I had a great day attending the SDI Conference as a delegate and took away lots of ideas, some of which I’ll share here and will expand on over the coming months.
The day started with an exceptional keynote from Kirk Weisler, a motivational speaker who achieved the impossible – getting a room full of UK delegates to speak to each other on what was an unseasonably grey day down in Brighton.
Next I attended a session by David Bullock of legal firm Dickinson Dees, which explored the value and use of cloud computing in a service desk context. One of the best points raised by Bullock was that if we assume that cloud computing will be widely adopted, maintenance is handled by the software publisher rather than support teams, and so will this mean that support teams will shrink? My hope is that the spare resource will be used to build IT services which directly help the business perform more effectively but, in the current climate, the fear is that support teams will simply be trimmed.
Following on from this conversation, a delegate put forward the idea that ITIL, which has already been cut from over 40 books down to six, will eventually become a process hidden in the cloud. Again, will this result in more development work being carried out on the front line, or fewer jobs for IT service professionals? We will be debating this issue over the next few months.
The next session, given by Matthew John, support services manager at the Internet Group, offered a wealth of practical information about how to collect, maintain and utilise knowledge without allocating too much resource. I won’t give too much away here as I hope to feature John on ServiceDesk360 soon, but suffice to say if you understand the value of unlocking and sharing the knowledge of your support staff, he has lots of sensible solutions which could be quickly replicated.
After a buffet lunch (the highlight being mini fish and chips wrapped in newspaper – brilliant), the SDI hosted an interactive voting session. Delegates were given voting devices, and were prompted to answer questions about the service desk industry. Aside from being fun (full marks to the sound team who sourced the Countdown music moments after it had been mentioned), the results which were debated by a panel including the SDI’s Howard Kendall and Don Page of Marvel, were eye opening. Once again, we will be following up and reporting on these figures.
The next keynote was from Catherine DeVrye. If you haven’t heard DeVrye, I strongly recommend you seek her out. She gave a speech which effortlessly switched from being informative to thought provoking to genuinely moving, yet punctuated by many laugh out loud moments. Her theme was to inspire a positive service environment by starting with the self, and few in attendance could have failed to have taken lots from this session.
I had time for one more session, a joint presentation from Hornbill’s Pat Bolger and John Salt of Halliwells, who spoke passionately about how his business had seen great benefits from ITIL by breaking it into individual functions, then applying all of the Version 3 principles to it. Salt’s story showed how an intelligent approach to ITIL can tackle what at first appears to be a daunting task, into something tangible and beneficial.