Interview with Ben Clacy, Chief Executive of itSMF UK
Joe: Tell us a little about yourself and itSMF UK.
Ben: I’ve been Chief Executive of itSMF UK since 2010 and with the forum since 2006. itSMF was established in 1991 and is now in 53 countries. The goal of the forum is to share best practices and help deliver valuable information to ITSM professionals worldwide. Here in the UK, we have more than 9,000 members and around 300 organizations that are representative of the IT industry including, enterprises, software companies, IT departments, etc. Our members are really passionate about what they do and appreciate the opportunity to share ideas and learn from others in the industry.
Joe: In your opinion, what is the single most important challenge facing IT professionals today?
Ben: IT keeping themselves relevant! There has been discussion about how IT is not delivering huge amounts to the business, which of course is perception not reality – IT is more relevant than ever. But I think this is an opportunity for IT to show they can deliver business innovation and real value showing they can be a potential game changer for businesses. Additionally, money is always an issue and IT is often seen as a money drain. I think a crucial component of this is how IT departments report themselves – business as usual vs. strategic IT – companies are looking for ROI and things like automating IT and commoditizing IT is a strong component of this. Companies will always be looking to see how much they can get back in future revenues and the more that IT helps with this, the better off they will be.
Joe: How do you stay up on current tech trends?
Ben: I use Twitter a lot since it provides a constant flow of information. I try to follow the industry influencers and read the relevant articles, comments and blogs. I also get a lot of my information from talking directly to members and people in the industry which provides the best bits of information, although less frequently. Talking to people with different opinions and positions gives me a lot of perspective. For example, the vendor community tends to put out information that is more cutting edge than some others which is important to stay up-to-date on in this industry.
Joe: Where do you see IT in 5 years from now?
Ben: I really see IT headed in the direction of a two-tiered delivery model. That is to say, the commoditization of IT vs. strategic IT. The bottom part, the commoditization of IT, can be automated and put easily into a process where IT will be more like a commodity. For example, password reset process – it’s automated and doesn’t require a specific party to oversee it. Whoever can do it the cheapest and quickest wins whether it’s a third part vendor or in the service desk.
Someone once said, “IT will be to today’s generation what electricity is to yesterday’s generation”, and I think this is correct, IT will just be there. The flip side of this is the strategic aspect – how IT is affecting the business. It’s like an ATM; 10 years ago you could only take out money. Today, you can use the ATM for 10 different services. It has many more functionalities today. I think this is where we are headed. IT can have a significant impact on how companies deal with customers and can potentially be a strategic leader and a revenue generator.
Posted by Joe the IT Guy