The ITSM Winds Are Blowing Which Way? A Q&A with Kevin J.
Who is Kevin J.? He’s Kevin J. Smith, Senior Vice President at Ivanti responsible for product strategy, client success, and IT thought leadership for the company’s global business. In addition, Kevin is a premier knowledge expert and author of the book, The Practical Guide to World-Class IT Service Management.
Earlier this month, Kevin attended the HDI Conference & Expo in Las Vegas where he also spoke on the topic of 5 ITIL Mistakes You Might Be Making.
In the following Q&A, we asked Kevin to share his views about the IT Service Management (ITSM) industry, his impressions of the HDI conference, who the ideal prospect is for the Ivanti Service Manager solution.
Q: We’re well into 2018. Which way are the industry winds blowing?
KJS: We are seeing lots of interest in AI and automation technologies that have improved dramatically in the past five years. Companies understand these technologies can help increase business velocity and improve customer service.
In the case of AI, the hype was ahead of the technology until recently but now the tools are pretty good. Chat Bots for example can be very helpful and we can use Service Catalog and Self Service as a means to automate much of what is performed in service delivery across IT every day. For some innovative companies, automated processes now account for over 50 percent of request fulfillment. We expect to see big advances in AI applications for security in the next five years. Think of this as an intelligent sentinel watching the business and evaluating threats around the clock.
Q: What took you to the HDI conference in Las Vegas recently? What was your purpose for being there and what did you hope to accomplish?
KJS: The HDI event is a great opportunity to hear from thought leaders in the industry and to get caught up with other vendors and clients. I was also speaking at the event on the topic of "5 Common Mistakes to Avoid with ITIL". We are fortunate to have some outstanding thinkers in the IT and Service Management domains and I had a chance to attend a session given by Stuart Rance on “Leadership Principles” and a session given by Ian Aitchison on “Rise of the Machines and AI.” Just outstanding content in these sessions.
Q: What are your three key takeaways from experiencing the conference)?
- ITSM tools are much improved and companies are seeing real value. The issue now becomes better alignment with strategic business outcomes.
- The market is more mature around best practices and frameworks, including ITIL, DevOps, and Agile. We have a better grasp of what these frameworks can and cannot do.
- More focus on people and culture as a balance to technology, tools, and processes. People are the real key to making IT great.
Q: Did you have any downtime? If so, what interesting places did you visit? What did you do for fun?
KJS: Ha, ha. No real downtime. The only small excursion I took was running over to the Bellagio to get sushi. The Bellagio is an outstanding property and along with the Venetian, my favorites in Vegas. The Venetian is spectacular, and I like to give them some business when in town. I sometimes think about catching a show when in Vegas but have never been able to make it happen. Full disclosure—the Venetian is an Ivanti client.
Q: Who is the ideal prospect for the Ivanti Service Manager solution? What is their job role? What are their key pains that would drive them to consider this solution? Is there a secondary prospect?
KJS: The ideal prospect is a member of a service management team, service desk lead, or IT Director that is looking for a more complete solution for the future and one that looks beyond traditional help desk. Ivanti Service Manager appeals to teams that have developed a strategy that values the combined power of service management with asset management or endpoint management to name a couple of key IT capabilities.
Increasingly, our customers recognize that IT can only get better when we bring these primary IT teams together and take a fresh look at how we can create leverage and create new speed across IT. Yes, we need to be great at service management, but the future of IT is bringing cross-functional teams together and working across all of IT to drive strategic business outcomes. This is simply not possible when working in the traditional, localized models of IT. It’s an exciting time for the IT organization and for the business.
Q: In one word, describe yourself.
Q: What personal projects do you have going on outside of work?
KJS: I’m approaching the publication of a new book I wrote on the future of IT. I write in the evenings and on weekends because my day job keeps me pretty busy. The new book is called The IT Imperative and it describes a framework for the rebirth, strategy, and operations of IT in the future. I started writing the book last July, finished the manuscript in December, and doing the final edits and print QA now. The book should publish on April 30 and will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Q: Tell us about a personal goal you were able to accomplish this past year.
KJS: We have a big family and bought an old farmhouse on a couple of acres a few years ago to give us more space. The house has needed some repairs and basic updating and we were able to get that work done in the past six months. My wife coordinated the project and managed all the details because I’m always gone and really not much use. It has been a lot of fun watching the transformation and appreciating the amazing talents of the craftsmen that have done the work.
Check out Kevin’s book on Amazon: The Practical Guide To World-Class IT Service Management, and follow him on Twitter @kevinjsmith4IT.