IT SmartDesk is now closed

I’ve had a fantastic few years building and running IT SmartDesk, but now I feel it’s time to close the doors on this project. I have other commitments and projects that are taking far too much of my time, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want!

Thanks to everyone for their support, involvement and custom over the past 4 years – onwards and upwards!


Why you won’t see Google Glass in the office any time soon…

no surveillance devices

So you’ve heard all about Google Glass, how amazing it is, and how you should think “wow this is awesome!” and want to get a pair for Christmas (as long as the price comes down a bit…).

From a privacy perspective, Google Glass scares the hell out of me! It’s not that the person wearing the glasses chooses to share their entire life with Google (if that’s what floats your boat, then go for it!), it’s the fact that they’re sharing stuff about other people with Google, and most of the time this will be without their consent. I may bump into you in the shop, and because you’re wearing your Google Glass, Google now knows which shops I like to buy my socks from. Cue more relentless ‘personalised’ advertising for me, and more money for Google. I’m not in control of my information at this point, and that’s what frightens me.

The good news is, from an ITSM perspective I really don’t think Google Glass is going to be causing us any headaches any time soon (the only headaches will be for the people who wear them, if the early reviews are correct!). There is already a backlash of shops and businesses in the US pre-emptively banning the use of Google Glass on their premises. You think your workforce will be wearing Google Glass in the office, meetings, or boardroom? Sharing everything that goes on in your company with Google? I doubt that’s ever going to happen – do you?

So if you’re like me and fear for the loss of control of your information and privacy, or you simply don’t want your already difficult job as an IT Manager getting any more difficult, rest easy – I don’t think Google Glass will be on your list of supported hardware any time soon!

(Image courtesy of Stop The Cyborgs)

Do developers actually want DevOps?


The common myth with a lot of IT Service Management people is that DevOps is simply a case of letting Developers go wild on the production systems, with no change control or testing or anything! Furthermore, most ITSM peeps think that this anarchistic version of DevOps is exactly what Developers want! It means they don’t have to follow our ‘boring’ processes, don’t have to worry about Change Management, CMDBs and all that kind of stuff. They just release whatever code they want, to whichever environment they can get their hands on. Testing is optional, and there’s no penalties for anyone who gets it wrong.

Well having worked in both the ITSM and the Development worlds, I can safely tell you that this chaotic version of DevOps is a right pain in the backside for Developers!

As a developer, all I want to do is write code – simple as that. Create exciting and beautiful things from nothing; solve complex logic problems and delight my customers; fix bugs to transform a badly performing platform into an awesome platform; learn the latest and greatest technologies and figure out where I can use them to improve my software. This is a developer’s dream.

The developer’s dream is not copying over changes file-by-file to a staging environment. It is not getting up at 4am to do a deployment that will last 12 hours because it’s all manual and there is no process around it. The developer’s dream is not having to chase around the organisation to get approvals from various people to let them do a release, or to arrange for change windows.

ITSM processes are there for a reason – they take care of all of these sorts of things, allowing the developers to focus on the things they’re good at, and protecting the business from the things they’re not good at. Although ITSM processes can get pretty painful when they get in the way, somewhere in the middle ground there is a sweet spot that allows the developers to get on with doing what they do best (no, not creating memes or posting to Reddit).

I’m not saying that DevOps works like this in all cases, and I’m sure there are some great examples of DevOps working well out in the wild. But my experiences of a DevOps environment so far make me want to reach for my ITIL V3 books and bash people on the heads with them!

IT SmartDesk July Update


It’s become a tradition to start these updates with a brief comment about the weather here in Bristol, but this month I’m going to avoid that. The weather here has been so bad that it’s not even worth mentioning. I mean – call this summer? I haven’t seen the sun for weeks! So, I won’t mention one single thing about the weather this month. Instead I’ll just tell you about the awesome new features we’ve just added to IT SmartDesk in our latest release!

Change Management
Imagine being able to see all the Change Requests in your organisation, view the details of all Scheduled Changes, and approve or reject Changes with a simple click of the mouse. Our Change Management module follows the same Social IT principles as everything else in IT SmartDesk – simple, open and transparent communication that doesn’t segregate or exclude anyone in the organisation.



One of the central features of our Change Management module is the Change Calendar, where everyone in the organisation can easily view the scheduled Changes, and click through to see more info about each individual Change.



As with all other Items within IT SmartDesk, your IT SmartDesk community can comment or follow Changes, and receive notifications when these items are updated.

We’ve added our first batch of reports into IT SmartDesk, so you can start to understand the activity within your organisation. We’ll be adding to these over the coming months also, bringing in some Social IT Metrics as well as the traditional IT Service Management metrics.



Groups are a simple yet powerful feature that enables you to manage your IT SmartDesk user accounts more effectively. They’re also a great way of bringing together people who share the same interests, skillsets or are in the same teams.



Configurable priorities
You can now configure your priorities for Incidents and Bugs – change the name, allowed hours to resolve, and even the order in which they appear on the screen.



Pretty awesome don’t you think? If you want to find out more about IT SmartDesk or see these features in action, click the big orange button below and sign up for a 30 day free trial!

IT SmartDesk Overview – 26th July


This webinar demonstrates the features of the IT SmartDesk platform, covering both the IT Service Management aspects of the platform as well as the Social and community aspects of IT SmartDesk.

This 30 minute webinar will cover the following topics:

  • Incident Management
  • Change Management
  • User Management
  • Social Interactions
  • Pricing Options

Date: Thursday 26th July 2012
Time: 14:00 – 14:30 BST
Where: Online (click the big orange button below to register!)

Implementing Social IT – 19th July


Social IT implementation doesn’t have to be a “Big Bang” approach; you don’t need to replace your existing toolset and you don’t need to completely re-train your staff. In this free webinar we will show you some quick and easy ways to take those first steps towards a successful Social IT implementation.

This 30 minute webinar will cover the following topics:

  • How can Social IT benefit your organisation?
  • Are you ready for Social IT?
  • Implementation steps
  • Measuring a successful implementation

Date: Thursday 19th July 2012
Time: 14:00 – 14:30 BST
Where: Online (click the big orange button below to register!)

image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorge-11/2513210546/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Service Desk 2017 And Beyond!


Tomorrow's future is happening today!

The Service Desk Institute have released a white paper entitled “The Service Desk 2017 & Beyond” which brings together a really interesting set of thoughts and opinions from some of the ITSM industry’s top thought leaders on how the Service Desk will evolve over the next 5 years.

I was asked to contribute to it, and you can read my contribution to the subject on page 14.

Download your copy Service Desk 2017 & Beyond and see what the future holds!

Measuring the Value of Social IT Part 2 – Contribution


In part 1 of this 6-part Blogathlon, I discussed the goals of Social IT – i.e. what you can expect to achieve if you correctly implement Social IT within your organisation. In parts 2 – 6 I’ll outline and explain the 5 Social IT metrics: Contribution, Engagement, Influence, Efficiency, and Trend Analysis.


Within any content-based environment you have people who create content, people who consume content, and people who contribute to already existing content. These activities are made possible because of the interactions that can take place between people within any well designed Social environment. Without the ability to interact, exchange ideas and augment the information that already exists, we would have static content that doesn’t change and very quickly becomes irrelevant (hey – remind you of those out-dated Knowledge Base articles?!) The Contribution metric focuses on measuring the creation and contribution aspects of a content-based system (i.e. your Social IT environment).

There are 4 key measurements of contribution:

Content creation

Content creation is the most basic and yet most essential element of Contribution. Without this initial creation step, we would not have any content in our environment and we would not be able to consume that content. This measurement looks at the type of content being created (e.g. a Word document or PDF, a screenshot of a problem, a “how to” video, links to other sources of information, logging an Incident, sharing some news etc.) and also the frequency with which it is created.

Knowledge creation

Knowledge is created when an Incident is resolved or when a Question is answered, for example. To understand knowledge creation better we measure the number of people answering Questions, resolving Incidents, commenting on Discussions or News stories etc. as well as measuring the frequency with which this happens.

Group creation

In any social environment, groups form naturally whether they are formal, tightly-focussed groups or informal, loosely organised groups. Groups are a way of enabling people with similar interests to hang out and meet each other, creating some mutual benefit as a result. The Social IT environment is a perfect place for groups to form, and a great way to increase the contribution within your organisation. This measurement looks at the number of groups created, the type of groups created, and the size of those groups.


Interactions are the lifeline of any social environment. Without interaction there is no chance of building any form of relationship, and without a relationship there is no collaboration or knowledge creation. In Facebook the interactions are ‘like’, ‘poke’, ‘comment’, ‘add friend’, ‘delete friend’ etc. and similar interactions can exist within your Social IT environment. People can vote for a correct answer to a question, follow an item to receive an update, or comment on an Incident or Change. These are all forms of contribution and add to the existing content within your Social IT environment in some way. It is important therefore to measure the type and frequency of these interactions.

In the next leg of this epic journey I will discuss Engagement and how to measure it. Until then, please feel free to practise your contribution skills by leaving comments below or sharing this through your Social Networks.

Measuring the Value of Social IT Part 1 – Goals


The IT Service Management industry is becoming increasingly familiar with the concept of Social IT – i.e. the blending of traditional IT Service Management processes with Social Media communication and collaboration techniques. However there is still a reluctance to jump in and start implementing Social IT, which for many people is due to the lack of reporting and metrics surrounding Social IT. After all, as Peter Drucker famously said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Throughout this and the next 5 blog posts (yes a six part blog post – in Olympic terms this is a Blogathlon!) I’ll introduce you to the key Social IT metrics that can help your organisation measure the value of Social IT. First off, let’s warm up and do some gentle stretching by reviewing the goals of Social IT.

The Goals of Social IT

There are four main goals of Social IT that any organisation should be aiming to hit when implementing Social IT. These goals are:

1. Increase engagement between IT and our Customers

Although Social IT doesn’t necessarily change the processes we use within IT Service Management, it changes the way we interact and communicate with our Customers (the people that use the IT Services we provide). By bringing Social elements into our ITSM offering, Social IT helps engage our Customers in a 2-way conversation, involving them in the IT processes and working with them rather than working separately to them.

2. Reduce the cost of support

Social IT makes IT processes more open and transparent (it’s true! Read 7 Concepts of Social IT to find out more). One area where this has a big effect is the Service Desk. By making all Service Desk tickets (or Incidents) visible to everyone within the organisation and enabling anyone in the organisation to contribute their knowledge and experience towards resolving those Incidents, we are effectively increasing the number of potential support channels available to our Customers without adding to the operating costs of the Service Desk. At the same time, we cut down on the number of escalations to the more technical, more expensive IT teams because many more Incidents are resolved within the Social IT community.

3. Capture and harness internal knowledge

Each time one of IT’s Customers searches Google for help with an IT issue, or asks their connections on Twitter for IT advice (https://twitter.com/colinshelbourn/status/212495647419531264) the organisation loses out in two respects. First it loses the opportunity to capture our Customer’s issue (and the subsequent opportunity to do something about that issue), and second it loses the subsequent knowledge that is created by their question or issue being answered. Social IT provides an alternative channel for IT’s Customers, giving the organisation an opportunity to capture some of this information and knowledge.

4. Increase the business value of IT

Following on from number 2, an increase in the potential support channels available to deal with Incidents means IT can expect fewer interruptions. This in turn means that IT can become much more proactive and focus on two things: Improving the IT Service we offer our Customers, and delivering projects and improvements that will benefit the organisation in the long term.


In part 2 of this epic Blogathlon we’ll look at the first of our five Social IT metrics – Contribution.

(Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tworubies/5212375665/sizes/l/in/photostream/)