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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

    Sunday, December 07, 2014

    The First ITSM Conference In Asia - July 1998!

    I was cleaning up in my office today (yes, I know, it’s Sunday!) and came across some documentation from the very first event that introduced “IT Service Management” to the IT marketplace in Asia.

    Specifically, in partnership with PDA, we presented a 2-day conference in KL and later the same week in Singapore - July 27-31, 1998. The very first ITIL Foundation courses in Asia were presented that week too!

    The program was not too extensive, but the speakers were real ITSM heavy hitters at the time!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/07 at 04:58 PM
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    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Pink’s CEO Scores A Hat Trick!

    At Pink we already knew we had the best female business owner in Canada, now it’s official!

    Last Friday night in a glittering ceremony in New York City, Pink Elephant’s CEO, Fatima Cabral, walked away from the Stevie Awards with recognition in 3 different categories!

    Gold Stevie Award
    Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Canada

    Silver Stevie Award
    Woman of the Year - Business Services

    Bronze Stevie Award
    Female Entrepreneur of the Year - Business Services (11 to 2,500 Employees)

    Congratulations Fatima!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 11/17 at 08:37 PM
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    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Good Luck At The Stevie Awards!

    Pink’s CEO, Fatima Cabral, is at the Stevie Awards in New York City tonight. She’s a finalist in the category “Female Entrepreneur of the Year: Business Services”.

    Good luck Fatima!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 11/14 at 01:50 AM
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    Thursday, November 06, 2014

    I Got A Full Dance Card For PinkNORTH!

    Let me make this clear - you won’t be seeing me dancing, at PinkNORTH or anywhere else soon. Trust me - not what you want to see.

    Instead I will be busy, busy, busy with the following sessions:

    Is The Service Desk Dead? - A panel discussion seeking to clarify and predict where the Service Desk function is headed. With Tony Krasinski (Eerie Insurance), Ellen Daley (Acorio) and Zahra Rahemtulla (Enigma Consulting)

    Scary Movie: Part 6 - Another panel discussion, this time about the various disruptive technologies that make delivering and supporting corporate IT services such a challenge today. At Pink we introduced this topic way back at the Pink11 Conference with the introductory video “Are You Ready?” I’m joined on the panel by David Mainville (Navvia), Andrew Moses (Freshdesk) and Kevin Brown (Cogeco).

    The Dragon’s Den Of ITSM: Or, How To Justify An ITSM Improvement Project To Executive Management - One of the more popular sessions I’ve delivered at a few other industry events in the past couple of years. if you want to be well prepared to argue your case with your boss - I’ll tell you how to do that!

    Leading Change: Kotter’s 8 Step Model- One of the most enduring subjects we’ve presented at Pink events over the years. Since we invited Professor John P. Kotter to speak at our very first Executive Forum in Toronto this topic has been a mainstay in the raft of advice our Consultants give to ITSM practitioners the world over. If you’re expecting people to embrace your good ideas, better make sure you’ve double-checked your approach against Professor Kotter’s 8 steps!

    10 Key Actions To Implement When You Get Back To The Office - A fine wrap-up keynote session to mnake sure you leave this year’s Conference with some specific and practical tasks to get started on the very next day! In this quick-fire session I’ll be introducing some of our best local Pink talent: Graham Furnis, Barry Brown, Troy DuMoulin, Jennifer Wels, Graham Price & Matt Bowles.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 11/06 at 05:12 PM
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    Monday, November 03, 2014

    Leadership Sessions At Pink15: Colin Powell’s Book

    I have 3 sessions in “The 3 ‘I’s of Leadership” track at Pink15.

    The first one is a profile of General Colin Powell’s book “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership”.

    I’m really looking forward to this session. It’s always great to discuss a book you loved, and with there being so many books on Leadership in the stores today (Amazon has an amazing 124,582 Leadership books listed!) - to find one that you cannot put down makes it really special.

    There’s tons of recommendations, experiences and stories I’ll be sharing from Gen Powell, so I hope to see you in the session!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 11/03 at 09:56 AM
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    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    Staying Power - Laurie Dolan Style!

    In just a few weeks we’re presenting PinkNORTH - the first Pink ITSM Conference in Canada since 1998. Laurie Dolan is one of the speakers and she was also one of only 9 speakers at the very, very first ITSM Conference in North America way back in December 1997!

    I don’t have an electronic copy of the brochure from that historic first event, but I do have a paper copy. I’ve attached here the first two pages. You can see Laurie’s session on page 2. I hope you’ve freshened things up since then, Laurie!

    Toronto in December in 1997, and Toronto in December in 2014 - we’re really making a habit of this aren’t we?

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 10/29 at 10:11 AM
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    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Pink University To Deliver “Fit For Purpose”.

    Looking ahead to “PinkNORTH” on December 8-9 there are a couple of immediate thoughts that struck me.

    Firstly, this is our first ITSM Conference in Canada since we presented the “2nd Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition” in Toronto in 1998. That’s right! While we’ve done lots of other events with specialized themes in Canada over the years, our BIG annual conference is now presented in Las Vegas each year but the 1st and 2nd Annual Conferences were presented in downtown Toronto. It’s good to be back!

    Secondly, one of the main tracks is called “Pink University”. Here we present information and guidance on how to adopt and work with IT management best practices, such as COBIT & ITIL, etc. This really speaks to the heart of what Pink Elephant is all about - providing knowledge on practices that can be adapted and adopted to enable valuable business results. “Adapted” being the key here - not just translating some theoretical concepts in a one-size-fits-all way, but making sure that good practices truly are fit for purpose.

    It seems that this really resonates with ITSM practitioners because we already have more sign-ups for PinkNORTH than we expected at this stage - and we’re still about 6 weeks out! So thanks to all those Canucks who’ve already reserved their places; and if you haven’t yet - what are you waiting for?!

    I hope to see you there!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 10/28 at 09:21 AM
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    Monday, October 20, 2014

    My Session Materials From Fusion14

    This is what I presented this afternoon How_To_Justify_An_ITSM_Improvement_Project_To_Executive_Management.pdf

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 10/20 at 05:57 PM
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    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    My Personal Take-Aways From the 3rd Annual ITSM Leadership Forum

    The majority of participants at any special event produced by Pink are there to increase their knowledge of ITSM practices and resources, and improve their capabilities to lead change back at the workplace.

    For me, my objectives are a bit different. Firstly, and most importantly, I need to find out if what we’re doing is hitting the mark. Are we meeting our customers’ needs? Are they really learning new ideas, and are they going away feeling inspired to do something with that new knowledge?

    I also want to know if the venue we chose is making that primary objective possible. Some venues create an environment which makes learning and networking easier and more productive. Other venues might not be quite so hospitable.

    Finally, I want to find out what new trends may be emerging in our industry. I may already have some topics in mind, but I need to validate their relative importance with our customers. Are they interested in ISO or COBIT? Do they continue to see mobile and cloud as challenges? What about social media and the continuing consumerization of IT - are they perceived as threats to ITSM?

    So how did it go at this year’s PinkFORUM14?

    There were lots of specific learning points from the dozens of sessions at this year’s event. Looking through the agenda (with 3 tracks it’s just not possible to attend every session) we clearly had some outstanding real-life experiences that were valued by our customers. Also our team of Pink Consultants continued to deliver practical and worthwhile advice for how to effect change. The anecdotal feedback we had on-site from some of our regular customers confirmed that our “session selection team” (Pattie & Fatima) did a great job once again. We had lots of remarks from customers saying that the content at this event was the best they’d ever experienced! In fact I recall talking with one individual who said she was really not too enthused about being there after her boss had basically said “You need to go!” Then, already after day 1, she said she was “blown away” by the amount of relevant content and the style of presentation. And let’s not forget those other customers of ours - the sponsors representing the IT services community. Not only did they have some of their best thought leaders and visionaries there to impress our practitioner customers, but they themselves found the opportunity to network highly worthwhile. Their feedback was just as pleasing to us. One of our goals is to provide an environment where relationships can be built and improved, connecting people no matter what their purpose for being there. So our primary objective of delivering a valuable learning experience was clearly met.

    The venue - Omni’s Montelucia Resort - got a big thumbs up from our customers. Our plan for no more than 200 attendees required a comfortable (luxurious even!) venue that promoted a feeling of quiet calm with minimum distractions. It also needed to be practical. Meaning meeting rooms, bedrooms and all essential facilities had to be in close proximity. The Montelucia met the challenge in all categories. Meetings rooms off a single lobby area, and no more than a 1 to 2 minute walk through beautiful landscaped gardens from even the most distant bedroom. There were a variety of bars and restaurants that provided enough diversity of choices for a 2-3 night stay. And I think one of the most popular features was the central pool area, which seemed to be well utilized late into the hot summer evening! So we’d have no hesitation going back to the Montelucia again. Having said that, there’s other criteria our event planners have to take into account when planning and selecting venues, not least being the availability for our preferred dates - so we’ll have to see!

    As for the confirmation, or otherwise, of emerging trends in our industry - there were no big surprises here (no one likes surprises anyway, right?) As we’ve noticed over recent years, US based organizations are not as charmed by the benefits of ISO as their counterparts elsewhere in the world. It has seemed odd to me that ISO 20000 - the standard for IT Service Management - has not garnered more interest in the USA. However COBIT, DevOps, Agile & Scrum get lots and lots of attention. Everyone continues to try and get to grips with mobile and the ongoing consumerization of IT technologies and services. For me, I think these are definite “leadership” issues. if we’re losing some control of IT resources - because they’re sourced externally - that does not mean we cannot exercise influence and promote knowledge of the risks and benefits.

    Overall then - we’re delighted to report another successful Pink event!

    In fact, the post-event structured feedback we’ve gathered and analyzed seems to confirm what we learned anecdotally - this year’s PinkFORUM event was the best yet, and is looking to be a permanent fixture in the calendar of ITSM leaders in the USA. Already we’ve had people asking us about next year’s event. That’s always a good sign!

    We’d be interested to know what you’d like to see next year. if you have suggestions for the type of content you need to see, and the way sessions are presented, don’t hesitate to let us know.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 09/16 at 10:16 AM
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    Monday, September 08, 2014

    ITSM Leadership Masterclass - Kuala Lumpur

    A great session today!

    Here’s the visual aids I used:


    Also, a link to the “Why” clip from Louis CK’s TV sitcom! Remember, if you really want to understand something - keep asking “Why?”

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 09/08 at 05:05 AM
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    Tuesday, July 08, 2014

    Summary Of 35 Global Standards We Refer To In IT Service Management

    I just received an email from good buddy Ivo van Haren (CEO of Van Haren Puiblishing). He’s sent me a copy of one of VHP’s latest publications “Global Standards & Publications”.

    It contains an easy-to-read description of lots of the various frameworks, methodologies, standards & bodies of knowledge we use in ITSM. Stuff like Agile, Lean IT, CMMI, Scrum, TOGAF, BiSL, Six Sigma and many, many more.

    It’s a free download so click on the link and catch up on what you’ve been meaning to find out about!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 07/08 at 11:11 AM
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    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    4th Annual ITSM Conference in Santiago, Chile

    Today is a very, very important day in Chile. Not because in the World Cup we have Spain v Chile this afternoon, but because Pink Elephant is presenting our 4th Annual Conference here in Santiago!

    Here are the slides I will be using for my two solo sessions:




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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/18 at 08:34 AM
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    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    The Shock & Surprise Of Business Objectives!

    Over the past couple of weeks I talked about “Business Objectives” at the series of Science Of Metrics seminars in the USA (see my previous blog post).

    In my session I mentioned that Peter Drucker had claimed around 90% of people do not know the current objectives for their business. Well, from my experience of asking 200+ people - the answer is actually more like 99.9%!!

    Can you believe it?

    Virtually no one in ITSM knows the goals for their business in 2014! I’m not talking about the overall vision or mission for the business (say, “To be the first choice for customers when they are looking for ......”) - but the specific objectives the executive team have set for the current fiscal period.

    Usually it’s stuff like “Grow revenues by xx%”, or “Return to profitability ...”, or “Launch this new product range ....”, or “Enter this new market ....”, or “Open xxx new stores ...”. These are all goals which are precise and measurable. They involve supporting projects and results which might be challenging, yes. But they need to be vividly clear and easy to understand.

    Everyone in the organization, not just in IT Service Management, should know what the business is striving for this year. Not just the overall purpose of why we exist and the approach we take, but the specific outcomes we need to achieve this year if we’re going to be successful

    I was stunned that no one - yes, no one! - was able to quickly answer my simple question “Give me an example of one of your organization’s current business objectives.”

    If you cannot answer this question, then how do you know that what you’re doing every day is adding any value?

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/12 at 12:04 PM
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    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    The “Science Of Metrics” Seminar With Cherwell, Bomgar & HDI

    Here’s a copy of the slides from my session:


    Not much about metrics, but you had to be there!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 05/28 at 11:13 AM
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    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Will I See You At One Of These Events?

    Over the next few weeks and months I’m going to be out and about speaking at various industry events. Here’s the list so far:

    May 28: Chicago, IL
    May 30: Boston, MA
    June 2: Atlanta, GA
    June 4: Charlotte, NC and
    June 5: Miami, FL
    Where Cherwell are producing a seminar titled: “The Science Of Metrics” and I’ll be speaking on the subject of “The 5 ITSM Projects You Should Start Doing Tomorrow Morning!”

    June 18: Santiago, Chile
    “Pink Elephant’s 4th Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition” I’ll be presenting 2 sessions “The 8 Key Traits Of An IT Service Management Superhero!” and “The 5 ITSM Projects You Should Start Doing Tomorrow Morning!” I’ll also be facilitating a most unusual discussion “What The World Cup Game Between Spain & Chile Can Teach Us About IT Management Services”!!!

    August 17-20: Scottsdale, AZ
    “Pink Elephant’s 3rd Annual IT Service Management Leadership Forum” On the Sunday I’ll be facilitating a discussion “IT Governance: What Is It? Why Is It So Important? What Do IT Leaders Need To Know About It?” with my buddies, Rob England, Troy DuMoulin & Jack Probst. Then on the main event program I’m facilitating another discussion “Your (S)aas Is On The Line! What Does Today’s IT Service Management Leader Need To Know About The Cloud?” with Troy DuMoulin & Malcolm Ryder (Archestra Research). I will also be presenting one of my favourite all time Pink sessions “What Gregory Peck Can Teach Us About ITSM Leadership”, a 2-part workshop with my buddy, George Spalding. The next day, after the main event, I am also hosting a full day workshop “The ITSM Leadership MasterClass”.

    September 8-10: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    “Pink Elephant’s 6th Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition” I host “The ITSM Leadership MasterClass” the day before the main event, and 3 more sessions over the following 2 days: “8 Key Traits Of An IT Service Management Superhero!”, “5 Critical Actions For IT Service Management Leaders” and “Winning C-Level Buy-In With An Effective Business Case”.

    September 11-12: Singapore
    “Pink Elephant’s 6th Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition” where I begin with “The ITSM Leadership MasterClass” on the first day and present 3 sessions on the last day “8 Key Traits Of An IT Service Management Superhero!”, “5 Critical Actions For IT Service Management Leaders” and the Conference wrap-up “Translating Knowledge Into Results”.

    September 18: Toronto, ON
    I’m presenting a 1-day seminar “The Business of IT” with my Pink buddy Troy DuMoulin.

    October 19-22: Washington, DC
    I’ll be presenting at itSMF’s “FUSION14 Conference & Expo” on the subject of “Justifying ITSM Improvement Projects To Executives Management” in the Strategic Track.


    But that’s not all, Pink has more events planned before the end of the year and so I’ll update if anything is added.

    Finally, if you’re involved in program planning for a group (maybe an itSMF LIG or an HDI Local Chapter) or you work for an IT services organization planning to host an event for your customers, then please consider inviting me along! You can either contact me directly, or better still reach out to Pattie Lanktree at Pink. Pattie coordinates all our speaking engagements and so nothing happens without her say-so!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 05/12 at 04:39 PM
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