I’ve now been back from the Service Desk Institute (SDI) 2018 conference (SDI18) for nearly two weeks and I still can’t believe what a whirlwind of IT service management (ITSM) and service desk knowledge-sharing it was. I’ll definitely go to SDI19 if allowed the time.
There was some great content available – with the usual ITSM-conference issue of needing to choose between competing sessions across multiple streams. I had to make some tough choices, and I’m now using this blog to share, with the wider (and global) ITSM community, some of the things I learned.
But, before I jump into the content nuggets, it’s also worth mentioning the conference’s “feel” – that, unlike some of the other conferences I’ve been lucky enough to attend, you get a real sense that the SDI conference is built around the attendees. That the conference is all about the SDI members and their needs. It’s a great experience if you ever get the opportunity to attend.
Well, the first thing is that: “time and tide waits for no man (or woman).” I had planned to see so much more at SDI18, but the pace of session delivery was rapid. Plus, of course, then “work happens.”
I did find some great nuggets though in many of the sessions, including:
Here’s some of my key learnings from each...
I didn’t actually get to Vawns’ sessions due to work commitments, but I did follow it closely on Twitter – saving her ITSM nuggets, via attendee tweets, along the way.
So, what did Vawns share with her audience? There was a big emphasis on keeping things simple – as complexity leads to people trying to make things simpler themselves, i.e. circumvention of the agreed process. For instance:
You need to prepare for major incidents - if your change management policy doesn't include this provision all hell will break loose and people will just do whatever is quickest and easiest at the time - @vawns #SDI18
— ITSM.tools (@itsm_tools) March 13, 2018
Vawns also offered a lot more advice on some of the change management aspects that should be addressed to maximize the chances of consistent change management success:
Vawns’ key takeaways were:
If you're just getting started with change management, you can get more wisdom from Joe the IT Guy's blog: 15 Tips for Getting Started with Change Management.
And I’ll finish on this one by just leaving this great tweet from Simon Morris here:
Oh god. The Change Advisory Board.
The death march.
The meeting of "no"
The meeting of "let's talk about implementation"
— Simon Morris (@Simo_Morris) March 13, 2018
This experiment in ITSM-conference panel format, and ITSM-vendor involvement (yes, we are all very human), included some very smart participants from: 4me, Alemba, Axios, Fusion GBS, Hornbill, Ivanti, Marval, and SysAid.
The audience voted on their preferred answers and the round winner went on to pair up against the next vendor contestant, until there was only one person standing. And lo and behold – that last one standing was my SysAid colleague Oded Moshe, who eventually won in the final round against Gary Pruden of Fusion GBS.
Regarding the contestants’ answers during this vendor showdown, I know ITSM.tools is looking to create a blog from the best answers so I won’t post them here….we’ll wait for that.
Given the popularity of Pepper the Robot at SDI18, I now feel really bad that I didn’t bring Joe the IT Guy with me to SDI – Pepper and Joe would’ve been fast friends! You wouldn’t believe how much attention Pepper received throughout the conference.
Carl Clement – Pepper’s “handler” – presented on the popularity of robots in certain human-facing service tasks. From assisting in healthcare to offering IT support – where, for a large telecoms company, Pepper can answer over 30% of questions that people ask the service desk:
— MetricNet (@MetricNet) March 13, 2018
Pepper was initially used in a supermarket, where it was concluded that people would rather speak to a robot than other people! It seems there’s less pressure and the robot is more credible. Take, for instance, wine &endash; would a Frenchman take wine advice from a person? Heck no. But a robot’s convincing! And the trial store sold more wine with Pepper on staff.
Well, who wouldn’t trust a dancer like this?
— Dena Wieder-Freiden (@denawf) March 13, 2018
From the super-modern Pepper, I moved on to the super-colorful Stuart Rance talking about service desk metrics. Stuart set the scene for his session really well by offering sage advice on how organizations should approach their metrics, starting with how to better meet customer expectations:
— vawns (@vawns) March 13, 2018
Stuart also spoke to the importance of communication and reporting.
From keeping end users informed...
— Sanjeev NC (@yenceesanjeev) March 13, 2018
...through the real value received from the time invested in reporting, to how metrics influence actions:
The last point is so, so important. We need to understand how metrics – especially the wrong metrics – drive human behavior. This was summed up really well in a tweet by Rob England, The IT Skeptic:
"Give a manager a KPI and they will meet it if they have to destroy the company in the process"
— Rob England (@theitskeptic) March 14, 2018
Stuart’s key takeaways:
You can read more of Stuart’s service desk metrics wisdom here.
Stevie Chambers is a well-worn – and he would say “worn-out” – cloud professional who is happy to tell people some home-truths about cloud usage. For instance, that: “The thing about cloud is that you can’t hide – you know how much is being spent and wasted.” Thankfully though, he is happy to talk about the benefits of cloud adoption too.
Basically, the benefits of well-executed cloud services are the same four things that any business service needs:
There are many challenges though:
— Stuart Rance (@StuartRance) March 14, 2018
With these not necessarily what you might think.
— Stuart Rance (@StuartRance) March 14, 2018
As SDI18 was an ITSM and service desk conference, Stevie had tailored his presentation to the fact that there’s a huge connection between ITSM and cloud but he rarely sees it working properly. And that all of ITSM and ITIL applies to cloud:
— Dena Wieder-Freiden (@denawf) March 14, 2018
One example of Stevie’s key takeaway groupings followed a plea from Stevie for ITSM professionals to get more involved with cloud service delivery because of their skill sets (and because certain tasks and responsibilities are falling through the cracks). His action plan for the (new role) of CSDM (cloud service delivery manager) includes:
So, there you have it, my quick summary of many of the things I learned at SDI18 – I hope they will be helpful to you too.