Having spent the last week at perhaps the world's largest Information Technology Services Management (ITSM) conference, my eyes were opened a little wider to some pretty amazing transformations afoot across the IT landscape. I did come home feeling a bit uneasy about the future of my day job as an IT professional. I also came away with both an appreciation for the ITSM consulting and training company Pink Elephant and an equal part confusion about some of the mixed messages I heard at this most excellent of events. Given that much of what was discussed hits squarely at how mobile technology and its use is causing a sea change for IT, I feel compelled to share what I took away from the conference.
Before I get to the meat and potatoes of the event, let me establish both the setting and circumstances that led me to Pink Elephant's 15th annual IT management conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The Bellagio is certainly awe-inspiring if you've never been, and it was a perfect backdrop for the impressive turnout of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) faithful from around the world. Most of those I mixed with in the various seminars were entrenched practitioners of the ITIL methodology, at various stages of implementing this best-practices framework of managing IT services.
Others, like me, were there to kick the ITIL tires and to learn whether there are elements of the ITIL methodology that might be leveraged to improve our own customer-facing support offerings. Regardless of where you came from or why you were there, the Pink Elephant folks made the conference fun, exciting and beneficial for all.
The opening video presented at the conference pushed a lot of my buttons, as it gave a quick run-through of where IT has been, where it is now, and what the future holds as social media and customer-defined applications pervade deeper into all of our personal and professional lives. As the video put it, "we've lost control" of not only our enterprise data as it gets farther flung into so many mobile devices but also, to a certain degree, of the hearts and minds of those we in IT support.
Where once IT dictated what applications were used and how support would be accomplished, now clients are driving what applications they demand. Social media increasingly finds a role in support, as our customers frequently bypass us as they help themselves by dealing with each other or directly with manufacturers that are also seizing the capabilities of social media in what is evolving into a new help model.