Behind the Scenes at SDI Conference: Ian Aitchison’s Eye-Opening Takeaways

We recently sat down with Ian Aitchison, director of product management, ITSM and ITAM, to hear what he learned at the recent SDI Conference. Here is what he had to say.

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

I attended for many reasons:

1. It’s always a good event; 

2. It’s a great networking opportunity; 

3. I was asked to award a prize;

4. We had a number of Service Manager customers up for awards and I always like to show support;

5. The jetlag between Bracknell and Birmingham is manageable.

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

Each year SDI gets better. A littler bigger, more polished, better presentations. I’ve blogged before about SDI being a warm and fuzzy soft skills event vs. the more academic conferences such as itSMF or Pink. It continues to be that, and the SDI team raises its game every time. The keynote presentations in particular were outstanding.

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

Here are my key takeaways:

1. Work should be fun. Bring laughter to work. Have fun at work.

2. The pace and impact of IT transformation is accelerating. Traditional IT best practices and mindsets are struggling to keep up.

3. Don’t use Times New Roman font in presentation slides. It looks dated.

Which way is the wind blowing? Towards the more automated, intelligent, faster, and innovative. Just doing the same thing isn’t enough. Seek opportunities to transform human experiences with technology.

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?

Ivanti is uniquely placed to take advantage of the winds of change. We have experts, customers, partners, and products on a global scale. Our technology is powerful and proven across ITSM, ITAM, security, and UEM. It’s genuinely exciting—and you could see that excitement in the continual small crowd of people trying to talk to Ivanti staff at the Ivanti booth at SDI.

Obviously, it’s about execution now. We won’t achieve our potential just by sitting still and looking at all our strengths. We have to use them. So there is a challenge as well, but it’s a good challenge to have. The best thing that Ivanti has is the people that have come to Ivanti over the last few years. Globally recognized industry experts, the best in the field, and thought leaders are coming to Ivanti. It’s a thrilling time.

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 journey? Computer degree, nightclub manager, occasional DJ, police department IT help desk analyst, service desk manager, ITSM implementation, ITSM demonstration and presentation, product manager, product director. Over 20 years now in the service of ITSM and ITAM through Touchpaper, LANDESK, and now Ivanti. 

Hurdles? Professionally, I only have seen new challenges that have been fun to overcome. I get a buzz from success, and my career has brought new challenges regularly. It’s never been boring. Personally, the big C cuts deep, but being a lucky survivor leaves you valuing family, fun, and pleasure more than anything else. Luckily working at Ivanti lets me enjoy all three of those.

If you were stranded on a desert island with a CD player and could only have three music CDs, what would they be?

1. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love

2. Massive Attack, Protection

3. Primal Scream, Screamadelica

But I wouldn’t have CDs. I have a deep and sincere Spotify addiction, plus an original fondness for vinyl.