The Power of Collaboration – ITx2016

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(Lack of) Organizational Will

A ‘cracker of a conference’ – Wellington, New Zealand, July 2016

Twelve IT organizations came together in Wellington New Zealand last week to hold what I would have to say was a real ‘cracker’ of a conference.

One question that does need to be answered was posed by the first keynote of the conference, Ian Taylor of Animation Research Limited (ARL) – why are there 12 organizations and 12 different acronyms? There is real strength in numbers and a consortium covering a wide range of IT disciplines has a far greater chance of making an impact that its individual parts.

I have not been to a standalone IT Service Management event that has been headline news in mainstream media, or been opened by a Cabinet Minister and had awards presented by another minister. The value of being a part of this event has been huge for itSMF New Zealand and its members. I agree with Ian’s sentiments – it is time to stop functioning in our little silos of IT disciplines and start working together as an industry. Fragmenting IT into separate bodies is diluting the influence we can have on government policy.

Cross-Pollination

One of things that I was very pleased to see at ITx2016 was the high level of cross-pollination between the 12 conferences. A show of hands in the itSMF conference presentation indicated that around half the people in the room were not itSMF members, they had elected to attend a session outside of their normal IT discipline.

I personally attended sessions from several other organizations and found them interesting, educational and definitely useful in the world of service management. Having completed assignments recently in the education and health sectors in recent years I found sessions from IT organizations specializing in these areas of particular interest.

Competing for membership dollars

But this leaves me, and other ITx2016 attendees in a quandary. Here were 12 organizations, most of which have content and expertise that I would use to extend my knowledge and further my understanding of our industry, but there is no way that I am going to pay 12 membership fees. In many ways these organizations, although they all had different mandates, were competing for the same membership dollar – there has to be a better way of doing this!

ITX panel session
The IT Skeptic and the IT Paradigmologist share a laugh during an ITx2016 Panel session

Break down the silos

The organisations that were represented at ITx covered a wide range of IT disciplines, there would have been few areas that were not covered by these organisations:

  • IITP – the Institute of ITP professionals
  • itSMF – The IT Service Management Forum
  • PMINZ – The Project Management Institute of NZ
  • CITRENZ – Computing and information technology research and education
  • TUANZ – Telecommunications Users association
  • NZ Tech – New Zealand Technology Industry Association
  • NZRise – representing the interests of New Zealand-owned digital technology businesses
  • HINZ – Health Informatics New Zealand
  • Agile Day
  • Internet NZ
  • TPN – The Test Professionals Network
  • NZOSS – New Zealand Open Source Society

Also involved in ITx, but without their own conference streams were

  • GOVIS – network of technology and information professionals in NZ central government
  • NZSA – New Zealand Software Association

This needs to spread and grow

If we can get this to work in New Zealand, I can’t see why such an event could not happen elsewhere in the world. Perhaps, as a discipline that really does overarch many other IT specialities, IT Service Management could be the one that makes it happen.

I hope that this is just not going to be a once in a blue moon collaboration between these organizations. I would love to see what we could achieve if we work together to lobby for the changes that we discussed over the course of the event, particularly in the area of education.

A united technology industry would be a very powerful group, one that it would be hard for the policy makers to ignore. Let’s hope that this is the start of bigger things, and not just in New Zealand.

A true smorgasbord of content

I have talked a lot here about the conference as an event, but I do have to mention the fantastic quality of the presentations, not only in the itSMF stream, but in all 12 conference streams and plenary sessions. With over 160 sessions over the three days of the event, it is virtually impossible for me to give justice to the presenters who travelled from all around New Zealand and the world to be a part of this event.

I would like to share a video that Matt Hooper and the team from Landesk made to summarise ITx2016, hopefully this gives a bit of an idea of just how good the event was. Roll on ITx2018!


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Kirstie Magowan

Kirstie Magowan is the managing editor of IT Chronicles. Kirstie is an experienced journalist and publisher who has been working in the IT Service Management industry since 1999. Kirstie is a regular speaker at industry conferences globally.