Manning the helpdesk

Business alignment, world-class service delivery and best-practice IT service management – these themes have been at the heart of the service and helpdesk profession for many years. Never before, however, have they been so important as organisations feverishly cut costs to improve efficiencies.
And never before has there been such an occasion for IT professionals to demonstrate their impact and worth to business, to raise their profile and show just how they underpin the effectiveness and efficiency of all company operations.
The IT service management role is still poorly understood, yet is as vital as ever. Delivering the services, keeping business on its feet and changing perceptions are essential responsibilities. The opportunity exists now. It all starts with you.
These issues are at the heart of this year’s Service Desk & IT Support Show, the UK’s leading event for IT service management, helpdesk and support professionals. Taking place  28 and 29 April at Earls Court, it’s where the industry meets, exchanges ideas, learns about current developments and picks up the latest news in IT service management.

Sharing skills and knowledge
For two days visitors can meet over 100 suppliers, assess the latest tools, and grow their skills and knowledge at the biggest ever programme of seminars, case studies, workshops and keynotes all devoted to today’s technical challenges and management issues. And because of their popularity last year, the theatres have been upgraded and are 25 per cent bigger.
In the keynote sessions, Gartner’s Rob Addy will discuss the impact of virtual desktops on the IT support industry. As the use of thin-client based desktops is becoming increasingly prevalent, it is anticipated that they will have a significant impact upon the way support is delivered. Meanwhile Bev Rowney, head of support at British Gas, will present a powerful argument for non-fiscal reward programmes to ensure organisations achieve the superior level of support they need without having to spend more money during these difficult times.
One of the UK’s keenest observers, Malcolm Fry, looks at what can be learned from other organisations, addressing his unique brand of comment to the early-century touring circus! Industry guru Noel Bruton leads a panel that will fiercely debate the future of ITIL and address the benefits of the alternatives.
The exhibition will feature the industry’s most innovative and trusted suppliers demonstrating the latest service desk, remote support and CMDB tools. Event director Henri Cash comments: “The current emphasis is on making existing systems work smarter, and along with a host of first-time companies, many exhibitors will be launching upgraded versions and new modules. It should make for an excellent opportunity to catch up with existing suppliers and compare the latest products.”  
As power and IT efficiency, or Green IT, moves up the agenda, sections of the event deal specifically with the implications to IT service management and offer a framework on which service managers can draft their responsibilities. Exhibitors from the worlds of virtualisation and SaaS will be on hand, and a selection of seminars are dedicated to the benefits these new technologies offer the service desk.

Human assets
“With recruitment and training budgets under pressure, company directors and department heads are focusing on their most vital assets, namely people,” says Jennifer Macniven of HBOS. Along with Rosemary Gurney, she gets to the very heart of making the most of existing employees with sessions on leadership, management, team motivation and training featured throughout the programme.
The Service Desk Institute (SDI), sponsor of the event, will preside over a timely new feature, The SDI Personal and Team Development Zone. Founder director Howard Kendall explains: “It’s where visitors can meet and network with the most experienced HR practitioners in the industry and get tips on leadership and management matters as well as advice on the issues that concern them most. They will also be able to catch up on the latest industry salary survey which takes an in-depth look at the correlation between remuneration and performance.”
“As important as dealing with today, is preparing for the future” says Cash. “An essential seminar on Tuesday focuses on building a solid business case for IT service management improvement, whilst case studies from Knight Frank, London Borough of Camden, Mid-Devon District Council, and AbilityNet consider issues ranging from the role of automation and remote support, to creating a centralised IT service operation.
“Meanwhile visitors can take part in real-life service management scenarios; simulation exercises run by the itSMF, building a service operation, and NLP workshops are just part of the hands-on programme.”
The rising concern that interaction with the customer is driven by process rather than the desire to deliver best possible service is addressed in this year’s White Paper ‘Computer says “No!”‘ Based on a survey of 7,000 industry professionals, this study is the focus of Tuesday’s Breakfast Briefing, and all pre-registered visitors will be able to collect a complimentary copy from sponsors’ Hornbill Systems and SDI’s stands.
The move to Earls Court coincides with that of InfosecEurope, the information security event.  Once again all visitors to each show can pass freely between events without the need to re-register. And for those with a security bias, there is a dedicated ISACA session on how linking COBIT and ITIL methodologies to help guarantee IT integrity and security can tighten and streamline IT services.
Achieve more with less
“Organisations are seeking to achieve more with less,” Cash concludes. “This is putting considerable strain on IT departments and specifically the service desk, with the real risk that delivery levels will drop, business relationships will suffer, and hard-won ground will be lost. The Service Desk and IT Support Show is one of the best ways to take stock of these considerations to ensure continuing progress, job security and business excellence.”
And it all starts with you.

For more information
For more information on The Service Desk and IT Support Show 2009 and to register in advance for fast-track entry and news updates, please visit Entry to the event and all sessions is free.

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