The Pink Think Tank: It’s Not Staying In Vegas

Wow Vegas was a blast. Who knew that a short guy from New York would be so popular? But that’s enough about me, there are far more important things to discuss. Namely the Pink Elephant Conference Think Tank.

It’s not the first time that a conscientious group of IT service management (ITSM) notables have convened for the good of the wider ITSM Community – last year there was at least the SM Congress at itSMF USA FUSION and the Taking Service Forward initiative which included my good friend Stuart Rance.

But what makes the Pink Think Tank different is: firstly, they chose to focus in on one important area (which they selected) rather than trying to boil the ocean and, secondly, they wanted to keep it practical. Which is so important for us practitioner types.

So onto the detail.

The Pink Think Tank background

To quote, OK steal content from, Rebecca Beach of the ITSM Review’s initial Pink Conference article:

“One of the many selling points for attendees of the annual Pink Elephant conferences (so I am told) is the quality of after-hours conversations. Often taking place over a meal or a beer, but often limited in their exposure outside of those party to them (and potentially the inability to remember what was said the following day). 

So this year an attempt was made to formalize and capture the essence of such conversations – the Pink Think Tank. Where a pre-selected group of the ITSM industry’s deep thinkers spent a day discussing the main issues faced by corporate IT organizations before focusing on just one – from problem definition through to potential solutions.”

And the Think Tank consisted of:

And was facilitated by Jack Probst.

The observant among you will notice that they only chose people in the first half of the alphabet otherwise I’m sure a certain Mr. The-IT-Guy would have been invited too. Although I’m told that Charles Araujo gets most of his best ideas from me anyway; my fingers are still tired from typing that book he wrote.

Defining the problem

Given the analytical nature of the Think Tank members they chose to start with defining the problem:


This and other images are taken from the Think Tank slide deck used to present its thoughts and conclusions back to the Pink conference attendees.

The scariest thing was when James Finister told the audience “You are not ready” – that we are not ready for the complexity of multi-supplier scenarios. It was said with so much conviction that I believed him.

With a number of trends driving organizations to “multi-supplier value streams”


Such that organization need to:

  • Build a robust corporate governance policy, process, roles and assurance for Supplier Management.
  • Know your business: Assess your understanding of your industry vertical and IT value in this space.
  • Define a value driven operating model that is embedded with common/core belief system and operating practices that span the enterprise (the Empire”).
  • Define which Operating Model capabilities must be core – (“the Roman roads”).
  • Continue to use service management (ITIL), but with changed emphasis and priorities.
  • Elevate IT Supplier Management as an enterprise core function.
  • Have a multi-supplier ecosystem that supports a balance of organizational innovation and commoditization.
  • Understand which services are strategic to the organization and which are not.
  • Understand the difference between strategic and commodity suppliers.
  • Realize that the drivers for the multi-sourcing model can be cost and/or business agility and the solution must be balanced across these.
  • Understand that multi-sourcing is going to change the way people work: address this as cultural change.
  • Aim for IT to have the role of trusted advisor for the use of technology across the enterprise.

These points have been lifted, with minor editing, from the Think Tank slide deck notes.

All good stuff but the real power is in what happens next

Importantly, the Think Tank members understood the need to keep their outputs practical, or consumable by the IT or ITSM professional.

Thus Rob England, and his colleagues, left the audience with two things. Firstly, guidance on what to do post conference:

slide 3

And secondly, a commitment for Think Tank members (and potentially others) to create supplementary outputs beyond the Pink conference. Something that is often missing from such think tanks – assistance with execution.

So there you have it – the Pink Think Tank in less than 1000 words (actually it might be a few more if you want to count the slide content). I hope you find it as useful as I did and thanks to the Think Tank members for investing their time to help us practitioners.

Finally, the full slide deck has very kindly been made available by Rob England on SlideShare should you wish to get a copy.

Image Credit

Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).

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