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The Evolution Of AITSM (Part-2) - How Has Technology/Career Progressed & What Didn't Change? A Wish & A Model That Can Change The Game Forever.

April 5, 2022

The Evolution Of AITSM (Part-2) - How Has Technology/Career Progressed & What Didn't Change? A Wish & A Model That Can Change The Game Forever.

AITSM Show - Episode 6 - Special Interview With Greg Specht

The Evolution Of AITSM (Part-2) 

How has technology/Career progressed & What Didn't Change?

A Wish & A Model That Can Change The Game Forever.


AITSM Show - Episode 6 - Special Interview With Greg Specht

The Evolution Of AITSM (Part-2) 

How has technology/Career progressed & What Didn't Change?

A Wish & A Model That Can Change The Game Forever. 

As we know, AITSM is ITSM-driven by intelligent automation to assist with tasks, requests, and actions at the IT service desk.

Our guest, Greg, has over three and half decades of experience and watched the AITSM technology space and his career grow exponentially. 

In this second episode with him, we asked: How has technology progressed & what didn't change? What would you change in the Industry if you had magical powers? What would be your advice to a room full of young people?

We asked it from Greg Specht, Sr. Director at DxSherpa Technologies. We'd learn a lot from him with plenty of reminiscences, laughs, and interesting anecdotes, especially his passion for technology and sense of gratitude.

How are conversational AI and automation changing the landscape exponentially? Despite that, a part of the Industry had the same old challenges. What are wishes and a model that has the power to change the game forever? Don't miss brilliant career advice to the young generation and his valuable insights throughout. 

"At the end of the day, I will go back to that IT maturity model, right? We always say we don't want to be reactive, but we don't know what's going to happen at the end of the day. So you have to react at some point. And it's just the nature of the world and humanity, and it's just the way things are. But if you react and you can react quickly, I think that's a very valuable thing to do so. We saw that it's been challenging, but I think a lot of organizations are starting to embrace the things like RPA technologies and AI. We definitely need those technologies."

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Transcript

Anand Tambey: Welcome back to the AITSM show.

We're continuing with Greg today again, and we are continuing the discussion here. Greg is having more than three decades of experience, and he had described the progression of the technologies over his three decades of experience. We will be moving back to the technology progression more in this episode too, and we'll get few more insights about it. Greg is senior director in DX Sherpa technologies. So we will be also asking him about his career progression as well.

So moving back to the technologies, so how technologies progressed. How it changed the work in good way or if there are challenges?

Greg Specht: Well, with cloud technologies and virtualization you can create, spin up a VM on your local computer. Even when you're spinning up an AWS instance or whatever, you have the ability to SSH or remote into that device over the cloud and have full control over it.

And bandwidth capabilities and everything have allowed us to do that. But when you're doing even development work, being able to spin up a Docker instance, spin it up, tear it down. Having that ability to effectively do specific types of development and do it quickly and efficiently, you know, have your own tests instance set up even on your own local computer with Docker instances and you know, if it breaks, you can essentially roll back the clock and go back to a specific state.

 You're going to see a lot more people leveraging container technology and things like that. More efficiently develop things and tying that to automation once again, if something is wrong or something is broke, right, you automatically roll back the clock. That's becoming increasingly in high demand. That's more of an "ease of use" type scenario, where, you're not breaking your local PC, which I've seen people do way back in the day where they're developing something and having to re-imaging their whole computer because they wrote a program that broke something. And it's happened. I've seen it. So now, we don't have to do those types of things. So we've really progressed. Even as developing software and things like that become much easier, which I guess much more fail safe. Obviously now we've got agile and traditionally it was waterfall development. Right. It's easier to do things in chunks, scrums, things like that are much more efficient.

I think the progression continues to be more exponential. And when we talk about SaaS, for example, a service now platform, now you can run your service desk completely in the cloud versus any kind of on-prem software. So it's once again, pretty exciting to see that progression and how it's really taking hold.

Anand Tambey: True. So ease of use and getting onto the cloud and SaaS products, it has made life a bit easier.

But IT issues also get complex over time. Like the security issues. And mainframe might not have any security issues, but now the PC had everything. Everything coming out of the network can go havoc.

Greg Specht: Yeah. That's a good point. I mean, you think about it even with mobile, right? Our phones essentially are our PCs. Right. So to secure those devices you know, think about why we developed IP Version six because we were running out of IP addresses. Right. It's just the amount of endpoint devices that are out there.

 It's mind boggling. And how do you control that? How do you lock that down? How do you know when things are being breached? We see companies are basically being held hostage, right? Could be one person in a department that clicked on an email link and suddenly, they're being held for essentially ransom.

But that is where AI automation is being able to secure environments . Obviously security is, continually be a huge forefront for many organizations because there's always people out there going to challenge that. Right.

So I think because of the complexity right now, we're starting to see AI, because it's almost too much for human intervention. So now you see chatbots, right? Anything, any site you go on to, right? You know it's not even a person, right. It's a chat bot that comes up. And what do you need? You enter it in. It's got the intelligence to understand it. It knows essentially what you're looking for. There's times you're trying to get help for something, it can be frustrating.

It's just like, man, I'd love to just talk to a human. So there is a little downfall to that, but I think it's just because of the complexity in that. But as an industry, we want to have technology that is easy to a person that isn't tech savvy, right.

To an end user, if you're going on and shopping online or whatever. And that individual may not even realize that they're essentially talking to a chat bot, right. They think they're possibly talking to a human on the other end, but most instances you're not. As long as they're getting what they need and, they're able to do whatever they need to do, order product or whatever. And they're not having to physically call into a help desk or anything like that, that it's obviously going away as we continue. But you know, to support that in the back end, it's still a complex process.

Anand Tambey: Right. So from the service desk perspective, when a call progresses with different service personnel and handoff occurs there. Many of the things would have been missed in older systems, but now with service now and systems like that, there are some notes available from the past calls.

And AI and chatbots had gone next step, like a human. Like if two friends are talking, they will know the context of earlier meeting what you have talked about and likewise. So as I am amazed, these systems have evolved towards smooth hand-offs and the next step of AI probably resolving that into something more. How actually it is helping you, say conversational IT or conversational ITPA, how actually it is giving benefits to today's service-based industries and ITSM arena.

Greg Specht: I agree, That goes back to the whole IT maturity model. Back in the day, everybody was reactive. We didn't have a choice. Right. Now the focus is to be more service-oriented, more proactive, being able to head off problems before they even happen. You know, having the intelligence to understand the pattern and, the software essentially is fixing the problem. And then, you just get an alert, Hey, this happened and we fixed it.

I think a lot of this goes back to that whole maturity model and how the industry has progressed and matured. A lot of organizations, what's interesting is they still see a lot of organizations that still are in a firefighting mode.

The challenge that I see now is there's a lot of great technologies and a lot of great tools out there, but any organization you go into and have a discussion with them, I mean, they've got separate tools. Tools don't talk. They have different interfaces.

And that's the beauty of now, what we're seeing is the concept of a common platform, the concept of inner communication. Organizations may have ServiceNow they may have Salesforce. They have a lot of these different software packages that are out there. That are, very valuable, but how do you tie them together?

Right. And so seeing, for example, RPA technologies that now can bridge the gap between a ServiceNow focused process and relate back and automated back through Salesforce, right. Having the different tools, be able to communicate between each other and essentially work together.

Right. And I think that's kind of the next progression that we're seeing. And from my experience, you go into a lot of industries and a lot of customers and, they'll have 10, 15 different types of monitoring tools that focus on different types of things. Right.

They own Salesforce. They may own SAP. They have a ServiceNow help desk. They have network monitoring tools, they have APM, and application performance monitoring tools. They've got tools for testing. So many of these different things, and I've seen this within the last 10 years of me being in the industry.

That challenge to be able to have things talk to each other. Right. We still see silo groups. We still see the network guys. Right. I go into meetings and I'm talking to server teams, network teams, and application teams, they joke around. Yeah, well, they always blame the network first. Right. The network's always the problem. But being able to pull data from all of the separate sources and make sense of it. It's getting better, but it's still there. I see so many industries, so many companies in such a reactive mode and they know they need to get beyond it, but it's still a challenge.

Anand Tambey: So it is still like a lot more to go and a lot more things to change. So if someday you have a power, a magical power with you, which can change one or more things in this service industry, what thing will, you will change? Actually what wishes you will have?

Greg Specht: Boy. Wow. So that would be my retirement and having three houses in wherever I want, you know, live next door to Bill Gates. I mean wow. That's a good question. What's interesting if you look at a company like service now and what, how they've progressed. And I even see this in companies like Splunk, right.

You know, their focus is a core platform, right. In that platform, essentially does the automation, it allows the connections into various other technologies and things like that. I think I've always kind of, through my days of working with various companies like that, it would just be nice if we just had a common platform, regardless of their user, who's using it.

Whether it's an HR person, whether it's an IT person, whether it's a developer. Right. You log into the platform and it all looks the same. And it extracts data from whatever tool you're using that you love, because, you're pry it out of your cold dead hands. Cause I'm not getting rid of this monitoring tool, but let's allow it to talk to that common platform.

And I think, those companies and the ServiceNows, the Splunks of the world, I think are moving in the direction of where organizations want to be. And they want to be able to have that same interface so that the user, the usability of the product, it looks the same. It feels the same.

And all of the automation is already there. It's built-in. Right. So I think, I don't know if I have necessarily the better mouse trap yet, but I think the direction of where those types of companies are going is what the future needs. But once again, I think that being able to continually, you know, progress automation I think a lot of organizations still are challenged with that.

And I don't know what the magic bullet is, to be honest with you. But I mean, I think that's the direction that you know, if you talked to me 10 years ago, that was something that was like, man, if we could just have that common interface, that common portal or something where you can look at data regardless of who you were, and it's the same look and feel.

And all of that backend stuff is within the platform. Right. So that's kind of where I'm seeing myself.

Anand Tambey: Yeah. So it's really interesting and useful insight, like communications within the different systems. Always a challenge. Maybe within the machines and within humans also.

Greg Specht: Yeah, I, you know, yeah.

It's just exciting to see, where, you know, how the industry has changed and I even remember Y2K and, COBOL programmers were a premium back then. Right. Just all of the different things, you know, now we saw, you know, with pandemic, right.

Suddenly remote work is a huge need out there. Having worked in, my focus, when I was at service now was in healthcare. Being able to, once again, provide even remote medicine, Right. Those are all challenges and things that come up that suddenly, the world we shift gears.

Right. And so four years ago, it was like, people may have talked about a pandemic, we didn't know what it was. Right. And I think the planning and things like that just weren't there. And suddenly it happened. And suddenly we have to adjust accordingly.

And I think we're going to continue to see those types of things depending on how the world changes and what happens. And Hopefully it continues. Hopefully it goes towards the better, hopefully we're looking up now versus we've had some challenges here in the last two years, but I think we're moving forward with it and we'll continue to do that.

But I think the industry will change accordingly to world defense and what things happen and it was those needs arise. We'll see them. But the good thing that I think came out of this is the remote work capabilities, people being able to be home, with their families.

And I think it's kind of brought us together in a way. So I guess that's one positive to look out of it. And I think technologies had to change accordingly.

Anand Tambey: Right, yeah. And actually, sometimes we need that push right from the outside to actually make a change. Right now, many companies and maybe people were maybe hard to, harder to change, but the pandemic had that power. And it had made them change, actually their ways of business model, their way of operating and working with constraints actually. A lot of constraints, all the supply chains, everything has been distorted. Communication had been online and no human touch there. So everything came into a kind of, a spin of everything.

Greg Specht: Yeah, I agree. At the end of the day, I'm going to go back to that IT maturity model, right. We always say we don't want to be reactive, but at the end of the day, we don't know what's going to happen.

So you're always going to have to react at some point. And it's just the nature of the world and humanity, and it's just the way things are. But if you react and you can react quickly I think that's a very valuable thing to be able to do so. We saw that it's been challenging, but I think a lot of organizations starting to embrace the things like RPA technologies and AI. We definitely need those technologies.

And as all the traditional office settings are starting to go away, people are wanting to work at home more. So the ability to provide and serve those individuals when they're having issues or problems and make their experience easy. That's kind of the progression I see moving forward.

So, it's interesting times and we're progressing forward from it. It's going to be interesting to see where the industry goes within the next five years. I think it's going to be really cool technology that's going to be out there. And the focus around making sure things are secure going to continually be at the forefront. Once again, making things easier to use. Making the experience easy, that's going to move forward.

My career has been pretty exciting to see how things have developed and changed all over all those years. And it's definitely been fun and been lucrative for me. I like to tell everybody, I'm a golfer. So I like to tell people that I'm on the 17th hole in my career. I'm going to play out the hole 17, go to hole 18. And after that, I'm going to decide, do I want to play another nine holes or do I just go sip margaritas on a beach. I don't know.

I started out a consulting business with a friend of mine. We were in our twenties. The challenge we had is a lot of people didn't want to take us serious, cause we were just a bunch of young kids, but we were, kind of geeky kids that liked technology. And that's kinda what got me started in the industry because we had knowledge that a lot of people didn't have, and we leveraged that knowledge and, made money off of it. Right. And the progression from there is, I always enjoy technology. I've done several different roles. I was a systems engineer. A lot of my career was pre-sales because I enjoyed the sales part of things.

Being a sales guys are rough gigs sometimes. The good reps are you know, they're phenomenal. But I still liked the technology. I like to still kind of touch and feel the technical part of things. And that's why I did a ton of pre-sales work. I just enjoyed it. Being the part of helping to close deals, working with technical people, within organizations trying to show the value of software, whatever it is you're selling. It was it was definitely an enjoyable part of things ,Anand,, but I think as my career progressed I wanted to take the things that I've learned and kind of lead others. So being a director of sales right now working with, my inside sales teams and business development folks. It's been fun to lead them.

My role now essentially I feel like I've gone back to my roots, starting from ground zero. We're building the US as a territory. And it's something I did first thing in my career and here I'm back to it. And it's fun. It's exciting. I've really enjoyed, what I'm doing. And it's always a learning process. You never stop learning. You know you can't get too set in your ways which can be a challenge, I think, as you get older, but you know, change happens and you've got to be able to adjust to it and move forward.

But my career has been fantastic. I've worked for startup companies. I've worked, I've been in situations where I've had companies go bankrupt. Closed their doors. You know I've worked with high-growth companies. So I've definitely seen a lot of change and, progression along my career, but it's definitely been exciting.

And I hear I'm a guy that was a mechanical engineer and I kind of always say I fell into the IT industry just because of a love for computer software and technology and went in that direction. So I have no regrets. It's been a great journey.

Anand Tambey: So maybe towards our conclusion, it's a really insightful talk and we actually talked about the progression of technologies and career and what things changed. So one of my questions was like if you have your past self or maybe any room full of young people, Who are actually starting where you have started three decades back. So what would be your advice?

Greg Specht: The one thing that I've seen and we talk about AI, for example, there's a shift because what I've seen and what I've worked with, artificial intelligence and automation. There's going to be a huge need for data scientists, and it's a very different animal compared to an engineering or you know more of an IT focus background. If you want to be like a smart guy become a data scientist and it is something that as I've worked with artificial intelligence and in the various types of AI technology, that's out there.

 For me to even understand how that works, I just know that it works, but all of that stuff in the background is all driven by data science, right? Data scientists are the people that are driving it. So if you want to really be a smart guy. Well, you'd become a data scientist.

Anand Tambey: Yeah. That's a very useful advice there. Right now we are progressing towards AI machine learning and making the sense of data actually. Data could be the new oil for the world. So, yeah, that's a pretty useful advice there and useful insights we have over this discussion right now. Thanks. Thanks very much Greg, for being here on our show and sharing your experiences .

 So any last points you want to say, or maybe any question should you think, I would have asked?

Greg Specht: You know, being in the industry, as long as I have, I've enjoyed our discussion. I think folks that are, started in IT when I did and we've definitely seen a lot of things. I've seen guys that started out as, computer technicians that are now CIOs of companies.

Right. And watching those people and people that are my friends progressed to that level is it's really cool. And I think a lot of the young people coming up in that I think my generation, I think we were the first, cause I remember my parents, they just didn't like technology, like I don't know if I want to touch this thing. I might break it. Right.

I think our generation, we were really the first that said, this is cool. I like this. I want to learn about it. I want to understand it. Now you see, the young people coming up like my nieces and nephews, he would just pick up a piece of technology and have it figured out, which is amazing to see.

But this new generation watching their abilities to be able to truly pick something up, understand it, see how it works. My kids and, I'm sure my grandkids, technology is a way of life form. Right. And we didn't quite have that initially growing up, but I think, it's going to be exciting because I think a lot of the future, generations that are coming up in the young people that I work with, it's really amazing to see how they've embraced technology.

So it's exciting for me to work with young people and to see how, how they view things and their ideas towards things. And definitely it's fun for me to just work with all the different people throughout. I mean, people I've met throughout my career and it's been a great journey. So I'm still enjoying it.

Anand Tambey: Thanks a lot. Greg. Thanks for being on our show. It was very insightful interview and lot of learning.

Greg Specht: Awesome. Well, thanks Anand. Thanks for having me.

Anand Tambey: So audience, if you love this conversation, so please share it generously and give us feedback. What are the questions to be asked to our IT pros and we will keep coming with more and more interesting topics. Watch this space for more. Thanks. Bye-Bye!

Greg Specht Profile Photo

Greg Specht

Sr. Director, DxSherpa Technologies