Next to be interviewed in the build-up to SITS17 is Mike Kyffin of Cherwell Software, who explains his unorthodox introduction to IT support, why IT value must take precedence and what his session at SITS17 will teach visitors.
Q: How did your IT career begin?
A: I got into IT 20 years ago, and I got into IT support by accident. I was working as a building surveyor. I moved from one office to another within the same building for the same organisation and ended up sitting in the former IT support person’s desk. So, people were calling my new desk phone asking for IT help. I had a keen interest in computers so I started to help them to fix their IT problems. Essentially, at the same time, I was doing my paid job and an unpaid job. They saw I was doing well, so the organisation decided to invest in me, and I made the transition from a building surveyor into IT and have never looked back.
Q: What’s the single biggest challenge in your work?
A: The biggest challenge in my work is helping people manage change. Some people like change and some loath it. One of my greatest challenges is helping people adopt change through persuasion and negotiation. That’s what it all comes down to. It’s all about people.
Q: What’s the strangest tech support question you’ve ever been asked?
A: “Can I use my CD tray as a cup holder?” My answer, “Absolutely, as long as it’s not full of water. When I used to service laptops, someone once asked me if a closed laptop would take the weight of a nine-year-old child. Just so you all know, no, it won’t.
Q: What tips would you give service desk and IT support professionals looking to drive their IT services forward?
A: Driving services forward all relates to change:
- Who needs the change? Get the right people and the right decision makers.
- Embrace and support the change. Both the customer and the solution provider need to be on board and in sync.
- Get experience with the solution and understand your expectations and capabilities.
- Keep it simple. Take small, considered steps. Don’t try to do too much too soon.
Q: What’s one emerging trend or research that anyone working in your field should know?
A: I think people should focus less on trends and more on learning the value of effectively implementing a service management solution and being able to guide with best practices the pragmatic approach to transforming service management within their organisation. This is where it starts, and this is where it finished. It’s about getting value from what you’re doing.
Q: What are the key points you’ll be covering in your seminar session at this year’s SITS?
A: I’ll be speaking about how to avoid buyer’s remorse when selecting an ITSM solution. So, how to make the right solution choice. Key points include: enjoy working as a team; accept and manage the expectations of yourself, the customer, and the team. Never assume anything; communicate, communicate, communicate! Make the best decision you can with the information you have; don’t worry if you make a mistake. If in doubt, ask. Don’t try to do everything perfectly. And of course, how to manage change and deliver IT value.
Q: In addition to your seminar session, why would you recommend others to visit SITS?
A: I believe an event like SITS presents a great opportunity for a company or individual to understand where they are in relation to industry best practices. It also gives you the chance to review a vast number of solutions and gain information that will help you make the right decisions in regards to your individual IT service management journey.
Mike Kyffin is director of solutions and strategy, EMEA, Cherwell Software.
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