The 3 Seismic Shifts in IT and how to be Ready when they Come
August 07, 2019
Kevin J. Smith | Senior Vice President | Ivanti
The next 10 years will bring changes to IT unlike anything we've seen in the wonderful 30 history of the IT organization. These changes will reshape everything we do every day and transform the relationship between the teams of IT and our customers and the business. Assume nothing, and be ready to question everything.
This session will look at 3 of the biggest changes coming our way, what each of these really mean and what we can be doing as IT professionals to help our organization to be ready and to elevate the teams of IT as new leaders in the business.
Erica: Hi everybody, welcome to our webinar today at three Seismic Shifts for IT and how to be ready. This is part of our Ivanti IT Summer School series, it's a three part webinar series that we've been running all summer, this is the second installment in that series and we'll talk a little bit about that later. Just a couple housekeeping items before we get started. You'll see on the right hand side there's a chat panel and a Q&A panel, feel free to use these throughout the webinar. If you have questions, our thoughts or comments, we'll have a significant amount of time at the end of this Webinar for Q&A, so we're happy to filled any questions you might have.
Feel free to send those throughout the webinar. Also, if you have any audio issues throughout the presentation, we recommend dialing in directly instead of using computer audio and that usually solves the problem, but feel free to send us a chat if you have any questions or have any issues or need global calling numbers and I'll be happy to help with that. So with that, I will introduce our speaker today, Kevin J. Smith.
Kevin J. Smith: Thank you, Erica. Thanks everybody for joining us. We're always pleased and humbled that you find time in your busy day to sit with us for a bit. We're having some fun with this Ivanti summer school series. So, we are continuing that with our second installment today, we hope that some of you listening are wearing shorts and not your normal slacks or pants, or holding on to summer. Yes, it's August, I know it's remarkable. School starts again in a few weeks, but for today, for now, let's all embrace the end of our summer. So this session, three sides of in shifts for IT and how to be ready is going to focus on this remarkable transformation that's happening in IT.
And what I want to do is give you a few ideas on what these dramatic shifts are going to be specifically. I'm going to introduce three ideas, give a few talking points on each of those ideas, and then at the end because we don't just want to talk about the things at the highest level. I'm going to give you some specific actions that you could take to help prepare yourself and your organization for this continued transformation because one of our themes today is that IT is becoming a leader in the organization, IT must become a leader in the organization because of the strategic nature or the strategic motion of technology and data.
And as such, we have to be more proactive, we have to be more aggressive in how we take certain actions. And so that'll be our final slide today is I'm going to make some recommendations on how you mobilize around our thoughts for today. So with that, just to reframe the exciting summer school series and we're really happy you guys have joined us, we hope you can join us on August 28th for our final session, which is on risk management. We'll have our CSO talking about that and offering you some insights that I think you'll find really interesting and really relevant, really valuable today.
And then we have a recording available for our first session that we did, I believe that was in July and that's available on demand now. Now, during the session today, Erica will put up links to the recording for the five habits of successful IT, and a registration link for our final session on August 28th. And I really hope you can join us, we try to keep this snappy and to the point enriching your summer and addressing your appetite for learning as I know all of you have.
So with that, why don't we go ahead and get started. I have only a few simple slides today. So, I will not use all of the remaining 54 minutes we have for this call. We should finish and I don't know, 30, 35 minutes past the hour and leave a little bit of time for Q&A and we'd love to hear your questions. So you might want to be thinking about your questions and get those ready and we'll have a call for those a little bit later or you can send those in while we're talking.
So with that, I'm going to introduce our first point for discussion today for your consideration, and that is building a new culture. We naturally love technology, we got into IT because we have an affinity for technology and we are very much at our hearts technologists and this is fundamental to IT but make no mistake the greatness of IT over the next 10 years. The future of IT is not going to be realized just through technology.
Yes, technology is important and we have to lead the organization and leveraging technology and there's a natural dependency on technology, but the transformation of it that we love to talk about the making the digital workplace reality, making a secure future for our organization and for our business is not going to be possible without creating a new culture. It is all about our people and how our people work together and how we formed teams. And this is not always when I have the good fortune to sit down and meet with IT organizations. And talk to them about today and about the future. It's not always natural for us to focus on culture and on people. And so I would ask all of you to make this a bigger priority in the future. Make this part of your plans today, make this a priority for where you spend your time.
And you'll see big dividends from that. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you a few points that we're going to discuss a little bit more in support of this. So the first thing, we need to be reminded of is just how important our customer is. And I use the word obsession, not by accident, because that's how we feel about this. And I know many of you are in agreement with this, but what has happened is we in some cases have allowed IT to drift. It doesn't happen overnight, so I think drifting is probably a good way to think of this is to drift a bit from our customers. We have to move closer to our customers, we have to end IT not rely exclusively on the input of other people in the organization in terms of what our customers need, what is most important to our customers.
And that creates a natural question, as some of you are probably thinking, "Well that's interesting Kevin, but how do we do that?" Well, there are many ways to do this, there are existing forums in the business where customers are engaged. We, and IT need to be joining those forums. If a customer is visiting a corporate office, we need to sit in on that agenda. If there's an escalation happening, we can participate in the escalation bridge. If a sales or marketing team or an account management team is doing a customer onsite, we should use that as an opportunity for a fun field trip, get out of the office, which we don't do often enough in IT and join at that customer onsite.
There may be a trade show where we know customers are attending or customers may be speaking, get out of the office and attend that trade show. Now, recognizing we can't do this every week because we have a job and IT to do and we've got assets to manage, we have services to deliver, we've got to be securing the business. But we can create a new element of our time that is focused on getting more directly engaged with the customer. And the customer's going to appreciate that. The customer recognizes IT as experts, as content experts, and they will welcome us joining those discussions. They will welcome us working alongside our sales team or our account management team or our tech support team, or our consulting team or any of the above and becoming part of this dialogue that we have with a customer. Because what will happen in joining those discussions and joining that dialogue is IT will gain a more robust insight into what's important to our customers and to what our customers need.
And those of you that are able to join those customer discussions, you can bring that information back to your teammates. We have a responsibility to socialize that customer information, I mean, something as simple as, "Hey, guess what I heard from a customer this week. I joined. We had a customer site visit and I joined our team and doing that. And here are a couple of things that we heard." I mean that kind of information is priceless and being distributed across IT. So let's talk, so that starts to shape our culture is what does the customer think? What would the customer say if they were sitting at the table with us? What does the customer need from us in the future? Customer, customer, customer.
And that starts to kind of reshape everything we do, the second talking point I have here is I want to talk about diversity, diversity of people, diversity of skills. We are not going to transform IT with same people and with the same skills that we've always had, diversity brings strength, diversity brings a new type of discussion, diversity brings innovation, diversity brings new discussions that don't happen otherwise. And it's just absolutely critical. And this is diversity of ethnicities, the diversity's of experience, diversity of training, diversity of skills. All types of diversity, all diversity is good. We like to talk about the need for more women.
One great example is the need for more women in IT. I think today that numbers that between 10 and 15% of our workforce and make no mistake people, that is unacceptable. That is a great example of a diversity initiative that is sorely needed in the IT organization. And with this diversity of the workforce with this diversity of skills, and you might be thinking, "Well, what kind of skills?"
Well, skills in terms of customer facing skills, communication skills, creative skills, skills around automation, skills around the artificial intelligence. I'm not sure I really like that term. We use AI as a handle, as an acronym, not sure I like that artificial, I like more intelligent technology might be a better way to describe that because this intelligence is very real and it's becoming more and more part of how we work every day. But to make diversity at a priority in that doesn't mean that we get rid of all our people in IT and go hire new people, it's not about that at all. All it means is for example, if we do have a new hire slot open up that is budgeted, or if we're doing a backfill that we simply take a fresh look at the requirements for that position.
And we prioritize new skills. Some of these new skills we talked about like innovation skills, like communication skills, customer facing skills. And when you start bringing people into your organization that have those additional skills, it really changes the dynamic of our teams. It really changes how we work every day. And then a singular IT, I mentioned this because this is about a focus bringing the IT organization together around the collaboration process and they focus on primary goals, that we can all understand that we can all work toward.
Yes, and what this does is it does melt away some of the traditional structure of IT. It does melt away some of the silos that we've had in IT for many years. It causes us to rethink how we do the organization and it's not just around the traditional 10 functions of IT that we've always had. And so I think it's a natural question that, "Okay, what is a singularity that we can rally around?" One great example are key business initiatives. Key initiatives in the organization. So think in terms of what the CEO would talk about, if you ask the CEO of the organization what their top three priorities are for the coming year, what could IT do to drive and enable those priorities? What do we talk about in the annual shareholder report? What is on the agenda of the board of directors? What is on the agenda of the strategic agenda of key stakeholders in the business, our peers in the business and other organizations.
Those are the initiatives that we want to be enabling. And then IT needs to rally around those initiatives and then just very quickly back to this customer focus. What we'll see when we have a dialogue with customers is that there's a pattern that emerges that we don't just have individual customers focused on a set of issues and then the next customers got a completely different set of priorities.
Yes, there may be some uniqueness from customer to customer, but you'll find a very strong set of common denominators in most cases. And those needs are what IT needs to be working toward and delivering to. For example, talking to customers today and It, and our IT can better serve clients in the future. Customers are focused on completing work more quickly. The speed, convenience, factors like that because that's what their clients are thinking about. That's what all of us collectively on this call, that's what our clients are thinking about amongst other things. Well, how can we enable that? Then that becomes, that starts to shape a set of goals and priorities for our future work that brings IT together, creates a new sense of solidarity, creates a sense of unification in IT where we're all working as cross-functional, highly passionate teams to deliver to these a key priorities, key goals, key objectives.
So yes, there are many of the things we could talk about in culture, but here are three things, simply three things that we can think about in our examples of how we need to begin to reshape our culture. And I would go as far as to say that if you're focused on these three things, a lot of good things are going to happen. Okay, that was number one. Number two, our second seismic shift coming to IT is building an engine of innovation. It doesn't matter what organization you're part of, it doesn't matter if you're higher education, if you're state or local government, federal government, healthcare, hospital care, retailer, manufacturer, legal services provider, real estate, it doesn't matter. That innovation is the lifeblood of our organization. Innovation is a key to our future and what I challenge you to recognize is that IT now must be creating innovation.
IT must be a source of innovation because the simple fact is it's so much of innovation today is coming from technology. It's being driven by technology. Yes, the great ideas still come from our wonderful people but innovation comes to life with technology and who knows technology better than anybody in the organization? It's IT. Who are the stewards of our technology every day? It's IT, it's us. Who are managing the systems of the organization to ensure people can do their jobs every day? It's IT, it's us. Don't look to other parts of the organization for innovation to happen. Now yes, there will be innovation happening elsewhere in the organization, but IT must now jump into this and create what I'm calling an engine of innovation and we'll talk about that a little bit more later. But don't wait for somebody else to do this, don't think it's somebody else's job, it is now very much part of our responsibility.
So one thing to think about is, is there's a very, very fertile ground of discussion with all our key business owners, the people in the organization that we work with, that we know outside of IT, and we have to take up an outreach with those business owners that is all about a discussion around how can we help you do your job better? How can we help you serve our customers better? That's all we have to start with. And then very natural discussion takes place, is you go to those business owners and it's simply IT being proactive in communicating with the business and asking them how we help them do their jobs better. Just realize that every part of the organization, again, doesn't matter what kind of market that you're in, every part of the organization is relying on technology and systems and data to do their job every day.
Think about our dependency on the internet, think about our dependency on mobile devices, think about our dependency on CRM systems, on ordering systems, and on email. And fill in the blank, we can all think of the top five systems that we use every day to do our job. Imagine, just imagine if we are able to make all of those systems easier to use and more convenient, and more responsive and smarter and faster. We are turbocharging every employee in the organization when we do that. And then this creates this tsunami of energy that ultimately has a positive impact on our customers. So one way to become an engine of innovation is to create this proactive business outreach to contact key business owners and don't wait for them to come to us with a problem, don't wait for them to come to us with the frustration.
Don't wait for them to come to IT with where are we may have fallen behind. We should drive that discussion and get ahead of it and talk about how we make them and their team more productive every day. How we help them and their teams serve our customers better every day? And that's the only question you need to ask. And then we just listen and you're going to hear 50 great ideas. Now of course we won't be able to act on every one of those right away, but what we will be able to do is get a few ideas that will truly have an impact on the organization.
So we've already touched on the second one, which is to focus on the user experience because this is directly under our control. So again, imagine any user of the systems of the organization of the business touching the system every day. It could be checking on the status of an order. It could be as simple as email, it could be expense reports, it could be HR systems, it could be booking a conference room, it could be anything. And every user of those systems has an experience. So how good are we at capturing that experience? And looking at how we make it better.
And again, most of the points that we made in that first talking point around proactive business outreach can be applied here or make the user experience better, and the remarkable thing everybody is that this is under our control. These are systems that are being managed by IT that are being purchased or built and then deployed by IT, being updated by IT. And if we can just get tuned into the voice of the user and what they like and what slows them down or what frustrates them, that is fertile ideas, that is a wonderful source of input to the innovation process. And I'm going to talk about that more at the end, it's going to be one of our actions that I recommend.
So I've had this discussion, so I like this third point. I hope you like it too. Some of you might be thinking, "Well Kevin, you're crazy. I don't know what you're talking about there, but I hope you get the idea here that every impactful innovation probably began with an idea that some people thought was crazy or would never work or we don't do that here, or that's not how we do stuff, or no way that would never come to pass." We need those crazy ideas, those crazy ideas are priceless. And we need a forum in IT where we talk about that stuff. Just brainstorming, throw ideas out there and sure some of them aren't going to be ideas that we can take forward, but some of them are going to really, really prove to be incredibly valuable and prove to be the game changing innovation of 2020 or the innovation that truly impacts the business in 2021. And this doesn't have to be formal, this doesn't have to be a lot of time.
We just have to cultivate it, we have to create the desire to think, we have to create the desire to share ideas in IT. And yes, I know some of you are thinking, "Well I don't know. We don't really do that today. I'm not sure how we would do that." It could be five minutes a week, it could be 10 minutes a month, and you just get together for a coffee or you get together for a team lunch on a Friday, you get together for pizza at the end of the day, one day, and you just brainstorm on all these things, "Hey, how can we help the business? Have you guys heard any feedback from the business that we can take action on?" Or, "Hey, how can we improve user experiences?" What are our ideas on how IT can get ahead of what the business needs? Hey, we just had an all hands briefing in the company and the CEO talked about this."
And I had this idea, maybe we could do the following things to help that become reality. That is so important. This is vital, this mindset and this dialogue is vital to the future of IT. So I hope that help around some ideas for innovation. Number three, intelligent technology. Really our discussion today would not be complete without taking a look at some of the examples of intelligent technology because the reality is, is that if you look at the short list of things that can change the future of IT, and the shortlist of things that can change the future of business, truly transformational, you would have to have automation and AI on that list because their time has come, these technologies have truly become up to the task.
They've become truly useful in the business, I wouldn't say that they are completely changing the business today but they have the potential to do that in the next 10 years, and they are very helpful today. There are specific things these technologies can do for us today. So let's look at this a little more closely, this is our third point, this is our third shift. So I would encourage you to queue up some of your questions because we're going to be getting to those in five or six minutes and we'd love to hear from you. But the first thing I call the 90/90 rule, this is something that I documented in my book called the IT Imperative, and it is 90% faster and 90% automated by 2025. So I'm going to say that again, IT must be 90% faster and 90% automated by the year 2025.
And the reason is, is because that then enables the whole organization, the whole business to be performing faster, to execute faster, to take waste out of the organization, to take waiting out of the organization. And again, all of this then immediately becomes a value we can deliver to our customers. And if you describe your customers today, I think we would all agree that customers are increasingly demanding, they're increasingly impatient, they want a very personalized product or service. These are the customers of the future that we'll be serving. Now the great thing is, is that when customers find that they tend to be very loyal, it's not common in the marketplace today. So when they find it, it's a beautiful thing and they become loyal to that organization, they become loyal customers, but we have to go faster.
And here's a relationship I want you to think about, is the business, the organization, the whole organization can't go faster if IT doesn't enable it to go faster. The whole organization can't be more automated unless IT enables it to be more automated. This is coming from IT, we are where the rubber meets the road in the organization, we are the hub of the wheel. And it's vital that we take up this challenge and I think by 2025 is the goal that we have to have in mind. This is not 20 years away, this is four or five, six years away, and we have to have a dramatic uptick. And when I talk to organizations about where they are in automation, for example, and I ask them, "well, what percent are you automated today?"
I would say the norm is 20%, maybe 30%, maybe some very, very advanced organizations are 40%, I've never heard an organization say 90% but that has to be the goal, it has to be a high bar that we set to get to that level because automation enables so much to happen, automation enables us to be agile, automation enables us to scale, automation enables us to be great at managing changes. I think you all know, all IT professionals today should understand that the world around us is changing, and that rate of change is getting faster, it's not slowing and this is never going to stop. So we have to recognize that the organization needs IT more than ever because we are the source of the speed and we are the source of bringing automation to the business.
And when the 90/90 rule becomes reality, which I really believe it will for many IT organizations in the next five or six years, remember we're trying to get there by 2025 it changes everything about how the business operates. It's embracing a new workforce, we talked earlier about diversity and one of the diversity of culture elements is new workers coming into IT. We have a significant part of our workforce in IT that's going to retire in the next 10 years. Some polls would even say that's the majority of the IT workforce who will retire in the next 10 years. And we have new workers coming in to think differently, that work differently, that have different expectations. And this is a wonderful thing, but this new element of the workforce can be part of driving us to achieving this low level of automation and this level of speed. And that level of speed becomes strategic.
Yeah, when we get a little bit faster, it's nice, but it's not strategic but when we get 90% faster, when we start to complete our business processes and we start to deliver our services out of IT, in 10% the time that it takes today, that is compelling, that is strategic, that starts to change everything. My second point is about leveraging humanity. And the point here is I would ask you to reflect on is technology can only be great with the help of humanity. Humanity can only be great through the help of technology. We need each other, this is the new reality, this is a fundamental reality of IT for the next 10 years is that humanity needs technology but even more than that, technology needs humanity.
We'll use humanity to mentor technology, we'll use humanity to capture business rules, we will use our people experts to create new intelligent knowledge basis. We will use our people experts to tutor AI elements, we will use human experts to audit the results of automation to make sure it's accurate. So I've heard people say that this advancement of AI and automation might reduce our dependency on people or it might even eliminate people. And in my view is that's absolutely non-sense, it's absolutely non-sense. What it means is we need people more than ever because we now for the first time, we'll move people into new roles, where we struggled to get them into those new roles in the past because so much of the manual work, so much of our brute force culture, so much of our high volume repetitive tasks had to be done by our people.
But as automation and AI starts to offload our people, we can then move our people into new roles, and we need those people to make AI better. Think of AI, think of an AI element as being a very raw technology, think of it as being an infant that has incredible potential but it has to be taught, it has to be tutored, it has to be coached. That can only come from our people, that comes from our smart, experienced, passionate people. So we need those people to make AI great. And this is going to happen. We've talked in our careers about mentoring. We all know how important mentoring is.
And many of you on this call can think of a mentor that was instrumental in your development, in the early stages of your career and maybe even in the later stages of your career. So here's an interesting idea, think in terms of people mentoring AI, people mentoring technology. That's what's going to happen. AI can't learn on its own. And yes, I know machine learning and there's pattern recognition and some technologies can augment their reality, their comprehension, their, understanding through that process but there is still a need for much of that learning to come from human experts. So we're going to leverage humanity more than ever and never accept this notion that AI is going to take our jobs or AI is going to reduce the value of humanity.
AI is going to up value humanity and allow us to work in roles like innovation, focused on innovation, customer facing roles, communication roles, creative roles. For the first time in the 30 to 40 year history of IT, we'll be able to put our talented passionate people into those roles. And then the last thing I'll comment on here and then we'll go to the actions, which is our last slide is, IT can't wait for the business. This is a time where IT must lead the business forward, and intelligent technology is a great example of that. Where we must have a plan to how we're going to bring this intelligent technology to the organization and help the organization leverage this intelligent technology. Because guys, nobody else, ladies and gentlemen, I promise you, nobody else is going to be able to figure this out.
There's no other organization look around your organization and who would we think is going to lead us forward and how to leverage this technology. No, there's nobody. It's us. It's IT. And this is in fact, I think a very exciting opportunity for IT to bring this automation, to bring AI, to bring velocity, to bring agility, to bring scalability to the whole organization. And this is what this is all about. I mean, I know many of you understand fundamentally the value of agility and agile, the value of scalability, the value of being able to be great at change, that much of that comes from automation and AI. Those are real examples of how that's enabled and from IT. And so embrace this opportunity, we have to lead the organization forward.
So my last point and then we'll take some questions is, "Okay, so interesting Kevin. I don't agree with everything you said but I think a couple of points are pretty good. So what are some of the things we can do to make this happen?" So here are four ideas, four recommendations on what you can do and your IT organization to get started down this path of getting ready for these seismic shifts that are happening and are on our way. So number one, form a cross functional team and IT to work on culture. And maybe you go ask somebody in HR to partner with you in doing that.
But it's a great form for brainstorming, this can be the culture tiger team or whatever you want to call it, and this team comes up with recommendations on how we accelerate these cultural changes in IT, and then it has to be a cross functional team. So think about the multiple functions of IT and having representatives from those major functions and then coming up with recommendations and taking those to the VP of IT or to the CIO or whomever is appropriate. Don't just wait for it to happen because some of it can happen every day, it can happen organically but form a team and give them a charter to drive this.
The second thing is, is make the outreach happen, to keep business owners and assigned people in IT that are responsible for that. If you have a business manager role in IT today, that would be a great role to do this with. I recommend to IT organizations that they create a new role called the IT concierge and the IT concierge's job is to make sure that IT is helping everybody in the business to do their job better, helping everybody to have a great day every day. Just like any concierge does. It's kind of a how can I help you mindset, and then that role could drive the outreach or just designate a few people in IT to start that outreach now.
And remember that dialogue is just about we are contacting you to start a new discussion between IT and your organization around how we can help you and your team be more productive every day. How can we help your team as an IT organization and better serving our customers every day? And then it just that discussion takes a natural course. But start that outreach today and I've seen IT organizations that have done this, have had incredible benefits. They've had an incredible impact and it's also changed the perception of IT across the organization. So we need a roadmap, I'm going to go on to item number three. We need a roadmap for AI and automation in the organization and I encourage you to create a two to three year roadmap for how you're going to bring AI and automation to the business. It can be a living roadmap, it can change, that's okay. It doesn't have to be perfect.
The key is just to create the first version of that and use that as sort of a compass for where we're taking AI and automation and just even a basic working framework is incredibly valuable to the organization around what to expect from IT, and how we are going to be bringing in enabling intelligent technology and automation across the business. I talked about this earlier, the fourth point. I really feel strongly about this and I encourage you to create an apparatus for new ideas and innovation. It can be a scheduled forum, it could be a forum that meets monthly, weekly might be unrealistic today, could meet quarterly, and just gives the opportunity for ideas to be aired and then perhaps a prototyping environment to test some of those new ideas.
I work with one organization that has gone from very poor IT to outstanding IT in the last five years. And what they do is they do this monthly, they have an IT kind of a town hall meeting, open forum, and they brainstorm about new ideas and innovation. They encourage those crazy ideas, they then pick a few ideas that they do a little bit of testing on and prototyping. And then quarterly they give an award, they give a nice little cash award to the individual that raised the idea that was the winner. I think the team even votes on it for the past quarter.
It's just a very cool thing, very cool recognition and encourages those crazy ideas in that thinking. So it's different for everybody and there's no one way to do this. So I just encourage you to determine what's right for your organization and that you commit to it, that you commit to the brainstorming, you commit to encouraging new ideas, you commit to a process of innovation and that you have a mechanism that allows you to, when you get a great idea that everybody's excited about, you have a mechanism to validate that idea. It could be a prototyping environment, it can be a test bed, it can be lots of different things, but you're enabling the ability to take that forward.
So I hope you heard a few ideas today that are interesting. I hope some of the thoughts today line up with what you're seeing in your organization, and I hope we've given you some ideas about how to get ready for this incredible ride that we're on, and it's going to continue for the next decade as we all work together to change IT and to change the business and change the organization. So with that, Erica, do we have any questions that we want to take?
Erica: We do, we have a handful, so keep those coming everyone as you think of them. Kevin, our first question, they're asking, "What if my manager is old school and not supportive of a new culture? How do I crack through and implement some of those changes?"
Kevin J. Smith: Yeah, that's a great question and kind of common too because we do still have a lot of old school people in IT and a lot of experience with those people. What I've seen is just never underestimate persistence, and just bring that idea to the manager, help them kind of take ownership of the idea, maybe start with something very small that doesn't cost any money, which is always a great idea in IT, is doing something that doesn't immediately require any money and maybe just volunteer.
If there's something you feel strongly about and your manager is slowing you down, just volunteer to make it happen. Tell him it's no, you don't require any budget for it, you'll do it on your own time, and I think you'll be surprised that they'll come around and become more supportive. Like if it's the business outreach we talked about, if it's brainstorming, the crazy ideas for innovation, if it's getting closer to a customer, just try to be creative and finding a path to get just one of those things done in a way that's not too disruptive to your work or too disruptive to the budget.
And then most people are really smart and they'll recognize, I think your manager will recognize that, "Hey, I think this might be a good thing," and then support them and them being part of the success and just baby steps can sometimes go along the way.
Erica: Great. Okay, another question I thought was interesting. They're asking, "So we want more diversity but we struggle getting diverse applicants. Any advice on how to encourage more people to apply?"
Kevin J. Smith: Yeah, you know, HR can normally have some great ideas there and it can be, sometimes we use a standard template for a job opening, standard language we've been using for years. And some of it is just updating that profile and working with HR as a partner and saying that we are trying to bring more diverse skills to IT. And so in doing that, can we update our job profiles? Can we update our job postings to capture some of that? Now there's still some competencies that we have to have in IT, and we still have some technical expertise that's required but mixing that with some different educational background or slightly different experience profile is very doable. And so I think it's either working with your manager and/or working with HR to freshen up the job posting or the job description and key skills description, which will help bring in some new people that kind of new people that we've been talking about today.
Erica: Great, I love that idea. We actually have one more question around building a new culture. They're asking, "Where does cyber security fit into the innovation culture and framework?"
Kevin J. Smith: Oh, it's definitely part of it. I think that's a timeless requirement and something that as technology advances, it also means that the sophistication of threats continues to advance as well and it's a big complicated world. You know, it's funny because I say the, the world is getting bigger and smaller at the same time. And if we're sitting together 25 years from now and talking about IT, IT will still exist, IT will not go away because there will always be a need for stewards of technology and data in the organization.
The technologies change, the nature of data changes, the organization changes, but we'll always leverage those assets in every business and every organization, but security is one of those elements that will be timeless as well, is the need to deliver service, the need to manage technology assets, and the need to secure our organization, our timeless requirements in IT. So, that will demand innovation because the bad guys are innovating too. So we have to continue to advance the innovation there because the threats in our world become more severe and become more sophisticated. But I also still believe the good guys always win in the end. And so we have to be innovating to make sure that the good guys do win.
Erica: Great. Okay, another interesting question. They say, "My team is super tight on budget. How can we encourage cultivating crazy ideas when budget limitations are always on the back of our minds?"
Kevin J. Smith: Yeah, I mentioned that one organization I worked with it had the brainstorming forum and it's funny because that didn't cost anything. They got together and I think what they did is the teams rotated, bringing pizza or I think they did a potluck. Yeah, they did a potluck where people brought dishes from home, everybody contributed to that. They spent that 30 minutes to an hour and I think it was a Friday afternoon, made it a fun thing, somebody who was a note taker and they captured all the ideas. They decided they voted on a couple of ideas are going to pursue and then they did that within some of the infrastructure that they had. And so they really did it that at very little or no cost.
And the key thing is in the beginning is you certainly cannot go to management and leadership and ask for a new budget line item to do this because that's probably not going to work. But if you get started as a grass roots movement and create a few really promising ideas, pursue those ideas just a bit in a very economical, modest way, then you get start to get some management recognition that, "Hey, we think there's something there. We think there's potentially some value here." And then you could get access to a little bit of budget. It's probably not going to be millions of dollars or millions of pounds in the beginning, but you'll get a little bit and as more good ideas come and more ideas start to make it into reality, then there is even more budget. So just start out by being very thrifty and having people volunteer their time and you'll start to get traction and the budgeting process will get a lot easier.
Erica: So speaking of what we're choosing to invest in, someone was wondering if you had to choose one area or item to invest in for the future of IT, what would it be?
Kevin J. Smith: Something that I think is really helpful today is the simple idea of automation, is embracing automation because the tools, workflow tools and automation tools have gotten so good in the last five years. And there's so much of the work that we do in IT every day that can be automated. And I'll give you an example, I spend a lot of time working in the domain of service management and something as simple as self-service and service catalog has started to change how we do service management.
And these are normally low risk deployments that are very successful and have almost an immediate impact on the culture and on the business and on the level of automation, and how we manage incidents and how we managed service requests. But we're seeing more automation and security, and having automated sentinels that watch our firewall and watch the perimeter of the business, watch our assets, watch our endpoints.
I don't think automation is still somewhere out there in the future. It's very, very up to the task today, very capable today. And we really do have to get the level of business, the automation and the business up. And although you might think some of you might think that 90% by 2025 is not possible in your organization. Just increasing automation by any level is going to bring huge value to the organization. So I think if I was going to create a focus now for the next couple of years, I would really double down on automation.
Now, you could make an argument for AI, although I think AI is not quite as capable and day to day usage today, generally as automation is. But I do think I will continue to advance and we'll see some breakthroughs there and I think AI will be light years ahead of where it is today, just five years from now. And by the way, today it's advanced significantly from where it was just five years ago. But I'm a big believer in automation, I think the tools are fantastic. Ivanti certainly has some of those very, very strong automation and workflow tools. There are other great tools out there that could be used as building blocks, but a commitment to automation will really bring huge value to your organization.
Erica: So we have another question about AI, these attendees mentioning that their organization is struggling with service strategy and process and a weakness and governance, and they say that AI kind of seems distant and a non-relevant idea. Do you have any thoughts for them and how AI will apply to them?
Kevin J. Smith: Yeah, I agree that it may not be clear today how AI can help governance or enable some of your strategy, but it's important to recognize it's a journey and to commit to an ongoing assessment of how AI and what's available today can fit to your objectives. And even if those fits are not available today, you continue to evaluate AI technologies and how they may help you with governance in other areas.
If they're not a fit today, they will be soon and that has to be an ongoing process because the danger is if you make a determination that AI can't help you today and you stole those efforts or you cease that evaluation, then you're going to miss an opportunity in 2020 or in 2021, and then that can have a big impact on the whole organization. And that's why automation can be a simple building block that you can use today to help you with that.
I mean, for example, in governance or in DevOps or something like I'm thinking of audit or governance change management, change management process in IT. There are automation capabilities that can help you do change management today, and real tangible benefits from doing that today that can help you with governance and compliance and audit, which normally have a relationship to change management, release management and CMDB for example. They can help you today.
And then continue to evaluate and as AI elements become more advanced in those areas, I'm confident that in the next 12 to 24 months you will see AI technologies that can help you. The key is have that mindset of being on the journey, continuing to evaluate what the market offers and as soon as you identify a good fit and being proactive and deploying, bringing that technology into the organization and helping you with your governance and compliance efforts.
Erica: Perfect. I think that is all of our questions for today. So if you have any final thoughts, we can wrap things up.
Kevin J. Smith: I will. And guys, you see on the questions slide there that I'd be happy to hear from you. You can contact any of us, Erica, myself, my email address is there, [email protected] My Twitter handle is there, feel free to follow me on Twitter, we're always sharing good content and helpful ideas. And we love having a dialogue with you, we love hearing from you. We hope you'll join us at the next summer school session that we talked about before.
Please register for that and send us any ideas you have on what we might be able to do for future webinars and bringing you helpful information. We are all excited about the future of IT, we run these sessions to share some ideas and thoughts and recommendations with you and we'd love to hear from you on how we can bring you helpful information in the future.
So with that, I hope today was a good session for you. Again, thanks for joining us. Enjoy the rest of your summer and I hope that you join us on our future Ivanti webinar. Thank you.