On Wednesday 11th December, in a very cold and snowy Tallinn, President of itSMF Estonia, Kaimar Karu kicked off the annual itSMF Estonia conference by introducing all of the speakers and encouraging delegates to ask questions of them throughout the day.
Kaimar had managed once again to raise attendance of the conference (by 10%), with representation from 10 different countries, and with a very good female representation in the audience too.
— Oded Moshe (@OdedMoshe) December 11, 2013
Delivering Service Operations at Mega-Scale – Alan Levin, Microsoft
First speaker was Alan Levin of Microsoft whose presentation talked through how Microsoft deal with their vast number of servers and how, built into all of Microsoft products, is the ability to self-heal.
On the subject of Event Management Alan spoke about ensuring that alarms are routed to the correct people and how, in your business, any opportunity you have to reduce alerts should be taken.
Enabling Value by Process – Viktor Petermann, Swedbank
Viktor opened his presentation by saying that 4 out of 5 improvement processes fail because people are not robots. You cannot just expect them to know what you want and how you want things to work.
He continued by saying that having the right culture, processes and learning from relevant experiences will enable you to do the right things the right way.
Viktor warned that like quitting smoking, change will not happen unless you really want it to. Before embarking on any change make sure that you are willing to give it 100%.
Benchmarking and BI, Sat Navs for Service Desks – Oded Moshe, SysAid Technologies Ltd.
After having to rest his voice for 24hrs due to contracting the dreaded man-flu Oded still managed to show how to use Benchmarking to improve your Service Desk.
His presentation contained useful guidance on what areas to look at and how to benchmark yourself against them.
He also explained how you can use SysAid and it’s community to gather global service desk metrics to measure yourself against.
Presentation words of wisdom from Oded: Don’t become fixated with metrics and benchmarking as they are not the only way to measure.
— Rebecca Beach (@gobbymidget) December 11, 2013
Service-Based Public Sector – Janek Rozov, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
In contrast to the other presentations “Service-Based Public Sector” was presented in Estonian. Although I do not speak Estonian I could tell how passionate Janek was about the subject and it was one of the most talked about presentations that evening in the bar.
The presentation covered how the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication are using ICT to fulfill their vision of supporting Estonians as much as possible, while they are using their rights but bothering them as little as possible in the process. Perhaps we could pay for Janek to spend some time with the UK Government in the hopes that some of this common sense might rub off?
#itSMFEstonia in Estonia registering birth of a child, voting on elections, filing taxes, starting a company etc.can be done online. wow.
— Roman Jouravlev (@jour_civil) December 11, 2013
If you would like to know more about Estonian ICT success in the public sector you can read Janek’s pre-conference article “Standardizing the delivery of public services”.
Service Desk 2.0 – Aale Roos, Pohjoisviitta Oy
Aale spoke profusely about how service desk’s and the mentality of “break fix” is old fashioned and flawed. He described how the service desk needs be brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century, concentrating on proactive measures and outcomes.
— Patrick Bolger (@patb0512) December 11, 2013
He continued to say that ITIL has been outdated for over a decade and that unlearning ITIL and moving to a “Standard + Case” approach is the way of the future.
There was lots of opportunity for networking across the event, and at lunch I got the opportunity to speak to a few of the delegates and presenters to find out what they thought of the conference.
Quote from Oded Moshe:
I think the first session by Alan Levin from Microsoft was a great chance for us all to see the insides of one of the largest operational support organizations in the world! They are in charge of providing more than 200 cloud business services to more than 1 billion people with the help of more than 1 million servers. So Problem Management, Incidents, Monitoring – everything is on a HUGE scale – it is easy to understand why you must have your service processes properly tuned otherwise you are in a master-mess…
Adapt or die was the message in Patrick’s session with references to high street names that didn’t and paid the price.
Comparing how we in IT think we are viewed and how the business actually views us was sobering but mentions of SM Congress and Arch SM show that the industry is ready to change and we are not doing this alone.
— Vladimir_ITSM (@vivanovs) December 11, 2013
Problem & Knowledge, The Missing Link – Barclay Rae, Barclay Rae Consulting
Presenting on the missing links in ITSM, Barclay hammered home why Problem and Knowledge Management are so fundamentally important.
Using his ITSM Goodness model Barclay showed how to move away from the process silo’s we so often find ourselves in and which processes to group together for maximum effectiveness i.e. Incident, Problem, Change.
— Patrick Bolger (@patb0512) December 11, 2013
Barclay also held well-attended workshops pre-conference in conjunction with itSMF Estonia.
DevOps, Shattering the Barriers – Kaimar Karu, Mindbridge
Kaimar’s message is unorthodox: Don’t play it safe, try to break things, don’t mask fragility and plan for failure, for this is the road to increased quality and innovation.
He advised that we need to not forget that developers are human and not unapproachable cowboys riding round on horses shooting code. Get to know them over a drink so that everyone can relax and say what’s on their mind without the fear of repercussion.
But most of all remember that “Sh*t happens”. Stop the blame, it doesn’t help…EVER.
Problem Management Challenges and Critical Success Factors – TÕnu Vahtra, Playtech
The penultimate session of the day was from TÕnu on how Playtech are working through Problem Management and the issues they have encountered.
— Vladimir_ITSM (@vivanovs) December 11, 2013
The major difficulties TÕnu has found is the lack of practical information on how to actually do Problem Management, and Playtech have found themselves having to teach themselves learning from their own mistakes as they go.
It was a very useful case study with helpful pointers to information and literature such as Apollo Route Cause Analysis by Dean L Gano for others struggling with Problem Management.
The Future for ITIL – Peter Hepworth, AXELOS followed by Forum
Following on from the publication of AXELOS’ roadmap, and the announcement that they would be partnering with itSMF International, Peter talked through the progress AXELOS has made and its hopes for the future.
The forum was well attended and many useful suggestions were made for ways that ITIL and PRINCE2 could be improved.
You can learn more about AXELOS’ plans by reading our interview with Peter.
#itSMFEstonia is over. After-party by Peter Hepworth followed his official presentation and left rather good feeling. They seem to try hard.
— Real ITSM (@realitsm_portal) December 11, 2013
Considering the cost of a ticket to the conference I wasn’t expecting the content and presentations to be at the very high level it was. I haven’t yet attended any of the other non-UK itSMF conferences but the bar has now been set incredibly high.
My main observation from the conference and the discussions that took place after is that the majority of delegates knew how very important Problem Management is, but are still struggling with implementation and making it work. In the AXELOS workshop the main feedback seemed to be the need for ITIL to cut down on the number of processes available as standard and concentrate on the core areas that the majority of organizations have, or are trying to put in place.
Well done to Kaimar and team for the fantastic job and thank you for the wonderful hospitality. In addition to the conference I particular enjoyed the entertainment on the Tuesday evening, when some of the organisers, speakers, delegates and penguins ventured out in the snow for some sightseeing and a truly delicious meal at a little restaurant called Leib in the Old Town.
I highly recommend to anyone to attend the itSMF Estonia 2014 conference next December. With flights from most places in Europe less than £150, a hotel/venue that is less than £100 per night, and an amazing ticket price of less than £40, it is extremely great value for money. With outstanding content (90% in English), brilliant networking opportunities and excellent hospitality, it’s too good of an event to miss. I certainly look forward to being there again.
As a final note, thank -you to itSMF Estonia for having us involved as the Official Media Partner. We are hoping to work with other international itSMF chapters in 2014, as well as on other worldwide ITSM events. Watch this space 🙂