HDI announced the 2021 Strategic Advisory Board comprised of industry thought leaders, practitioners, and solution providers to keep closer tabs on customer insights, ensure content offerings align with industry best practices, and grow industry relationships.
Evan Carlson, a member of the HDI 2021 Strategic Advisory Board, was hired in 2010 as EasyVista’s first North American employee. During his tenure, Carlson has served in a variety of roles and now serves as the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of EasyVista North America. As a result of his and his teams’ efforts, EasyVista has been named in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Tools nine years in a row.
Below, Carlson shares some insight into his career and background, and offers advice for others looking to set out on a career path like his.
Could you describe your current role?
I’m the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) for EasyVisa North America. My responsibilities are to grow our North American business by empowering and leading our Business Development, Sales, Services, and Customer Service teams in close partnership with Product and Marketing. At the heart of it, my role is to make sure we equip businesses and IT departments with IT Service Management and adjacent technology solutions they need to succeed in their industries.
What, in your opinion, are the characteristics of someone who is successful long-term in this industry?
I entered this market having come from a completely different technology industry, and I’ve found Service Management to be full of incredibly supportive people. This is a close-knit community, despite the global scale, striving to achieve in a way that’s uniquely collaborative.
As a member of HDI since 2010 and founding officer of the Rhode Island Local Chapter, I’ve participated and witnessed members propping each other up in support of new initiatives and making introductions for new job positions. Staying in close contact with others in this industry pays dividends.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with those who are just setting out on a career path in the service and support industry?
The service and support industry is constantly evolving. It’s critical to network and proactively learn about the innovative ways to rise to the challenges being presented by our customers, IT, and the business.
For example, back in 2010 everyone needed to be ITIL trained, and job titles adapted to align such as Change Manager. But these days, people also need to stay educated on all things NLP, AI, and Machine Learning to help ensure they’re a productive contributor for the first chatbot their department rolls out, along with other automation initiatives. We work with lots of IT and business leaders who got their start in service and support. This space is constantly evolving, and as a result you must be willing to evolve with it and lead from the front whenever possible.
There have been so many changes in this industry, both because of new technology and because of the COVID-19 crisis. How do you feel those changes will shape the industry in the next decade?
What I’ve witnessed firsthand has truly changed the service and support industry, as well as CIOs, from being perceived as cost centers to reliable business partners. That’s in part because of the ability to pivot when push comes to shove.
Organizations adapted to remote work incredibly well. EasyVista’s customers transformed how they provided service to employees almost overnight. They found themselves doing things fully remote which were previously thought to be off-limits and impossible to implement, both due to organizational change and technology limitations. IT’s ability to adapt quickly saved many businesses, directly impacting revenue and in many cases driving new revenue streams.
The success the industry achieved has instilled new confidence that will carry us through the next decade. We’ll keep on evolving, innovating, and driving highly impactful outcomes for the business.
It’s clear by your participation on the board that you believe in the role of mentorship in the service and support industry. Can you share a valuable lesson you learned from a mentor?
I’ve met and worked with so many supportive and collaborative people over the last 11 years in the service and support industry. Perhaps the most important and lasting advice I was given right at the onset is how everything we do boils down to one north star: this industry is all about taking care of the customer. Focus on doing that right and all of the other supporting elements and business outcomes will follow.
I have to say this has proved entirely true. As the industry evolves and focuses on different areas such as ITIL, DevOps, mobility, self-service, knowledge management, AI, and so many other areas, what matters most is “Will doing this improve the customer experience?”
Every business is different, yet they all share at least one common trait. Customers are the lifeblood of their business. Service and support has the tremendous responsibility across all businesses to manage and innovate to that north star. It was true over a decade ago and remains true today.
Craig Idlebrook is managing editor for HDI and ICMI.