People (finally) Take IT Centre Stage

Posted on Friday 13 April 2018.

At #SDI18, James West of SITS Insight was reminded why people are so instrumental to IT success. Here are his highlights and thoughts on why the gospel of SDI is starting to change attitudes:

For IT services to be successful, they must combine three elements: people/process/technology.

But while the importance of this triumvirate is an often quoted mantra, in reality, it is rarely adhered to. Process and technology – by virtue of being controllable and quantifiable – invariably take precedent. People are the antithesis of predictable and manageable. This is why, unsurprisingly, it is the element in the IT triangle that is given the least attention.

Thankfully, great efforts have been made in recent years to readdress the balance and make ‘people’ a less daunting task. Both DevOps and Business Relationship Management tackle the issue of people, the former by encouraging a collaborative/feedback approach to development, the latter by directly highlighting the importance of relationships in the success of any technology endeavour.

Running in conjunction with these approaches is a gradual shift in thinking. Hats off to the SDI which more than any other organisation in the IT service management space has championed people and their role in building the kind of IT that organisations need in 2018 and beyond.

It was therefore fitting that as it celebrated 30 years of its Conference that #SDI18 was about people first, technology second. I was lucky enough to watch several of the keynotes and was particularly impressed by Geoff Ramm. His Celebrity Service approach succulently explained why it is so difficult to motivate staff to improve service using traditional methods.

Fellow keynote speaker Nigel Risner was similarly impressive, urging service desk leaders to take risks and put ideas into action. “When all is said and done, much more is said than done. We can give you all the info, but you have to take action,” said Nigel. This sentiment sums up why our industry has failed to keep up with the pace of change that the business demands.

When it comes to ‘people’ and ‘IT’, there’s no topic more provocative than AI and automation. As with any popular technology trend, AI is beset by hyperbole, making it difficult to get a true picture of its impact. Thankfully, Mike Matthews of Fujitsu offered words of comfort, explaining the true meaning of AI and how it will impact the job market, as well as explaining why the value of ‘tier 1’ support is now effectively zero.

As well as the sessions, the beauty of the SDI Conference is the networking opportunities, with the chance to speak to vendors and practitioners, with an emphasis on learning. It’s very much a case of the more-you-put-in, but the education is so good that even inhibited visitors are sure to learn lots. Overall, #SDI18 was a great celebration of the people-first mindset which SDI has done such a brilliant job promoting.

James West is editor of SITS Insight




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