About the Author

Melanie Karunaratne | Senior Product Marketing Manager

The Million-Dollar Question: How Easy is it to Upgrade or Change Your ITSM System?

MillionDollarQuestionI attended the HDI show in Las Vegas and I’ll be attending the SITS show in London later this year. It is a great opportunity for me to meet lots of IT folk from the service management industry. When I talk to these good folk about why they are attending the event, I often get the same response. They are experiencing similar challenges and are there talking to ITSM tool providers about how they can improve their current situation.

What is that challenge?

The main challenge these people face is about being able to upgrade their current solution, or at least be able to make changes to it easily, whether the solution is on premise or in the cloud. This is usually to take account of variations in their ITSM environment.  Upgrading to the latest versions allows them to take advantage of new features, functionality or user experience, but this can be a costly proposition. Some of the concerns I hear include:

Meet the LANDESK Team at HDI Conference 2015

On March 23-27, the HDI, a global IT Service and technical support association and training body, will host its annual IT Service and technical support conference and expo at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

What Will You Hear?

This four day program gives service management professionals, from executive to analyst, the ideal opportunity to gain new knowledge and achieve service management excellence in their own environments. If you are attending, you can look forward to five keynotes and over 80 breakout sessions. You can meet and engage with speakers and practitioners, listen to content, and gain valuable insights into how formal procedures, processes and industry tools improve performance. And of course do a little networking at the bar after hours.

ITSM: Context Paints a Bigger Picture

471881275In a previous blog I introduced the concept of context. In this blog, I’d like to expand on this topic and provide little more understanding of what I am thinking about here.

Let’s face it, although technology aids productivity at work, to some extent it’s created an era of depersonalized contact. These days it’s more likely I will send a black and white impersonal email or text message to a co-worker or a group of people than walk across to their desk and have a more friendly conversational exchange. Which means I miss out on learning more about the “person” that I am communicating with; what they like, even what they do on a daily basis which would help our future working relationship.

Introducing Service Desk 7.8 in the age of context

200153252-001I’d like to introduce you to our latest service management release, packed full of goodness to put a spring in your step for the New Year, but that’s not all, keep reading to learn about an exciting competition that you can enter.

Ahh, yes a new year,– time to make a new start at work; forge new relationships, be more efficient, be more productive and leave work at a reasonable hour! We see all around us that those that succeed at work and in building relationships do so through a combination of being more focused cutting out time-wasting activities while making personalized and consistent contact with fellow workers. But here’s the rub, many of us don’t have the time to search out more details about people we work with to make those personalized engagements. We resort to static, one-size fits-none engagement. Hold on though, because the newest major release of LANDESK Service Desk changes all that for IT service management (ITSM) analysts, or anyone in the business using service management to improve their departments; HR, facilities, R&D etc. And our focus for this release, as you might have guessed from the title, is “context”.

Giving Context to Service Management

In our previous major release, we focused on improving Engagement – IT engaging more with the business and having the right tools in place for business users to engage with IT. That is still very much top-of-mind in many service desks and other departments, and to make that more effective we think you need to add context. Because what’s more engaging when you have a conversation?– “Hello, who’s calling, please tell me the model number of your laptop, please hold while I check our other systems to see what software you have installed” or “Hi Andy, so you have a problem with your laptop? – you have a Macbook Air don’t you? ….thanks so confirming you are all fixed? By the way how’s your new iPhone 6 working out for you? I see you’ve been doing a fair bit of international travel lately – is that going to continue, do we need to look at raising the cap on your roaming data allowance?” A right time experience is a powerful way to get richer engagement. And, through the provision of relevant and more personal information IT can both offer to business users and make; relevant choices, actions or deliver content.

What’s New?
LANDESK Service Desk 7.8 will help you add context to your working day with:
• A new role-specific Workspace for targeted ITSM working experience
• Enhanced Computer Telephony Integration gives contextual insights for better interactions
• New dynamic in-context knowledge increasing analyst efficiency
• Advanced Integration actions
• And much more…

In addition we’ve released a number of content packs (which others often refer to as apps) alongside this release:
• Support Appoint Content Pack enabling “genius bar” style support and engagement
• IT Asset Management Content Pack initiating simple ITAM processes from one environment
• Time Tracker captures the amount of time spent on a task for project management, billing etc.
You can learn more about this release here

Win, Win, Win!

But before you go off and learn more about 7.8, to celebrate our newest launch, I want to invite you to enter our competition. Context will give you those IT moments of clarity, experience and data to help you gain insights about your business users, and we would like you to send in your own #ITMoments.
We are looking for images or photos that illustrate your IT Moments—good, bad, or just plain funny. Judged on originality and creativity there are two opportunities to win. You can enter as an individual or you can enter as a team. With prizes such as a Go Pro Camera and a 3D Printer up for grabs, why not give it a go.Closing date for the competition is January 31, 2015.
For more details and how to enter go to our Facebook page

Ok…now you can go take a look at 7.8

Stay tuned for more about context in later blogs from me!

IT is not Just IT’s Problem

461149083There is a lot of discussion at the moment about Shadow IT; how IT needs to combat it, lock it down, manage it or take advantage of it. IT, and in particular the service desk, bears the brunt of departments or individuals all the way up to executive level; expecting support on devices, services or software that they have acquired for use on their own. The more IT support and maintenance requests that are thrown at them, the less likely they are to do the innovative and interesting things they’d like to do to help the business. Because when it comes to IT Services, it’s the IT team’s problem right?

Ever heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child?” Which essentially means it should be a communal effort to bring up a child and the onus is not just on the parents. The concept is one that I believe is expandable to many other areas of life, including the world of work.

I hail from a marketing background where we marketing types can be fiercely protective about our brands and in particular the design elements of a brand. If someone changes a company Power Point template, then marketers are heat seeking missiles finding and speaking to the transgressor about why the template provided wasn’t used and what can be done to help that person use the right tools, or indeed take on board feedback if there is an issue with the template. If an employee needs a logo or image created they go to marketing, perhaps with some ideas of what they would like to see, but they understand that the marketing team has the expertise to see that through to execution – would it work in different colours, different sizes, different materials, what’s the cost of four colour logo compared to a two colour logo in the long run – all of the things that those outside of marketing may not have thought or known about.

If an organization launches a new brand, then many months of background research and interviews take place with internal staff, customers and other influencers in order to get a 360 degree view of current opinions and sentiment about the organization and what would work in the future. That new brand is likely to be communicated through a company meeting. Presentations by senior executives outline the new, or modified, brand values, the brand experience, the message, the brand image, the potential intangible asset value on a balance sheet, the expected employees contribution to rollout plans; in essence many different parts of an organization from marketing, HR, accounts to the administration staff answering the phone in the new manner – all come together to support a brand rollout.

How many times have you heard the same said about IT projects and services?  There’s the rub. When it comes to IT, they don’t seem to get the same support or recognition, yet just like marketing specialists, IT staff are the experts in their field of IT opportunity cost and risk and are the advisors, the protectors and the service brokers. And yes, whilst we can’t deny more could be done by some IT teams to go out into the field and understand the needs of their end users, they also need the support of their community, or in this case other departments within the organization, when delivering and maintaining IT projects and services.

Why shouldn’t  a rollout of a new service or a policy on user owned IT be an agenda item at company meetings, supported by the HR team when it comes to usage policies, the finance team to stand firm on IT expense claims, or explain what happens to budgets in general due to rogue spending? Why do we not allow the IT team a platform at company meetings to explain the innovations and experience they would like to bring to employees and paint the current experience based on the disparate IT tools introduced and used by different departments that IT must then support? The value of technology to the success of organizations these days is not disputed, but the value of IT teams that maintain these technologies, it seems, still is.

That is why I say, IT is not just the IT team’s problem. Just like every other department IT teams need and require the support of every other department in an organization to be successful.

PAC-MAN! We Take Our Power Pills

156026600 (1) At the Gartner Symposium ITEXpo conference, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, said something along the lines of, “If no one knows we have delivered on a capability, I need to turn up my marketing on it.” He was answering questions about their ventures into the Internet of Things, but for any marketer, it’s a worrying state of affairs if your audience doesn’t know what your company is working on, or what features you have delivered.

And that is one of the many good reasons why we spend so much time communicating with our customers at LANDESK before, during and after the release of any feature, road-map plan, or future strategy.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

…to quote a rather famous song (by… – anyone, anyone know?)

I mentioned in my last blog that the Product Management team had recently returned from a tour of Europe, speaking to our customers that act as a Product Advisory Council (PAC). This is just one of the many ways we try to  communicate and gain feedback from those that have an interest in our solutions.

While simultaneously providing valuable feedback on our solutions, our customers are a fantastic source of information about the different and changing challenges organizations are facing.  They provide feedback on the extent to which trends are under consideration, or already hitting our customers. There are also some marked differences between what we hear in Europe and what we hear in the USA, so it’s important that we can gain that broad perspective. For example, the USA team discovered that one third, or more, European attendees still had Windows XP in their environments, in some instances on thousands of devices. This is a lot higher than we are seeing in other parts of the world.

Build it and They Will Come

From an IT service management perspective, as we expected, our customers believe that ITIL is still relevant in their world and that Self Service is valued. However, the caveat to this was that they believed Self Service needs to be promoted in order to ensure adoption. This is something we hear time and again, that the “build it and they will come” approach just does not work when you are dealing with busy end-users that have their own business priorities.  So much so that I wrote a paper on how to make Self Service a success recently.

One BYOD Size Does Not Fit All

What was clear was that the majority of our PAC customers have a BYOD policy, or are in the throes of implementing one. But they don’t operate on a one-size-fits-all. The policy ranges from complete lock down in sensitive or government controlled environments, to embracing BYOD and providing guest access in the case of the universities we spoke to, who have to deal with student devices.

Blackberry, yes you heard right, Blackberry is still very much alive and kicking in European organizations and is the business productivity tool of choice no less. We’re hearing more and more about wearables in the news from Google Glass to Apple Watches – what did our customers make of it? Well, the majority aren’t yet able to get to grips with this newest challenge to their environment. Those that did were classing wearables as part of their BYOD policy. Anyone out there have any other thoughts on this – by all means add a comment.

Cloud based software is on everyone’s mind, although security is a key consideration. Our PAC customers were either using, moving or thinking about using Office 365. With regard to other cloud solutions, the feedback loud and clear was that they wouldn’t consider a cloud solution that did not have an on-premise option as well.

We talked about so many topics, from asset management to MAC management, to some focused time with one of our UX team that I could write for several more paragraphs, but I won’t. I just wanted to give you a flavour of how we ensure that we bring real world thinking into our products and communicate our solutions and capabilities back out – Microsoft take note.

 

ITIL Certified – We’ve Got Your Bases Covered

PR-PinkVerifyI recently attended some European product advisory council meetings with our customers and one of the questions that we asked at every session was, “Is ITIL still relevant?” The answer came back each time as a resounding yes!

So it was great to be able to tell them, that once again, LANDESK Service Desk recently received PinkVERIFY Certification in 15 ITIL processes.

http://www.landesk.com/company/press-releases/2014/landesk-pinkverify-certification/

ITSM vendors courting new customers frequently get asked in RFPs to identify their level of certification and, in some instances, identify that they have achieved the maximum available certification of 15 processes. There still appears to be a need from IT organizations, responsible for service delivery, to seek out those with certification. Yet, I have met many organizations on an IT journey that includes adopting ITIL processes, and few have met their goal of adopting all of the 15 Pink Verified processes.

Why? Well for one thing, I slipped a bad word in the previous sentence just then – “goal.” If the IT strategy is based around the goal of adopting 15 ITIL processes then I hate to say it, but your strategy needs to go in the nearest paper shredder. ITIL is a framework, a tool if you like to help you achieve your IT goals using defined requirements.

If, like most of us, you’ve had a DIY job hanging over your head for months –like painting the garden (yard) fence– then your goal is not to own a paintbrush, or even paint sprayer, if your fence happens to be 5,000 feet long. (If anyone owns that castle – please invite me to stay). It’s a tool you may use on the way to solve your DIY pain. And because your fence is a different length to mine, you may need a different way of painting it.

Every IT organization is different and it’s one of the reasons that we choose to continue to be ITIL certified. Yes, many organizations that we meet or work with, that are on a continuous improvement path, start their ITIL journey with Incident Management and have gone on to adopt Request and Problem. But, we have many more customers who reflect the general market tendency to adopt Problem further down the journey, and some do Event Management, some Availability, a few Capacity and Finance.

The simple summary is that vendors cannot assume that IT organizations work in a one-size-fits-all business, following the same route. By ensuring that we have certified our toolset on all 15 processes, it’s less about expecting our customers to adopt all 15 processes and more about ensuring we have all their bases covered, no matter what IT challenge they need help to solve further down the line.

The A-Z of the Service Desk and IT Support Show

We are slap bang in the middle of the ITSM Expo and Conference season. With less than a week away from the Service Desk and IT Support Show (SITS) in London Tuesday 29th April and Wednesday 30th April. Here is my A to Z of what to watch out for and cross off your list:

A – Top visitor tip to help you plan your visit, download the SITS App 

B – I’m looking forward to a presentation from Barclay Rae @barclayrae on Wednesday at 10:00 am entitled Respect the Service Desk explaining how to rethink the role of the Service Desk

What would you call this caption?

What would you call this caption?

C – Come up with a witty Caption to go with the image on the left and tweet it back to us @LANDESK for your chance to win a KINDLE Fire HD at #SITS14

D – For your chance to win either Dre Powerbeat headphones, a Pebblewatch or a Nike+Fuel band attend seminar on the LANDESK stand 400

E –  The Education Programme at SITS takes the form of Keynotes, seminars and roundtables.

Help I’ve Forgotten My Password…again!

Reset my password!

I’m writing this blog while waiting for a response from whom I shall refer to as “Your Company IT Failed Me” to my email – “Help I’ve Forgotten My Password”. Yes, once again I’ve forgotten my password and “Your Company IT Failed Me” doesn’t have any way of recovering or resetting passwords, so I’m twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone to email me and get me back into the system.

Woolley Headed End Users

Meanwhile it got me thinking. How many times has that email or phone call hit that company’s call queue in the last month and how much time have they wasted responding in person? For many of you in service desk land I guess it’s a pretty typical daily occurrence that takes up valuable time of analysts. Analysts, who at the same time are getting frustrated and annoyed with woolley headed end users like myself, because we are stopping them from doing real IT work.