HDI 2017 Conference & Expo happened just outside Washington, DC, May 9–12, with workshops starting earlier. You can watch the terrific wrap-up video on HDI's YouTube channel.
Friends reconnected, exhibitors set up their booths, and HDI Local Chapter Officers met. HDI gave industry awards, and networking took place. Speakers presented practical tips and case studies from their real-world experiences. All of these things regularly happen in and around HDI’s events, but there was something else going on. Attendees felt it and so did the exhibitors. In fact, every person I talked to had the same impression: something was a little different. Despite the inevitable tales of reorganizations, job shuffles, and budget cuts, the feeling persisted.
After many conversations with conference-goers of every stripe, from vendors to trainers to speakers, I finally found the right word: Optimism. I truly felt a “things are looking up” spirit. But why?
In conversation with my friend Matt Beran, I postulated that the messages of IT service management and support center best practice had finally gotten through, and people were seeing progress. After years of repetition, ITIL®, The HDI Support Center Standard, and other frameworks are really beginning to bear fruit. I discussed this with several industry leaders I respect, and the consensus was, “You may be right.”
The main messages of the consultants, trainers, and managers have not substantially changed in the past year. Major frameworks—while under review and revision all the time—have not had big, new releases, although there have been additions, such as ITIL® Practitioner. The mistakenly perceived collision of DevOps and ITIL has been adequately debunked by many, and IT service management has advanced to become more “Lean and Agile,” as current parlance would have it.
Maybe that’s part of it. Maybe not many are spinning their wheels waiting for the next version of whatever they are using in their organizations. Tech support organizations are realizing that frameworks are not orthodoxies.
Tech support organizations are realizing that frameworks are not orthodoxies.
Meanwhile, the planning and training is working. The practices are proving themselves. Progress is being made, and people are feeling good about it, even though massive changes are happening—or are about to happen—in the industry. Although over the past year or so I have heard many express the fear that “automation and AI are going to put us all out of work,” that hasn’t happened, and evidence in the industry is to the contrary. Recent HDI research shows that it is more likely for IT staff to be shifted rather than done away with.
In any event (pun intended), HDI 2017 had impact, and that matters.
Roy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.