HDI 2015: IT Service and Support Management Meets Big Data

HankHollyHDIBlogThe first thing I noticed on the floor of HDI 2015 in Las Vegas was the people. Of course there were lots of them, it’s HDI after all, in Las Vegas and the Mandalay Bay! But these attendees were different. What I immediately noticed was the lack of large bags stuffed with tchotchkes. They didn’t seem to be on the stereotypical trade show mission of gathering t-shirts. Indeed, I saw only a couple of booths laden with squeeze toys and other free promotional items typically dispensed at trade shows, conventions and similar events.

Zeroing in on this phenomenon, I next noticed the quiet and serious conversations between conference attendees and booth staff. Knowing many of the exhibitors on a first name basis, I got plenty of opportunity to listen to attendee conversations, and then debrief with the exhibitor. It all came clear then — these IT professionals were looking for solutions to serious business problems, not tchotchkes.

As I strolled the show seeing who was there, and tellingly, who wasn’t there, and seeing which booths were getting the traffic, I started absorbing the messages flashed at me from all corners. The message was that IT service and support management professionals are serious about analytics. Not your father’s boring service desk metrics either. I’m talking about descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics; you know, the kind of stuff you hear marketing people and chief digital officers demanding of IT. Big data for IT.

Many of the IT service support management (ITSSM) tools on display can examine your support chats; scrutinize internal social media and email to identify patterns within support structures. They can show who is doing what, when and how well. And they are starting to look like slick Silicon Valley-designed, consumer-oriented products.

IT, long on the hook to deliver and support business intelligence and personalized digital marketing systems, appears to be on the cusp of turning those big data analytics concepts upon itself; eating its own dog food, if you will. In this case, not just to prove it’s good, but because it is good. IT using big data to optimize its activities specifically to improve customer experience.

I hosted two private breakfasts with senior IT service and support leaders, and led two public sessions. I talked to at least 200 individuals during HDI 2015. And to a man and a woman, the overriding theme was, “How do we show our business the value of what we do?” It appears at least part of the answer is using big data analytical techniques to understand what IT service and support centers do for whom, why, and how well — and using that wisdom to focus on customer experience.

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