I helped set up the Vivit booth with other local chapter leaders and the board of directors, grabbed a really quick (but heavy!) breakfast, then squeezed into the mainstage room for the keynote presentations.
They kicked things off with some brilliant animated clips outlining the current challenges faced by IT - including IT business alignment, the current "new" economy, virtualisation, and cloud computing amongst other things.
Jake Johanssen was our host for the morning. A stand-up comedian which is a really different take but made things much more entertaining than they've been before at 08:00 on a Tuesday morning. The typical jabs at Canadians were made, but Jake threw in some other topical humour that was quite engaging. He really got the crowd warmed up well. The room was definitely smaller than previous years, but it was filled. We're waiting to hear attendance numbers overall. Some interesting trivia about the impact of the economy is that 27% of conferences in Vegas were cancelled this year.
Andy Isherwood VP & GM of HP Software Services
Andy started off thanking for people to come given the economic restraints - a message that brings home where things are at globally an across the US. His discourse started with a focus on budgets being cut between 0 - 40%, and a lot of uncertainty in HP's customers. Andy asked the audience to consider the situation as an opportunity to be innovative. The HP opinion is to try and get ahead of the economic recovery curve by aligning with business, reducing costs, consolidation, and increased efficiency.
Three examples were provided of 3 organisations that have achieved a quick ROI:
- T-Mobile (US-Washington)
These three are the winners of the HP Software Solutions 2009 awards of excellence
It's always nice to hear that organisations have done wonderful things, but the key question is always "So where do you start?"
HP's keynote answer to this was:
- Operational focus to provide a transformational focus over time.
- Cost optimisation to move capital to fund innovation initiatives
- Focus on execution of automation, financial management, virtualisation, and consolidation.
Andy followed up with the HP message that they are about solutions, not products. The delivery options they are flogging are in-house, EDS, Cloud Services SaaS, and HP Partners (oh yeah, them.) I'm still waiting to hear something positive about the EDS acquisition from a customer perspective - I'll be visiting their booth on the showfloor later today to see what I can learn.
Andy touched on what's new in the IT services offering from HP, which is "Cloud Assure", IT financial management, IT performance analytics, and IT resource optimisation.
The marketing branding from HP has changed this year to a new four words; Optimise (technology portfolio - IT Mgt Software), Leverage (biz info), Elevate (biz performance), and Improve (customer experience).
Andy discussed about HP support, and claimed that customer satisfaction is at an all-time high based on improvements made over the last two years. A big piece apparently was "in-sourcing" aspects of the HP support organisations - interesting. He did claim that he was under no illusions that things were ideal. He also commented that things need improvement with customers getting stuck at L1 when things don't get escalated timely, and at L3 when software changes that need to be made aren't happening fast enough.
The services organisation was discussed and that it has been tightly embedded into HP Software overall and is using optmisations like knowledge management to increase IP. Andy also noted that he feels this is not in conflict with the partner environment, but I think this statement is at odds with what is actually happening (actions speak louder than words) in particular the changes that have been made to partner status making it basically impossible for independent and small consulting organisations to have partner status (and benefits) with HP.
Andy closed by thanking the audience for their trust & confidence in HP, our time invested here at the show, and enforced his message that HP is proud to be a customers partner, ready to listen and act with the customers to see success for everyone.
Betty Smith VP of Process at John Hancock & President Emeritus with Vivit
Betty started with a discussion about the first HP software (Mercury) project around TestDirector to improve defect management on their internal web site and replacing spreadsheets and access databases with a centralised tool. They then migrated TestDirector to other software bases in a 6 week period once the initial pilot project had completed. SOme impressive numbers to be sure.
Betty discussed the complexities of the John Hancock/Manulife Financial organisation and the desire to drive efficency and competitive advantage.
She highlighted three main points of how this is done:
- Establish point solutions that provide value - JH does not support long implementations - any job must be finished between 2-6 months.
- Extend the solution to other areas - cross the silos & work across the organisation
- Create the longer term vision and focus on a match between IT & business goals. This provides JH an end state that is adaptable but stable, and leads to lifecycle management.
Products suites in particular that JH has implemented include Quality Management, Asset Management - (DDM, uCMDB). Betty claimed an increased efficiency for chargebacks from 3 weeks to one day using these new systems & processes. Performance Centre, and Business Availability Centre were also discussed, both of these are based out of centralised teams that work across all silos to support the business units.
Further, the discussion touched on Service Catalogue and Service manager being centralised and underpinned by uCMDB.
PPM started off as point solutions within numerous business units, but information wasn't being shared well. The PPM project consolidated and eliminated various applications to standardise on a single platform. Another key advantage of the project was that it defined centralised PM practices and processes.
Betty's main claim was that she works off of a simple end-state vision which she shared grahically with the audience. It had some interesting approaches illustrated in the diagram.
Betty discussed techniques that JH used to increase awareness and support including "show & tell" monthly meetings of internal SIGs cross-organisation, developed user forums in sharepoint, and allow for the solutions to be showcased. JH puts on monthly roadshows for the senior mgt level to validate direction and what si importnat to each of the BUs, allow an oppoortunity to adjust priorities, and these are run with individiaul biz units to really understand what is driving them and what areas they can help them improve in.
Betty discussed the regulatory requirements of a financial organisation and the abilities her successful projects have given to free up resources previously committed to audit compliance work - also this allows JH to demonstrate governance of off-shore vendors by having everyone use a centralised consistent solution. Engagement of governing bodies around risk management & expense management is another example of working across biz units. By engaging them in the use of the tools they contribute to the setting of policies and drive the use of the tools as a standard for the organisation.
Betty cited that process is over 50% of a project implementation; making the point that technology doesn't stand on its own without solid process that's oriented to your biz units & directions.
Betty summarised by emphasing that success is achieved by building incrementally focussing on low hanging fruit and creating an end-state vision.