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David Ratcliffe, President, Pink Elephant

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    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!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/12 at 05:23 PM
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    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!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/10 at 06:10 PM
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