Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Post webinar Q&A - The Science behind Service Catalogues

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As a follow up to some questions I was asked at my recent webinar for ManageEngine, but unable to answer at the time, we have responded on ManageEngine's blog site.

I would value your comments about my answers, and the webinar.

The Q&A can be found here.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Conferences - what's the point?

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Why would you want to attend a conference that takes you away from your work and costs several hundred or thousand dollars?

That is a very good and important question. You may only have the opportunity to attend either a training course or a conference in a year and a training course looks so much better on your CV, doesn't it? Or does it?

Training, while important to your current employer, addresses an immediate need. Your employer has identified a need for you to have a particular skill set, or you have convinced them during your annual review process, and so it is signed off.  "Go and find the training course you need" (before the training budget is slashed).

Conferences probably come from the same budget as your training, so it is fighting for the same opportunity. However conferences are often not going to address an immediate need. They address a long-term desire. Attending a conference will allow you to meet, talk to and listen to other people in similar roles as you, but in different organisations. You will learn about the mistakes they have experienced, the improvements they have made and the ideas that this will spark will enable you to often identify improvements in your current workplace.  It will also enable you to network with other people and talk to those people throughout the year.  I've never met somebody at a conference who has said that they are happy to talk about things when everyone is back at work, and not meant it.  If they are at the conference, they generally enjoy their work and want to grow and help others to grow. So when you get that sticky piece of work and are not sure who to talk to, call upon your network. Someone will have been there before or will be happy to think and talk it through with you.

Conferences are also where vendors are. These are not the terrible people that your mother warned you of, but the people who have products that will probably help you in your job and help keep the cost of your conference down to a level that means you are more likely to be able to get it signed-off. By talking to these people, you will learn about different ways of doing your job, different products to ease the way you do your job or you may even be able to talk to a subject matter expert in the product you currently use to understand what you could do differently, or why you should push to get the latest version in your organisation.

Conference attendance also, in my view, looks better on a CV. It demonstrates maybe not enthusiasm, but enjoyment of your role or skills, and a desire to improve.  That is more important in the long-term than a 3 - 5 day course, unless you need to plug an immediate gap.

So get along to the local conference of your choice.  There may only be one a year in your country, or there may be several and you have to pick and choose.  Many conference organising teams will also be happy to help you justify your attendance if you ask.

I find that the itSMFnz annual conference, and the branch meetings, are a valuable asset for all of the reasons above, so maybe I'll see you at one of those?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Webinar around service catalogues

Recently I was asked by ManageEngine to produce a webinar around Service Catalogues, which they named "The Science behind effective Service Catalogues".  It was a pleasure to have been asked and I enjoyed producing it immensely. There were over 100 people in attendance at the webinar and I felt that I let several people down because, due to technical issues at my end, I was unable to answer any questions.

So, over the coming days,  I will be addressing the questions that were raised and they will be published, initially by ManageEngine, and then by me on this blog.

If you didn't get a chance to attend the webinar, it can now be found on ManageEngine's YouTube page, or here.

I would welcome your feedback.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Wearable tech will be affecting your helpdesk - really?

Image result for man banging headWith all the hype recently around the release of Apple's new watch, there appears to have been a plethora of blogs telling us how the helpdesk needs to be ready for the influx of calls from people wanting to use the benefits of wearable tech for work and how the helpdesk needs to address issues like security, compatibility with existing software and hardware and the information "stored on them".

What rubbish.

None of this is a role for the helpdesk.  Just as with smart phones and tablets or people's personal laptops or palm pilots, this comes back to governance.

Do the governors of IT want IT to allow smart watches to be used in the workplace? I doubt they would be able to consider all of the risks and benefits so this is where IT (maybe in the form of the CIO) needs to advise the governors.  When they have all the information, they can make an informed decision. Then they can direct IT to allow certain things.

Without this direction, IT don't allow anything.

If the governors decide that they do want to allow wearable tech within the workplace, then it is still not the helpdesk that addresses the issues mentioned above. Information Security will consider and address information and security concerns, compatibility will be undertaken by architects.  None of that is the helpdesk.

Image result for policeman clipartWhen everything has been considered and all risks mitigated to an acceptable level, then the helpdesk and other support teams (who we hope have been involved in the design of any changes) will receive all the appropriate information BEFORE go-live, so that they can support the users.  Until then, nothing is supported.

So pundits, before you start scaremongering, just consider who DOES need to address concerns and when.  Let's get the governors governing and IT managing.  It's like Government and Police. The Police (IT) are suppose to uphold the law, and the Government (Governors) set the law. (To follow that analogy a bit, see the IT Skeptic's To Protect and Serve)

Monday, 16 March 2015

All Things ITSM - IT S&M Pain or Pleasure Part Two

I have written a series of blogs for All Things ITSM (which is fantastic site aimed at delivering "the one destination that has everything you need if you are concerned about the value business gets from IT".
The second of these blogs can be found here

Friday, 13 March 2015

All Things ITSM - IT S&M Pain or Pleasure Part One

I have written a series of blogs for All Things ITSM (which is fantastic site aimed at delivering "the one destination that has everything you need if you are concerned about the value business gets from IT".
The first  of these blogs can be found here