Lessons in Leadership: Reflections from Matt Hooper


HDI’s Top 25 Thought Leaders for 2016 share leadership advice and predictions for the future.

by Amy Eisenberg
June 27, 2017

In January 2017, HDI presented the Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management. To help you get to know them better and learn what it means to be a community leader, we’ve interviewed each of our thought leaders. Today, we hear from Matt Hooper.

Matt Hooper, ITSM

Tell us about your day job and also how you are involved in the community.

My day job as a product evangelist is unique. I have no direct reports or staff, but work across several cross-functional teams. I can be on a sales call with one of our customers talking about upcoming product features, improved ways to use our products, or industry trends. Then I might be on a team call with our internal IT team talking about process improvements, metrics, self-service design, or other feature enhancements. The next call could be with an analyst learning about trends in DevOps or customer service. It is a challenging utility role, but the exposure it gives me adds value to the content I provide to the community. My 20+ years in the IT industry has given me tremendous experience I can share with IT service management professionals, but it really is the business interactions that bring the most value to my presentations and blogs. For instance, my presentation with Roy Atkinson, What Will an ITSM Pro Look Like in 2020 and How Will We Get There, spoke mostly about business disruptions and the changing control of digital transformation from IT budgets and strategies to business controlled. My cross-functional exposure and interactions are opportunities most of my readers and listeners never get the opportunity to experience.

What motivates you to be active in the community?

I learned early in my career that hoarding knowledge was career limiting. I took every opportunity to share and develop others. In the late 1990s, 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. I was challenged by peers for not having a college degree, and 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, and sharing through my blog, VigilantGuy, 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 and support community and wanted that to be reflected in their strategy.

What suggestions do you have for tech support professionals interested in getting more involved in the community?

Never underestimate how valuable sharing is. Sometimes in IT, we think what we do isn’t that exciting or inspirational, or that we are not that great of a speaker, or people won’t care what we have to say. Remember that knowledge you obtain about what is important or passionate for you is valuable to someone else. It can be intimidating to see dynamic speakers like Julie Mohr or read eloquent blogs from Stephen Mann. Membership in communities is a must. Learn to network, which starts with learning to introduce yourself to strangers. This is harder for females in IT than for males, so if you are a female, take the initiative to introduce yourself to others. Then take that to the social media level. Get connected through LinkedIn, get on the Back2ITSM group on Facebook, and engage people on Twitter. Challenge them, if you read their blogs and disagree. Professionally state, “Hey I’m not sure I agree with such and such.” It’s important to just be yourself and find where you can add value to the community.

What trends do you anticipate for service management technology over the next few years?

Service management is all about decision making. Do we have the right people, doing the right things, at the right time, in the right way? Thus technology in service management is focusing heavily on creating value in business intelligence. Big data, AI, and automation are the focal points for the top ITSM players. Juxtapose the trend of business units increasing their budgetary spend and management on IT services directly versus IT who just wants to be a better service provider. IT is not going win the budget and mindshare battle; a limited focus on just providing better services is not going to be a great strategy.

Service management is all about decision making.
Tweet: Service management is all about decision making. @VigilantGuy @ThinkHDI #ITSM

IT in the late 1990s had to shift focus from technology components to systems. In the 2000s we shifted from systems focus to services, first IT then technology enabled business services. Now the focus is on experiences; every CEO is funding digital initiatives with a primary outcome being growing revenue through better customer experiences. Organizations are going to be challenged to re-think their processes for order to cash, support, and customer engagement. ITSM pros have great skills in these areas, but we have not demonstrated our ability to create great digital experiences within our own ranks. Frankly most self-service portals suck. I believe the biggest trend will be converging end-user experiences across common platforms for enterprise task management, collaboration, and management. Under-pinning this with analytics and automation, organizations will reduce friction that will enable their talented teams to truly work faster, smarter and better, giving them space to focus on new innovations and improve work culture and life balance…or at least I hope this happens. ;)


Amy Eisenberg is the editor for HDI where she works with industry experts and practitioners to create content for technical support professionals. She has worked in B2B media and scholarly publishing for more than 20 years, developing content for print and digital magazines, print and email newsletters, websites, conferences, and technical seminars. Follow Amy on Twitter @eisenbergamy, and connect with her on LinkedIn.


Tag(s): supportworld, leadership, ITSM, service management, technology

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