people that have been in certification courses I have taught have come up to me to say hello. That’s really cool for me that they are still talking to me after having endured my teaching style. It’s a testament to the perseverance of those that are interested in ITIL I guess. But thanks for saying hello, I appreciate it. It’s great to see old friends (clients) in a networking event like this.

Later this evening there will be an official networking opportunity as we open the Exhibition Showcase in the Grand Ballroom. This also is a Welcome Reception that gives you a chance to really network with others at the conference. Each attendee’s badge will have a region and a vertical listed so you can seek out others in your part of the world or the same kind of business. But hey, be adventurous and network with people outside these parameters. It’s crazy, I know, but have some fun with it.

If you stick with a small clique of people that you came here with you are missing the point. Talk to people, find out what others are doing with ITIL, give advice, ask for advice. You get the picture.

Make sure you are visiting all the vendors in the Exhibition Showcase to get your passport filled out. It’s the only way to be eligible for some wonderful prizes that have been generously donated by many of our vendors.

I’ll try to post another blog later this evening after the Welcome Reception.

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Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/22/09 at 07:25 PM
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Vegas conference Saturday Feb. 21, 2009

Well, I made it. Flew down to Vegas today and am already set up in my room at the Bellagio for the big conference that starts tomorrow. Boy is this a nice hotel?!?! I was here last year and have been at this hotel maybe 6 times in the last 8 years, but each time I come I marvel at this opulent palace of a hotel. Glad I brought sunglasses too because at night the neon and LED jungle of lights outside is hard to bear without some shading. I’m sure aliens could spot the Vegas strip from outer space. And I’ll bet if they see Vegas from out there they are probably saying “I think we oughta skip that planet.”

The Bellagio has about 9 great restaurants (bring your pink slip and your checkbook), a beautiful spa, art gallery, bars and clubs galore, a shopping mall with some of the most prestigious names in retail (Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Prada, Tiffany’s, Hermes, Chanel..enough with the name dropping already).

Whatever you are looking for I’m sure you’ll find it here. Oh and there is that cool conference that starts Sunday. I already hooked up with a bunch of my Pink Elephant colleagues and have been reminiscing with them since we only see each other once or twice a year. I’m excited and you should be too if you are attending the event.

I plan to start roaming the grounds of the conference center and hotel. I’ll be the tall guy in the Pink Elephant shirt wearing the reporter’s hat with the ‘Pink Press’ label. If you see me say hello. I might ask you to comment on the conference and you could see your name in lights. OK not so much in lights but you might be quoted in this very blog.

See you around!

(0) Comments
Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/22/09 at 12:18 PM
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Hello Las Vegas, here we come!!!

Well, it’s that time of year again. Pink Elephant is hosting their annual gala shindig. This time it is being held in Las Vegas (again) at the beautiful, luxurious Bellagio Hotel (again) right on the strip. Pre-conference education courses are already happening now. The regular conference begins on Sunday. I am packing my bags today and will be flying down tomorrow (Saturday). Can’t wait!

This promises to be an exciting and informative gathering of IT professionals as usual. And I’m not saying that just because I will be presenting several workshops and facilitating a focus group. There are always great presenters, keynote speakers, parties, workshops, networking opportunities and surprises. I don’t see how four days can be enough to absorb all the great activities that will be available. But you must try!! Look for a repeat visit by Craig Ferguson from the CBS Late Late Show and another performance by the only IT comedian I know (except for perhaps, George Spalding) Wayne Cotter. He was hilarious last year (and so was George).

I decided to roam around the Bellagio convention area (Pink owns all this real estate this year) and nose around to see what is happening and what the attendees think of this event. So I will be acting as a roving reporter and will be posting my reports to this blog space each day. So please check back daily for news and stories about the conference.

I’ll even try to post a little something tomorrow. After I drag my bags to my room I will scout around to see what I can see. I will be walking around with my cute little reporter’s notepad so please play along and answer any questions I might have. What happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas, but it could get published in my blog dot dot dot (that’s what journalists do)…so be careful!

See you in Vegas!!!

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Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/20/09 at 01:26 PM
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Why Are Organizations Not “Implementing” The Service Delivery Processes?

I have been involved in IT since 1984. I started my career as a Help Desk agent, moved on to various support roles and levels, Help Desk management, before moving into process consulting.

Invariably, I would find IT focusing on any or all of the following three areas of Service Desk: Incident Management, Change Management and Service Level Management. I call these the three amigos.

Let me clarify why I grouped Service Desk and Incident Management. For the longest time, and sadly still to this day, people look at the Service Desk as being Incident Management and assuming that the various support groups are Problem Management.

For all the organizations out there that understand, and are using Service Management, this is, hopefully, no longer the case. For the others, please start reading the ITIL books.

So why does IT seem to be primarily focusing on these three processes? The answer is simple. These three processes are customer facing. We all know that since its early existence, IT has not always been customer focused. IT is working hard to become customer focused, but it will still take some time to shed this reputation.

There seems to be a belief in the IT community that if IT becomes better at managing the three amigos everything else should easily improve as well. This belief is wrong.

Simply focusing on better managing the three amigos is similar to thinking that applying a fresh coat of paint to a house will hide the defects of the foundation.

Do not get me wrong, focusing on the three amigos is still a worthwhile effort that will bear fruit. There are many documented success stories to support this. However, it seems to me that IT appears to be content to rely on piecemeal improvement efforts in the other Service Delivery areas instead of a structure approach.

Another big reason is the return on investment (money!). It is much easier quantifying a reduction on the time spent dealing with incidents, or improving customer satisfaction scores than it is quantifying efforts aimed at prevention instead of corrections.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of curse” is an expression my parents used a lot. We all know that better eating habits, more exercise and not smoking are ways to reduce the risk of a plethora of illnesses and diseases. How can we convince the senior executives of an organization that prevention will yield better results (in the long run) than fixing things as they happen?

I am sure the reason is very complex. However, I believe that the lack of managment buy-in is a reflection of society. People want their quick fix now. They want a quick return on investment now. They do not want to put in too much effort. Corporations know that they need to produce less waste and consume fewer resources. Governments at all levels know that the public infrastructures (roads, bridges, highways and sewers) are crumbling. Why aren’t we fixing this? What happened?

In some cases, greed and profits were/are the motivators. In other cases, being re-elected took/takes precedence. So, what does this have to do with Service Management?

Look around you. Look at the current state of the economy and of the environment.

Prevention is the way to go. This is where the Service Delivery processes come in. Plan, design, manage risks, and manage relationships to create mutually beneficial partnerships. These are but a few of the benefits you will realize by focusing on the Service Delivery processes. Aren’t we doing this already? Maybe, but certainly not enough.

In the upcoming weeks, I will explore each process in more detail and draw links to the world around us.

However, for now, I am off to our annual ITSM Conference in Las Vegas. If you are going there, seek me out, otherwise, drop me a line, post a comment. Until next week. Take care and have fun.

(0) Comments
Posted by Pierre Bernard on 02/20/09 at 09:51 AM
ITIL V2 to V3 Permalink

Friday, February 06, 2009

“ITIL’s Time Has Come”:  Adoption Expected To Surge In 2009

Economy Doesn’t Hold Back IT Practitioners As ITIL Skills In High Demand, 13th Annual Conference Registrations Strong

TORONTO, ON – February 6, 2009 – Pink Elephant’s 13th Annual International IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition is showing a promising registration trend despite economic conditions that have impacted several high profile IT events worldwide.  Pink Elephant’s registration levels are at around 90% of the total during this same period in 2008. 

These developments follow news reports that the demand for process efficiency and ITIL knowledge will surge this year:

Six Sigma, ITIL, other business processes cut IT costs in lean times
10 Hot IT Jobs For 2009
10 Management Must-Dos in 2009
CIOs Still Want Systems & Development Staff
New Research Reveals Highest Paid IT Skills & Certifications During The Recession

ITIL’s popularity in a maturing industry is partly due to greater awareness of how process improvement supports fiscal responsibility. Clearer evidence of ITIL’s ROI, and greater visibility of processes that directly relate to cost management is a key enhancement in ITIL version three (V3), published in 2007:
Service Strategy book:  The Financial Management process describes cost effective ways to manage IT budgets and charge for services. This lifecycle phase also describes an approach for Risk Management that can reveal costly vulnerabilities, and assist IT managers with better decision-making
Continual Service Improvement book:  The Seven-Step Improvement Process describes an approach for measuring IT services, taking corrective action, and building better service as a result of improvement efforts. Data coming out of this process can uncover opportunities for cost control. Building better service can also help the business justify IT costs, and can boost funding for further process improvement projects  

Read more examples of how real companies have saved money and built better IT infrastructures using ITIL.

Read more on why now is a crucial time for building a process-based approach to IT, from one of Pink’s most senior IT management consultants, Troy DuMoulin. 

“With the current economic challenges many organizations are facing, you could say that ITIL’s time has come,” says Pink Elephant President David Ratcliffe.  “Almost everyday we’re seeing news outlets and industry analysts commenting on how frameworks like ITIL are essential for delivering IT services efficiently in troubled times.  And, with the encouraging attendance at our annual conference, clearly many IT organizations and practitioners are already getting the message!”

For more information about Pink Elephant’s 13th Annual Conference, taking place February 21-25, 2009 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas: 

View the conference website.

View the full conference brochure (pdf).

About Pink Elephant
Pink Elephant is proud to be celebrating 20 years of ITIL experience – more than any other supplier.  Operating through many offices across the globe, the company is the world’s #1 supplier of ITIL and ITSM conferences, education and consulting services. To date, more than 100,000 IT professionals have benefited from Pink Elephant’s expertise. Pink Elephant has been championing the growth of ITIL worldwide since its inception in 1989, and was selected as an international expert to contribute to the ITIL V3 project as authors of the Continual Service Improvement book and through representation on the International Exam Panel. For more information, please visit www.pinkelephant.com

ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.

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For further information, please contact: 

Ann Lamanes
Manager, Communications
Pink Elephant
Toll Free: 1-888-273-7465, Ext. 295
E-mail:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

(0) Comments
Posted by Brent Artemchuk on 02/06/09 at 03:52 PM
Press Releases & Announcements Permalink

Thursday, February 05, 2009

More on scheduling/staffing the Service Desk

There is some very slick software out there in the market place now to help plan the staffing at a call center or Service Desk. Many of the programs available are still based on early Erlang calculations. Some are very sophisticated and will even print out work schedules that show when each agent should be on break and lunch and what the optimal start and quit times should be for each agent. Kinda takes the fun (and work) out of scheduling! Although some of the fancier programs are on the pricey side, there are still many that are freeware. Even freeware will get you basic information so you can create your own Gantt charts with your team’s schedule. To find freeware just “Google” call center calculator or Erlang calculator.

To use these calculators you must know the average length of call as well as the level of service required by the business. But as we all know it is not just phone calls that must be considered for staffing a Service Desk. Some of the other factors include:

• Hours of support required, time zones covered and locations covered
• The type of response required such as telephone, FAX, email, web submitted requests, etc.
• The type, complexity and age of your IT infrastructure
• The technical ability of the users
• Number of customers and users to support
• Number of languages to support
• Workload pattern of requests
• Existing skill levels of Service Desk staff
• The level of training for staff required
• The Service Desk budget available
• Staff turnover and retention rate
• The types of support technologies available, such as remote control, incident and requests management software, etc.
• The volume and types of incident requests and service requests
• Your ability to track requests

So there are many questions that have to be answered before one can adequately understand the staffing levels required.

(0) Comments
Posted by Jim McKennan on 02/05/09 at 07:25 PM
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