SDI Conference Highlights from Evangelist Matt Hooper

Here is a quick interview we did with Matt Hooper, director and evangelist of ITSM & DevOps, about his takeaways from the SDI conference.

What took you to the SDI conference in Birmingham, England? What was your purpose for being there and what did you hope to accomplish?

I spoke at the Mexico City SDI event in 2016 as a keynote speaker. My presentation made a strong impact on the audience and challenged them to re-think ITSM. SDI requested that I keynote at their conference this year to help Service Desk professionals understand the impact of digital transformation and how it is impacting IT support.  

I delivered one of the closing keynote addresses with Damian Bowen, former CIO of NTT Data and IT Management expert. Our presentation was entitled: Disruption or Disrupted. We discussed how all this push for innovation and digital transformation puts pressure on IT organizations who are not ready for it. They don’t have stable operating environments, flexible processes, and lack the automation and reporting to help deliver to the speed the business demands. Our presentation was well received, generating the highest level of social media interaction and lots of positive feedback.

If you attended the SDI conference in prior years, were there particular aspects that made this conference different / better / more valuable than before?

I have not attended previous SDI conferences in the UK.  I had always heard they were good, but this year everyone said it was the best ever. I found the keynotes and presenters to be some of the best of any of the conferences I have attended.  The attendees were also very engaged and relaxed. IT conferences can be pretty stuffy in general. The ITSM & Service Desk industry though is pretty good about letting loose and having some fun.  The conference parties are always buzzing and dance floors packed.  SDI was no exception, from the first song to the last, and with the encore, everyone was up having a fun time. The exhibition hall was also always busy, with sponsors’ stands constantly busy with inquiring attendees. 

Which way is the industry blowing? What are your three key takeaways from experiencing this event?

1. DevOps is a reality, and is going to dramatically change the function of support and how business views a single point of contact for IT, which today is the Service Desk.

2. Artificial Intelligence is also going to dramatically disrupt knowledge management and self-service, changing the skills for Support to be even more human-centric for when AI fails.

3. Companies that unlock the power of getting IT to work more efficiently at scale will win the race for market dominance. In the digital economy, great IT wins!    

Talk about some of your feelings, impressions, epiphanies, excitement surrounding the future of Ivanti in the IT service management marketplace. Where do you foresee opportunities for the company?

The UK has a substantial market base of Ivanti ITSM customers.  It was great to sit with many of them and hear some of the great successes they’re having with our technologies. I spent time with both former LANDESK and HEAT customers, and they are very excited about the new brand and our direction towards cloud-enabled flexibility, scale, and performance. ITSM customers want to bring even more optimized business processes into their organization, and the capabilities we are continuing to provide in self-service enhancements, easier-to-use administration tools, and now with Xtraction, they can improve their services and add even more value to their organizations.

What was your professional journey like to get you where you are today? What were some of the unexpected hurdles and some of the unexpected benefits?

My career was born and raised in IT operations and support. I started my formal IT career answering the phone for Microsoft DOS 6.22 tech support. I learned early in my career that hoarding knowledge was career limiting. I took every opportunity to share and develop others. 

In the late 1990’s, I started getting invites to speak about business over the internet and ecommerce (yes, I’m ancient in IT terms), but as a young 20-something, I found the experience thrilling. I found my network became an unlimited wealth of experience and support. Not just for technical stuff, IT sucks sometimes. I faced age discrimination for being so young, challenged by peers for not having a college degree, and the late nights and always being on call put a lot of strain on my home life with a young family. My network, the community, was there for me.  Some of my closest and most trusted friends have come from the community. Actively serving on boards, speaking at local events, sharing through my blog vigilantguy.com and on twitter as @VigilantGuy, is just my way of paying it forward. In fact, my role at Ivanti was offered to me primarily because of the passion they saw in me for the IT Service & Support community, and wanted that to be reflected in their strategy.

If you were stranded on a desert island with a CD player, what are the top three music CD’s you’d want with you?

1. Jimmy Buffet’s greatest hits for when I wanted to imagine a Pina Colada

2. C&C Music Factory hits for when I wanted to use my new-found free time to beef up my dance moves for future Interchange dance offs

3. Van Halen’s self-titled 1978 Van Halen album for when I wanted to use my newly grown long hair to take my air guitar to the next level