Friday, 29 May 2015

Service Management Vendor Profile: InvGate

Recently I was able to connect with Jaemes McArthur, Director Business Development, and Ariel Gesto, Founder and Chief Evangelist of InvGate

Tell me about your service management journey which got you to InvGate

Ariel Gesto, founder of InvGate, envisioned a world where mid-sized organizations could “get ahead of their competitors by using cutting edge IT management tools that incorporated the latest consumer User Experience with the power of Enterprise solutions.”

Having an entrepreneurial spirit, Ariel realized that there was a need for a service desk application that was simple to use but also powerful in its capabilities, so in 2008 founded InvGate, whose head office resides in Buenos Aries.

Since that time InvGate has grown steadily though-out the South and Central American region and developed a dominant presence. Expanding into the USA and Europe in 2013, InvGate was selected to join Endeavor, a development network for high impact entrepreneurs, which acted as a spring board for continued growth internationally. Currently InvGate has more than 500 clients spread throughout South and Central America, the USA, Europe, South Africa and Australia. Key clients include Nike, Toyota, NEC, PWC, GE, Fresenius, Metlife and Manpower.

Tell me a bit about the application itself

InvGate currently offer two solutions, InvGate Service Desk and InvGate Asset Management which are closely integrated to create a powerful IT Service Management solution.

InvGate Assets Management:

InvGate Assets is an all-in-one IT Asset Management tool that allows IT teams to audit, configure, and control all devices connected to a their network in a remote and centralized way.

InvGate Service Desk:

InvGate Service Desk is a web-based ITIL ready solution with an unprecedented user experience. Offering Incident, Problem, Change, Asset & Knowledge processes, Service Desk provides unmatched collaboration between users, powerful automation and smart ticket management.

Key features include 100% code-free configuration, drag-and-drop graphical workflow builder, business analytics reporting and custom dashboards to name a few.

Is there a prime client space?

InvGate’s solutions have been particularly successful in the Retail, Education and Technology verticals. In the ITAM and SAM market they have a similar distribution, but also are focused in Financial Services, Insurance and Manufacturing.

What is the differentiator for this product vs. its competitors?

Beyond merely the application itself, some differentiators they identified included:
  • A modern and intuitive user experience that promotes rapid adoption and efficiency in day-to-day activities
  • Enabling the ability to collaborate by leveraging social media outlets where it applies to drive teamwork
  • Ease of use is amplified by making configuration simple, not only in the implementation but in production too

What’s in the works for InvGate in the next year?

InvGate’s new Business Intelligence solution will be strongly orientated towards viewing IT infrastructure in the context of Business Services, employing advanced automation to drastically cut implementation and maintenance workload. In keeping with the philosophy of simplification, the goal is to provide easy access to the relevant and actionable information IT departments need to minimize risk, control change and generate greater value for the business.

To connect with InvGate you can reach them on the following social media platforms:

Online at

Via email

Twitter @invgate

Thanks again to Ariel, Jaemes and InvGate for affording me the time to connect!

Do you have an ITSM application, would you like to be reviewed?
Reach out to me via Twitter  LinkedIn or by email





Friday, 22 May 2015

Service Management Vendor Profile: Landesk - Matt Hooper

I had the good fortune of touching base with Matthew Hooper, Product Evangelist - Service Management / DevOps, to talk about his recent move to Landesk.

Tell me about your service management journey which got you to Landesk
For those who have not crossed paths with Matt in the service management space he is a highly experienced and collaborative subject matter expert in service management. Part of Matt’s new role at Landesk is to generate some product buzz by speaking at events, blogging and leveraging social media. This enables him to channel his passion for what he already does within the service management community which seems to be a natural fit for both Landesk and Matt.

When speaking with Matt he said he knew the moment that this was a great company to work with when he could hear genuine excitement about the company from the discussions he had with employees on various levels.

A little background on Landesk
Landesk is a global company which has its head office situated in Salt Lake City Utah. The company prides itself on its ability to provide an end-to-end service management solution which can be leveraged by all types of clients on a multitude of devices in the simplest manner possible.

Tell me a bit about the application itself
The IT service management component is one of five components which makes up the “Total User Management (TUM) suite of applications including:
  • Systems Management
  • Security Management
  • IT Service Management
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Enterprise Mobility Management

While these applications can be implemented separately, the value in combining components can further improve service delivery. The service catalog is just one the many highly rated (Gartner Magic Quadrant) features in the service management application which can be enhanced in this manner.

Is there a prime client space?
With approximately 10000 clients in all verticals, clients come I all shapes and sizes. Going back to its origins Landesk has a considerable service management application footprint in the UK and Europe. With scalability in mind Landesk is able to accommodate companies from any size which allows teams to be able to focus on working with their business to achieve business outcomes.

What is the differentiator for this product vs. its competitors?
The theme of the discussion that I had with Matt kept coming back to the fact that the prime objective for Landesk is to allow people to provide service in its simplest terms. The key is having an application which is not only easy to use, but has a low overhead on configuration.

“I want to get things done – just drag and drop it”.

As most of us can attest this is the baseline for simplifying any team’s ability to make iterative and long lasting service improvements.

What’s in the works for Landesk in the next year?
There are quite a few things in the works for Landesk in the coming year. Continuing to place focus on mobile devices to facilitate work and further simplify the user experience. After experiencing success with service management within IT, Landesk is also looking to provide shared services outside of IT with the same level of insight and ability to provide service to their teams as well.

Aside from its own Interchange15, which just wrapped up this week, you can find Landesk at all the major ITSM events coming up including SITS UK, Gartner and Fusion to name a few.

You can also engage with them on the following social media platforms:

Web          LinkedIn          Twitter          Facebook

Thanks again to Matt and Landesk for affording me the time to connect!

Do you have an ITSM application, would you like to be reviewed?
Reach out to me via Twitter  LinkedIn or by email

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How Role-Play and Simulations Help Learning

At a recent lunch event I was speaking with some of the other attendees about this and that when my ears perked up at a conversation happening at another table. I zoned in on one person’s moaning about some training they were about to take. I thought to myself, in a tough economy it is nice that people are getting training. But the complaining continued “Taking a week off of work to attend training is going to be painful. In all likelihood I will forget what I learned, and still have to catch up on Monday.”

I wasn’t really sure what training they were taking but I asked what the format of the training looked like.
“It is 3 days of lecture with an exam at the end, oh, and a day for a simulation.” They said as they rolled their eyes. “Like I have time to play games.”

As they mentioned the simulation I started to think back many years ago when I was an adolescent playing dungeons and dragons in various basements in my community. Despite my parents concern of the game I loved to play. Even years later I clearly remember how the rules worked, interactions between character types and what activities were going to get my character more gold pieces and keep them from harms path.
Simulations as they pertain to training are similar in many ways. In my opinion they can enhance knowledge that can be shared in a few days as well as promote learning. Think about the amount of content that you are expecting students to absorb in the timeframe of a few days and then expecting them to regurgitate that data to pass an exam at the end. For me, the student’s ability to learn can only happen if they truly understand the knowledge that is shared over the 3 or 4 days.

I see simulations or role-playing as an opportunity for the students to understand not only the information reviewed in the course but also the behaviour that accompanies that information as it pertains to the bigger picture of integrating this knowledge back into a working (day to day) environment.

You have likely heard that students recall only 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear; they remember 90% of their actions and statements combined. Think about it in these terms:
  • Active learning not only increases comprehension, but also enhances problem solving skills as it relates to the subject.
  • This may be a welcomed change to increase interest in the subject after days of reviewing content (which depending on the instructor could seem long).
  • It allows participant to see, if even only in a limited way, that there are other perspectives and viewpoints within the context of real world application of the subject being simulated.

Remember that even though this may just be a game there is contextual information embedded within the game itself to further promote the subject being taught.

After my dungeon master flashback I made sure to relay this information to the person at the event. They agreed that they had never really thought of simulation on that level, and began to look forward to that part of the training.

So go ahead, roll your icosahedron dice and slay the business dragons – enjoy your simulations and all that they help you to learn.

Follow me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or connect with me on LinkedIn

Friday, 15 May 2015

Service Management Vendor Profile: TOPdesk - Nancy Van Elsacker

I was recently afforded the opportunity to speak with Nancy Van Elsacker, President TOPdesk USA.

Tell me about your service management journey which got you to TOPdesk
Nancy has a Human Resources background and in 2007 joined TOPdesk to establish the Belgium office until this year when she made her way to the sunny shores of Florida to perform the same activity in the American market space.

A little background on TOPdesk
Currently TOPdesk is looking to expand into the Americas. Since its beginnings in 1992 in the Netherlands this company has grown into a global provider of ITSM software. Currently 4000 organizations use TOPdesk with over 5000 implementations worldwide with offices in UK, USA, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Brazil and Hungary.

While their location is close to the university, one of their strategies in all the offices it to work closely with graduates and to collaborate with them.

Tell me a bit about the application itself
Service management software tool originally for IT to manage core processes however as a need for use external to IT had become apparent they started looking at shared service management capabilities including, but not limited to, Facilities and Human Resources. Nance had indicated that while many companies who are using the tool for IT bridge into other departments but there are also clients who are using this from shared services as a beginning.

Some of the key functionality for non IT departments are similar to IT in that service is provided and can be easily handled by the application.

From a client perspective what sized company is optimal for TOPdesk
While there is a diversity of clients, the mid-market encompasses the majority of the clients which TOPdesk supports. They believe this is largely due to their corporate vision around standard software as well as their slogan which is “service management simplified”.

The Corporate Vision
At TOPdesk their vision is all about keeping things simple to enhance the customer experience. This centers around being standard and simple. That they engage their suppliers as well and focusing on shared Service Management

The key is to ensure that not only the user experience is good for people who are interfacing with IT but also the operators who are providing support using TOPdesk

Is there a prime client space?
While there are clients in all verticals, Higher Education, Government, Retail and Healthcare are some of the prime client spaces as well many others

What is the differentiator for this product vs. its competitors?
The thing that Nancy says that sets them apart is that they have a collaborative model of being partners with their clients. They also have a high focus on customer experience

What’s in the works for TOPdesk in the next year?
TOPdesk currently has two releases per year which focuses on integration points and flexibility within the software.

Aside from establishing the office in Florida this year the plan is to look at other geographic regions within the US and Canada

You can find TOPdesk at all the major ITSM events coming up including Pink, HDI, itSMF and Fusion as well as the following online and social media platforms:
Web          LinkedIn          Twitter          Facebook

Do you have an ITSM application, would you like to be reviewed?

Reach out to me via Twitter  LinkedIn or by email


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Is There Such Thing as a Bad Customer?

Most everyone is familiar with the phrase “the customer is always right” however we are all pretty aware that this might not always be the case. Recently I was speaking with a colleague who was explaining that they had one team in particular which had some application issues but that they were (in their words) difficult to deal with far more than anyone else.

I asked what the primary problem was with the application for this team and they said that they really weren’t even clear on that. For the most part their responses were one word. “Slow, unresponsive, painful”, as well as a few others which I won’t repeat.

For some reason I had a flashback to a time when I was working in a restaurant where I would regularly get the same one word complaints. A mentor I had at the time said “If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem.” He went on to say that when people complain in short one word responses that they may have just come to the end of their rope. So take that into account.

Find a way to generate some dialog on what would make the situation better, or in other cases find out why there seems to be a communications breakdown between them and yourselves. In some cases you will find that the bigger issue isn’t the application error which they are reporting, rather it could be the ability to escalate the issues in the first place.

Get the customer to outline what they would like to see happen. Keep in mind that the customer may be right but you also need to be able to deliver on what those expectations look like. Far too often the promise of over delivering will make the situation worse. Like everything else keep the improvements small and manageable and ensure that you solicit feedback from the business customer.

Follow me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or connect with me on LinkedIn

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Importance of People

At a recent IT breakfast event I was sitting with an IT director who was complaining about his current ability to deliver top quality service. What he was looking to achieve was to not only satisfy the business but also to be able to do that consistently from his teams perspective. Common enough situation I thought.

He outlined that their challenge was that IT is not performing on a level that was satisfying the business needs. This, despite recently reworking their processes and implementing a new tool to facilitate the newly adopted process changes.

My father once told me that  when you put a tool in the hands of a craftsman you can see remarkable results. On the flipside some people are all thumbs and not matter how good the tool or instructions are is the results will only be so good.

By the initial look on his face I could tell that he was getting the idea but more explanation was required. In this brief conversation it sounded like he had the process part down, and the tool to assist, so the next logical question I had to ask him was about the people.

He looked confused, “yeah, we have loads of them around, and they have all been trained on this stuff”

I could see that more of an explanation was required. I asked him about the expectation of the people element as it related to the managing of the process, the facilitation of the tool etc. His confused look became static on his face. “We have told the teams what was required of them, they had training, I still am not sure why this is not working as well as it could be.” I could hear the frustration in his voice.

I went on to explain to him that while the process and tool requirements were assessed and considered. The fact that you “trained” people on what to do may not have been enough. People really need to know what they are Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed about as it pertains to these processes. Having even a simplistic RACI would allow people know what is done by whom and when. His facial expression changed a bit and admitted that his team did not have things broken down that way.

Confusion can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. By not addressing this over time, people may still feel confused on some components of the process and as a result may start to ‘give up’ citing that there is no organization on how this is working in the first place.

People need a sense of direction. It will enable them to get past the confusion and spend time on delivering service, rather than figuring out how best to actually deliver service. Once people are on top of things they will be able to see potential gaps as it pertains to staffing levels or training internally - which are more people focussed items.

I told my colleague that the people component can be easily overlooked when you are working with professionals as they will dig into the work and get things done. However, when you have improved on the process and tool you need to account for the people component in a continual service improvement plan. In other words ensure you craftsman on your team.

Follow me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or connect with me on LinkedIn