Monday, May 13, 2013
News From “Newco”!
I just received the attached document - a newsletter from “Newco” - with some answers to perceived FAQs around the recent announcement about “Best Management Practice”.
The newsletter requested recipients pass on this news - so here you are!
Certification • Industry News • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
How Certification Can Help Translate Knowledge Into Results
Here are the visual aids from this afternoon’s talk at the APMG Showcase event in Toronto.
You might wonder how certifications can help with results - well it’s not a direct cause & effect; the point of my talk is that you need to VERIFY that the training & certification you have in mind actually will generate the kind of behaviour changes and positive organizational results you need.
EDUCATION - imparts knowledge.
TRAINING - delivers competence.
Friday, April 26, 2013
No Change? No, Change!
ITIL & PRINCE2 Sold By UK Government To Capita - is this the opportunity we’ve been waiting for?
This morning we learned that the long awaited decision about who the UK’s Cabinet Office has chosen to enter into a joint venture partnership with for exploitation of Best Management Practice IP has been announced. Capita is a successful UK IT services organization who have a long track record of delivering education services to the IT industry. You can read the details of the announcement here and here.
Just a few days ago Capita - who have a history of acquisition as part of their growth strategy - bought out G2G3, a respected training organization specializing in business simulations in the area of IT Service Management.
To me, these two moves mean that the ITSM industry now has the opportunity to fully embrace the mission Pink has promoted for many years - to “Translate Knowledge Into Results”. To date, the ITIL & PRINCE2 training and certification “ecosystems” have been focused on delivering “foundation” and “expert” theory to the ITSM masses. Pink has been part of this too - as one of the world’s largest suppliers of ITIL education services. But our efforts to make ITIL training, in particular, more relevant and valuable through experiential learning instead of the “just sit down, shut up and listen” style of education has been extremely challenging.
The effectiveness of “learning by doing” instead of “learning by listening” is self-evident once you participate in experiential training sessions, like those provided by G2G3 and GamingWorks. Pink has worked with both of these organizations over the years, but because the official ITIL & PRINCE2 certification schemes have not (as yet!) embraced this type of learning, it’s been something of an uphill struggle. Despite the constant criticisms and faux pas over the years, the official certification schemes have such a lot of clout.
Ironically, the closest we ever got to experiential learning in ITIL was the original ITIL certification course - “The Service Manager”. The whole 10 days of training revolved around a simulation of an ITSM organization where participants role-played their way through the development and operation of the 10 core service management processes. Later iterations of ITIL certification courses dropped this approach for the more “chalk & talk” format of learning. So we now have hundreds of thousands of ITSM professionals around the world who know a lot about WHAT ITIL is, and few who know HOW to use it.
The timing of Capita’s acquisition of G2G3 - just days ahead of the announcement of the partnership with the Cabinet Office - looks to me like Capita may have their act together with a strategy for how to promote and deliver more valuable training in the ITSM field. I just hope I’ve read this correctly and am not setting myself up for a huge disappointment! (Fingers, toes and everything else crossable all crossed!)
While the official statement today states that it will be business as usual (so a HUGE sigh of relief from the existing Examination Institutes and Accredited Training Organizations) I can only see this being the case as long as it takes to develop and introduce new and more relevant training and certification offerings. I’m not being cynical here, but optimistic!
Watch this space.
Certification • Industry News • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Do You REALLY Care About The Environment But Do Also You Want MORE Of What We Have?
At the beginning of this month we launched our e-materials strategy for all education products. In a nutshell, what this means is we no longer automatically provide printed manuals & handouts for our courses. Instead we load everything up to a server and give students the ability to download the materials and choose whether to continue to access them electronically on their own devices, or print them (in a variety of formats) themselves.
So we’re not taking anything away, in fact we’re giving the customer more options to chose from in how they take delivery of their materials.
Even though this strategy has been launched across all our education products this month, the concept is not new.
1. All of our courses in Self-Paced Online format have only ever used e-materials.
2. All of our courses in Instructor-Led Online format have also only ever used e-materials.
3. We have not provided hardcopy reference materials for our special events and conferences for a number of years now. (The sad sight of abandoned 3-ring binders in hotel lobbies around the world gave us the message loud and clear - people don’t want to carry half a ton of paper on their flights home!) We provide access to all session materials, along with audio recordings, on a special web server before and after the events.
Not only does our e-materials strategy save paper and shipping resources, but it also provides our customers with a number of added value items:
- The opportunity to access materials on a variety of platforms, in addition to printed form if desired.
- Because we use a web portal for delivering e-materials, we can now make available much more in the way of complementary materials and resources. For example, the actual files in PPT format to reuse back at work in shorter presentations to co-workers, or to replay and refresh their learning.
- The e-files are made available for download soon after the student signs-up for the course. So materials can be reviewed well in advance of showing up in the classroom.
- In the classroom, if the student now brings along an e-reading device (laptop, tablet or smartphone) it means they can access a lot more material than they typically would if they only had hardcopies with them. For example the complete set of ITIL books, or the materials from previous courses they’ve attended.
- We can quickly update files when necessary, so students can be assured of a better quality and more up-to-date set of materials.
All this sounds good to me, because you can:
- Download the materials to your favourite device well in advance of attending the course!
- Get a heads-up on what will be covered in the course and pre-read to your heart’s content!
- Cut & paste the PPT files to your heart’s content!
- If you want printed materials - fine. “Here they are, review them and print whichever sections you want in whichever format you chose!”
So far the response from our customers is encouraging. Most people see the sense in this and have either seized the opportunity vigorously with a good natured “About time too!” or have adapted quickly because they’re BYOD buffs already.
But I guess I’m not surprised at some of the cynical remarks I’ve heard too:
- “Pink is cutting back and not passing the cost savings on to us!”
- “My employer doesn’t allow me to print!” (Really?? We’ve heard this more than once, so I guess it must be true.)
- “Our firewall won’t allow us to access your e-materials portal.”
I shudder to think what other missed opportunities must exist out there when a big company restricts employees from printing or accessing useful services via the web.
The truth is this isn’t motivated by a goal to cut costs. In fact when I look at what we’ve spent on constructing the tools and resources to make this work, and the ongoing promotion, maintenance and management - I’ll be happy if we’ve managed to avoid increasing costs!
Our goal has been two-fold:
1. A desire to conserve precious natural resources and reduce our carbon footprint. It just seems like the right thing to do, even if in the grand scheme of things our impact is relatively small.
2. To take advantage of e-world technologies to provide our customers with more choices and more resources. Handing out bigger (and heavier) books is just not a viable option.
So I ask the cynics - “Do you REALLY care about the environment? And do you want MORE from Pink?”
Come on, give me a “Yes!” and a “Yes!”
Friday, March 22, 2013
On This Day In ITSM History
At the end of March, 1997 the 1st Annual IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition (Pink97!) was almost 9 months away. More to the point, it hadn’t been planned, or even thought of yet!
If memory serves me right, we came up with the idea of the Conference some time during the summer of 1997. When it came to fruition it was a single track event with a small table-top vendor exhibition in the lobby. The whole thing was introduced, delivered and wrapped-up in just 2 full days in early December at the Holiday Inn on King Street (now the Hyatt) in Toronto.
A grand total of 61 people attended!
I only have about 20 very grainy photos of that event. This is one of the best(!) showing me explaining the original ITIL Certification scheme (ah - life was so simple back then!)
I mention all this only because today - a little over 11 months before the 18th Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition at the Bellagio in Las Vegas next February - we already have more confirmed attendees than that final total from the 1997 event. Just goes to show you how far we’ve come. Not just in terms of the level of attendance, but also in the planning window. In recent years initial planning for each Conference begins 2 years out.
In early 1997 no one would have signed-up 11 months in advance for a Conference to be presented by a strange new company with the not so serious name of Pink Elephant.
Whereas in 2013 there are many who are familiar with, and value, the Annual Pink Conference, and they are so sure they’ll be there next year that they’re prepared to commit so far in advance and take advantage of the special Early Bird deals we provide. This year, register by April 19 and we’ll pick up your hotel bill for 3 nights at the Bellagio. That’s almost a $1000 value - more than the registration fee for Pink97!
We’ve come a long way in 18 years, eh?
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The ITSM Universe Within
I’m reading an interesting book right now - “The Universe Within” by Neil Turok.’
The book begins with an explanation of the title. The author describes how one of the greatest strengths possessed by humans is our ability “To conceive of the universe within our minds”. It seems that (from a scientific perspective, at least) everything else going on in the universe is governed by mathematics and can ultimately be predicted. It was Galileo Galilei who is reported to have said “Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe.” Furthermore, Turok stresses that “Whether you lived two millennia ago or will live two millennia in the future, a circle is round, and 2+2=4.”
So, if it were not for the human mind and our ability to reason and conceive of new concepts, everything should be so easy to understand and predict. Of course as I read this I cannot help but relate back to our experiences in the more mundane world of IT service management. Connecting together activities, tools, money, timetables and many other resources can be complex, but should be finitely manageable - except for one more consideration .....
If we need yet another reminder, it’s the role and impact of People that increases risks, yet also provides us with the opportunity to innovate and make things better.
When making your IT service management plans I’d respectively suggest you limit the focus on documents, processes and tools, etc - and put more thought and effort into contemplating the vagaries of human behaviour, culture and attitudes, as well as their capabilities, needs and expectations.
Getting inside the heads of People might seem to be an impossible challenge - but it needs to be attempted. You need to consider “The ITSM Universe Within” the minds of your co-workers and customers.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
The WHATs and HOWs Of A Great IT Service Management Leader?
There are two types of leaders:
1. The Designated Leader - who has been appointed or promoted into the position.
2. The Self-Empowered Leader - who is not in a position of authority the same as A “Designated Leader”, but who demonstrates many of the qualities of a good leader.
I’ve talked about Self-Empowered Leaders in an earlier post. And if you’ve been following what I’ve said and written over the past couple of years you’ll know that the concept of “Self-Empowerment” is close to my heart.
Today, however, I want to focus on Designated Leaders. Designated Leaders in IT Service Management will usually have a title such as CIO or Director. They may even be the head of a more discrete team or project.
No matter what their title, this is WHAT we need from our Designated Leaders:
- Understanding of the greater goals of the organization, division or department. These “greater goals” are those which this Leader’s team have to support.
- Definition of relevant goals for their team. Whether it’s the whole of IT or a discrete team within IT - the Leader’s team needs to have their own objectives.
- A focus on the future - what it looks like and how we get there.
- Definition of the strategies and approaches to be adopted to achieve goals.
- Ability to clearly explain goals & strategies. Not just what they are, but why they’re important.
- Continual re-explanation and reinforcement of goals & strategies on a frequent basis.
- Provision of capabilities (resources) to the team. This includes funding, tools, knowledge & skills and time.
And these are the traits we need to observe in HOW our Designated Leaders go about their business:
- Honesty - telling the truth and not sugar-coating bad news.
- Integrity - walking the talk.
- Reliability - being available when needed, and providing consistent direction.
- Being true to their values and always doing the right thing.
- Showing a positive, confident and optimistic attitude.
- Determined and persistent - sticking to the task when the going gets tough.
- Inspiring and empowering others to act.
If the Leader can deliver on all of the above then they’ll generate trust, confidence and the respect of all they interact with - not only subordinates but also peers and higher-ups.
At Pink we’re considering how we can recognize the great leaders in our industry (watch out for more on this very soon). One thing’s for sure - anyone gaining recognition as a great ITSM leader has to have a profile that covers most of the WHATs and HOWs I’ve just outlined.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Most Frequent Searches On This Blog
Every now and again I peek behind the curtain to see what people are looking for when they come to this blog. I thought you might be interested to see a handful of the most recent:
ITIL COST REDUCTION
HOW TO MEASURE ITIL PROCESS COMPLIANCE INCIDENT
ITIL V3 PROCESSES FRAMEWORK
FREE ITIL RESOURCES
ITIL EN TOYOTA EXAMPLE PROJECT
I DON’T ALWAYS TEST MY CODE BUT WHEN I DO I DO IT IN PRODUCTION
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Extreme Leadership Lessons From Gregory Peck
Over the past few years I have written and talked a lot about leadership in IT service management. And it’s often been helpful to refer to general leadership examples elsewhere in society to illustrate such critical factors as communication, goal setting, integrity, empowerment, etc.
A few years ago I led a series of workshops at Pink events where we used the movie “The Guns of Navarone” to highlight the 8 step process for leading change that Professor John P. Kotter discuses in his leadership books. (To be perfectly honest, this workshop was originally developed by my good Pink buddies at the time - Jose Stijntjes, now with itSMF NL, and Paul Wilkinson, now with GamingWorks).
We all love a good adventure movie, especially the ones based on a big “project”. Some of my favourites being “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Great Escape” and “Indiana Jones”, but there was something quite special about “The Guns of Navarone”. It almost seemed like it had been scripted in order to fit Kotter’s teachings. How very convenient!
Well, a little while ago I heard about another special movie that teaches us many of these timeless key leadership principles. And last weekend I had the chance to watch it. As with “The Guns of Navarone” the leading character in “12 O’Clock High” is played by Gregory Peck. I actually found “12 O’Clock High” to be a much more interesting movie. It doesn’t have the glamour of any of the other movies I just mentioned, but it does have a most powerful, engaging and emotional storyline along with the valuable leadership messages. I’ve since learned that even though it was shot in 1949, it is still required viewing in many of the US services officer training schools and colleges. Timeless indeed!
To justify what I mean by “Extreme Leadership ...” here’s what Gregory Peck had to say to his men ...
” ... Stop making plans. Forget about going home. Consider yourselves dead. Once you accept that idea it won’t be so tough.”
Extreme indeed! You can watch a longer version of the speech in this video clip ...
Monday, February 25, 2013
Fatima’s Welcome Remarks From Pink13!
This year everyone attending Pink13 - Pink Elephant’s 17th Annual International ITSM Conference & Exhibition - were welcomed by Pink’s CEO, Fatima Cabral Ratcliffe.
Here’s what she had to say .....
On behalf of everyone here at Pink Elephant, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Pink13 - our 17th conference.
We are so very proud that this is the largest gathering of IT Service Management professionals in the world! Thank you so very much for choosing this as one of the education events you attend this year.
I remember when I welcomed everyone to our very first conference many years ago in the mid ‘90s – there were 70 people at that first conference, and we had only one post conference workshop - an ITIL Foundation Certification Course.
That was the start of the snowball. And, over the years the snowball has grown larger and larger, and today, we have an event that’s a week and a half long, with over 20 certification courses on the program, and close to 2000 attendees.
You know, at the beginning, we challenged IT professionals to embrace not just technical certifications, but to also learn about process management. And you did!
Over the past two decades, millions of people have learned about ITIL, ISO, Lean IT, Six Sigma, COBIT, just to name a few frameworks, standards, and models. While at one time, very few IT managers knew about process management certifications, today that is definitely not the case. And, we at Pink are proud of the major role we have played in this industry transformation.
But, with all this knowledge, there are still many IT organizations who are not seeing the results expected. Why is that? That’s a fair question.
As our opening video stated: Just having certification knowledge is not enough! Successful IT organizations know how to turn knowledge into skills, and they know how to turn skills into results. Let me expand on that: successful organizations know how to turn knowledge into changed behavior, and they know how to manage this changed behavior to generate desired outcomes and new cultures.
Many struggle with this, and so their IT service management initiatives often fail the first time around. There is a very famous quote about knowledge - have you heard it? It goes like this: Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad!
But, you know the news is not all bad; there are organizations who do get it right! So, what are they doing, that others are not? There are several critical success factors for getting it right and our conference program is filled with dozens and dozens of presentations delivered by CIOs and other IT practitioners, IT and business experts, and our own Pink consultants, and also our amazing line up of keynotes. They will all share details about what these critical success factors are.
For now, I want to take a quick moment to tell you about just a couple of them myself. Through our education and consulting practices we are lucky to interact with thousands and thousands of IT professionals each year. And, we can see very clearly that there are commonalities amongst those organizations who are indeed very successful in turning knowledge into results.
One key ingredient is “leadership”. Leadership success at operational and tactical levels does matter, but it is the leadership capabilities of the most senior IT leaders that are most critical.
Successful IT leaders demonstrate what I call the 3 i’s of leadership – they know how to “inform”, they know how to “inspire”, they know how to “ignite”. We have these leaders on our conference program.
They have been successful because they found the right way to inform their teams about why change is urgent and necessary, and linking these reasons back to their businesses – the bigger whole.
They have found the right way to inspire their teams by making them feel emotionally connected in a very positive way to the change, and so they get people to buy in – they get them on board.
And, they have found the right way to ignite and spark enthusiasm in others by mobilizing and energizing them in very effective and productive ways.
And, successful IT leaders are also able to entrench a culture of continual service improvement (CSI) where improvement is not a one-time project, but rather it is managed as an ongoing, never ending cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Act. To these leaders, when it comes to CSI – there is no finish line.
So, I have a call to action to all of you, and here it is ...
As we move together through the conference over these next few days, I ask all of you to, not only share very granular operational successes and best practices at a process level – these are great. But, I ask that you also talk about and share successes about what your IT leadership is doing to inform, inspire and ignite.
And, you can keep sharing with others when you get back to work. You can join IT service management local interest groups to keep sharing on a regular basis. If you want to know if one of these networking groups exist in your community then visit Shari at the itSMF booth here in the exhibition hall.
Now, let me close off my welcome and opening remarks by saying ...
I hope that you will inspire others, with your stories.
I hope that you will be inspired to go back to your organizations and implement at least a few good ideas.
And most of all, I hope that you will leave here with a deeper understanding of what it really means to turn knowledge into results!
Friday, February 22, 2013
Just Back From Pink13? Now What?
Whether you just got back from Las Vegas, or whether you participated vicariously thanks to social media - here’s the key “now what?” question you should be challenging yourself with .....
The big message that kept coming across was “It’s all about People”.
Tools and Processes and Strategy ....
.... and Frameworks and Business Goals and Metrics ....
.... and Security and IT Governance and Social Media and Big Data ....
.... and Metrics and Innovation and BYOD and The Future and ... and ... and ....
.... all need some of your attention and understanding. But managing relationships, understanding team culture, setting expectations, motivating, empowering, involving and informing each other - that’s what needs the most of your attention.
So what are you going to do about that? What ideas and intentions do you have to work on the People aspects of ITSM?
The “experts” told you this is the most important criterion - so what are you going to do about it? Specifically, what????
So what are you going to do with the knowledge you got from Pink13 earlier this week?
Hopefully you set out for Pink13 with the intention to learn some new ideas, bring them back to work and apply them - right? (Oh I so hope that was why you went!)
So I say again ....
.... What are you going to do with the knowledge you got from Pink13 earlier this week?
Please let us know we’re going to all this trouble for a good reason.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
What’s The First “Thing” You Have To Get Right In ITSM?
We talk a lot about “business/IT alignment” (or “business/IT integration” - whatever!) The reason for this is because it makes sense to assure ourselves that ITSM practices are relevant and valued.
As a starting point I’d like to suggest a little thinking exercise (it’s a good idea to stop and think from time to time, right?) So think on this, and answer this question ....... what is the first “thing"ITSM must achieve in your business? I’ve listed 10 possible answers below. Can you chose THE most important objective for YOUR organization? Maybe it isn’t even in my list!
1. Is it to resolve incidents and problems quickly?
2. Is it to expedite changes quickly, with a high success rate?
3. Is it to keep the lights on with a high % of availability?
4. Is it to reduce the overall number of outages (reliability)?
5. Is it to be available to support customers at times when they need assistance?
6. Is it to directly help the business generate more revenues?
7. Is it to reduce costs?
8. Is it to secure data?
9. Is it to increase efficiency and productivity out in the business?
10. Is it to help the business grow?
I can imagine you’re thinking “Yes - it’s all of those things!” But which is the most important? Is it possible to identify what’s most important? Is it even helpful to do so?
I think it is, because no matter how well you do SOME things, there’s often an initial objective that must be met before all others become relevant.
I’ll tell you why I’ve been pondering this. Elsewhere I’ve been asking myself the same question - to see if, as a customer, I can identify what’s most important to me when choosing (and paying for) a service provider. This was all prompted by a book I read just last week written by Christopher Hitchens called “Mortality”. It was his last book. In it he described the healthcare he was receiving after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. You may say that the most important criterion would be something like: being treated by the best doctors; or being provided a choice of treatment options; or having access to the most effective treatments; or the most affordable treatment; or a treatment regimen that doesn’t impinge too much on your quality of your life; etc. For me, in that situation, it would be have to be speed of access to services. The reason for this is because it doesn’t matter how good, or how cheap or how affective the treatments may be - if there’s too long of a delay in seeing someone to get started ....... well, you know ......!
Here’s a few more examples:
Choosing A Restaurant.
There’s lots of criteria to assess, but for me the #1 is whether I feel safe eating there. Is it clean and no risk to my health? If I look through the window and don’t get a good feeling for how clean the place is, then I don’t care about the plaudits, or the quality of food, or the value for money, or the ambiance, etc.
Choosing An Airline
Usually the in-flight announcements say “Safety is our #1 priority ...” and I’m always glad to hear that. But to be honest, I assume that most airlines operate to similar safety standards, so the #1 selection criterion for me is “Do they fly to the place I want to go on the day and time I want to travel”. Some people might make the cost of the ticket the #1 priority, and I can understand that, but often there’s not a lot of difference in fares because it’s so competitive. So I gravitate to the schedule when making my decision. Sure, I compare one airline against another in areas of seat comfort, food & beverage service (or lack thereof!), customer service, rewards program, etc. But whoever goes to my destination on days & times closest to what I need usually gets my business.
Choosing A Supermarket
Being just around the corner is not good enough. Advertising the lowest prices isn’t that big a deal either. What does attract my scrutiny is the quality of the non-brand name produce and how well it’s prepared, packaged and presented. The store has to have stuff that looks appealing (and safe!) to me. I react positively to fresh, healthy food presented in an attractive way. I’ll even pay a little extra for that.
So, what do you think the first “thing” is you have to get right in ITSM?
Leadership • Practices • Rants • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Monday, January 28, 2013
The 6 Most Important Pink13 Trade Secrets - Published Here!
Those who know me well will probably tell you that trumpet blowing is not something I’m known for. But I’m going to give it a go today (at least on behalf of the whole Pink team), so - Spoiler Alert: major trumpet blowing exercise ahead!
Out of all the things we do in the world of ITSM, Pink is possibly best known for delivering the most admired ITSM conference on the calendar each year. It’s not just me who says so, our practitioner customers and vendor customers tell us every time - “Best conference ever!”
It’s a tough standard to live up to every year, but we follow some “golden rules” to minimize risks and increase the likelihood of continuing our success.
As we’re headed into the final stretch for the 17th Annual International IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas next month, maybe I can let you into some of the secrets as to how we do it.
There is something of a formula we use - and I’ll call out the most important aspects right here. In fact, I’ve never been shy in sharing what we’ve learned with others. Especially those who don’t do this for a living (for example, local itSMF groups who are trying their best to offer up special event programs for their members).
Event planning is an unforgiving business. Get it wrong and you could have a major disaster on your hands. Get it right and the reward is a huge sigh of relief! So, there’s a bunch of things we pay a lot of attention to, and there’s 17+ years of experience which undoubtedly counts for a lot, but here’s what I believe are the major reasons why at Pink we’ve been so successful in delivering the industry’s best, biggest and most admired Conference of the year.
1. Content: Is King!
Hands down this is the most important criterion for our practitioner customers. Pink’s CEO, Fatima Cabral Ratcliffe, frequently reminds us that the feedback we get from attendees each year always makes priority reference to the quality and relevance of the subject matter. Making sure the sessions are valuable is THE most important thing. So we don’t compromise when it comes to identifying subjects and creating sessions. Fatima and Pattie Lanktree go out over a year in advance to begin to solicit contributions on specific topics from known, and new, speakers. No matter how accomplished you may be as a speaker, if the subject isn’t topical and in-demand, you’ll be rejected. I’ve noticed at some events the program building seems to be the wrong way around. Choose the speaker (or speaker organization) and then find out what they want to talk about. At Pink we don’t care too much who you are, who you work for or what you want to talk about - unless what you’re proposing matches what we’re looking for.
2. Practitioner Speakers: Tell It Like It Is!
Content and speakers go hand-in-hand, of course. But sometimes Fatima and Pattie hear about interesting work that’s been done in a practitioner organization and that piques their curiosity. “Is there someone there who can speak about that project? How did they do that? What were the challenges and how were they overcome?“etc. etc. It all sounds like more content management, but in fact just because some content has been identified, that’s only half the solution. Now they have to find someone who’s capable of presenting it! I know Fatima and Pattie are proud of how many practitioners they’ve encouraged and brought to the fore as industry speakers. At Pink we aren’t just about re-cycling speakers - we introduce new speakers every year. They’re carefully encouraged and coached, and the high level of ratings shows we’re doing it right! To encourage others we always recognize the highest rated practitioner session through our “Case Study Of The Year” award.
3. The Pink Faculty: Really Is Unique!
No matter which ITSM event you go to in the year, you’ll never see such a rich team of experienced consultants talking about practical, down-to-earth advice as you’ll get at the Pink Conference. Troy DuMoulin (Pink’s VP of Professional Services) has an amazing team of Consultants and Trainers who just LOVE to share their knowledge and experience. We think - we KNOW - they’re the best in the industry!
4. Vendors: They’re Customers Too!
At other industry events I see the vendor community being treated as some kind of “necessary evil”. I can almost imagine what goes on in the Conference planning meetings “We need their sponsorship (money) - all we need do is give them a 10x10 booth .... maybe we can get a bit more from them if they sponsor the coffee break!” What’s up with this? The vendors have a significant role to play in the world of ITSM. Their products are valuable enablers. It’s important they have the opportunity to get in front of practitioners with their vision and their ideas for how they can help. The market stall approach of a traditional exhibition is usually the only vehicle conference planners use to “serve” vendors. That and the opportunity to splash logos around on walls, Powerpoints and handouts (for more $$$ of course!) The truth is that signage doesn’t really connect people, and some practitioners find the exhibition floor a bit intimidating. So in recent years Pink’s Lisa Lyons has introduced more opportunities for vendors and practitioners to connect in useful ways:
- Pre-event and post event webinars.
- Interviews and articles distributed though our electronic newsletter - PinkLINK.
- Demonstration of their thought leadership with specially designed speaking sessions and seats on think tanks and panels.
- In the past couple of years we’ve even profiled vendors with interesting new products in our closing keynote session. They didn’t pay extra for that, they got that opportunity because they have something interesting we’d like everyone to hear about.
- Ultimately they could target the “Innovation Of The Year” award. If the cap fits, we’ll let you wear it!
5. Location: Las Vegas!
The 1st & 2nd Annual Conferences were in Toronto. That city is clearly the preeminent Canadian location, but still a foreign country as far as many US-based practitioners are concerned. So when we moved to Chicago in year 3 we saw a big jump in attendance. The next year it was Orlando and we saw another significant jump. A few years later the switch from Florida to Nevada saw the biggest single year increase in attendance before or since. Of course we understand that Las Vegas is not for everyone, but neither is Orlando, or anywhere else for that matter. Still, even with Vegas’ reputation being tarnished in recent years as corporate bailout money ended up on the Strip, our customers continue to vote with their feet and prefer Las Vegas. After all, for most of us in North America, if you’re going to travel somewhere in February then for once at least - Las Vegas is a safe bet!
But it’s not just the location and timing that’s the draw, which leads me to the next point ....
6. Venue: Bellagio!
In August 2001 I was invited to speak at another organization’s conference in Las Vegas. That was my first time at the Bellagio. I was so impressed with the facilities I came back to Pink HQ and declared “We really need to be there!” The convention centre is not as spread out as some others, where you seem to walk miles from one room to another. It’s also all on the same level - no elevators or escalators. And overall the quality of amenities and service is amongst the best we’ve experienced - at any venue anywhere in the world. It really is 5-star and, in my view, still the best hotel in Las Vegas. That’s the kind of standard we want to be associated with at Pink! And our customers agree. Since we first located our Conference at the Bellagio we’ve never wanted to be anywhere else. However, good business discipline dictates that we should stop and think carefully before renewing each year. Therefore we’ve went out to tender more than once to make sure we’re not missing something elsewhere. So far the Bellagio is still #1 on our list, and I’m always proud to tell people that the Bellagio folks tell us that Pink is their #1 customer! Apparently, we don’t just use every room for the duration of the Conference, but our pre- and post-conference schedule of training courses means we almost take over the place for nearly 2 weeks. And that means Pink brings more business to the Bellagio than any other organization. Wow!
There you have it - 6 of the top reasons why we produce such a great event!
It’s always been good to be a Pinker, but my proudest moments are when I think of what the Pink team has achieved year-over-year with the Annual Conference.
So, for this year, if you have something specific you need to learn about in the field of ITSM, we’re sure to have it at the 17th Annual International IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition. For deep and comprehensive learning you should check out the training course schedule which goes before and after the main event. On the other hand, if you have a wide range of interests, concerns and challenges you expect to be facing throughout the year - then look at the main program and create an hour-by-hour itinerary for yourself from the main Conference program, get yourself registered and welcome to Pink!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Interesting Feedback From Customers This Week
Still at the Winter Education Symposium in Orlando!
Here’s some random facts and opinions I’ve been hearing these past couple of days:
- Four people this morning in the SOA class said they were very unhappy with the performance of their ITSM tool in how it supports/enable the Service Catalog.
- Instructor-Led-Online courses are generating a lot of interest. People are attracted to the idea of not having to leave home to get the training they need. Although everyone agrees coming to a physical classroom is the ideal solution.
- Six out of six people I talked with over lunch said they had come to Orlando with their families. They either spent a few days in advance of their ITIL Intermediate class visiting the Theme Parks, or they were doing so this coming weekend (after they get the exam out of the way tomorrow afternoon!)
- We’re all impressed with how Disney manages changes in their Theme Parks (“Pardon Our Dust”), but their IT systems seem to be having a bad week this week. There’s been many reports of room keys not working in the hotels, and the front desk not being able to re-program new keys.
And there was time for a little diversion this morning. Sitting in the SOA I was “tackled” at the mid-morning break by a couple of participants who wanted to know what I could do to help liven things up. Until now Rich Petti had set a very high standard over the first 2 days keeping everyone engaged and entertained, but for the first hour this morning the material was quite dry and there was a general feeling of “hump day” affecting the mood. I must admit I wasn’t quite on the same page but I thought I’d play along anyway. So a few minutes later, as Rich was introducing the subject of SLM, I challenged him and said “So, that slide you have there says the Service Catalog is a database or a structured document ........ so which is it? A database or a document?”
Rich paused for a second, a little startled that his fellow-Pinker was apparently about to get difficult. But in truth, he hardly broke his stride. “It can be a database OR a document”.
Then someone else chimed in “But the next bullet says you should publish the Service Catalog. How can you publish a database?” Rich paused for another second and then came right back and said “Well, you can electronically publish, so your service portal might contain Service Catalog information that it pulls from the database ....”
I looked at my two “trouble-maker” compatriots and I could see we were all thinking “He’s good, we can’t fluster him”. So I decided to try and keep the disruption going by picking on the instigator. I turned to Jeff (our playful customer) and feigning annoyance said “Are you trying to cause trouble or something?” Jeff continued playing along and started to argue back at me “He thinks he knows everything (gesturing to Rich) ....”
Well, at his point Rich suddenly paused for just a bit longer. Now we had him. He didn’t know what was going on. “What’s happening here? A minute ago you were arguing with me, now you’re arguing between yourselves”.
We all just laughed out loud. Service Level Management with a smile!
Certification • Events • Practices • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Monday, December 10, 2012
A Pink Treasure!
This week fellow Pinker Robin Hysick and I are sitting in on two of our ITIL Intermediate courses at the Winter Education Symposium here in Orlando, Florida. We have all 4 Capability courses - SOA, RCV, PPO, OSA - as well as the MAL course going in the convention centre of Disney’s Coronado Springs resort.
One of the objectives Robin and I have is to evaluate and assess the customer experience. This actually started a few days ago as we went through the registration process in the exact same way as our customers, receiving confirmation of attendance and advice for recommended pre-reading as well as instructions for how and when to register on arrival at the course.
Today was the start of the actual class experience and already we’ve gathered more feedback than I expected about what our customers like, and dislike about their learning experiences. Over the next few days I’m expecting a comprehensive set of data for what we can do to improve. After all - let’s be honest here. We’re not perfect, and if we don’t make an effort to find out what can be improved - then we don’t deserve your business!
As the days go by this week I’m particularly looking forward to hearing more about what people think of the way the courses are designed and presented. For now, I have a good feeling about this SOA course I’m auditing. Mainly because of the Trainer, Rich Petti. He’s definitely a “Pink Treasure”! Not only explaining everything very eloquently, and at just the right pace - but Rich has this charming style and throws in the most entertaining comments and observations that more than once have had me laugh out loud. He’s playful, but also clearly passionate about the subject. A good Trainer needs to know his/her stuff, but if you don’t keep people engaged it doesn’t matter how much you know. Right?
I’ll give you another update at the end of the week - stand by!