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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:03:14 PM
Introducing the Cherwell Global Conference

Cherwell Global Conference 2014By Ashley Cornella
Tomorrow marks the first day of Cherwell’s 2014 Global Conference, beginning three event-filled days in a beautiful mountain setting at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Customers and partners are arriving from all parts of the world for this event, where they’ll be able to talk to Cherwell’s product geniuses, participate in facilitated discussions, and join in classroom-style learning sessions about using Cherwell Service Management®. 

The Cherwell Global Conference is also an incredible time for customers, partners, and Cherwell employees to come together in a rare setting and engage with each other. In short, the conference promises to be a huge success—even bigger than last year’s. In light of all this, we spoke with Cherwell’s own Director of Customer Experience, Carrie Cornella, to discuss what makes this event so special.

In just a few words, could you explain what the Cherwell Global Conference is and what the vision behind it is? The Cherwell Global Conference is all about building community and relationships with our customers, partners, analysts, and future customers. There is nothing more important to us than serving our customers! This is a great opportunity for all to connect, learn, and share with one another.

What makes the Cherwell Global Conference a must attend event for customers? What do customers stand to gain by coming? Every aspect of the conference is designed and developed with the customer in mind and based on customer feedback and requests. Customers will have an opportunity to see how their colleagues are taking advantage of the power of Cherwell Service Management, learn from industry experts, share ideas and knowledge that will further enable their success!

How did customers find the Global Conference last year? Last year’s event was a huge success! It was evident in the excitement, the inspiration, the energy—and the customer feedback!

How are you building on the success of last year’s conference to make this year’s conference even better? We listen to our customers. The feedback from last year’s event along gave us some great ideas and we have responded by adding many new and improved options for customers and partners in the 2014 event.

Can you provide us with a sneak peak? The conference is packed with activities including preconference workshops, keynotes, industry expert and analyst presentations, customer and partner showcases, and learning opportunities. Nothing is off limits—we encourage and facilitate interaction between customers, partners, Cherwell’s CEO, President, CTO, as well as our product development team and services and support organization.

Anything in particular that you think is great, or is there something that you’re especially excited about that you’d like to share? I am most encouraged by the excitement building in our Cherwell community. It is obvious our customers and our partners are

What inspires you about this event? At Cherwell, people matter! I speak on behalf of the entire Cherwell team when I say it is personally rewarding to watch the relationships evolve, the new connections and friendships develop, and to see the energy and excitement everywhere. Our purpose has a bigger story than Service Management or Business Enablement. Our purpose is to care for and serve people.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:03:10 PM
Has your Helpdesk Team taken the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Cherwell Software FoundersBy Jamison Pfeifer 
If you’ve maintained any presence on social media within the last few months, you’re by now well aware of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Mark Zuckerberg’s done it; Bill Gates has done it; and now, the three Cherwell Software™ founders have done it. Though the founders—CEO Vance Brown, CTO Arlen Feldman, and General Counsel Timothy Pfeifer—undertook the challenge after an employee challenged them, the cause of ALS strikes particularly close to home for Cherwell Software, as Feldman’s father suffered from the disease for five years before his death in 1993. In the video, you’ll hear Feldman discuss the debilitating disease and the effect it had on his father. 

You also hear who they chose to nominate in the tradition of the challenge. As Cherwell Software has done, you can offer your own donations to the ALS Association. Read more about the disease and the challenge here.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:03:01 PM
Taking Cherwell Service Management Beyond IT Service Management

Cherwell Service Management DashboardBy Mark Hillyard; ITIL® Expert; BEYOND20, a Cherwell Software™ partner
As we enter another year of partnership with Cherwell Software designing, training and implementing the Cherwell Service Management® (CSM) IT service management (ITSM) tool, it has become increasingly clear that CSM is much more than just an IT service desk application. In fact, you can drop the “IT” from IT service management entirely as CSM is a true service management platform. 

Now, the term “platform” gets tossed about almost as freely as “Cloud” these days, so I want to clarify exactly what I think it means in this case. It is true that CSM will enable your service desk staff to quickly classify and resolve tickets, provide knowledge, manage change, and inventory Service Assets and Configuration Items. Moreover, tying each of these processes together can provide unique visibility into your own IT infrastructure from a service-oriented standpoint. However, CSM is much more than just a service management tool. It can be a truly powerful non-IT—or perhaps IT-adjacent—tool as well. 

Last year, we completed an implementation for a financial services organization in New England (U.S.A.) that completely ignored the out-of-the-box ITSM configurations. We created entirely new business objects to assist with regulatory audits and HR processes. These are not standard objects within CSM, but since CSM is entirely data-driven, we were able to provide our client with a bespoke business application to streamline their existing processes and automate much of the employee lifecycle, while also providing a central repository for all regulatory audit information. For a financial institution, this is invaluable. 

Our customer now uses CSM for Vendor and Contract Management as well as Project Tracking and Change Management with plans to migrate their current IT service desk processes, including Service Asset and Configuration Management into CSM within the next 12 months. The improvements realized by our customer prove that Information System and Data Integration can prove as transformative as process improvement for some organizations.

This does not mean that a tool can replace process management. Good processes are absolutely imperative to a successful tool implementation initiative. However, with both good process management, and a solid tool in hand—especially one that is exceptionally flexible—an IT organization can move much closer to being a trusted business partner. Ultimately, that is the goal of ITSM: to become an indispensable part of the business’ success, not the ever-present scapegoat of its failure.

ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:02:57 PM
How Fit and Motivated is your Service Desk Team?

How to Keep a Service Desk Team MotivatedBy Bryan Wilson
Cherwell Software™ recently launched a 30-day, global staff exercise program entitled, ‘Ninja Warriors’. 77 staff members competed as part of 12 teams. To win the competition, a team needed to exercise for more minutes than any other team during the 30 day competition period.

Below is Bryan Wilson’s experience. By the way, Bryan was a member of team RingWraiths, which clocked a grand total of 27,451 minutes of exercise. Way to go! Bryan is an accountant with Cherwell Software, and thanks to this competition, he’s now also a true biking enthusiast.

"Before this competition started, I would have asked myself: how many times can I hit the snooze button on my alarm, get ready, and still drive into work on time? During the competition, I had one motivation and that was weight loss. How was I going to achieve this? By cycling to and from work as many days as possible. I set a benchmark to cycle 1,000 miles before October. It was going to be a long process, but I knew one day at a time, I’d at least chip away at it and maybe break the competitive spirit of my colleagues as they watched as I cycled into work…again.

During the competition, I managed to cycle a total of 354 miles in 30 days, and I learned the importance of closely watching each day’s weather forecast. Heart pumping rides in lightning, wind soaking rain journeys, and a personal highlight, which was competing in my first biking event, logging a 45 mile trip that included 3,400 feet of elevation. Not only was this becoming more fun each day, but I began to take notice that the weight scale was tipping in my favor. This was becoming life changing and not just a fun competition. At the end of the competition, I had lost 20 pounds of weight. OK, so I actually started my weight loss a few weeks earlier, but once starting the competition, my clothes were fitting better, and I was learning the skill needed to bike into work safely and effectively.

Now, as a bike commuter, you have to have a secret to your success. Getting out of my 15 miles-per- gallon truck and beginning to see the dollars stack up as I was saving upwards of $3 a day in fuel was an obvious motivator. Seeing my bank account grow each week made me want to bike more! The true secret to my success though was my dog. I can bike to and from work each day, which equates to one hour of exercise. This was no problem, but there was a competition to win, and one hour a day of exercise was not going to cut it. Luckily, having an Australian shepherd mixed with a blue heeler dog made for an instant, every day workout buddy. He even would join me on my weekend mountain bike rides, and I learned that I could have fun while wearing him out at the same time!

This was not the only positive though that I took away from this competition. We had 77 participants and a competition that in the end, came down to 50 minutes separating the teams in first and second place. I grew closer to each of my teammates and even received a weekly prize from our team leader. I learned really quickly that competition was coming from all participants, and their minutes were stacking up from kayaking, hiking, and even hula hooping activities. I set out to be the top performer on my team, and by the end of the competition, I was not even close but not because of lack of effort. Instead, it was because we came away with a desire to compete with one another, to push each other to do their best, and as a team, to win the competition. As we increased our totals each week, nothing could stop us. We motivated each other day after day and made sure to talk a little bit of ‘trash’ to our competition. There was fierce competition down to the end, but the best takeaway of all was the water cooler talk with employees.

I think I’ll end this by saying one of my favorite statements to my competitors along the way, “Rest up tonight, and don’t forget to rest tomorrow too.”

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:02:51 PM
Changing the Rules of the Game: What Do You Need to Win in Today's Business Environment?

By Ashley Cornella
In his fascinating book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell reconsiders everything that we’ve ever thought about what makes people—whether it’s Bill Gates or The Beatles—successful. In his most recent book (and TED Talk), Gladwell returns to the idea of success stories, this time by changing the way we thinking about underdogs, beginning with the most famous one of all: David and Goliath. 

Everything we thought we knew about the story of how the small shepherd boy overcame the mammoth-sized Goliath with no more than a small stone, Gladwell says, is wrong. In defeating Goliath, David subverted the expectations of everyone around him—including us. But in reality, David changed the rules to fit his individual strengths and capabilities with his sling and stones. David didn’t try to beat Goliath at his own game. He completely changed the rules of the game—and won! 

The theme of Gladwell’s book—understanding what stones you can use to change the rules of the game in your life—was the subject of CEO Vance Brown’s welcome address today at the 2014 Cherwell Global Conference.

In the world of business, it can often feel like IT is fighting an upward battle—whether due to technological limitations, financial constraints, or simply just the lack of respect that IT is sometimes afforded within the organization. Those issues, Vance explained, are the reason that he and his two co-founders decided to start Cherwell back in 2004, not because they just wanted to start another software company—but because they wanted to change the rules of the game. 

With the arrival of Cherwell Service Management ® (CSM) 5.0 and its innovative mApp™ technology, Cherwell hopes to offer its customers the high-impact “stones” they need to change the playing field of their IT and business environment. That would mean that customers would no longer feel forced into the traditional “keep the lights on” role of IT, which has long kept them from truly partnering with the business to achieve its strategic objectives. 

In his powerful TED Talk, Gladwell discusses the different weapon technologies that were available during David’s time, explaining how when you actually understand the situation, David is really favored as the victor. It’s really only that David was expected to lose according to a specific paradigm which informs the way we think about the situation—his physical appearance, his lack of armour and weapons, our assumption that the game is physical strength and battle experience—these factors all lead us to identify him as the underdog. 

Instead of looking at those superficialities—and instead of worrying about what others think—we could be thinking about what our own high-impact “stones” are. What are our capabilities? What are our assets? What technology can we use to get us where want to go? 

One of the stones that Cherwell can bring, we already know, is its powerful user-configurable technology, recently named the #1 Most Configurable ITSM Solution by ITSM Review. And the technological capabilities just became a whole lot bigger September 16 with the introduction of the new Cherwell Service Management® (CSM) 5.0. 

But the “stone” with which Vance concluded was the one that gets him up in the morning: community. This is the power of the mApp technology—a community-driven, web-based exchange, based on the idea of sharing technology and using it to help one another. 

In other words, what would happen if we put our stones together and started building?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:02:45 PM
5 Tips to Making Continual Service Improvement a Success

 Tips to Making Continual Service Improvement a SuccessBy Lottie Davis
Overall, continual service improvement (CSI) is about improving the service you deliver to your customer base. In a recent CSI webinar, John Noctor, director of Customer Success at Cherwell Software™, discussed that in his view, to make improvements impactful, you should improve a lot of things by a small amount, rather than one thing by a lot. By improving each process by 1%, you will improve the business overall.

Based on historical data, you may think you’re already at the top of your game and therefore don’t need to make any improvements, but there is always room to grow.

John gave a good example of this: a well-known U.K. retail brand that had always prided itself on its excellent customer service feedback noticed that this positive feedback was starting to slip despite their service levels and quality not actually changing. This was simply down to their competitors getting better. So, although this retailer continued to deliver a high standard, comparatively, the perception was it was no longer the best.

The following are John’s top tips for implementing and managing a successful CSI programme:

Idea 1 – Set up an internal CSI User Group

  • This will encourage everyone to have a stake in CSI.
  • Ideas and obstacles should be discussed openly – showing you are listening and willing to take ideas on board.  
  • Involve your customer success manager – ask him/her to attend your user group meetings every few months to provide insights on the industry and what other people in your space do.

Idea 2 – Set up a CSI business object/ticket

  • This enables staff to log improvement ideas in real time.
  • Record information and use standard functionality such as task management.
  • Track ideas and show you are paying attention.
  • Link this to your new CSI user group!

Idea 3 – Stop reporting and start reacting

  • Sometimes, you can become too reliant on reports. Often, real time information is better.
  • Think about the volume of reports you produce. Do people read them?
  • Dashboards allow you to make timely decisions.
  • Historical information is important but real time information shows you what is happening right here, right now. Sometimes, people can suffer from the three month ache: you report one month and find a problem, implement a solution the next month, and then have to wait for the following month’s report to see any changes.

Idea 4 – Align CSI to goals

  • Improvements should be in line with what you are trying to achieve.
  • Goal management is key to success, and success drives CSI.
  • Record goals, and have clear targets and deliverables that underpin achievement.
  • Goals can help to drive maturity.

Idea 5 – Consider a best practice audit

  • Target the product you use. Look at the best practices around the use of your specific product.
  • Look at the day-to-day workings you have with a piece of software and capture the views on this software from every level -- senior management right down to the service desk itself. .
  • This will help you discover how aligned (or not!) the areas are and everyone’s opinions. The result of an audit should be to show you how to get better at what you do.

John notes that CSI is often not shouted about, but people need to have visibility of what you are doing so they can see the improvements and realise you have listened and taken their feedback on board.

What do you think about John’s tips?  Do you have any other tips or advice to share on how to implement and manage an affective CSI process?  Comment below, and let us know.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:02:40 PM
7 Steps to Continual Service Improvement (CSI) Success

Steps to Continual Service ImprovementBy Jamison Pfeifer
No matter the size or maturity of your service desk, every service desk manager questions how to implement continual service improvement (CSI) and make it meaningful. Implementing CSI successfully can be hard enough; implementing it according to Pink Elephant-certification, best-practice standards is a demanding and often overwhelming process. 

Thankfully, Dave Jones’—of Pink Elephant—recently discussed CSI in a webinar and provided a comprehensive, step-by-step guide. While breaking down CSI into a multi-step process is useful for managers, it doesn’t change the “continual” aspect of CSI. “The whole point about continual service improvement is that it’s continual,” Jones confirmed. Recognizing the cyclical nature of CSI is essential for any organization that’s trying to implement CSI. Accordingly, one of Jones’ key messages is that “Everyone has responsibility for continual improvement. This means CSI has to be treated like any other practice and any other process within business.”

Let’s review the seven steps that comprise Jones’ (and Pink Elephant’s) approach to CSI:

  1. Define what you can measure (and identify your strategy). Jones explained that this should be based on the business and IT vision—the strategy, goals, and objectives. The questions you should be asking: What business outcome am I trying to achieve? What are the existing and future business requirements? This step is about positioning yourself for the future and setting the stage for the entire CSI process. It isn’t just about saying what you need to measure but why you need to measure it (that’s the strategy).
  2. Define what you will measure. This process should be based on what your existing tools and resource capabilities are. Ask yourself, “What are our current processes, and how do we want to measure those?” Jones advised to “Make sure all of the reports that [you] generate and all of the time [you] consume are actually being used in a meaningful way.”
  3. Gather the data. You’ve already identified what you’re going to measure and how. Now measure it and organize it. Take the data, Jones says, and “Bring it all into one place so that you can do something constructive with it.” In this step, you should also “implement new monitoring procedures—this could be one of the first CSI initiatives.”
  4. Process the data. After you’ve gathered your data, address your findings. This step is all about “taking the data and turning it into information that makes sense and provides the ability for analysis.”
  5. Analyze the information and data. Identify the trends you find in your data—both negative and positive trends. It’s essential that you document and report on these trends. “One of the most challenging mechanisms you will have is to measure your achievement against perception,” Jones says. Compare your CSI findings against your overall business strategy—your policies, standards, legal requirements, business imperatives, and so forth. There are four main activities that fall within this step: (1) Service Strategy analyzes the results associated with implemented strategies, policies, and standards. (2) Service Design analyzes the current results as well as trends over a period of time and helps to identify opportunities to improve the design and improve the delivery of the end-to-end lifecycle. (3) Service Transition analyzes the results of the service evaluations that include release and deployment activities. (4) Service Operation analyzes the current results of design and project activities.
  6. Present and use the information. Often, this is one of the most overlooked aspects. David’s main point here is to “Know your audience! Your CEO or CFO potentially don’t need technical detail. What they do need is an overall view on what you’ve achieved, which services operated, which services didn’t operate, which users are unhappy.” Present your information in a useful and understandable manner—whether you’re presenting to the CIO or the CFO. It’s also important to conduct QA on your reports—make them accurate and clean.
  7. Implement improvement. Simple and straightforward, David recommends treating your “improvement initiatives as formal programs and projects.” Take it seriously, and involve your entire team. For Jones, CSI implementation is a matter of turning “knowledge into wisdom”—translating technical knowledge into practical knowledge. That’s how organizations successfully improve their processes.

While there’s no guaranteed formula for CSI success, Jones’ and Pink Elephant’s seven-step approach offers a measured and logical method for those looking to implement CSI. And, once you’ve gone through all the steps, go right back to the beginning, and do it all over again. After all, it’s continuous.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:02:36 PM
Building Innovation into your IT Service Desk. Does this depend on your tool or your team?

Building Innovation into the Service DeskBy Matt Neigh
Innovation is a slippery thing. Take some of the well-known quotes about innovation. When asked about the idea behind the Model T car, Henry Ford is quoted as saying, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses". Ralph Waldo Emerson is also attributed with the aphorism, "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door."

Attribution for both these quotes is currently sketchy, but they demonstrate the wide range of opinion that exists around what innovation is. One man’s new and innovative approach to solving a problem is another’s evolution of an existing process.

For the service desk, the ability to innovate captures the opportunity to improve service quality and delivery. This can involve replacing a current IT service management (ITSM) platform with a new one that can help deliver on those aims. But, how can you grab the opportunity that comes with choosing a new service desk tool to become more innovative in your approach?

Should you look at Ford’s approach to innovation and selectively ignore what customers are asking for? Can services be designed so they meet customer needs better than what they can imagine for themselves? Or should you look at iterating and building on what already exists?

Thinking around innovation and what you want to achieve is a great reason to revisit what is currently in place in terms of process, people and technology. The role of the ITIL® framework and best practice within ITSM means that many help desk software tools tick most, if not all, of the boxes for most organisations. However, there are differences between helpdesk solutions that can create more efficiency and better results.

Creating genuine innovation around ITSM relies on data. Data provides greater insight into what problems are developing and how they can be traced back to root causes. It can also be used to rethink approaches to customer service. As an example, the location of an individual request for assistance can be bundled with other reported issues in the same vicinity, so that a number of issues can be dealt with at the same time.

Just like retail and logistics companies use data to plot the most efficient route to deliver goods, so too can IT use data to continuously improve the quality of its department. This ability to interpret and apply data can create opportunities to surprise customers with outstanding service. Providing proactive help with problems is one of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and help to improve the perception of IT services in general.

Finding new opportunities to be innovative relies primarily on keeping your thinking cap on, planning ahead and speaking with others outside of IT. For example, creating and updating a service catalogue offers a much greater opportunity to spot where resources can be put to the greatest use and to support upcoming IT requirements in an innovative way.

It’s worth knowing that Ford’s approach to building a product was based on making use of rolling construction, where the car moves along the manufacturing facility and is put together, or built, by experts along each section. Specialisation here enabled greater productivity and efficiency. In the same way, look at each member of your service desk team and identify their skills and expertise. Use this to foster their approach to innovative thinking for problem solving and creativity.

Implementing a new service desk or helpdesk tool can provide initial, and sometimes dramatic, benefits. However, the greatest opportunity for true innovation will come from how the help desk team uses its tools in new ways to meet business requirements. This could be using the tool in a completely new way such as ‘outside IT’ or using it to improve what’s already in existence. The aim here is to turn what’s currently OK up to good, and what’s good to great.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:02:33 PM
"I didn’t know you could do that” – Is ‘Outside IT’ a Challenge or Opportunity?

Outside ITBy Jennifer Carr
For many IT teams, the stereotype they have to deal with is the image that they only say “no” to requests. This myth is embedded in popular culture, from Roy and Moss of The IT Crowd through to Little Britain and “Computer says no.” However, service desks have a very different approach in real life, one that is much more focused on what can be achieved, rather than what can’t.

At the heart of this is the service catalogue – the list of assets, tools and technologies, as well as how they are used, that the service desk team is able to support. However, this catalogue can also be used to demonstrate where the service team can expand its approach to other business departments.

This use of IT service management tools for managing processes of all kinds is commonly termed “outside IT”. It involves taking the tool beyond IT; using the knowledge gained from the daily operation of the help desk tool to build processes for other business units. The aim is to help line of business units see where required processes can be automated, tracked, managed and reported on more efficiently.  

For the ITSM team, outside IT offers the opportunity to help the company work more efficiently and save money by not having to procure a new tool. By using their expertise to deliver a new and better way of working, the help desk team will gain recognition outside of IT and will start to become viewed as a value provider and business enabler.

For companies looking at their current service desk platform and wondering how to make use of it in this way, there are several things to think about:

  1. Are you set up to easily and efficiently work with other departments to create new processes?
  2. Do the line of business teams know you can offer a better way to manage processes? This ability to speak to the business units about their requirements can be a challenge to overcome, as many managers will automatically think to look outside the business for help.  They may not realise that there is a pool of internal resource and expertise that they can tap.
  3. Will offering new services to other business units impact your current metrics? If and when you successfully create line of business processes, it’s important to understand how this might affect the reporting of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). For example, if you start to receive more calls around line of business processes, are these reported as part of the base call volume levels or are they measured separately?
  4. Does your current service management tool provide the ability to add processes and functionality easily, or do you have to call in consultants to help? It’s great to think about adding business value by re-using or tweaking existing assets, but the result has to be worth the effort. For example, if it requires £25,000 of consulting to add a process that only delivers £15,000 of savings back to the business, then the result is not worth the investment. Most help desk tools are customisable, but it’s your job to determine the level of customisation required and if you can handle this yourself in-house.

At a time when IT is becoming a key differentiator between businesses and when the delivery and support of IT is paramount, the appeal of outside IT is growing. However, what’s key is that your service desk tool can support this approach and that your team has the potential to meet the opportunity. Your team also needs the will to take this approach.

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