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David Ratcliffe, President, Pink Elephant

If you're interested in what we're doing here at Pink Elephant, then feel free to post a comment - I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


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    Recent Entries

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    The 10 Biggest Challenges Implementing Improved ITSM Practices?

    What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced - or what is it you’re most fearful of - when embarking on an improvement project for ITSM practices? Is it:

    1. Finding the time?
    2. Motivating people?
    3. Defining a budget?
    4. Showing the ROI?
    5. Coordinating multiple tasks?
    6. Sorting out the tool?
    7. Dealing with resistance to change?
    8. Defining objectives?
    9. Illustrating the benefits?
    10. Something else? If so, what?

    If you’ve had experience working with an ITSM improvement project, I’d really appreciate hearing about your experiences. You don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining the background and justification for your views - unless you would like to, in which case I’d be delighted to hear about it! I’ll happily settle for a simple response like “It was number x!”

    (1) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/30 at 10:33 AM
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    Friday, December 18, 2009

    It’s As Simple As ABC - But We Still Just DON’T Get It!

    Before starting his own business - GamingWorks - Paul Wilkinson worked for Pink Elephant. Over the intervening years we’ve kept in touch with Paul (admittedly, not as much as I would have liked!) but we’re trying to make amends now. So recently I invited Paul to come along to our Regional Education Symposium in Orlando where we delivered the full raft of ITIL V3 Intermediate courses all at the same time. (I’ve always liked the idea of 9+ classrooms in a row in a hotel conference centre where all of the attendees can mingle at breaks, lunches and some added-value evening sessions).

    The thinking was that we could have Paul demonstrate some of his products for our customers in the “added value” evening sessions on Tuesday & Wednesday. GamingWorks specializes in role-playing/simulation-type workshops that illustrate valuable learning points for ITSM in fun and challenging scenarios. In this instance Paul & Pink’s own Jennifer Wels facilitated the full-blown Apollo 13 workshop on the first evening, and the next evening Paul led a workshop which used GamingWorks’ ABC cards to raise awareness of the biggest challenges we face in ITSM - and how to deal with them.

    What happened next has been documented on the GamingWorks website where you can read Paul’s report. Beware, it’s a warts and all report. Paul doesn’t pull any punches when he comments on the likelihood of people actually addressing the lessons they readily admitted they learned!

    Intrigued? Read his report!

    To get your own set of ABC cards go to Van Haren Publishing.

    Now that we’ve started banging the drum with Paul - I think we’ll be doing a lot more with him and his team’s bright ideas.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/18 at 08:31 AM
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    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Busy January Coming Up - Kuala Lumpur, Singapore & Dubai!

    Just got back from Southeast Asia a few days ago, but we’ll be back the third week in January for the “Pink Elephant IT Management Expert Forum” in Kuala Lumpur & Singapore.

    Then, it’s on to the Middle-East for our “1st Annual ITSM Conference & Exhibition” in Dubai the following week. Check out the snazzy brochure right here - Dubai_2010_Conference_Brochure.pdf

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/15 at 11:09 AM
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    Call For Speakers - 15th Annual Pink Elephant ITSM Conference & Exhibition in 2011

    Yes - 2011, as in 13 months from now.

    Not only are we confirmed to return to the Bellagio in February 2011 for our 15th Annual Conference, but we’ve already begun constructing the program. You might be wondering why I’m talking about it now when the 14th Annual Conference is still about 10 weeks away. Well, we had many potential speakers for 2010 who approached us a bit later in the day. We plan early, so if you have ambitions to speak at a Pink Conference - get in touch ASAP! You can either contact me directly, or better still go straight to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    We’re always looking for new and relevant topics as well as new styles of delivery. The kind of topics which will definitely get my attention are:

    Using Social Media and web 2.0 in ITSM

    The need for Green IT and the opportunities it provides

    The challenges of managing the Cloud & mobile computing

    Security Management

    Project management & focusing on business results

    Leveraging the various ISO certifications

    And anything which addresses the basic skills people need in ITSM, from front line Service Desk to IT leadership. It shouldn’t all be about the latest concepts and fads. At the end of the day, it all comes down to PEOPLE - the attitude & skills of the individual and the culture and efficiency of the team and the organization.

    Finally, if you’re not a candidate to speak - feel free to let me know what topics you’d like to see covered. We have to make sure we’re relevant!

    P.S. Watch for another post soon about the “6th Annual ITSM Conference” in Mexico City - June, 2010. Again, if you’d be interested in speaking, please get in touch ASAP.

    (33) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/15 at 06:21 AM
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    Tuesday, December 08, 2009

    Mini-Poll Results From Pink Perspectives in Singapore & KL

    At the Pink Perspectives we took the opportunity to find out if people agree with us that:

    - Mobile Computing is something we never have quite got to grips with in IT Service Management.

    - Cloud Computing is something we should be paying more attention to.

    - Social Media tools and services should be exploited as services in your Service Portfolio.

    - Green IT needs to be addressed proactively.

    125 organizations participated in the series of mini-polls over the two days. While the results are far from scientific, at least they give us some indication of how much attention people and organizations are paying to the topics we highlighted.

    You can review a summary of the results here:


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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/08 at 10:31 PM
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    An ITIL Christmas In Malaysia!

    George Spalding and I finished the Pink Perspective in Kuala Lumpur today and then went for a walk across the road ....

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/08 at 10:06 AM
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    Additional Topic Added To The Pink Perspective

    We hadn’t planned to, but at the last moment we decided in our mini-poll section to ask a question about Green IT. I’m glad we did. Not only did our poll show that 46% of organizations represented at the Perspective events (in Singapore & KL) have a “green IT initiative”, but I was delighted to receive a forwarded email this morning from Nathalie Tousignant - who attended the Singapore session.

    Nathalie sent me a link to her MBA dissertation on Green IT! I’ll read it over the next day or so and get back in touch with Nathalie to see how much of her work can be shared with you. So check back here in a couple of days!

    Meantime - looks like it’s time to create a new category for my blog - “Green IT”.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/08 at 05:57 AM
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    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Copy of Slides Used at PinkPerspectives in Singapore & KL




    In the final session we conduct some straw polls around the issues facing us in ITSM today. I’ll collate those results and post them in a new entry on Wednesday - after we finish Tuesday’s session in KL.

    (1) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/07 at 04:53 AM
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    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Pink Perspectives: Singapore & Kuala Lumpur

    If you’re attending either of the two sessions George Spalding and I are presenting on Monday & Tuesday - you may well want to review some of the documents, links & resources we’re discussing.

    OGC’s “Mandate For Change to ITIL V3” - ITIL_Mandate_for_Change_0909.pdf

    OGC’s FAQ list regarding the planned update to ITIL V3 - ITIL_Update_FAQs_FINAL.pdf

    OGC’s announcement on the withdrawal of ITIL V2 - includes dates when various examinations will be discontinued.

    OGC/APMG announcement on the launch of the official ITIl Software Scheme.

    OGC announcement on the new “ITIL Master” qualification.

    Full details of January’s “Pink Elephant IT Management Expert Forum” to be presented in Kuala Lumpur & Singapore.

    Social Media maven in the world of IT Service Management, Chris Dancy -

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/06 at 06:55 PM
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    A Lesson in Capacity Management in Singapore’s Sim Lim Square

    As usual, when they’ve got time to spare on a Sunday afternoon in Singapore - where else would a couple of geeks find themselves but in Sim Lim Square. The Tech Mall to top all Tech Malls. Somewhere on the 3rd or 4th (or was it the 5th or 6th) floor, George Spalding and I found a little store with every possible size of portable disk drive. Check out the video and see for yourself.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/06 at 03:11 AM
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    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    Focus On “Lean” As Opposed To “Process Maturity”

    While browsing The IT Skeptic’s blog I linked to another blog entry by Charles T. Betz posing the question “Is Lean The Antithesis Of Process Maturity?” ( I’d have left a comment there but couldn’t figure out where the button was for posting comments. Sorry, Charles, I know you’re probably going to say “it’s easy, just do this ....”!)

    Back to the point, Charles’ question (which I’ve paraphrased) seems fair and relevant, and I can see where he’s headed. The “laser focus” of a lean approach is certainly going to get more attention and is easier to justify from a value standpoint than the shotgun approach of evaluating process maturity across a wide breadth of IT and highlighting all the gaps - implying that you need to bridge all the gaps. But there’s the rub; let’s not say that you need to do a complete process maturity assessment of all processes,  then implement ALL processes up to the maximum maturity. Don’t do it - just because you can. And certainly don’t do it just because a vendor recommends it.

    As you may know, Pink does these types of assessments through our PinkSCAN product. (There’s a consultant-led option as well as a DIY option). The vast majority of these assignments are what we’ve nicknamed miniSCANs, or mini-PinkSCANs. The idea being you:

    1. First identify the processes you NEED to improve.

    2. Then assess “where you are now” through the assessment process.

    3. Before planning “how to get to where you NEED to be”.

    4. And moving forward with improvement efforts.

    It’s not rocket science. Process maturity for the sake of it - no. Process maturity focused on pre-defined objectives - yes. So please DON’T use a process maturity assessment because “we need to find out where we’re performing poorly, and then once we review the results we’ll decide which areas to focus on”. If that’s your approach - you’ve got too much time on your hands and probably too much money to spend! There’ll be some vendor, somewhere, who’d love to get your call. But if that’s your approach - be warned. it will all end in tears one day.

    (2) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/01 at 08:56 PM
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    Cost v Value? Look At The Big Picture When Planning Your Training

    Chatting to our staff here in the Kuala Lumpur office I’m hearing stories about customers who decide to go with competitors to save a few dollars (And it really is a small saving, some of our competitors just go slightly below Pink prices just to be able to say “we’re cheaper!”) But then we often get a call a few weeks later when the customer needs to re-sit an exam and their chosen supplier is not interested - maybe because there’s no money in coordinating exam re-sits???

    Even while we were talking, the phone rang and someone asked if they could come along to our V2-V3 Manager’s Bridge exam session on December 18. Apparently they did a similar course with someone else, failed the exam, and were told “you need to contact the exam body yourself to arrange a re-sit”.

    If only they’d come to us in the first place. Not only would they get a great course - possibly even a better chance of passing the exam first time - but because we value their business, we’re ready to help with any exam re-sits, no problem.

    If you don’t take a long-term view of customer relationships, how can you expect customers to come back? Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of people - both customers as well as suppliers - who simply can’t differentiate between the cost of something, and its value.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/01 at 12:48 AM
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