Following on from my review of Day 1 of the itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition, it’s time to take a look at what happened on Day 2.
As the second day started I couldn’t help but look around slightly relieved that I wasn’t feeling as bad as the majority of the other conference goers looked. By all accounts the wine on the table had been completely obliterated and some people (mentioning no names) didn’t even managed to make it down for breakfast!
Talking of breakfast the fare at the Hyatt Regency was a decent spread and didn’t taste too much like it had been standing for hours. My experience of the waiting staff was that they were efficient and courteous, something you’d think would be a given but it never ceases to amaze me how hotels can charge such an extortionate amount for breakfast and then get it so very wrong.
In the Exhibition Hall more revellers surfaced and headed straight for the coffee in an attempt to freshen up somewhat before another full day of sessions. Anyway, less talk of breakfast and hangovers and more talk about the actual conference content…
Service Integration and Management (SIAM) – ITSM’s New Discipline by Kevin Holland, IT Service Management Consultant Specialist
My first session of the day was Kevin Holland’s Practical Tips for Effective Service Integration.
After threatening all the hungover attendees to stay awake or he’d do another Harmonica solo Kevin warned that System Integration is not Service Integration and that there is no need for an expensive supplier…you can do it yourself!
Systems integration is not service integration – how true don't confuse the two! #itsm13
It took me a little while to concentrate on Amanda’s session as I was mesmerized by her fantastic shiny red shoes! Getting Problem Management right is one of those elusive things that is so important and yet difficult to put into practice so I was interested to see Virgin’s experiences.
Over the course of the conference I had heard a few people commenting on how there wasn’t a lot of mention of SM Congress and so I was pleased to find that an impromptu talk by a few of the members who attended the original sessions at Fusion were going to answer some of the questions that had been raised since.
The session was particularly useful to those who were hesitant about SM Congress, as it helped clear the air and display the facts about the initiative.
For those of you that have been on the moon for the last couple of weeks and missed all the SM Congress talk you can find out more about it here. I also recommend taking a look at #SMCongress on Twitter for general discussions about the initiative. If you have great ideas to help shape the IT community and the future of ITSM then please consider getting involved.
My final session of the day was a relatively new subject for me. Kaimar explained the methodology and benefits of DevOps and why Beer is such an important part of forging relationships, although judging by what I saw over the course of the conference any old alcohol will do!
At the end of day two I was thoroughly shattered but hugely buzzed by everything I’d learnt, and I had list as long as my arm of further reading and cool stuff to investigate.
Despite some of the comments that there was a smaller attendance than in previous years, all of the sessions that I went to were very well attended and all of the staff at ICC I encountered were welcoming and helpful.
Some of the vendors I spoke to were concerned that due to the layout there was less opportunity for delegates to pass through the exhibition area on their way from one session to the next. However vendors such as Gaming Works that invested significantly in self promotion via social media and other avenues leading up to the conference hardly saw time where their stand wasn’t attended.
We managed to sneak a few photos with some of the exhibitors:
All in all an enormously enjoyable event that I will not hesitate to revisit.
Thanks for great time , and put my name down for sponsor next year. #itsm13
For years we have been talking about Business-IT alignment and to be honest limited organizations have successfully accomplished that. In most organizations the relationship is “dry”, which causes friction. We are getting to the point where we need to realize that the love between the Business and IT requires more than just alignment… we need to make sure that the fusion between business and IT is well lubricated to avoid friction.
(Note: any weird images in your head are yours and yours alone).
Focusing on the Business Relationship Management capability in the enterprise will help the Business-IT Love, but just focusing on the capability is not enough. We see relationship management in different levels in the organization:
IT Executive Team
User Acceptance Testing
Most of these roles are focused on the IT organization. The problem is there are pockets of IT in the whole enterprise, examples are:
Shadow IT groups (to use a new buzz word)
Technology that supports the primary business process
Super Users that represent a department
On an operational (and tactical) level in the IT Service Provider we often have roles in place that talk to the business, but is it often unclear how this is done on a strategic level.
The consumerization of IT and the business becoming increasingly technology savvy and self sufficient, drives the need to the convergence of the Business and IT. When we talk about Business IT alignment, we need to align all these groups… to make the overall enterprise successful.
The BRM Role
The role of the strategic Business Relationship Manager (BRM) role is a connector, facilitator, and orchestrator. I like to translate that to “lubricator” to make the connection between the Business and IT working smoothly. This role needs to be assigned in organizations. Not assigning the role in the organization leaves the relationship with the business mainly focused on a tactical/operational level. Or the activities are executed with other roles (like for instance the enterprise architect), which often means they are not able to focus on what they should be doing.
This role is accountable for the ensuring that the strategy of the business and IT are aligned and work smoothly. The BRM represents the business to the IT service provider, and the IT service provider to the business.
The purpose of the Strategic BRM Role is to stimulate, surface and shape business demand for a provider’s products and services, and facilitate the capturing, optimization, and communication to maximize business value captured from the provider’s products and services (as defined by the BRM Institute).
The activities for the BRM can be categorized in four main groups (processes).
Aligning the business expectations for demand with the service provider offerings and portfolio. The stakeholders in both the Business and the IT Service provider are defined, these stakeholders will help shape demand and influence the supply capabilities. The BRM plays the role of facilitator.
Example questions to focus on:
How does demand enter the value chain?
How are decisions made when demand exceeds supply?
How do we handle demand changes?
How is the backlog of demand tracked?
These activities focus on identifying and rationalizing demand. The BRM role helps apply business and technology trends to facilitate discovery and demand management.
Example questions to focus on:
What demand is not on the radar and should be?
How much can we invest in exploring?
How do we break down demand in workable initiatives?
How can we innovate while operating the current services?
As orchestrator, the BRM ensures engagements that shape business demands and then translates them into effective supply requirements. During the servicing process, the BRM facilitates business strategy and road mapping with the business as well as facilitating portfolio and program management for the provider organization.
Example questions to focus on:
How do we ensure that through use of the services the value is realized?
How do we ensure the service provider understands the value of the services they deliver?
How do we maximize business value, while taking into account risk and cost?
The value harvesting process also includes activities to track, review performance, identify areas that increase value of business outcomes and initiate feedback that triggers continuous improvement cycles. This process provides stakeholders insights to results of business change and initiatives.
Example questions to focus on:
Where do we see waste in the value chain? How do we reduce waste?
How do the stakeholders participate in realizing value?
How is value measured and monitored?
NOTE: As seen in these activities, there is a requirement to have Portfolio Management in place. This is where we see the requirement for making sure all parties work well together. In the Program and Project part of the IT Service Provider we often see a Portfolio – a list of opportunities that clarifies the demand. In the Service Provisioning side of IT Service Provider we start seeing Service Portfolios. Capturing what is in the pipeline (link to the project portfolio) and what is currently in production. It is key for a BRM to have access to both Portfolios… and hopefully have a consolidated view.
Introducing the BRM role in your organization will help with shaping the opportunities for the business and aligning it to the IT’s ability to deliver.
This article was contributed by Peter Lijnse, an IT Management Consultant with over 20 years of IT Management and Leadership Experience. He has in-depth knowledge of IT Service Management and IT Governance in different industries. Peter is also a accredited ITIL, COBIT, BRM trainer. You can read his personal blog here.
This was my very first visit to the itSMF UK conference. I arrived Sunday afternoon and got straight into the networking. Whenever I’ve been to an event before I have always attended with someone else and felt comfortable just meeting the occasional person.
It can be very intimidating attending conferences when you’re new to it as everyone seems to already know everyone else. I could have just relied upon my new colleagues to introduce me but I was determined to get out of my comfort zone and do it for myself.
I sent a quick Tweet to say I had arrived and to query whether anyone else was around and within 5 minutes I had organised a meet up with Daniel Breston of Qriosity (someone I had never met before) in the bar.
That one connection led to meeting Stephen Griffiths of priSM and Brenda Peery of Tactare who in turn introduced me to countless others at the drinks reception. My advice to anyone attending an event for the first time is to be brave and get out there and meet people as soon as you can. You know you have at least one thing in common as you’re all at the conference. Mingle…it knocks an already rewarding experience right over the edge when you leave having made new friends and contacts.
The Conference kicked off on Monday with Colin Rudd – itSMF UK Chairman, elucidating on why ITSM models of the future will change from Customer, Service Provider, Supplier to Service Broker, Service Integrator and that although the emphasis on service managers will change it will still be as important as ever.
Outgoing Chief Executive Ben Clacy introduced itSMF UK’s exciting new online Self Assessment and Benchmarking tool, MONITOR ITSM and the new Elite Volunteer Card which rewards itSMF UK volunteers with discounts and extra benefits.
The opening keynote speaker, Britain’s first female fast jet pilot – Jo Salter gave a very entertaining talk on the challenges she has met, how she has succeeded in the face of adversity and how peeing on demand is harder than it sounds. Everyone I’m sure will have taken away something from Jo’s insights and experiences but I feel it was especially beneficial for the female contingent in the room to see it recognised that not all inspirational people are men!
This session was full of real world learning and experience of maximising relationships with suppliers. Advice ranged from trying the ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ routine to ensuring you’re measuring the right things as you want to ensure that your green KPI’s match with the customers experiences of your service.
Quote from Cath Bartlett: ‘What gets measured gets managed’
Define what matters & what you really want & take your suppliers on your journey with you @cath_bartlett#itsm13
How Assessment and Benchmarking Techniques were used to Drive CSI and how this was Applied to Capacity Management at the Co-operative Group – Ian MacDonald
Submission of the Year and Service Management Project of the Year 2012 winners, Co-operative Group can probably add longest session title to their list of accolades.
Ian gave an interesting case study on how Co-operative changed their approach to Capacity Management using a the SatNav approach: Where are you going? Where are you starting from? When do you need to be there by?
His secret to success…’Be Ronseal – Do what you say on the tin’
Ian MacDonald @ Cooperative Banking – thinking you are good is no longer good enough #itsm13
The Big 4 agenda was discussed with questions thrown to the panel with a state-of-the-art system of red card/green card voting taking place. Technologically advanced, no…but perfectly adequate for the requirements.
Interactive plenary debating DevOps, is it a hippie, free love version of ITSM? #itsm13#ITSMbig4
Chris Williams of EE (where was Kevin Bacon?), Ignatious O’Doherty of Land and Property Services and Jacqueline Simmons and Amanda Rutledge of QBE all gave overviews of their submissions for the Project of the Year award. Each showed the trials and tribulations encountered with some very honest accounts of issues encountered.
Zoned change restrictions used by @EE during Olympics project. An interesting approach… #itsm13
Mark and Martin walked us through the difficulties of building a single IT function when faced with a complex legacy IT environment with no capacity for innovation, and how they overcame these to create the dynamic service now in place.
Service Integration is really hard…ITIL is not enough – JLR #itsm13
I admit to being surprised that I actually quite liked Edwina’s hosting. I do tend to think of politicians as rather bland individuals with no sense of humour, so I was pleased that she managed to make it both enjoyable and amusing.
A full list of the worthy winners (and finalists) can be found here. All of us here at the ITSM Review would like to congratulate both winners and finalists on their fantastic achievements. Well done to all.
Mrs Stuart won! Mrs Stuart won! Mrs Stuart won! Yay! Mrs Stuart won! Mrs Stuart won the Lifetime Achievement award!! @stuartrance#itsm13
The evening continued with a casino and disco which were enjoyed immensely by all, but the main attraction was the photo booth where you could look even sillier than normal by donning wigs, hats and glasses like the weird bunch in the picture>>>!
Later we were scuppered by the hotel in our attempts to have a piano sing-a-long with Barclay Rae, but we were treated instead to a harmonica solo by Kevin Holland.
The talk of the evening centered around Mr Rance’s fantastic achievement, explaining to our very own Glenn Thompson that Swindon is not in the Midlands, and various conspiracy theories on why Patrick Bolger was still sober. General consensus was that aliens had abducted him and left a decoy…they’re not fooling anyone!
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day. It was nice to see the presentations grouped into specific themes (e.g. Real world learning: Stories from Members on their ITSM experiences) so that if you were attending the conference for a particular reason you could easily identify the sessions that you wanted attend. However, if there was one thing I found a struggle it was getting from one session to the next on time if I needed a loo break in between! The venue was rather large.
Feedback on Day 1 of the event from Twitter was also positive:
First day #ITSM13. Enjoying the show and had lots of good chats. Tonight should be a good event too
The event brings together ITSM practitioners from the private sector – banks, telecoms, energy sector, software companies, etc. – and the public sector for mutual experience sharing.
While the majority of the delegates are from Estonia, a sizable number of delegates from neighboring countries (the Baltics and the Nordics) and the rest of Europe are already confirmed to attend, after hearing feedback from their peers about last year’s event.
What you can expect
One full day of presentations, all in English, from well-known and respected specialists and practioners from both Estonia and abroad, covering topics including, but not limited to: Business Relationship Management; Problem and Knowledge Management; getting value from proper approach to services and processes; the future of the service desk; and the beyond cool way Estonian public sector provides IT-enabled services to citizens
A special presentation from the CEO of AXELOS, Peter Hepworth, sharing his vision on the future of ITIL
An international forum with Axelos, where the aforementioned vision will be discussed and delegates have an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and provide input
ITSM Optimiser – making the most of ITSM (an interactive workshop that looks at current and new trends and practices, providing attendees with new ideas and options on how to make the most of their ITSM operation, processes and tools)
Memorable Metrics – producing reports that are valuable and actionable (this session identifies issues with current IT reporting (particularly operational reporting) and provides practical suggestions on how to improve and develop really useful reports and metrics, targeted for different stakeholders)
Our very own ITSM Research Analyst Rebecca Beach will also be in attendance. If you would like to schedule a catch up and/or one-on-one meeting with her at the conference please contact her directly. We are interested in hearing from all attendees whether you are a vendor, end-user, consultant or other!
We hope to see you there!
itSMF Estonia Conference
Wednesday 11th December (with pre-conference workshops on Tuesday 10th December)
I must admit to being tired, frustrated, disappointed and angry at the latest mega hype around ‘gamification’. Why? You would think that being a company that develops business simulation games we would be happy, right? Or perhaps you are still asking “what has ‘gaming’ got to do with ITSM”? You are probably thinking that gaming is just a nice way to make training more fun and interesting. You couldn’t be MORE wrong, I will show you why shortly.
I am happy that ‘gaming’ is getting attention. I am NOT happy about the general perceptions being created about gaming and I am NOT happy with the general way in which they are deployed.
These perceptions and poor deployment are damaging the credibility of gaming as valuable intervention instruments. In this article I want to try and demonstrate to you that a game isn’t just a nice to have add-on to ITIL training to make it less boring, nor simply a great way of creating more ‘awareness’. These are the LEAST valuable benefits of gaming.
The general perceptions, partly prompted by the new breed of software developers, is that gamification is all about digital, video, on-line, and engagement type games with leader boards, badges and rewards; great for marketing and driving traffic to web-sites.
When I talk to people about business simulation games they often ask “Where can we download it?”, “Is there an on-line demo we can play?”, “Can I install it on my iPad”, “Do I get to shoot people in the game?”….the last one was a joke by the way. It seems that people are prepared to queue up all through the night to buy the latest game that allows them to shoot people and score points! But they don’t want to invest in a business game because they don’t see how it adds value!
I am NOT saying that these computer based games are of no value. They are extremely powerful if used correctly, with a clear set of business objectives. I am simply saying there is moreto gaming, such as classroom based business simulation games – dynamic, interactive, experiential learning environments in which people have to work together, face-to-face to solve problems and learn.
Learning to discuss, engage in dialogue, make agreements, give and receive feedback, resolve conflicts, and convince somebody of the business case, these are all difficult to simulate in a computer game.
Yet these are some of the competences required when deploying best practices such as ITIL, and these are some of the key reasons ITSM improvement initiatives fail! A simulation game is a great way to test and explore these types of behavior.
People leap onto games as the next TOOL. Just like many organizations used ITIL as a TOOL to be ‘implemented’ – and generally failed, just like organizations who buy expensive service management TOOLS and then find they aren’t being used properly.
One of the top ABC (Attitude, Behavior, Culture) worst practice cards chosen in workshops world-wide is ‘A Fool with a tool is still a fool’ – It’s not about the TOOL, it’s about what you do with it. I often hear people say ‘We played a game…..didn’t see the results we HOPED for’. ‘It was fun, created energy but…’. That is because they deployed the game as a TOOL; a product.
A game is not a one-size-fits all, just like ITIL needs to be customized to the needs of the organization, just like a tool needs to be customized to the needs of the organization, so too a game facilitation needs to be customized to the needs of the organization.
Gartner predicted that 80% of gamification investments would fail because of poor design – not aligning them with the organization’s needs. Questions need to be explored such as: what problem are we trying to solve, what behavior do we want to confront, to learn, to test, to explore, who needs to play which roles and why? What will we do with the captured learning and improvement points? Basically a game needs to be played in the context of the organization to ensure a maximum return on the investment. However when done well the returns are high.
A game needs to be part of the learning process
This means that a game needs to be part of a learning process:
Before activities (customization)
During activities (facilitation, fit-for-purpose, fit-for-use)
After activities (transfer & embedding).
Unfortunately many organizations do not do this, they simply say “let’s play an ITIL game and let people learn about ITIL”! – just like many people don’t do this with ITIL training either – “let’s send people on ITIL foundation training to get an ITIL certificate and learn about ITIL” they say. “Oh?” we ask “and what problem do we HOPE to solve by sending them on the training? How will we ensure the learning is transferred to the workplace”? – questions which are often just meets with blank stares!
Is it any wonder that with more than 1.5 million ITIL certificates still many organizations fail to get the HOPED for value?
So how is a game going to help with all this?
I’m glad you asked.
We recently conducted a survey with training organizations and customer organizations into the effectiveness and benefits of simulation games. This survey was conducted with consulting and training companies offering games and customer organizations who have used games. It is interesting to see the difference in perceived benefits between the training companies offering the games and the customer organizations who took the time and effort to do the groundwork (before-during-after).
Our first survey question was ‘when are simulation games most effective?’ The answers were:
To support culture change initiatives
To create understanding and ‘buy-in’ for a best practice (such as ITIL, Prince2, PMI, BPM, CoBIT)
Translating theory into practice
Breaking down silos and creating end-t0-end, ‘team working’
As you can see simple ‘awareness and understanding’ scores number 2 in the list and supporting a culture change initiative within IT scores the highest. Failure to address organizational culture was named as the top reason for ITSM initiatives failing according to the OGC planning to implement service management book. This is one of the reasons we published the ‘ABC of ICT’ book and assessment (card set) to help address these issues, and this is where a simulation game starts to get serious.
Serious gaming to solve serious problems.
Our second question was ‘what are the benefits of simulation games?’.
Better understanding and buy-in for ITSM best practices, experiencing the benefits
Better understanding of other groups perspective
Better understanding of customer expectations and customer centric behaviour
Agreed improvement actions captured and a willingess and commitment to execute them
Improved quality of services resulting from the change in behaviour as agreed in the simulation game experience
People started applying the behaviour they had experienced in the simulation game
Reduces time, cost and effort to implement as people have a better understanding of how to apply after following a simulation
People started confronting each other on ‘undesirable behaviour’ as they had experienced in the simulation
People got together more after a simulation game to analyze and improve their work together, ‘improving your work is your work’ – CSI
As can be seen from the responses games are considerably more than simply instruments to make training more fun or just to help create awareness.
Top benefits as perceived by training and consulting organizations
‘Better understanding and buy-in for the benefits of ITSM best practices’, which helps address the biggest reason for ITSM improvement program failures – Resistance to change.
Better understanding of other groups perspectives’, which demonstrates a simulation’s effect at ‘breaking down organizational silos’ and helping to ‘foster end-to-end working’ and ‘more effective team working and collaboration’.
‘Better understanding of customer expectations and customer centric behavior’, which shows a simulation helps ‘IT has too little understanding of business impact and priority’, and ‘IT is too internally focused’.
‘Agreed improvement actions captured and a willingness and commitment to carry them out’. Which shows how a simulation can help provide input to a service improvement initiative. Creating a shared perception of improvement needs. This helps ‘Empower’ people to improve their own work.
Top benefits as perceived by the supplier organization
‘Improved quality of service resulting from the change in behavior as agreed in the simulation game’. This shows how a simulation has a positive impact on creating ‘desirable behavior’. Participants learn how to translate ‘knowledge into results’, which leads to quality improvements.
‘People started applying the behavior they had experienced in the simulation game’. This shows how a simulation helps ‘translate theory into practice’. This also demonstrates not only buy-in to the new ways of working, but also a commitment to execute.
‘Reduces time, cost and effort to implement (best practices) as people have a better understanding of how to apply after following a simulation’. This shows how a simulation can help reduce risks of an ITSM improvement initiative from failing (70% still do not gain the hoped for value from an initiative), as well as speed up the adoption and value realization.
‘People got together more after the simulation game to analyze and improve their work together’. This shows how a simulation helps foster a culture of ‘continual service improvement’ and enables people to apply a pragmatic approach to analyzing and improving their work.
So back to the title. ‘A game is just nice to have right?’ – yes if you want to simply use it as an off the shelf TOOL to create awareness. Wrong! If you want to help change the attitude, behavior and culture in your organization and ensure a sustainable, lasting improvement that delivers value.
Want to hear more from Paul? He will be presenting in Birmingham at the itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition, 4-5 November. You can catch him on day 1 for his session “Grab@Pizza – Experience Business & IT Alignment in ACTION” (please note that this session has limited attendance), and/or day 2 looking at “Creating a Measurable Return on Value of an ITSM Training Investment”.
Paul has been working in the IT Industry for more than 30 years fulfilling a wide variety of roles from Computer Operator, to Systems manager to IT Services manager. Paul has been actively involved in ITSM for more than 20 years as both an Senior consultant, Service development manager and as ITIL author. He was a project team leader for the original BITE (Business IT Excellence) ITIL process-modeling initiative, and co-author of the ITIL publication “Planning to Implement IT Service Management”. He was a member of the ITIL advisory group for ITIL Version 3. Paul is also co-director and co-owner of GamingWorks, the company that developed the internationally renowned ‘Apollo 13 – an ITSM case experience’ ITIL simulation game. He was also co-author and cartoonist for the itSMF ‘Worst practice’ publication “IT Service management from Hell” and more recently the ‘ABC-of-ICT’ publications focusing on Attitude, behavior and Culture within IT organizations.