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 Patrick Bolger.
Tell us about your day job and also how you are involved in the community.
If you asked my wife, she’d say, “He travels around the world, speaking at conferences about the latest things that are happening in the IT industry.” But it’s not as simple, or as glamorous, as she makes it sound.
Travel can be taxing, but it gives me a more global perspective and allows me to spend time with the some of the brightest minds in our industry, discussing ITSM trends, ideas, and concepts, which is essential for my job.
At Hornbill, my primary responsibility is to understand trends and practices that impact the ITSM industry. Practitioners are bombarded by hype and predictions surrounding new technologies and practices. We’ve all heard how consumerization, cloud, DevOps, IoT, etc. will “revolutionize the industry” or “be the death of IT.” My job is to cut through this hype and assess the real impact, then provide practical advice to help shape our product roadmap and educate our customer community.
Although customers appreciate a view on what’s over the horizon, what they really need is help with the things that affect them today. We solicit feedback from our community on the topics they’d like us to cover and then provide resources to help them. A large amount of my time is spent producing whitepapers, templates, webinars, case studies, and videos and attending physical events to cover ITSM topics, such as problem management, service catalog, service level management, and metrics.
I also spend time with industry associations (AXELOS, HDI, itSMF, SDI) and get involved with community initiatives, such as Back2ITSM. I’m also one of the hosts on the Service Management Podcast.
What motivates you to be active in the community?
We have some real characters with strong opinions, and often, polar-opposite views, so it’s no surprise that we get some heated industry debates. I like working with passionate people who don’t take themselves too seriously and show respect for others.
Over the years, I’ve been approached by practitioners who just wanted to let me know that they’ve applied something I’ve written or spoken about and it’s made a marked improvement in their organizations. From a personal perspective, that’s one of the most rewarding things I could hear.
What suggestions do you have for tech support professionals interested in getting more involved in the community?
Get involved in your HDI Local Chapter or itSMF LIG. These groups are run by people who selflessly give their time to run physical and virtual events covering the hottest industry topics and promote professionalism within the service management industry.
I’d also recommend joining the Back2ITSM group on Facebook. The group has almost 2,000 members, which includes most of the people listed in HDI’s Top 25 Thought Leaders list. I can’t think of another online resource that offers immediate access to so many respected industry professionals, who are so passionate about ITSM, and are always willing to offer their help and advice.
What changes do you anticipate for tech support and service management over the next few years?
Over the last decade, we’ve worked hard to demonstrate that ITSM enables efficient and cost effective delivery of services. Over the next decade, this will not be enough, as low-cost cloud-based solutions and always-on services reset what businesses expect from technology. Over the next decade, IT value will be judged by how we adapt to change and our ability to demonstrate returns from business investments in technology.
IT value will be judged by how we demonstrate returns from business investments in technology.
Whether it’s DevOps, SCRUM, or Kanban, IT groups need to pay attention to agile. However, before we can truly embrace agile, we must understand collaboration. It underpins every agile approach, and if we haven’t got it working well within our own teams, how can we expect to collaborate with others.
Get serious about collaboration! I’ve witnessed the dramatic change that happens when teams start “working out loud,” openly sharing knowledge and ideas with others. It’s a different way of working, so it takes persistence to get it established. However, once it has a foothold, you’ll see huge improvements in the way your teams communicate, and collaboration will have a significant, positive impact on your business.
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.