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HP Discover 2012 – Disney’s insight into IT training is a star attraction

SusanMerriman ‎12-16-2012 10:38 AM - edited ‎06-26-2015 01:45 PM

With 9,000 delegates attending HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt, Susan Merriman, WW Leader of Emerging Technologies for HP Software Education, is still buzzing from the event. With HP Discover always a high point on the European tech industry’s calendar, Susan provides her thoughts and perspectives on the show. Her insights include feedback on her joint presentation with Disney’s Mike Randall and the common training issues that cropped up in Susan’s discussions with customers at the event.


As you may have seen from my previous blog, I attended my first HP Discover event 12 months ago. I’d only just joined HP so my brief was a watching one. Things were different this year: I took to the stage at this thriving event which brings together customers, partners, and senior HP executives for three days of networking, learning, idea sharing, and relationship building.


My presentation, delivered with Mike Randall, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Manager, Global Business Technology Strategy, was scheduled before the opening plenary. So we were somewhat nervous of drawing a crowd. But Disney is, of course, box office, and it was great to welcome an audience of well over 100. We discussed how Disney adopted an ITIL culture using a 3-day commitment model; over an 18-month period, Mike’s team asked that they have just 24 hours of access to the personnel involved with the project. This was used for training, confirmation and practice.


Disney’s service management is all about the customer experience so any glitches must be avoided. Thanks to the adoption program, the transition to ITIL was smooth. Mike explained how senior executives’ sponsorship of the project was critical to its success. As was the training and support program we helped his team develop to meet the goal of teaching not only the how, but the why. This involved a blended training model including ITIL training offered well in advance, a half-day of auditorium training the day before go-live, eLearning, and performance support – online work aids and quick reference guides were available to the team post launch.


Everyone really engaged with the session. And it was clear that many customers face similar challenges. The fact that a company as large and as complex as Disney could pull this off was reassuring for many. The session was a very positive way to kick off my HP Discover.


 A high-energy showcase

The show continued well from there. It was fantastic to see our CEO Meg Whitman explain the role that HP Software has to play in the company’s future. And as I moved through the venue I was struck by just how much energy there was – the place was buzzing. The buzz reached beyond the show too, with the Twitter and Blogosphere picking up many of the event’s big themes including Big Data and HP’s cloud and storage announcements. The event attracted in excess of 70,000 likes on Facebook, and blogs from the show were viewed 30,000 times in the first 48 hours alone.


Standing room only

Over in the HP Software zone we ran twice-daily theatre sessions. These light-hearted, fast-paced sessions saw audience members come on stage to trial some of our solutions. Most sessions were standing room only and we had lots of positive feedback and questions. Several people approached me to say that they weren’t aware of the scope of our training solutions and they had realized practical ways in which they could introduce them in their business.


 A more strategic approach to training

As ever the opportunity to chat to customers was invaluable. And what struck me was how consistent people’s training requirements and issues are. In fact, I’ll be looking at these issues in my next blog. I did just want to mention that many customers I spoke to are recognizing the value in formulating a training strategy prior to buying software. Also, there’s widespread and welcome consensus that educating users both before and after going live is a critical element of best practice. The good news is that, with versatile and flexible solutions such as ART, we are offering customizable training right on the heels of new products. In fact, at HP Discover, we announced ART-based enablement solutions for the two major HP Software products receiving fanfare at the show: BSM 9.2 and HP Service Anywhere.



Over to you

Did you attend HP Discover? What were your perceptions of the show? And what do you think about the growing trend to evaluate a complete software solution – including training – as part of the purchase process? We certainly see this as a key component of education best practice.


Related Links:

>> Get Educated on HP Software products

>> Adoption Readiness Tool





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