Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week20) - Guest Speaker: David Ratcliffe from Pink Elephant

Pink Elephant...  Yup, that's there name.

I have known Pink Elephant for about 6 years.  I was trained by Pink in ITIL V2, V3 and took their IT Executive training from one of their Sr. consultants ITIL V3 Author Gary Case.  I have since become great friends with many folks within the Pink organization.

I've met David Ratcliffe President of Pink Elephant in the past, as Vigilant was a frequent sponsor of the Pink Elephant IT Service Management conference, however it was only this past February that I got a chance to get to know David well, mostly from our interactions on Twitter.  David is a great example of one who embraces new technologies.  When he first posted that he was going to use twitter to keep Pink Elephant Conference attendees up to date and allow questions from audiences, I was the first to share with him the horror stories.  However, he pulled it off with great success and really made it a great event.  Making me eat Crow, but with some salt it was fine.

Enjoy the great insights, stories and history of the organization that brought ITIL to the U.S.

Show notes here at the greatest ITSM site on the web:

ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 20) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

Show Hosts:
Christopher Dancy
Matt Beran
Matthew Hooper .

Week 20 Topics:  Episode 2843 (well episode 20)

Monday, June 14, 2010

ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week19) Guest: Robert Stroud

Very exciting week for me on ITSM Weekly the Podcast, our special guest was Robert Stroud.

In 2007 when I was working for a CA partner I had the opportunity to meet an individual that really impressed me with his vision of the ITSM market.  I've since seen Robert speak several times and had a chance to have a conversation over lunch at the 2009 ITSMF Academic summit.  He has a great passion for the industry, and does  lot for the community through the membership organizations.
He is also one that has crossed over from technology to marketing, which is my own personal career path.
Please enjoy as I did this weeks podcast with Robert and definitely check out the show notes from ServiceSpehere:

ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 19) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

Show Hosts:
Christopher Dancy
Matt Beran
Matthew Hooper .

Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Maximize Outsourcers - Part 2 of 3 - Choosing the Outsourcer

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part article on how to get the most out of your outsourcing relationships.  
Part 2 - The Outsourcer.  Friend, Foe or Value Provider

Part 2 - Them

When making the decision to outsource, you are saying to yourself  "I want to achieve greater value for this particular service by leveraging the core disciplines of others".  What you then need to ask yourself is “what are those value drivers?”.  
There are basically 4 aspects of value you can expect to achieve from an outsourcer.
1) Quality - Since the service you are outsourcing should be core to the provider, you should be expecting an elevated level of quality.
2) Price - The outsourcer is leveraging a shared infrastructure across its customer base,  so you should expect affordability at a unit cost level.
3) Time - Focused operation should have allowed the outsourcer to become mature in their processes and architecture, enabling them to  facilitate new programs with greater efficiency.
4) Risk Mitigation – Lastly, you should expect that the resources required to plan, manage, control, and counteract risks are stronger in the outsourcer, since business tolerance for failure is far less for an outside party than for internal groups. (for the most part)
No doubt there are many other reasons to choose an outsourcing relationship, but these are the major contributors to deriving value from the relationship.  
Before you embark on the transition of the service, you must determine  whether this outsourcer has the "right stuff" to service ME.

Did you know that Outsourcing Fails?  Of course you do; a lot of outsourcing initiatives fail.  Usually this is because of Part 1 of this article "You".  (well, not you personally) 
 However, it also has to do with how the outsourcer was evaluated.
When it comes to evaluating an outsourcer it is important to recognize a few myths:
Myth 1) The outsourcer is in business for me.
Myth 2) Bigger is Better.
Myth 3) SLA's and Contracts protect me

Let's take a look at these myths to determine if our outsourcer is a "friend", "foe" or "Value Provider".

Myth 1) The Outsourcer is in business for me.
OK fine, the outsourcer has chosen to offer a capability you are looking for.   That doesn't mean that they are in business for you.  
That doesn’t mean that they are making decisions to provide capabilities for where your business is going.
In other words, you may mistakenly make the assumption that your anticipated needs are clearly understood by the outsourcer and that their investment strategy is targeted towards your business consumption.
This is a myth that many outsourcers will be glad to let you believe.  
The frank fact is that outsourcers are in business for themselves.  They want to deliver the service that you buy at a given time and maintain that service without change for as long as possible.  Thus, as a buyer, you are not going to get the value unless you clearly articulate your expectations up front and your outsourcer can clearly articulate the service portfolio of current and future offerings.
A 2004 survey from  stated that 23% of the outsourcing failures were because of "The buyer's unclear expectations up front as to its objectives".
Friend: "We have provided this service for lots of clients, we know what you need."
Foe: "Changes to services only introduce risks, we will accommodate enhanced services after we have stabilized you as a client."
Value Provider: "Here is our Service Catalog of current services.  We are predicting these areas of market demand and have these service in the pipeline to delivered by these dates"
Bottom line:  
If the services aren't in their plans, they won't be in your hands.

Myth 2) Bigger is better
There will be no argument here that for pure play utility services, selecting  a larger company will give you great value.  What I want to focus some light on here is the sometimes mistaken assumption that all services added to a larger firm’s portfolio will be as good and as valuable to us as the core services for which they are known and trusted. 
Another key factor to keep in mind is the life-cycle of an outsourced arrangement.
According to "IT Outsourcing Part 1: Contracting the Partner" there are 5 phases.
Phase 1: Decision Making - Should the organization outsource (see Part 1 of this article)
Phase 2: Supplier selection - what this article is helping cover.
Phase 3: Transition - Transfer services to provider, transformation of retained service ownership
Phase 4: Service Delivery - Maintaining performance and governance over provider.
Phase 5: Contract Completion - Handling renewals, changes or withdrawal.
When thinking about these phases, you need to ask yourself if the size of the outsourcer accommodates your goals.  Remember that outsourcers love to bring clients in and hate to see them go.   So while bigger shops can more readily support the first 3 phases of the life-cycle, what’s their reputation for supporting Phase 4  and 5?  How hard will it be to end the contract with a larger firm?
Larger firms have more resources, yes, in their legal teams.  
This brings us to our next myth.

Myth 3) SLA's and Contracts protect me
This has been, in my experience, one of the greatest mistakes made by either side of the outsourcing arrangement, trusting that an  SLA will provide you service.
The brutal truth is that the SLA is a contract that is in place to fall back on when either party so significantly fails that you have to litigate.  You can reinterpret the claimed breach to a court that will really have no clue what you both are talking about.
You need to think of your SLA like your life insurance policy; you want to have it, but never want to use it.  Understand the risks and conducts that could go against the contract, but otherwise do the right thing.
SLA's are important, don't get me wrong.  However, their greatest usable value is in determining the guidelines by which performance and capacity will be managed.  Outsourcers like any other company provide value for money.  Their value model will be based on the requirements and commitments that you as a client make with them.  The SLA documents these important requirements and commitments, so that resource planning, controls, and execution decisions can be made at multiple levels of the organization.

So if you really want to get the most out of your outsourcing contract, you have to create a Service Network Relationship.  In my next and final part of this article I will share with you the 4 different aspects of Service Perspective.  I promise this won't be your Mama's ITIL Pie and Service Cream.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week18) Special Monday Edition

This week we spent some time talking about user groups.  HDI, ISACA, ITSMF and SIM (Society of Information Management)

Time is a precious commodity.  It's our single greatest limited resource, and thus we must find ways to make it as valuable to us as possible.  I try to find ways to spend my time so I can have more time.  User groups have been a great way for me to accomplish this.  By getting to know others talents, resources, needs, helps us see how we can accomplish outcomes by leverage.  Chris relates it as NFL , Networking Fun and Learning.

We recorded this weeks podcast on a Monday, and for some reason it caught us a lot more giddy with a little bit of a sensitive side.  Enjoy the podcast and as always tell me what you think we should be covering and how we can improve.

Note: our new podcast editor did not bleep this recording, so there are a few swears in it.

Show notes from

ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 18) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

Show Hosts:
Christopher Dancy
Matt Beran
Matthew Hooper .

Week 18 Topics:  Episode 1982 (well episode 18)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week17) Guest: Chuck Tomasi

Special Guest:  Chuck Tomasi

A 30 year veteran of managing IT departments, teams and projects.  Chuck was the winner of the innovation of the year award for his improvements in customer satisfaction.  As the manager for a Service Desk that supported over 7,500 users for a $1.8 Billion electronics company, Chuck brings some great experiences to this podcast.

He is also a seasoned podcaster, having literally written a book on the subject.

Show Notes:

ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 17) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

Show Hosts:
Christopher Dancy
Matt Beran
Matthew Hooper .

Chuck has nearly 30 years of IT experience ranging from break/fix to IT management. In his most recent role he re-insourced and managed the service desk for a $1.8 billion electronics manufacturing company with 7500 users world wide. In six months he did everything from process evaluation to staffing to tool selection on time and on budget. During his two years Global IT Service Desk Manager, Chuck came up with several innovative solutions to help drive more services to the Service Desk including a multi-location reservation system for laptops, cell phones, and other assets that won him the first Innovation of the Year Award at's Knowledge '10 conference in April. After 22 years at the company Chuck was let go due to an IT re-org and in less than a month he had a position with Chuck is also the host and producer of several podcasts available at where he has interviewed names like Adam Savage from Mythbusters, Dr. Robert Ballard (the discoverer of theTitanic), and Theoretical Physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. He is the author of Podcasting for Dummies 2nd Ed. and Sam's Teach Yourself WordPress in 10 Minutes. Chuck volunteers his time as the President of the Titletown HDI chapter and organizer of the Fox Cities Managers group, a local group dedicated to leadership improvement through professional collaboration.
Week 17 Topics: Episode 1842 (well episode 17) 

    ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week16) Guest: Chris Dancy

    This week our host with the most returns, Chris Dancy.

    Chris Dancy is the leading media interface for IT Service Management.  His quick wit, humor and deep knowledge of the industry combine to make the ITSM Weekly Podcast a great success.  The last 2 episodes Chris was on vacation, but he is back renewed with energy and ready to bring back his "Shock Jock" to the ITSM industry.

    Show Notes:

    ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 16) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

    Show Hosts:
    Christopher Dancy
    Matt Beran
    Matthew Hooper .

    Week 16 Topics:  Episode 1541 (well episode 16) 

    ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week15) Guest: Stephen Mann (Finister Audit)

    Special Guest:  Stephen Mann
    Podcast Audit Guest:  James Finister

    This week we had a chance to speak with some of our colleagues from the UK.  When we think of "service" we sometimes forget that 80% of the service delivery is based on communication.  So it was a great chance to have some fun picking on the U.S. view of the world from our colleague Jim Finister, as seasoned ITSM expert and professional IT auditor.

    Stephen Mann our guest this week is an analyst from Ovum.  Stephen is an active participant int he ITSM community and can be followed on twitter under the name: @stephenmann

    Show Notes:

    ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 15) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

    Show Hosts:
    Christopher Dancy
    Matt Beran
    Matthew Hooper .

    ITSM Weekly the Podcast (Week14) Guest: David Mainville

    A few weeks behind this was our podcast from Week of May 10th.

    Our special guest for this podcast was David Mainville, CEO and founder of Consulting Portal, a 30 year veteran of IT Service Management.  David brings a great perspective on the industry, and helps clarify the confusion on achieving IT Service Management vs. instrumenting a framework.

    ITSM Weekly The Podcast (Week 14) from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

    Show Hosts:
    Christopher Dancy
    Matt Beran
    Matthew Hooper .