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2012 - The Enterprise Software Review of the Year that Changed, Everything (Part 1 of 3)

It's not over until it's over and 2012 is now over.

For weeks I have been digesting, contemplating and reviewing 2012 in my head, online and deep in my soul. Finally, two full weeks into the new year, I'm ready to give my review of the year in ITSM , IT Management and Enterprise Software.

To give this blog some structure, I'm going to break it into a few pieces.

  1. The Industry - The Market Place - IT Management 2012 - The subtle but violent nature that comes with living in a state of constant flux
  2. Predictions 2013 - I'm from the future, that's what we do, but we don't call it ‘predictions’ we call it ‘history’.
  3. Christory 2012 - My travels and observations




The IT Management Industry 2012 vs. the IT Market Place


The industry met the market place in a dimly-lit parking lot, somewhere in east LA at around 2am, January 4, 2012, and had a really bad romance. The rest of the year was dedicated to the love children of that chance meeting.

The spawn of this unholy romance became ‘the citizen employee’ and the ‘CULT-tomer’.

For decades, roaming from town to town and pedalling their snake oil, the industry engine has been in search of a soul.

The billions of dollars that corporate mega-structures transferred from person to person in 2012 finally met the nightmarish charm of the market place.

The marketplace, in contrast, has for decades been moving like Chanel no. 5 on the wind just after sunset.

In 2012 the marketplace, the area where truth hits light, FUD hits reality and pigs prefer Botox, took a firm hold on the lexicon of the industry.

The industry took note of this, partly because of the two swaddled children of the earlier chance encounter.

First of the children to be born was the ‘cult-tomer’. 2012 is easily the year of the ‘customer’, or what I like to call the ‘cult-tomer’, the motivational speakers from the 1990's are back, but this time they are preaching around the world about how social media has changed customer service.  A popular topic on twitter is #CustServ.

As I have warned many times before, this is a dangerous movement.

The main problem with the cult-tomer service movement is:

  1. Entitlement.  Plain and simple, complaining on yelp, twitter, trip advisor or Facebook creates an environment of entitlement.  Just because you can complain, doesn’t mean you should
  2. Value.  People have lost their minds. Propagating the myth that a $5 meal is worthy of a call from the president of a restaurant is hysterical hyperbole.  Each time a company responds to a tweet from someone for a service priced BELOW the value of that service, we start the entitlement cycle
  3. Division.  When you define who a customer is, you AUTOMATICALLY exclude who is NOT a customer. Well, EVERYONE is a customer, to EVERYONE. This starts with your peers in the workplace, and THEN moves to the people who consume your ‘service’.

The era of the cult-tomer for customer service is the worst thing to happen to humanity since nicotine and the surgeon general of 1950-1980.

Customer service for ITSM is a red herring and everyone who isn't selling you snake oil directly from the reptile belly knows this.

The second offspring of the ‘industry’ meeting the ‘market place’ and the twin to the cult-tomer is ‘the citizen employee’

Forrester accurately wrote about this in Groundswell when they spoke of HEROES. I feel the book stops short and plays it safe in many areas, as I see citizen employees willing to go to any length to get a job done.

How does the marketplace define this child and twin to the cult-tomer?

Consumerization, mobile and social are all highly charged FUD indicators for the average enterprise employee.

  1. Consumerization:  Simply put, some employees will, and prefer to, spend money out of their own pockets for products, devices and services.  They will NEVER expense these items and they will use any means possible to gain an advantage over their organization and industry. Outsourcing many small tasks to O-desk, Mechanical Turk or Task Rabbit is a lot easier than actually doing a report, expenses or a presentation.  Citizen Employee: 1, Enterprise: 0
  2. MobileBYOD isn't about convenience - it's about support.  If I buy my own device, my own apps and use my own cloud services, the enterprise support team will never get a call from me.  For some folks $15K a year in personal devices and cloud services is worth not having to spend 1 second thinking about IT support.  Citizen employee: 1 enterprise: 0
  3. Social:  The hyperbole of the year for the citizen employee.  If we give everyone in the enterprise access to an activity stream we can change culture.  Heck let's add prizes, simulations and awards and ‘GAMIFY’ this stream.  This is like sending Santa to a hospital for sick children and expecting them to suspend their pain for a moment and to think that a 120-pound man suddenly became the real Santa, and he cares enough to show up with chutes and ladders.  I believe there is power in social, just not what we are using it for.  The citizen employee, has to USE, manipulate and even coerce the social tools at their disposal, EXTERNAL to the organization, to grow and network beyond their organization, forcing a change from external sources to affect the culture internally. That IS happening.  The rise of the enterprise celebrity is making it so.

So between cult-tomers and citizen employees, we do have a great shift on our hands.  Alexander Bard refers to this riff as the Netocracy vs. the Consumtariat and it will only be sorted out by something like Klout, so get over it now.  Your family doesn't need that vacation as much as you need your own tools and services!

These two groups of people now make up a vast group of people who occupy the digital market place and stand firmly against the structured digital ‘trust-abusing’ industry. 

Finally, to make matters worse, humanity at this level has schismed off and has become a separate species.  It is unnatural for humans to have the abilities they have today.  We weren't meant to see this much power, personally, this quickly. It has caused people to morph into another species.  While, in 2011, people left reality to check the web, in 2012, people leave the web to check reality. The shift happened.

***New and Improved for Enterprise IT in 2012***

There has been some advancement in straight IT principles in 2012.  While not as radical as my visions, they seem to, at least, not make people uncomfortable. A partial list of the things that made 2012 and 2013 a bit more hopeful follows:

  1. Balanced Diversity - Karen Ferris
  2. The Phoenix Project - Gene Kim
  3. Standard and Case - Rob England
  4. USMBOK - Ian Clayton
  5. Quantum Age of IT - Charles Araujo
  6. Simulations - G2G3 & GamingWorks
  7. Rise of the Creative Class 10th Anniversary Edition - Richard Florida
  8. How to Create a Mind - Ray Kurzweil

That's about it, I wish we had more to work with, but we don't. 

If you are in IT, those 8 items need to be consumed, understood and made part of your decision-making process.


2012 marked the first year that I saw ‘fact-checking’ going on real-time at an industry analyst conference.  The era of access to a representative sample of ‘business’-volunteered and paid-for consultancy to justify the same mistakes as others have made is over.  We have two situations on our hands:

  1. You can find any fact to back up any idea your organization wants put into its culture.  If you want to find whitepapers, webinars, surveys and podcasts, on how Big Foot, when represented and quoted by management, can change culture, you can find that information.  Institutional psychosis in 2013 is real and the Haldol is being doled out by traditional analyst organizations
  2. Analysts - the people.  Analysts are people too, but until recently they were kept in digital fortresses, tight behind the largest pay walls ever built.  Today’s analysts need to be accessible and give away common sense on command like Pavlov’s dog.  No longer can they, or the organizations that employ them, afford to remain hidden.

Unfortunately, not all analysts are going to make it.  Those brave enough to venture out will be questioned by the town’s people, hunted by the crown and burned by the priests.  It's easy. They are in a role that is much like the religious figures of the 1500's post Gutenberg era.

The most powerful weapon in any analyst’s toolbox, is the ‘data’ they have collected from member organizations.

In 2013, surveying the 1% isn't going to sit well with the 99%.


My questions are simple:

We have the technology and we are letting Steve Austin, lay there and beg for his life.  I do believe that some organizations are working toward these solutions, but they, much like Microsoft of the 1990s, are too afraid to abandon legacy support.

Legacy support was needed when we had no way to record the spoken language. Old people were heroes, if a kid in a village died, no big deal, we lose the village elder and we are IN BIG TROUBLE.

As soon as we could record spoken information via writing we were able to let the old folks go and focus on the kids. 

As soon as we went from writing to mass printing, the average person could become empowered.  Take, for example, circa 1450 AD, before the printing press, it cost, in relative terms, 150K euros to produce ONE book, in 1550 that same book would cost 30 cents.

This cycle repeats itself with mass media, and now we see the same cycle occurring with our interactive media.

Legacy support is something the super wealthy can afford - it must not be a consideration.

We have two classes of gaseous giants moving in our solar system:

  1. Class A Super Organizations:  Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google
  2. Class B Super Organizations: Oracle, SalesForce, IBM, Microsoft

Both classes want the other’s customers, and both classes are fighting in the marketplace.

As far as ITSM goes, we have seen a lot of change this year, everyone is now on the same page and 2013 is going to be an epic battle in our industry. In the market place, small wars are being won everyday, 140 characters at a time.

A list of ITSM year-end write-ups for your consideration:

  1. James Finister, Consultant, Tata Consulting
  2. IT Skeptic/Rob England, Pundit
  3. Mark Kawasaki, Practitioner, Emory University
  4. Jarod Green, Analyst - Gartner
  5. April Allen, The Knowledge Bird, consultant
  6. Kirstie Magowan, writer, publisher, consultant
  7. The ITSM University – State of the Market

What does it say that all the ‘A’ players in ITSM were at VMWorld and Dreamforce? 

If you are in IT, in any capacity, 2012 is summed up in this 20 min video by Richard White of UserVoice. (NSFW Language)

Are service desks going away?  No, people still have jobs shoeing horses, but most horses that are not shoed are glued!


There are many places you can go to feel you belong, ‘Cheers’ was probably the most notable.  If you’re in ITSM or involved in enterprise IT, there are more.  itSMF, HDI, SDI, HDAA, ISACA, PMI, and a host of movements, LEAN, AGILE, DEVOPS.  All of these organizations, either for-profit or not-for-profit, do an amazing job at gathering people and providing a place for you to share and be shared. 

Unfortunately, this model of not paying people for their opinion is going to evaporate. 

This is a very simple principle, no one is going to give you their IP or opinion, gratis, for much longer. 

The power of membership organizations, and I am a member of them all, is their physical events but, sadly, not everyone can afford to go to those events, and the material that is produced there is not available, EASILY or externally.

So we are at a real crossroads.  Membership organizations make money from

  1. Membership dollars
  2. Access to member information (surveys, demographics)
  3. Access to member attention (Ads, webinars, etc.)
  4. Physical Conferences

The shift is simple, even as a member, you will not access the information you are entitled to, because it's easier to get it from another, trusted, source or a site that doesn't require money or an email sign-up.

Also, the era of members giving away their IP for a slot to speak in front of 100 people are over.  Why would you spend hundreds of hours creating something that only a few people can see once, when you can put it on the web for millions to find?

Membership organizations have the world’s largest opportunity right in front of them.  Charge more to sponsors and vendors – heck, double the rates, and PAY EVERY MEMBER WHO CONTRIBUTES.

We are facing a period of great employment, under employment and unemployment changes.  We need membership organizations to do what they were sent here for, HELP US, and in 2013, that means dollars, real dollars - shift the power and the money to the people.

Simple conference stats from social analysis tools show what's happening.

Will membership organizations die?  No, we still have Moose Lodges in the US, but you wouldn’t want that $4 Sunday dinner unless you were also worried about the temperature dipping 3 degrees and the rain on the road.


The largest problem we face is that everyone is sharing, which means no one is consuming, engaging or creating.  Think of sharing, engaging, consuming and creating as a pie chart, whose proportions change.

  • Create - blogging, research, media (video/audio/slides), writing, presenting
  • Consume - magazines, blogs, books, audio, video, social
  • Engage - comment, respond
  • Share - social
  • Participate - change or manipulate original material, share and engage.

When sharing overtakes creation, we are at deficit of learning.

When creation overtakes engagement, we are in the deficit literacy evolution.

We are facing a problem that only trust will fix. Not quality, not spectrum, not market share.  Plain and simple trust.  In some ways we are pre-printing press.

More information here and here


I would like to be saying this for the last time, but unfortunately, I don't think I have that luxury.

Social Media is Social ME-dia.  Yup.  It's not about YOU, sharing or collaborating.  Those items are the panacea of social media, but not its current state.

Currently, because people are augmented and unhuman in digital spaces, they forget manners, ethics and, at times, morality.

They seek to share their views, hurt others and act entitled.

So let's call social media what it is, and has a use for.

Social media is a permission-based system of digital trust for access to one’s attention.

Think about it, if you spend more time in digital spaces than human spaces, you will, at some point, use social media to unfollow, unfriend, and block people around you. 

It doesn't mean you don't care for that person, it means you don't care for what they share, in essence, it is undeserving of your time.

When you pick up a newspaper, you can ignore sections or writers, but you can't just hide them, you get the whole paper.

Social media is the most highly curated system of information that you will ever have.

Unlike your inbox, instant messenger, telephone, cell phone, calendar, or your front door, social media allows you to create a world where no one can contact you without your permission.

Combine this with the fact that any one can find any fact to back up any thought; we have very dangerous pieces of human history on our hands.

2013 will be the year of no return from this digital dust bowl.

Media is nothing without experts, and in 2012 we saw the whiplash culture of GURU/EXPERT/THOUGHT LEADER come home to roost. Today, being any of these things has lost so much meaning that they actually damage your credibility.

To define expert is very easy.  Can you write about something other than information I can find anywhere else on the web?  A few people do this, just a few.  For me, Riitta Raesmaa, Charles Betz, Jarod Green and Rob England are producing original thought in their subject area.  They are experts.  They are thinkers.  Easy way to find an expert, ask that person a question.  If you can Google their answer, that person is an ‘assembler’, that person is not an expert or a maker. Experts give you answers you won't find online.

‘Being a maker involves doing something that may not work. Otherwise you’re just an assembler’ - Seth Godin

Some breakthrough media in my immediate space would be:

  • BrightTalk - They released a mobile app, are looking at new models and have a really smart staff.  They bridge this strange hinterland of digital community and marketing
  • ITSM Review - The site takes a no-holds-barred approach to putting anyone on the blog who has an opinion.  That is unique.  The ITSM review is becoming the people's newspaper for my industry, and I like that
  • TFT12 - This conference proved, once and for all, that you could do something that was self-assembling, community focused and break a lot of rules along the way.  Paying people to speak who bring their own audiences and original thought in 2013, it's the only way left.  Congratulations s to my partners SDI and Kirstie Magowan.

What are we leaving behind in 2012?  I feel there is a lot.  We are leaving a world where not everyone was a producer.  We are leaving a world where you have to pay to get a photo in front of your friends and you have to spend your rent check to have a device that gives you an edge over your peers.  We are leaving a world where speakers show up and throw up and don't give back.  Yes, speakers who amplify events, the only thing in front of us.  We are leaving a world where tweeting your statistics, might drive clicks to your blog and the un-follow button.  We are leaving marketing behind.  We as a culture need to realize that marketing is a trust-based relationship; the only job in sales is to make sure that marketing looks good. 

Page views are not page reads, page reads are not shares and shares are not value.  Click through rates and clever packaging.  Heck even solid writing doesn’t cut it in marketing anymore.

We leave behind a carcass more damaged than IT, Marketing.  There are many calls and nods that IT and Marketing, e.g. the CIO and the CMO now have a relationship, and I completely, agree, unfortunately, that relationship is in a trailer park somewhere and the only people who can recuse them from reruns of ‘Honey Boo Boo’ and a BMI of 47 are us.

**2012 Winners and Losers**


  1. You.
  2. Your Data (Quantified Self/Quantified Work /Quantified Life)


  1. Stats
  2. Metrics
  3. Frameworks
  4. Innovation
  5. Marketing
  6. Trust
  7. Social Media
  8. Clichés
  9. Pundits
  10. Facts.

Do yourself a favor, just follow @levie, the rest will take care of itself.  Also, get used to being lonely, it's not lonely at the top, it's lonely in the mirror.

One more thing before we move on to predictions and self-aggrandizement.  Tools.  We are in IT, IT doesn’t need us, we need each other.  So creating tools and solutions for systems that self-correct is silly.  You are not Rube Goldberg.  There are no problems to solve, only problems to prolong. 

In 2013, in IT and marketing - Primium non nocere.

PART II: Predictions 2013 - I'm from the future, that's what we do, but we don't call it ‘predictions’ we call it ‘history’. - RELEASED JANUARY 23, 2013



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by Chris Dancy