TagService Desk

..and what of your ITIL service desk in the shiny digital world?

The strategy is in place.

Consultants and UXers are swarming like excited honey bees. Digital is the nectar.

Fresh mantras are replacing the dusty old ideas. Responsive! High customer experience! Peak user!

The steady murmur of buzzwords hum in the air like electric current – cloud shift, mobile, lightweight apps. Analytics.

This hive is primed and ready to fly into the new tomorrow.

But in this bright, new and shiny world, what of the ITIL service desk? When password resets are all self-service, and applications and infrastructure are in the cloud, how will the future unfold for this historical artefact of a department; they who were not invited to the fiesta digitale.

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Post-ITSM and Paradigm Shift

Paradigm shift is a term that can be misapplied.

Some use it to describe new methodologies; that is, new ways of doing things.

In fact, the term is closely associated with Thomas Kuhn’s 1970 classic The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions. In his book, Professor Kuhn examined some of the major scientific upheavals of centuries gone by: the change from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy, the shift from the phlogiston theory of combustion to the discovery of the element oxygen, and the revolution that caused Newtonian physics to be replaced by Einstein’s theories of relativity.

In each of these instances, although the practical ramifications of the scientific change may have been minimal, the change to the theoretical underpinnings was enormous. For example, the practical application of astronomy in Ptolemy’s time was to help farmers predict seasons, rainfall and that sort of thing through observation of celestial objects. That didn’t change a great deal once the Copernican system was adopted, except that by employing the new tables, the predictions were more accurate. However, the theoretical predicates behind the later theories were entirely different. The same was true about the shifts following the change in understandings regarding the the role of oxygen in combustion and Einsteinan physics.

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IT Service – View From The Top

This one’s for the leaders.

Are you CEO or COO? Senior manager? Well-connected big fish in your enterprise? Then please, read on.

In truth, this post is for everyone else too, but it is leadership types whom I am hoping will be those who are most inspired by it.

So leaders – as individuals occupying elevated positions in the organisation, you are probably aware that your experience of IT service is quite different to that of the ‘regular’ staff. Right?

For instance, if you – personally – identify the need for a software application which might create efficiencies in your day-to-day job, or which might deliver considerable business benefit, then you’ll know how to get that utility into the business. If you are a CEO, you’ll probably harangue your CIO or CTO. If you’re a CIO, or another senior manager, you’ll more than likely be aware of the right person to talk to to make it happen.

But what if one of the other people in the organisation – that is, one of the ‘users’ – spots an opportunity for technological innovation? I’m sure you need no reminding of who exactly these ‘users’ are. They are the guys and girls who are the product of the carefully considered and expensive recruitment policy that you’ve implemented. So in this the information age, who do these ‘users’ turn to in order to turn their information technological ideas into reality?

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Beyond ITSM

In November of last year I spent a week in Sweden talking to IT folk about something which I termed post-ITSM. With this phrase my intention was to was to be provocative, yes; but also to suggest a future in which IT service departments work under a new paradigm, something that both encompasses and extends ITSM, while being based on a alternative premise.

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Kill Your Service Desk

My recent LinkedIn connections might know me solely as a SQL data specialist. There are however, many former colleagues on that social media platform from earlier in my career, who will be aware of the years of graft that I put in as an IT support, IT service and IT management functionary. I also have a few connections from my time spent drowning in academic papers at the Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield.

Quite a number of these contacts may be unaware that over the last five years I’ve spent a portion of my spare time writing, blogging and tweeting about the ways in which IT service work is organised and how it might be improved. In this I bring together my commercial experience and my work psychology education, as well as a good dollop of creative and maverick nature. I’m mainly critical of the status quo, and try to concentrate on looking ahead to benefits that may accrue from new models of work.

This writing activity began in 2009. The early pieces are remarkably similar to the stuff I am churning out now, although they were a little unformed and perhaps heavy on the work psychology. However, quite early on I hit a nerve (evidenced by the popularity of the post) when I suggested that we were witnessing the slow death of ITIL. Since then I’ve been arguing that the entire concept of ITSM is problematic in relation to good human service.

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