ServiceNow’s Knowledge13 Event – A Birdseye View

This penguin is fresh back from Las Vegas and Know13; well, I say fresh, even penguins get jet lag. It was an information-whirlwind and a chance to meet many of the IT service management (ITSM) Twitterati (but I’ll never get over the fact that humans are so tall and wear clothes, and don’t talk to me about those strange finger-things they have).

Entering Las Vegas - do they speak Penglish here?

Entering Las Vegas – do they speak Penglish here?

A few “disclosure” statements before I start:

  • Firstly I attended Knowledge13 on ServiceNow’s dime – next year I hope they will invite more penguins. There is a definite ROP, that’s Return on Penguins!
  • It was hard to attend all the sessions I wanted to due to the high demand for Pengi photo opportunities from the other attendees – but I appreciate penguins can’t help being so damn sexy ❤
  • This is my first blog, I’ve read a few by people like Ken Gonzalez and James Finister – it doesn’t look difficult and “Shakespeare and infinite monkeys” comes to mind. I should be fine.
  • I have been known to “do things for fish” but don’t we all in our own way.
  • Lastly, penguins never say mean things about anyone. If they do it is purely in jest, through provocation, due to a lack of fish, or if someone hijacks my hashtag.

What I learnt in Vegas – the keynotes

So there was some general behavioural stuff like not to pee on people’s shoes (people are so sensitive about these clothes things) and that developers don’t like sunshine (I’m told that Twilight is actually a DevOps movie that pits vampires against werewolves in the pursuit of the business’ affections). There was also some great content. I’ll start with the keynotes.

Know13 kicked off with ServiceNow CEO Frank Slootman who threw some big figures out into the audience – over 3900 registered attendees for Know13, for a company that now has over 1200 employees and over 1600 customers. These are big numbers for a penguin, even king penguins.

Frank spoke of things such as ERP for IT and single systems of record but the real hook for anyone in the audience not already a ServiceNow customer came as part of his customer panel. With statements such as:

  • “When our IT is mediocre Intel is mediocre”
  • “Coca-Cola feels that ServiceNow is critical to our business”
  • “We couldn’t have done this with the other product, 50 clicks and a cloud of dust.”

So some great words from some important people in some very successful organizations but I’m still unsure why Coca-Cola advertises with polar bears and not penguins. I can only guess they have a cheaper day rate.

The day two keynote from ServiceNow-founder and CPO Fred Luddy was a laugh-a-minute-athon that contained some important new-capability announcements. The mobility stuff was cool but I think the most talked-about thing was the App Creator which allows the ServiceNow platform to be easily leveraged by customers – a demo showed a corporate room-booking app being created in just 4 minutes. Fred’s great lines included:

  • “Get comfortable being uncomfortable” (in IT)
  • “IT is no more a commodity than romance – IT has to be custom built”
  • “It’s easy to predict the future… It’s just hard to predict what and when”
  • “3-5 years ago corporations had a white board with “cloud strategy” written at the top. The rest of the board was blank”
  • “Tablets – what we use when in a meeting pretending to be in a meeting”.

What I learnt in Vegas – the sessions

As I have already admitted, I wish I had attended more sessions. Here is what I attended (and you can see most of these people, and where they work,below):

  • Saurabh Dubey talking on practical configuration management – using non-IT scenarios to help understanding. It seemed that configuration management was actually a popular topic across the event, I must inform Carlos and Glenn that they need to do an update to The CMDB Imperative. In my opinion, they would have sold far more copies with a picture of a penguin on the front of the book but they wouldn’t listen. Maybe next time?
  • Gene Kim spoke of DevOps as only Gene Kim can. Even a little penguin could see the benefits of breaking down the fence between Run the Business and Change the Business, although I imagine many would still love to sit on it. A killer stat: “High-performing IT DevOps teams deploy 8000 times faster and restore service 12 times faster than legacy IT Ops”.
  • The Culture Eats Process For Breakfast panel with Eveline Oehrlich, Paul Hardy, Chris York, and Adam Mason was popular and interesting with a 50:50:1 male-female-penguin ratio. Lots of questions, probably helped on by gamification at work (you could win an Apple TV by asking a question), and evidence of there still being so much more to do around culture, social, gamification, and even the age-old art of knowledge management.
  • Simon Morris gave a Lab-type session on Agile. Helping beginners from the bottom up on sprints, scrums, and other highly-athletic activities. Please remember that I only have short legs.
  • Farah Remtulla and Mark Kawasaki (that’s a lot of As in one name) spoke of understanding and delivering customer value. Mark gave up his office for 30 days, became mobile on campus, and just observed his customers. He never went back. They also used a great quote from Matt Hooper ~ “IT is not a department, it’s a competency”.
  • A panel led by Michael Dortch and including Jarod Greene of Gartner, Ken Gonzalez of <<any company with bacon>>, and three guys with real IT jobs looked at what needs to change in IT, IT service management, and IT service delivery beyond 2015. There were far too many great comments to list them all so I have include one from my new friend “Big D” (although many call him “The Dortch”) ~ “There are still people who still say that: this #SaaS thing could take off any day now”.

I also hid in the bushes and listened while Ken Gonzalez and someone I didn’t recognise spoke with Chris Barrett of Capita about the future of ITIL, the ITSM best practice framework. Ken came up with some genius points but the other guy was as much use as a chocolate tea pot – I think he used to be an analyst.

What I learnt in Vegas – the people

I met lots of fantastic people at Know13. They were a lot bigger than their Twitter avatars, especially Jarod Greene. It seems he gets this a lot, even from those bigger than six-inch-high penguins.

Matt Hooper of Acorio

Matt Hooper of Acorio

Daniel Billing, Time Lord

Daniel Billing, Time Lord

Daniel Billing, Time Lord

Brian Hollandsworth of ServiceNow

Mike Malcangio and Simon Morris, ServiceNow

Mike Malcangio and Simon Morris, ServiceNow

Shane Carlson of Cognizant

Shane Carlson of Cognizant

Matt Beran of Maryville Technologies

Matt Beran of Maryville Technologies

Forrester: Courtney, Glenn, and Eveline

Forrester: Courtney, Glenn, and Eveline

Jarod Greene of Gartner

Jarod Greene of Gartner

Adam Holtby of Ovum

Adam Holtby of Ovum

Saurabh Dubey of KPMG and Ken Gonzalez

Saurabh Dubey of KPMG and Ken Gonzalez

Peter Doherty of ServiceNow

Peter Doherty of ServiceNow

@foolwithatool unmasked

@foolwithatool unmasked

Rhett Glauser of SaltStack

Rhett Glauser of SaltStack

Earl Begley of University of Kentucky

Earl Begley of University of Kentucky

Hey, who let the Hornbill toucan in?

Hey, who let the Hornbill toucan in?

Gene Kim, Legend

Gene Kim, Legend

Paul Hardy of Informa

Paul Hardy of Informa

Chris York of York Services

Chris York of York Services

Adam Mason of Loyola University

Adam Mason of Loyola University

Craig McDonogh of ServiceNow

Craig McDonogh of ServiceNow

Arlen Vartazarian of ServiceNow

Arlen Vartazarian of ServiceNow

Linda King of G2G3/Capita

Linda King of G2G3/Capita

Ros Satar of the ITSM Review

Ros Satar of the ITSM Review

Mark Kawasaki of Emory University

Mark Kawasaki of Emory University

Farah Remtulla of KPMG

Farah Remtulla of KPMG

Mark Carroll of ServiceNow

Mark Carroll of ServiceNow

Michael Dortch of ServiceNow

Michael Dortch of ServiceNow

Who forgot their penguin suit?

Who forgot their penguin suit?

I know it sounds clichéd but meeting all these great people was a big part of the success of Know13. We just needed more penguins!

Spot the birdie

Look out for me in Sweden as Daniel Billing shows me the sights and frights. We are big mates now, massages and everything …

Massage time with Daniel

Massage time with Daniel

I’m also hoping to be at more sexy ITSM events in the future – invitation for a small one please?

So please follow me on Twitter, if you don’t I’ll tag you a penguin-racist 🙂

@ITSMPenguin out.

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