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future.jpgHumans struggle to define concepts.  Ontology is useless in a world that needs to be "communicated to", "marketed against" and "preference driven".


The pathology around the word "practitioner" is a symptom of this misguided direction by people in tech to take ownership, create “customers” and define relationships and roles. Many people feel there is a need for "real practitioners" in social media for ITSM.


It's not helpful to exclude consultants, sales people, marketers, CEOs, Moms and bakers by categorizing them as "not real practitioners" of IT Service Management.


I don’t know anyone that isn’t a “real practitioner”. Everyone I know is involved in tech, from the farmers back home to my diabetic neighbor who manages more cloud systems and relationships than many of the “real practitioners” I know.


When you see the word “REAL” you should recognize this as a calling card for “insecure with change”.


We must stop creating relationships where we subjugate people to roles that define who "we" are.


In the 25 years I have been in IT support, three things come up in enterprise support that seem to be unicorn-like in their magic, visibility and hope.


  1. CMDB
  2. Knowledge Management
  3. Self Service


As I stated at the beginning of this article, the ontology of these words doesn't allow for them to move beyond spin, pitch, hype and unicorn status.


How do you maintain the CMDB we were promised in the 90s in a world of APIs, connected personal wearable devices, quantified self, IOT, and cloud services?


How do you manage knowledge in an age where people create disposable messages and ephemeral media?  In an era where more information has been created in the last year than in all of human history?


How do you provide "self-service" in a time where people avoid any system that isn't something they choose while comparing home screens with a friend?


I specialize in just these types of issues.  I unusually start by looking at the humanity of the issue and working inward from there.


For example, with self-service, I had to look at why "I" personally didn't like it, and then I had to talk to friends, peers, neighbors and co-workers.


I did what we used to call "research" and "thinking".


It turns out that in the case of self-service, the problem has a few layers that are very simple.


Let's think about self-service historically.


  • 1990-2000 - Auto Response email, BBSs, printed manuals and graphics hung above machinery were self-service.
  • 2000-2005 - FAQs, Web portals, complex form-based workflows and telephony interactive voice response systems were the "new" self-service.
  • 2005-2010 - Activity streams, crowdsourcing,
  • 2010-2015 - Web based apps, collaboration, concierge desks, location-based support.


cloud.jpgYou'll notice two trends in the period of time above.


We were getting closer to each other.


We were experiencing "calm" technology.


Calm technology focuses on not distracting you from the moment at hand.  Maybe it’s a light that slowly changes its coloring to let you know about the weather. A wristband with haptic feedback to allow you to know it is time to leave for the airport to pick up your spouse.


Self-service can thrive in a world where it's part of our day and we can focus on each other.


IT through the years was meant to make work easier and faster.  IT was supposed to be empowering and helpful.  The promise of IT of the 80s, 90s and 2000s wasn’t fulfilled.  IT became something to manage.  IT became something to be obeyed.  IT became something to be governed.



Today Information Technology is evolving into systems of enriched lifestyles.  We no longer think of the pain of a VCR, we think of the joy of browsing and streaming.  We no longer wonder where that file is, it’s on all of our devices.


We wear technology that motivates us to become more active.  We interact with technology to connect us to our family, friends and peers.  We don’t spend hours filling out forms or searching for answers, and we experience information in a way that is reflective of our values.  It’s amazing what IT was meant to be.


At BMC we believe that we are at the beginning of an age where IT isn’t about our relationship with technology, but instead is about our experience with information.  Finding your files was a step on this journey.  Sharing your dreams was a step on this journey.


Experiencing your passion through a relationship with information is our goal, and we are so pleased to be part of this amazing journey.


Let's explore this world together in my sessions on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 7:15am for It’s Not Self-Service If It Actually Empowers People and later in the morning at 10:30am for Contextual ITSM & The Next Wave Of BYOD.


It’s amazing what IT was meant to be.