26: Syncing with ServiceNow: Modernizing ITSM with ITIL 4: Change enablement

Nov 21, 2023

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a customer-centric framework that promotes governance, collaboration, and continuous improvement. At a time when IT service management (ITSM) is changing with new technology, shifting regulatory requirements, and decentralized teams, this is vital.

We explored how the ITIL 4 service value system helps ITSM service providers generate business value through the creation, delivery, and continuous improvement of services. Now let’s look at ITIL 4 guidance on change enablement.

Host: Andy Whtieside
Co-host: John Dahl
Co-host: Eddie McDonald

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Andy Whiteside: Welcome to Episode 26 of syncing with service. Now I’m your host. Andy White Side got a panel with me of John Dahl and Eddie Mcdonald. John, how’s it going? Very well, thank you. Are you excited to talk about? I kinda am like, II really kinda am. Because I love the origins of the service now product and and all the itsm products, but specifically service now, as it relates to itil cause. Once you explain to someone.

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Andy Whiteside: You know, Itil, and how it helps companies run their it shops better then it makes sense. Why, service now would be doing something similar for the rest of the company. Yes, and version 4 specifically starts to

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John Dahl: more embrace the business side, and that was one of the challenges that it always had was that we were looked at as the expense center, the people spending the money that the marketing and salespeople all work hard to make. So so by embracing that business side and and pulling them into it, I think, has a lot of benefit.

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Andy Whiteside: So, Eddie, you’ve been in well, you’ve been career long time, and still the service. Now, have you? Have you seen because of the service? Now, platform businesses start to understand

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Andy Whiteside: how it is part of the business and not just the call center

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Eddie: app. Absolutely. That’s been a major talking point for years and years. Now that you have to treat it like a business, and it’s been so long as people just treat it, as you know, support desk or a help desk or ticketing system where it actually has people and can generate value to an organization so absolutely

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Andy Whiteside: so. Here’s all the commercial, real quick. So if you are listening to this, podcast and you are a service. Now, customer, and you’re not. And you’re not getting the value out of the platform. Let us talk to you. That’s why we do these podcasts. That’s what I call podcasting with content and context, we want people to know what’s possible and one of the ways. We get the word out is through this podcast so today’s blog that we’re viewing by Jason Perry from November seventh of this year, modernizing it. Sm with it

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John Dahl: change enablement. John Itel stands for the acronym for Itel. What is that information? Technology, infrastructure library? And why did it

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Andy Whiteside: get created?

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John Dahl: It was actually created by, if I remember right the British Government in order to try to get a handle on their it in the government space. It was out of control.

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Andy Whiteside: right? I was out of control, spending too much money, no process, no procedure.

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Andy Whiteside: People like me running it. They just, you know, did what they could to get stuff done. And Itil was born. Eddie. Would you say that it’s probably fair that a lot of departments run that way, and they need structure as well.

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Eddie: Well, absolutely. And I think it’s before we get into this, I think it’s important that we talk about cause this, this is specific around Itel 4. And for those listening. The differences. The primary difference between Itil 3 and Itil 4 is that 3 was service focused and 4 is about delivering value. So it’s a, you know, 1, 2, and 3. Itil, pretty much the same with updates. Itil changes

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Eddie: fundamentally the approach

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Eddie: to the process. And how do we create value? Not just for the customer, but for the provider. So that’s an important differentiator. We need to make sure we stay focused on it. So it becomes like a there’s like a goal. There’s a con. There’s outcome based

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Eddie: versus getting stuff done. Base, correct? Correct? Yes, it’s not not about following. And that’s a really good point there, Andy, is that

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Eddie: it’s for so long. When we talked about Itel, I used to say, best practice, best practice, best practice, but nobody can do it. Nobody can follow Itel. Best practice to a T even very large enterprise organizations have a problem with that. So I started incorporating good practice. What can we get? Can we get close to best practice? So it’s that rigidness of Itel 3 has given way to the value of.

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Andy Whiteside: That’s John. This first section is swift. Change demands on an agile response. How does and service now rise to the call of that

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John Dahl: right so so agile? And it gets into devops, too. It it has the promise of being able to get value faster. As Eddie was talking about

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John Dahl: and do it in a way that

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John Dahl: doesn’t

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John Dahl: prevent the big picture. It doesn’t give up the big picture.

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John Dahl: It just allows you to get a little bit of value here and there throughout your process. And ironically, that’s also one of the challenges the companies face is they think that agile means. I don’t have to plan anything. We just build and fix but when balanced properly, it allows you to deliver that value much, much faster. And

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Andy Whiteside: I lost my train of thought on the next part 1, 2, and 3. We’re pretty much just along for the ride. Now we’re starting to use, you know, agile type response to be able to. Not only not only do get done what needs to get done, but do in a way that produces known good value.

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John Dahl: Well, I think

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John Dahl: the way I think about it is, the old processes were about guarding right, protecting the stability of the environment. Let’s not do anything that’s going to be damaging to our environment protect the confidentiality, the integrity and availability of our information. Where this new process talks more about. Okay, I see that you need this for your business value. Let’s find a way to make it happen.

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John Dahl: It’s more about making sure that we can implement the changes required safely rather than starting from that default. We’re going to try to stop damage from happening

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Andy Whiteside: right.

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Andy Whiteside: Eddie. Your thoughts on how agile applies to Ital 4.

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Eddie: Well, you know, it’s I don’t wanna be the definition guy on this on this. Podcast but remember, we’re talking about agile with a capital, A, this is not an adjective, but agile, the methodology, and at its core I’m actually agile, certified, and at its core agile, is an ongoing conversation. Everything takes place that it’s not just fixed at the beginning.

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Eddie: but it adapts and modifies as we go and change, and the processes around change as well need to be able to adapt as they go, and not find just a rigid process to follow. So I feel that this plays to people’s natural instincts. Instead of being forced into a box, they’re able to pivot on their own and make decisions which are best for the company.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, I’m kind of look at this like, you know, agile 1, 2, and 3, where you know standards and methodologies to get stuff done, whereas agile. Excuse me, Itil 4, so itil 1, 2, and 3 is kind of ways to get things done. Itil 4 is more of an active listener that responds the most appropriate way.

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Eddie: Correct. That’s a good way to put it. Yes.

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Andy Whiteside: alright. John. Next section talks about transformation of change management, which oh, in every organization there’s always opportunity to improve there. How is it till 4 impacting that.

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John Dahl: you know, I actually haven’t had a great deal of exposure to that. But the idea of this change of mentality right? We’re not. We’re not

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John Dahl: controlling so much. We’re finding a way to enable it to occur.

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John Dahl: And so the the idea that we have to go through a bunch of hoops, and if we are still interested in pursuing this after we’re exhausted and going through all those hoops, then we go ahead and do it. Well, this is really changing it to like, I said, it’s just let’s make sure. Let’s find a way to make this happen.

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Eddie: Yeah, John, that you know, that’s it ties into the cab. The change approval board which has

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Eddie: their schedule changes in their emergency changes. And I think this section of this blog post here is talking about being inflexible the old way and becoming more flexible in the new way, you know, changing out of a large server and organization. Even if you service map that server, there’s still gonna be hiccups along the way, and you might not fit into a standard testing process with that change

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Eddie: to be able to be agile and and change on the fly change.

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Eddie: You know, verb on the fly is is important to make sure that those changes are successful. I guess maybe it’s just recognizing the reality of in the change you’re trying to make in it, or other parts of the business. There’s always going to be adaptation needed. And if you’re just very rigid around how that has to be handled. It’ll take a lot longer, if ever, to get done, or, as John pointed out, you might just be exhausted and get to the end. You’re like, okay, I’m not even doing this.

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John Dahl: That’s especially true at these days, right? Our our market economy is changing so quickly. If if you can’t stay ahead of it, then you’ve lost the opportunity.

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Andy Whiteside: Now. I change enablement from process to guidance. That kind of aligns what we were just talking about, in other words, not just following a process, but given overall guidance on how it should be done. John thoughts here.

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John Dahl: you know it’s about becoming an advocate. It it’s it’s always about thinking, first of all, that we recognize the value that the business is looking for, and we’ve got a way to do it. Now let’s make it happen safely.

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Eddie: Eddie. Yeah, you know, in from process to guidance is really is. It ties back to everything. We were just talking about a process

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Eddie: that is rigid, that you have to follow A, BC and D to guidance, meaning, when this happens, you can consider doing this. Or you can consider doing that. It’s it’s about using the technology and the automation to take care of the day to day grind of making those changes. And then there’s that that agile guidance, that that

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Eddie: when it falls outside of the process, that change can still move forward efficiently and on time.

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Andy Whiteside: Alright. Next section talks about itel and devops

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Andy Whiteside: together for change. How how does devops John apply to your Ital motions?

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John Dahl: Well, so the idea of devops which has been around for a long time.

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John Dahl: it. It’s really about joining the front end and the back end, the front end operations team and the Back End Development team to make sure that they’re working together in one consistent flow of of change of capabilities.

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John Dahl: And so Itel is just kind of coming alongside with that idea and joining with it, rather than trying to

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John Dahl: be a competitor or a block to it. And when you can start to understand that value proposition and define your processes well.

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John Dahl: and automate some of the tedious stuff, you can get much more consistent output.

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Andy Whiteside: Is it? Is it fair to say that historically devops and Ital may be conflicted more than they work together.

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John Dahl: I it certainly looks that way. I I’ve actually.

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John Dahl: I’ve actually very rarely found organizations that can adopt a devops program that they felt really strong and comfortable with. I’ve seen organizations try it and take a step back.

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John Dahl: Ii don’t know if that’s because of the challenge with devops itself and and breaking down that barrier between development and operations, or if it’s because of the the

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John Dahl: battle against the Ital process that was in place.

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Eddie: Yeah, it it’s, you know, with devops, you know. If we, if we replace devops with delivery of all things delivery. If you have an internal project, and it that project is going to facilitate a change. That ongoing conversation I mentioned earlier is vital. You need to be able to test. You need to make sure that you’re communicating nonstop with your customer, your business, that the changes that are made are following the spirit of that change.

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So those feedback loops that ongoing conversation are vital in devops.

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John Dahl: and and the 2 of those together might actually make that conversation go easier.

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John Dahl: Yes, absolutely, and success is far greater as well.

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Andy Whiteside: So the next section talks about a topic that’s come up once or twice in the last little bit. And that’s automation. And AI is itil for a product of knowing that automation and AI are around the corner and going to need to be part of these processes.

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Eddie: So if that’s to me. So automation and AI are part of every conversations going forward and all things it so it makes no difference if it’s change or or some other area of your organization. But yeah, that that that automation piece, I mean, you could see here. It’s outlined automation, observability, infrastructure as a code issue, monitoring and remediation. All of these pieces. If AI can come in

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and make those change suggestions for you, it takes some of the burden off of that cap to help self direct these changes.

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Andy Whiteside: II guess maybe it’s fair to say that because of auto automation and AI things like observable observability getting say the word you know, infrastructure is code monitoring and remediation. Those things have to drive new ways of thinking of of Itel when you think John

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John Dahl: well, with, you know, automation is an is an old topic. It’s been the foundation of it for many years, and and AI is just coming of age at this point it’s coming up to kind of a critical mass where everybody is jumping onto it. So

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John Dahl: in in the evolution of what it is doing, and now trying to embrace the business in a in a different way in a more holistic way.

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John Dahl: Ii definitely think that there is a lot of opportunity, but it still comes down to being able to articulate your needs and articulate the process that you want to automate and and, like Eddie said, That’s where AI can come in and help fill those gaps.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, maybe I should ask the question like this, is it? Would I have to believe? And you guys tell me if I’m wrong, I’d love to get your thought on this. Is that AI generated X. Whatever X is in this case, maybe AI generated responses and automation. Those type things require itil

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Andy Whiteside: different and to be looked at differently. And that’s where you know 4 has kind of evolved from.

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Eddie: I would agree, I would agree, because Itle 4 is focused only on value. And the aig, the genai engine that is making these suggestions has that at its core to making sure that there is going to be value in the suggestions that the AI makes. So yes, fully agree.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, I think that takes us down to the last paragraph, which is Ital 4 is the result of newer ways to think about how to get things done within it, and the rest of the business.

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Andy Whiteside: And that’s where you have to rethink this thing. That’s not that old, but it service management has to be rethought under a new, A A on top of a new framework. In this case itil 4, because

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Andy Whiteside: from this day forward everything will be different.

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Eddie: Yeah, II think that you know, we’re talking specifically about change today. But within, you know, this is obviously service. Now, centric within it. Sm, you have incident, problem, change, request, knowledge. Each of those has a quote Ital best practice process attached to Ital. It’s service now, is itel compliant out of the box.

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Eddie: But using that V 4, mentality, it’s a mentality shift. Where is this incident problem? Is this incident process exactly

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Eddie: the way it should be to create the most value to the P. Purple, the people fulfilling the incident as well as requesting it, same with a request or a change, or even a knowledge article. What’s the best process to get the value quickly? So yes, I, this, this expands far beyond change and across the technology scope.

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John Dahl: And and then also really emphasizes the need to have a a good quality. Cmdb and implementing Csdm in particular, to make sure that all of your your infrastructure components and all of your processes, and everything that you have within your enterprise can align to and be mapped back to the business capabilities that you’re trying to support.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, John, I was gonna ask you. And then, Eddie, what you think the like one thing that you think will result like one example of what you are looking forward to see Itl 4 standards applied to versus Ital. 3. But I love that you brought up the Cmdb. Because

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Andy Whiteside: right? Without that thing

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John Dahl: all of this goal of following standards. That’s that’s where it all starts, isn’t it?

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John Dahl: Definitely having having good data is the foundation for any kind of success? If you have bad data, it doesn’t really matter what your process says. You’re you’re making decisions with bad data, you’re gonna get bad results.

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Eddie: And and also you know, it also changes the conversation. So as Integrra being a service now, implementer, we implement the platform

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Eddie: for years and years. The conversation always started with process first, where we wanna understand what your processes are, make sure the following good or best practices. But now that conversation during the workshops is going to go to value. Oh, of course there’s gonna be process and embedded. But value first, where’s the value in setting X up or or Z up?

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Eddie: Make sure we’re getting the value first. the process second, and then we’ll implement the tool to make sure both of those are being addressed.

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Andy Whiteside: So John, I’ll go with you first. What give me one example of something you think you would see different under it for than you saw historically, under 1, 2, and 3.

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John Dahl: I think the turnaround time would be quite a bit less from the time when you say I need to have this change put into place.

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John Dahl: I don’t want to have to wait 2 weeks for a cab and then another week for a deployment window. After that it’s it’s got to be something that is more aligned with the standard change than it is with a normal change from the Old World. So in the change control process under it, sm. Applied to like standards. You think things will get done quicker.

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John Dahl: That’s my expectation. Yes, but they’ll still get done. Get done right? Just done quicker.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, Eddie, your thoughts. What? What something you expect to see?

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Eddie: I expect to see more consumer adoption because a lot of folks they don’t. They don’t wanna be put in that box and have to follow that process especially that process is clunky. So if we’re giving, if the platform is giving the customers what they need sooner and more efficiently, that is, gonna be a win for them. They’re gonna be happier not only building the platform out, but running it afterwards. So more efficient processing or more efficient process.

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Andy Whiteside: because it’s not rigid and it’s flexible. And at the end of the day happier consumers, whether it’s it supported end users, or who knows? You know, some other entity within the that’s being served by the platform.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah. And time is money, you know. If we can cut this process down to get these changes implemented quicker, those hours go straight to your bottom line. So yeah, there’s also a financial impact here as well. So Eddie’s had a financial impact as as you get through all that, and and you get happier users to get things done quicker. And, John, I’d argue that you know better. Change control that’s more efficient and more and flexible at the same time, probably equals money, too.

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Andy Whiteside: Absolutely. Yeah. Alright, guys. Well, I was glad to talk about, I believe or not. I kind of love talking about itel, because I’ve been in technology for been part of it shops since the mid nineties. And they all needed.

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Andy Whiteside: They all needed some structure. I’ll leave it like that.

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Andy Whiteside: And and I love that. We now have software that if you follow that software, the structure will to some degree happen.

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John Dahl: Yes.

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John Dahl: yeah, alright. Well, gentlemen, I appreciate it, and we’ll we’ll look to talk to you guys again in a week.