itSMF UK: Back to reality in 2012

Wherever you stand on the optimist/pessimist scale, the beginning of a new year is always an opportunity to look ahead.

And so another year dawns, and with it a new set of hopes and dreams for a fulfilling, successful and enjoyable year. Well at least that’s what the optimist in me says. Leaving aside the need to lose that Christmas bulk (again!), the flip side is that it could be another year with the same old issues coming up time and again, with the same budget constraints as the last two years and with the same nagging feeling that we’re not moving forward as quickly as we can. In essence, back to reality with a whacking thump.

Wherever you stand on the optimist/pessimist scale, the beginning of a new year is always an opportunity to look ahead and consider just what the next 12 months are likely to bring. And despite the fact that most predictions regarding the upcoming year will fall somewhat wide of the mark, this is still a useful exercise if only to focus the mind on any potential pitfalls lurking in the shadows.

So here are my three predictions, or hot topics if you prefer, for the year 2012. Just as an aside, I’ve tried to steer clear of those themes that stay with us year on year – such as “doing more for less”, “trying to survive” and “cloud will be big”.

The year of the IT leader and the people’s uprising

I’ve been lucky enough to meet, talk to and hear from some very inspiring people in 2011, and they all came from the world of IT. They may not have started life as Cobol programmers but they were all IT people through and through. Meeting and listening to them I realised that the IT industry could be in pretty good shape – and it’s all because of the people. Now while the title might be a little provocative, the sentiment behind it is clear. You can have the best technology in the world, with all the processes you want – but without good people performing effectively and being led well, it just doesn’t work. I appreciate this view isn’t new, and it’s true in most areas of business, but I think that 2012 will be the year when those people outside of IT start to see and realise what we’ve been hiding all these years.

The norm of social media

I’m not going to make predictions about how Twitter is going to take over from e-mail or Facebook will replace mobiles. What I will say is that 2012 will see social media become part of the furniture, or not. No, I’m not hedging my bets - I think that people will simply become happy with their choice of whether or not they use it. Individuals and companies will pick their lane and stick with it, without the background noise of people saying, “It’s a waste of time...” or, “If the CEO’s not on Twitter the company is going down the pan.” In many ways the hyperbole will be replaced with the operating reality of social media. So make a decision and live with it, maybe just try and understand the potential ramifications of what that decision means. Oh, and one last thing – it’s not that long ago that someone recounted the story of how they constantly put off installing computers in their (considerably large) office, as they didn’t think they had much use.

Back to ITSM

This third one is pure plagiarism (and somehow it seems OK if you own up) from a groundswell movement started by IT analyst Stephen Mann some months ago, trying to encourage people in IT service management to give something back and share their expertise, basically to help others in the industry. Not surprisingly I think this is a great idea because it is essentially what the itSMF globally is all about. Like most membership organisations, itSMF lives or dies by its volunteer input from the ground all the way up to the strategic level, and spare time is an increasingly scarce resource at the moment. So I really hope that 2012 is the year of the volunteer; and whatever professional organisations you belong to, I hope you will find the time to get involved and support the broad range of initiatives underway within IT.

All in all, I think it could be rather a good year. But then that’s the optimist in me; the pessimist is simply dreading this time next year, when I get lambasted for such inaccurate predictions. That aside I’d like to wish everyone a prosperous and enjoyable 2012.

Ben Clacy is chief executive of the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF UK).


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