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12 Posts authored by: Erin Avery
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We really hope you can join us in Las Vegas, February 17th - 20th for PINK 13, Pink Elephant’s expo for all things ITSM!  The line up of speakers this year is phenomenal, and the show agenda is packed with informative sessions and valuable workshops across each of the four days. It’s promising to be quite an adventure…


Start planning your route (all you need to remember is: booth 204)


We can’t think of a finer place to start your ITSM adventure than the BMC Booth (#204) in the Exhibition Showcase. You’ll be able to meet our experts: they eat, sleep and breathe ITSM, so don’t be shy - make sure you come ready with your questions and ideas.


You can get hands-on with the latest versions across our range of ITSM solutions. We promise that no matter your starting point, and the terrain you’re trying to navigate, you’ll find just the right ITSM solution to get you safely though!


And who knows? We might even be giving away a few things to make your journey a little more comfortable…


Meet your adventure guides


We’ve also lined up some fantastic speakers to guide you through the challenges facing ITSM teams today (and tomorrow):


Chris Dancy, our very own ITSM superstar will be flying in (from the future of course) to present not one, not two, but three, yes three sessions at PINK 13!!!!  If you haven’t seen Chris present before, prepare yourself for an experience like no other, and check him out as follows:

 

  • Dave, I’m afraid I have to place you on hold: Robotics and IT Support
    • Room 812 on Tuesday, February 19th - between 2 and 3pm
  • Knowledge workers and the Reputation Index economy
    • Room 906A on Tuesday, February 19th - between 3:20 and 4:20pm
  • Social ITSM – Rise of the DNA-based response system (Breakfast Session)
    • Room BW2, Wednesday, February 20th –between 07:15 and 08:15am


Seatbelts are advised…you have been warned.


Next up, we have Mr. David Cannon, ITIL V3 Author and Senior Director of the ITSM practice at BMC.  David will be presenting on a theme close to the hearts of many of you: how to attract more investment in IT. Make sure you see David speak on the executive track:

 

  • How to stop the bloodletting and get investment back into IT
    • Room 1002B on Tuesday, February 19th – between 4:35 and 5:45pm


We also have the amazing Mr. Bruce Campbell, long-time ITSM industry expert and one of the most engaging speakers you’ll ever see. Bruce is our principal evangelist for the Remedy solution line, and has amassed a wealth of operational knowledge in all aspects of service management. Bruce will be talking about the opportunities and challenges that exist for IT teams in bridging the gap between IT Support and the broader realm of IT Operations.

 

  • Knocking down the walls between IT Support and Operations
    • Room 906B on Tuesday, February 19th – between 3:20 and 4:20pm

 

 

What happens in Vegas…


Consider yourself formally invited to our ITSM adventure, bring your sense of, well, err, adventure! We look forward to welcoming you at booth 204!

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I once mentioned to a co-worker in response to some work I was doing “I tweet therefore I am.”   Their eyebrows hit their hairline in response to my casual, off-the-cuff statement.  Don’t worry, I won’t go all philosophical on you on a Thursday morning (not sure I’ve had enough coffee yet), but what I learned from my co-workers response to my simple statement is that social media platforms are foreign territory for many folks. They don’t fit our “normal, standard, safe” processes. And for some, foreign territory is scary stuff. 

 

However, fear of the un-known in today’s tech dependent business environment is truly career limiting.  Ignoring the elephant (or cute little bird) in the room won’t make social media go away.  In fact, I propose that no matter how hard one tries to ignore it, block it out or establish “social policies”, the way we communicate and connect has forever changed.   So if we’re living in a social, digital world (like it or not), you may find yourself wondering, how do we embrace the power these platforms offer in our professional lives?

 

This afternoon (2pm EST), my colleague Chris Dancy (some of you know him by his digital persona, @servicesphere) and I will be discussing how your IT Service organizations can embrace the social platforms available TODAY.  If you’re teetering on the brink, not sure if you should embrace or shun (the only answer by the way is embrace) social media, we’d love to have you join the event – bring your questions, too.  We’ll have plenty of time for Q&A.

 

Register for the event here.

 

Cheers,

@ErinKAvery

#BMCSocial

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Your customer base is more tech savvy than ever before.  That’s not the first time you’ve read that statement and probably won’t be the last.  But what does that really mean – more tech savvy than ever before?  They all know how to download an app in less than a minute and think that software costs 99 cents – does that make them tech savvy, or do they just think they’re tech savvy? It stands to reason your customer base expects the ease with which they access technology in their personal life to directly translate to their business life.

 

As IT Service professionals, we know technology has never been more dynamic, complex or intuitive.  Yes, I said that – just because it’s crazy on the back side doesn’t mean we don’t know how to build a slick UI that makes people think technology is simple or makes our users think they’re ‘tech savvy’.  So I propose you harness that tech savvy-ness (perceived or real) in your customer population through an IT service catalog strategy.

 

Tomorrow (Tuesday 23 October 2012), George Spalding (Pink Elephant) and I will be discuss the critical role a service catalog should play in your approach to IT Service Management in a live webinar, Build Cultural Change and Customer Relationships Using ITIL Service Catalog Management & Request Fulfillment.  The live event kicks off at 2.00pm EST and we’d love to have you join us.  Registration can be found here.

 

Consider the power of presenting your tech-savvy users/ customers with the IT & business services and resources they need to do their job, pointing them in the right direction and letting them loose.  I propose it just might be a customer centric approach we, as technologists, can’t afford to pass up.

 

A link to the recording can be found here.

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The BMC Product Management and Marketing teams are pleased to announce the general availability of BMC FootPrints version 11.5.  We invite you to learn more about the new capabilities in BMC FootPrints version 11.5.  With this release, we are taking a customer centric, concierge approach to ensure each and every BMC FootPrints customer has a seamless upgrade experience.  If you’re a BMC FootPrints customer, currently on maintenance, you’ll be hearing from the BMC tech support organization shortly with instructions on how to upgrade.

 

With this latest release, FootPrints 11.5 can help you more quickly resolve user incidents and requests, effectively communicate with users, speed deployment and automate ongoing management of multiple systems simultaneously, as well as accurately assess the value of an asset or cost of a service.  More specifically, FootPrints 11.5 offers:

 

  • User Experience enhancements making navigation more intuitive and expediting incident resolution  
  • New Levels of Twitter Integration enabling you to communicate and engage with your users and customers via the social mediums they prefer
  • Integrated Financial Asset Data to help you see and understand the financial implications of an action or service cost without having to look to other departments or tools
  • Automated asset management tasks with enhancements and options for multi-casting, patching, event resolution, and intelligent agent deployment
  • Asset data integration with BMC FootPrints Service Core (on-premise) or BMC Remedyforce (cloud) delivering useful, practical, customizable out-of-the-box templates with two-way communications for real-time actions
  • An enhanced look & feel, customization options, updated Instant Expert tasks and next generation platform support, FootPrints 11.5 improves the asset management administration experience
  • PC & server migration management updates for server-based user profiles, additional profile types, user interface, and application support.

To learn more about BMC FootPrints 11.5: 

 

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It seems the latest hot topic in technology changes pretty quick.  However, the topic that seems to consistently draw a crowd (and a pretty engaged discussion) is change management.  The need to manage change in your IT environment will never cease to be important.  One poorly managed or executed change in today’s technology dependant business environment can bring your business to a screeching halt.  And even the changes that are managed with the best intentions can result in a business outage if poorly implemented. 

 

If managing change continues to be top of mind for your organization, I encourage you to join George Spalding (Pink Elephant)and I for a live webinar, How to Prevent Unplanned Downtime Using ITIL Change & Release Management, this Thursday (September 27th) at 10.00am CST. 

 

George will be sharing tips and tricks for adopting Change and Release Management best practices as set forth by ITIL and I’ll be sharing insight on how BMC FootPrints can help your organization adopt those best practices in a way that works for your organization.  Event Registration can be found here.  Have a great week, we look forward to talking change management with you on Thursday.

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One of the great things about being a part of the IT Service Management industry is the time I get to spend with folks who dedicate much of their careers to thinking through the ways organizations should approach and improve IT services and the delivery of those services.  The folks from ITIL and PINK Elephant are a few of those experts who have spent a tremendous amount of time thinking through how IT organizations should operate to best meet the needs of their business.

 

During my tenure in the technology world, I’ve always viewed ITIL as a framework, a guide if you will, to help IT organizations get and stay on the right path to creating business value. However, I was surprised at a conversation I recently had with a Director of IT who, at my inquiry around ITIL adoption, responded that ITIL was a marketing thing and something only big organizations with tremendous human and financial resources could afford to adopt (imagine a large arm waving gesture during this conversation).  Needless to say, this made me stutter a bit and reconsider my perspective.  As a technology marketer, had I bought into the hype?  After thinking through it a bit and speaking to a few others about this conversation, I realized there might be a bit of a perception issue around ITIL in organizations that don’t think of themselves as “big” or “resource rich”.

 

My perception of ITIL is that it provides a framework, a guide, if you will, to help IT organizations operate more effectively.  These guidelines have been developed, tested and put into practice over time.  In short, someone else has been kicking the tires for you so your IT organization doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to some of the more common processes and services IT organizations deliver. 

 

Earlier this week, we held a live webinar with George Spalding, VP at Pink Elephant, and explored some of the concepts put forth in ITIL.  If you didn’t attend, I encourage you to listen to the on-demand recording now available.  If you think ITIL isn’t for your organization, you might just be surprised to hear that ITIL and the concepts proposed are right in line with your IT organizations needs and that with the right mindset, approach and toolset (yes, BMC FootPrints can help here), you can easily adopt IT best practices, leveraging ITIL, at a pace that works for your IT organization and business.

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Yesterday I had the great opportunity to spend time with a number of BMC FootPrints customers in the Boston area.  While I really enjoyed the much cooler weather (it’s already very HOT in Texas) one of the best parts of the day was a lively roundtable discussion with about ten folks on change management.  

 

With anywhere from 60 – 80% of unplanned downtime attributed to unmanaged change, make no mistake about it, this topic is about as hot as the weather in Texas.  But change management isn’t about simply controlling unmanaged change or tracking changes in an excel spreadsheet. It’s about much more – people, process, behavior and then comes the tools to help an organization implement changes in a controlled, secure fashion.  As I reflect on yesterday’s conversation, there are a few considerations every organization should make on their journey to implementing secure, effective change management:

 

  • Define Goals.  Why are you considering change management?  Do you need to reduce outages?  Or do you need better documentation of your process for audits?  Are you struggling with security vulnerabilities and need to reduce those?  You will most likely find you have multiple goals.  Taking the time to think through these goals, prioritize and document them will help you ensure the best possible outcome and use of your organizations resources.
  • Define Change.  This seems so simple, but it’s not.  You must define what change means in your organization.  For some organizations, this may be anything going into production.  For other organizations, change may have a different set of parameters.  You can’t successfully control and manage change if you don’t know what you’re managing.
  • Define Process.  You can’t automate process that is not defined.  Spend some time truly looking at the way your processes for change occur.  Consider everything from the request, to the review, to the approval and execution stages.  Are you doing things for the sake of doing them or because that’s the way it’s always been done?  Does your process ensure you’re in alignment with your goals?  Are the right people involved at the right steps in the process?

 

Considering your goals, your definition of change and the processes that work for your organization and resources will set you on a course to creating a process that can be effectively managed and ensure adoption across the organization.  Has your organization formally adopted change management?  I’d love to hear how your organization approached the task to ensure successful adoption and implementation.

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We’ve become an impatient society on-the-go.  We have grown used to access, answers and action, now. Not in five minutes. Not in an hour.  Now.  Patience is a rare virtue in 2012.  So I’m not surprised to find user self-service projects popping up everywhere these days.

 

While I won’t debate the merits of why we’re all pursing self-service (are users pushing us there or are we driving the offering – that’s for another blog post), I think it’s worthwhile to explore the common traits of successful user self-service initiatives.  My hypothesis – technology is only one piece of the puzzle.  Yet, as technologist, I think we’re often focused on that piece first.  After all, technology is our comfort zone.  With user self-service, the key word is “user”.  To help ensure your self-service project starts off on the right foot and flourishes over time, consider the following five areas:

 

  • Goals: You can’t measure success if you don’t define it first.  Are you looking to reduce call volume, increase user satisfaction or maybe launch a new offering?
  • Define your offering now… but keep an open mind in future:  We’re a technology savvy population and we’re going to expect (and ask) for more.  However, just because a baby can see over the steering wheel doesn’t mean you should give the baby the keys to the car!  There are some services that aren’t right to offer now but may be right in the future.  There are some offerings that will never be right for self-service. 
  • Technology: With the user in mind, look for a graphical, colorful, user-friendly service catalog that’s intuitive for your users to navigate and easy for you to evolve over time.  Knowledge bases are a fabulous way to provide information to users who want to self-help and self-solve (or at least they want to try that before picking up the phone to call the service desk).
  • Launch and Education: For the users who might not yet understand the benefits of self-service, you need to consider how you’ll educate them on this new offering and why they should adopt it.  One BMC FootPrints customer launched their Self-Service initiative by holding “Love Your Computer Week” to drive education and adoption. 
  • Evaluation and Improvement:  By setting goals early, you can measure your success and evolve your offering.  Were your goals on track?  Maybe they were overly aggressive or maybe you hurdled over them and your initiative is so wildly successful, you need to grow it! 

 

I hope you found this list good food for thought as you consider or re-consider your approach to user self-service and the service offerings you make available to your end users and the business. If you’ve launched a self-service initiative, I’m interested to hear how you’re driving success in your organization.  Please consider sharing what is working and quite frankly, what’s not by commenting on this blog post.  Self-service projects are an evolution, we can all learn from each other!

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Many folks from the BMC Track-IT!, Remedyforce, FootPrints and Remedy teams and I have just returned from a great week in Orlando at the HDI Conference and I have to tell you, it was the most fun I’ve had at a conference in a long time!  As I was flying home and reflecting on the event, I had a moment of realization – it was a fun conference because everyone was so happy to be there.  I shared this thought with a colleague who responded “Why do you think everyone was so happy?”  I think I have the answer - we are technologists at heart and what we do has become so important. The opportunity for creativity and success is limitlessHDI Booth.JPG

 

Regardless when you entered the technology world, you know one thing is true, perception of technology is changing at the most rapid pace in history.  Our customers – end users and the business – are more comfortable with technology than ever and rely on it to achieve both their personal and professional goals.  So it’s a pretty cool thing to work in an industry that has become indispensible to nearly every aspect of our customers lives. 

 

However, as the want and need for technology has accelerated, so has the complexity of technology. We’re in higher demand than we’ve ever been with responsibilities that are more complicated than ever before.  Depending on your perspective, it’s the perfect storm or the perfect opportunity. 

 

I think the folks attending HDI this past week see it as the perfect opportunity.  For those of us who run Help Desk and IT Service Management teams, you know you’re the face of technology to the business – the first interaction an end user or customer has when they need a new application to do their job better or when they’re struggling with the technology they have.  We call these things incidents, problems, service request, changes, yada, yada, yada.  To the customer, they have a pain and you – the Help or Service Desk professional – are the person who can fix that pain for them.  It’s a pretty cool thing to be the face of technology to your organization.

 

To those of you who came by the BMC Software booth, our Breakfast Session on Self-Service or our Product Showcase this past week thanks for sharing your stories with us.  Your excitement about technology and enthusiasm for exceptional service delivery was clearly infectious to us, in the BMC booth, and to your fellow HDI attendees.  For those of you planning to attend the HDI Virtual Conference & Expo on May 22nd, we’ll be there too, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you.

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A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak with the Chicagoland chapter of HDI at their monthly meeting.  As I scraped the wintery mix of snow & ice off the windshield of my rental car with no gloves on (of course I forgot to bring gloves to Chicago in January) my thoughts drifted from my talk on The Consumerization of IT to the fact that I couldn’t feel my finger tips, and I panicked.  How was I going to advance my slides during the talk if I got frost bite?  My defrosting fingers and I finally arrived at the event (on time, I might add) and I was pleasantly surprised to find such a great turnout on a cold, wintery day.  Confirmation of what I already knew to be true. HDI is a great organization, for those of us in the IT industry that provides education, networking and connection to our peers.  Our peers in IT who are most likely dealing with the same struggles we are.

 

While consumerization means many new and different things for IT organizations, one of the most immediate impacts is the dramatic shift in user and business expectations.  We, as a general population, are more comfortable with technology than ever before.  With this increased comfort comes a new and bold expectation around performance speed, intuitiveness and accessibility.  Furthermore, many business units are asking, and sometimes even demanding, that IT offer, deliver and manage business processes and services that are far outside the realm of traditional IT work.   As a result, many IT organizations are faced with a new and complex challenge – how to manage day-to-day IT responsibilities while securely offering and delivering new business services.  As I discussed these concepts with the members of the Chicagoland HDI chapter, I found many folks in the room were currently facing this same trend within their own organizations.

 

Here at BMC (formerly Numara Software), we believe the answer to this challenge lies in your IT Service Management (ITSM) solution.  Most ITSM solutions are built to help you manage, route and automate IT processes.  So, why not extend the flexible process automation platform you already have and extend those capabilities to other functional areas of your business?

 

Lending a hand to your Human Resources department is a great first step as this is an area that most likely already has defined processes already in place.  Leveraging flexible workflow automation, enforced approvals, a robust knowledgebase and the user self-service capabilities inherent to ITSM solutions, you can facilitate workflow and improve communication between distributed departments that often rely on information from Human Resources.

 

After my talk ended in Chicago, I spoke with the manager of IT Support at a large enterprise company with a tremendous amount of contractors.  She

shared with me that their HR department has recently approached her IT group asking for help in managing the constant moves, adds and changes associated with contract staff.  She and her IT support staff have to figure out where this HR business project fits in their priority list while still delivering IT services and maintaining SLA adherence for the rest of the company.

 

What are the processes your business is asking you to help with?  Are you automating Human Resources business process already? Maybe some other functional area of the business is leveraging your ITSM solution to streamline workload and drive new business value.  Send me your success stories and challenges. I’d love to hear about them!

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I’ve spent the last few weeks attending and presenting at FootPrints User Groups across the country (for those of you who came, endured and lived to see another day, thanks for coming!  It was great meeting you all!)  Getting out on the road and visiting customers is my favorite part of my job – I’m always amazed at the clever, intelligent and resourceful ways that folks use technology over and above what we originally intended it to do –  which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from last week’s travels:

 

“FootPrints empowers us to break down business silos and improves organizational transparency.”

 

Yes, an actual FootPrints administrator said that, I didn’t make it up (promise!)  That statement really punctuated the conversations I had over the week with customers who told me stories of using their integrated service and asset management solution for more than just IT service desk needs.  If you have a service desk solution in place or are in the market for a new solution, here are a few ways that you can creatively extend the value of that solution (shameless plug, yes, FootPrints can do all of these):

 

  • Human Resources – probably the most common organization we find leveraging IT service management solutions outside of IT.  Many of our customers are automating employee adds, moves, changes and terminations.  Not only does this reduce the burden of requests on your IT service desk, but it improves the accuracy of your data and ensures a full audit trail is captured when access is changed.
  • In-house Development Bug-Tracking – whether your organization has a team of in-house developers working on creating revenue generating apps, customizing your website to improve the customer experience or  improving the functionality of your internal applications, software is going to have bugs – it’s a fact of life.  Many FootPrints customers have automated their bug tracking, and they tell us simply using this capability has helped them eliminate redundant work, expedite resolution and improve communication among stakeholders and developers.
  • Facilities – maintaining a building or a property of multiple buildings take a lot of work and requires adherence to process.  Leveraging an IT service management solution, you not only can automate work order creation for routine maintenance tasks like changing air filters each month (I wish I had that capability in my own home!), but also can offer facilities services via your user self-service catalog so users can request service as necessary. Task assignments can be fully automated, as well! 
  • Catering/ Food Services -  many companies and higher education agencies leverage an on-site catering service or outsource to a single vendor when food is needed for an event or meeting.  Rather than faxing or filling out paper order forms that are often scanned and emailed, many hospitals, universities and other institutions have automated the request and approval process for catering which has resulted in better expense and budget control.

 

 

While some other vendors are touting this as a new capability (many of them are calling it PaaS), FootPrints customers have been automating business processes for over a decade with no programming. I’m interested to hear about business process you’re automating and how you’re using FootPrints (or your IT service desk solution) to drive business value.

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The launch of FootPrints 11 was an exciting day for BMC Software (formerly Numara Software), like Christmas in July, except it was Christmas in November.   Below, you will find my thoughts on the launch of FootPrints 11. 

 

We’ve spent the past year listening to you, our customers, understanding your IT and business service management needs, and enhancing our product offering to best meet the items on your wish list!  Today we announced the general availability of FootPrints 11 – the access, control, and unprecedented visibility you’ve always wanted, but could never get from a single vendor.    As I said, it’s a big exciting day for the folks at here, but it’s even better for our customers and for anyone out there who is interested in taking a hard look at the way you approach service and asset management to provide the most bang for your buck! 

 

My mother always told me she and Santa had eyes in the back of their head.  They were all knowing.  It seems that today’s CIO or IT executives need this same kind of all knowing power.  So when the business asks about service levels, first call resolution metrics, or wants to know about incident and problem statistics, providing an answer is as simple as glancing at an executive dashboard .  In FootPrints 11, we’ve added a modern, sleek executive dashboard that you can easily customize to reflect the metrics that are most pertinent to your business.  It’s like eyes in the back of your head for CIO’s and IT executives!

 

Every business is unique – you have your own processes, terminology and business goals.  As such, when users and customers make an IT or business service, you know exactly what information you need to capture at the time of the request to most quickly and effectively resolve the request.  With the new drag-and-drop form designer in FootPrints 11, you can easily customize and configure forms .  I recently spoke to an existing FootPrints customer who tested this functionality prior to the release and he said using this capability has allowed him to reduce the time it takes to create a custom form from six hours to 30 minutes.  Now that’s getting what you want, when you want it! 

 

There are many other great features and capabilities   that we’ve added in FootPrints 11, but today it’s not about features and capabilities, it’s about our unwavering commitment to making you, our customers successful.  If you’re an existing FootPrints customer – thank you for your business, feedback and participation in evolving our offering.  If you need a new way to approach service and asset management and you want to get a handle on the mobile devices accessing your network, I encourage you to consider BMC (formerly Numara Software) products - they are created and managed by a team of passionate, dedicated folks  who thrive on customer success.  And yes, we secretly love to play Santa too, granting wishes one customer at a time!

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