IT500 Conference: Effective CSI in a SIAM Eco System

I caught up with Stuart Rance and Andrew Vermes this week to talk about their IT500 workshop in June;  Effective CSI in a SIAM Eco System

Stuart RanceAndrew Vermes

The session will provide a practical guide to managing CSI well in SIAM environments and will look at what you should have in place to work effectively among multiple partners. The workshop will cover everything from shared methods, goals, measurements to reporting and governance. Stuart and Andrew will look at ways to get started, identifying improvement opportunities and managing ideas for both technical and process impressions. To quote Stuart “improvements are good for all of us but only if we collaborate effectively; we need to work holistically and avoid pockets of local optimisation” The workshop will bring CSI to life, looking at CSI and risk management, how to set up a CSI register and referencing the new ITIL practitioner content to support a culture of CSI.

You should attend this session if:

You’’re interested in CSI, and you’d like some practical ideas and guidance on how to do it in real life!

The official bit:

People in every department and outsource provider want to make improvements. Given the huge range of opportunity in every organisation where do we start? How do we create a meaningful rewards system and move away from avoidance of blame? What will help us to deliver an effective partnership?

Learn more or register here.

Are you looking to bring in CSI to your SIAM environment? Let us know in the comments!

 

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How predictive analytics have turned Incident Management on its head

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Predictive analytics is set to turn the world of IT service management, and in particular Incident Management, on its head. After all, it has already done this for IT Capacity Planning, where it is now possible to predict and avoid future incidents at a workload level.

Within IT capacity planning, forecasting (predicting, if you like) has always been a key feature of the discipline. It was used to ensure that large chunks of demand, either through growth or change, could be met while focusing on the strategic horizon rather than the day to day operation. If there are capacity issues, the Service Operation process of Incident Management informs the Service Design process of Capacity Management to allow it to be dealt with as part of future Service Design activity.

Incident Management should inform IT Capacity Planning about incidents logged due to capacity or performance issues, whereby this intelligence would then be used to assist in the diagnosis and resolution of incidents. The idea that Capacity Management informs Incident Management of future and avoidable incidents, or indeed how to deal with them, is a relatively new concept.

Playing the tactical game

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Technological advances have opened many new areas of innovation and opportunity in this space. Virtualization, automation, big data and predictive analytics have empowered IT capacity planning to extend into day to day management at a more granular and forensic level, rather than focusing solely on strategic activity. The following are the four major drivers which have spurned on this evolution:

  • Virtualization – or more importantly – the hypervisor

Whilst allowing multiple virtual workloads to operate on a single physical machine should make life more difficult, it actually simplifies things by reducing the number of information sources that need to be interrogated.

  • Data Automation

When dealing with different system management tools, vendors and formats consider the amount of data points generated. Let’s take a 10,000 server estate over a single 24 hour period, capturing data at 5 minute intervals – this would generate almost 3 million data points. For the information to be used for predictive analysis, we would recommend at least 30 days’ worth of monitoring data in order to gain worthwhile insight. Without automation it would take an army to schedule the retrieval, aggregation, cleansing, loading and transforming of the data from a number of bespoke sources in a meaningful timeframe.

  • Big Data

Big Data delivers the ability to store the massive amounts of data in a way that makes sense and allows for further manipulation. With associated hardware advances, the cost of storage, scalability and more powerful compute have made Big Data a reality.

  • Predictive Analytics

And finally, analytics provides the ability to churn data in a multitude of ways, using pattern matching and algorithms to analyse and provide insight into an organisation’s IT operation that would otherwise go unnoticed. Whether that be an over utilisation of, or an impending shortfall of resources. The analytics available today are essential if IT managers want to keep on top of the complexity and scale of their IT estate. In the IT environment of today, IT managers need to be confident in their knowledge of their IT infrastructure, and the various changing demands placed on it, in order to see what’s around the corner and avoid potential incidents.

Zooming in

For IT capacity planning, the unit of currency has reduced from physical machine to individual workload. Reducing the timeframe to provide short term tactical information while improving our ability to understand and model long term strategic actions. Changing the relationship between incident management and IT Capacity Planning allows you to identify shortfalls in advance, sidestep the avoidable and turn your Incident Management process on its head.

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This article was contributed by Stuart Higgins, Technical Evangelist at Sumerian.

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IT500 Conference: Introducing a CSI Sat Nav

Ahead of the IT500 Conference in June, I was lucky enough to speak to presenters Ian MacDonald and John Griffiths and discussed their workshop: “Introducing a CSI Sat Nav”.

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Their session will explore why CSI is so critical to drive success and how to focus on the improvements that will make the most difference.

The workshop will look at how to get CSI going in an organisation, things people can do in the workplace to facilitate a CSI culture, scope setting and empowering people so that they can be advocates for improvement. The sat nav analogy will be used to explain the 6 step CSI model:

  • What is the vision?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • Did we get there?
  • How do we keep the momentum going?

You should attend this session if:

You would like advice on getting started, you’re interested in CSI or you’re looking for guidance and new ideas.

The official bit:

‘In this session we introduce the concept of the CSI sat nav and how it can be used to positively engage and motivate your team. With the competing demands of time and resource, we look at where we should actually target our improvements to actually deliver value to the business. Using the ITIL CSI model, we will show how to baseline current performance and measure ‘what good looks like’’.

 

Are you going to IT500? Let us know in the comments!

 

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ITSM Review Excellence Awards 2016

Request for Nominations – 2016 Excellence Awards

The ITSM Review Excellence Awards celebrates the achievements of the true pioneers in the ITSM industry. We’re looking to shine a light on ITSM professionals, service providers, technology vendors and specialists who are progressing the industry and leading the field.

Help us showcase ITSM industry excellence and inspire others by submitting an entry for our ITSM Review Excellence Awards. Deadline for submissions is Monday 15th August 2016.


 ITSM 2016 awards


Award Guidelines

  • Nominations must be submitted via the electronic form below before Monday 15th August 2016
  • Award submissions will be judged by an independent industry panel
  • The information shared will be used for judging only and will remain completely confidential
  • International entrants most welcome (Our ITAM Review 2015 awards received over 100 nominations from 19 countries)

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us

Judging Criteria

  • Innovation – Pioneering technology, techniques or approaches
  • Demonstrable ROI / Value Delivered
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Delivering lasting improvement / Increased ITSM maturity

Timing


Award Categories

Award Category Who the Award is for
ITSM Professional of the Year End-user ITSM professionals, Consultants, Contractors or Licensing Specialists.
ITSM Implementation / Project of the Year ITSM teams or ITSM service providers
ITSM Tool Provider of the Year Tool or Technology Suppliers
ITSM Partner of the Year ITSM service providers, resellers or partners
ITSM Innovation of the Year Recognizing new ideas, innovation and creative approaches
ITSM Community Contribution of the Year Recognizing ITSM professionals that have gone above and beyond to support others

 

Our ITSM Review Excellence Awards are being held in conjunction with our sister site ITAM Review – please see ITAM award categories here


FAQ’s

‘What are the costs involved in participating?’
A. There are no costs involved for participating. Although, there will be a fee to attend the Charity Gala Dinner (details to be confirmed) where the results will be announced. (£1000 per table of 8-12 people)

‘Can we nominate one of our partners?’

A. Yes

‘What do the winners receive?’
A. The winners will receive a personalised trophy and a winners logo for promotion and recognition on The ITSM Review and networks.

‘Do we need to attend the gala to win the award?’
A.  No. Although, it would be a shame if you do win and haven’t attended. It’s a great opportunity to showcase and promote to The ITSM Review community as well as take out your customers to an industry event which they could win too. 

 

Voting is now closed.

 

Any further questions? Please get in touch!

 

Service Desk Rockstars – Retail Assist wins SDI Best Managed Service Desk Award

Nottingham based company Retail Assist, has won the globally recognised ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ Award at the Service Desk Institute’s (SDI) Annual IT Service and Support Awards. If you’ve not heard of Retail Assist before, they provide managed services for the retail sector and some of the brands they support are Pizza Hut, Vue Cinemas, Cath Kidston, Karen Millen, White Stuff and Oasis.

The Service Desk Institute Awards

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The SDI annual Awards identify the excellence of outstanding service desk teams and individuals, and celebrates their success.

After reaching the Final 3 last year, Retail Assist was keen to re-enter with a host of fresh innovations to its service desk provision. ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ was a tough category – in the Final 3 were SCC based in Romania, and  Maersk Group headquartered in Denmark. However, Retail Assist impressed the judges with the level of investment demonstrated in their Help Desk, and focus on the customer; providing a proactive, quality service to enable them to reach their goals.

Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, commented on the achievement:

“We are extremely proud to have won the award, and to claim the title as the World’s ‘Best Managed Service Desk’.  We have progressed significantly over the last 17 years to support many of the leading retail and hospitality brands, but this really gives the team the recognition they deserve for all their hard work and dedication to providing the best possible service to over 8000 global locations around the clock.”

The Retail Assist Help Desk team enjoyed an impressive gala dinner event, receiving the award along with winners in each of the awards categories, at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole last night. The £1000 prize for winning the award will be donated to Emmanuel House, Retail Assist’s chosen charity for the financial year.

Worthy Winners

The SDI IT Service Awards 2016
The SDI IT Service Awards 2016

 


 

I caught up with Dan this week to find out more about Retail Assist and how much the win meant to his team.  The Retail Assist Service Desk provides IT support services to 8,000 locations across the globe 24 x 7 x 365 in 8 different languages – that’s a lot of tech support! The Service Desk is made up of 50 – 55 analysts with over 3,000 procedures to ensure that all the essentials are covered and that the team always have something to refer to.

From speaking to Dan it was clear that a fantastic customer experience was the objective of every single person in the team. As Dan explained it; the Service Desk had two main objectives:

  1. Fix the issue quickly and effectively (no nightmare automated menu systems for RA customers; it takes just 40 seconds from calling their number to connect with a Service Desk analyst)
  2. Look after the customer so that even if the Incident can’t be resolved at first line; the customer has a workaround, information or an escalation to second line support and is in a much happier position.

So often in the Service Desk world we get so hung up on measurements, metrics and statistics that we forget about what’s important – the customer – so it’s brilliant to see Retail Assist putting the customer at the heart of everything they do. The attention to detail is fantastic, RA will work with their customers to provide proactive support as well as world class Incident Management.

One of the examples Dan shared with me was that when the latest Star Wars film came out (seriously – how awesome was The Force Awakens? All three of my children sat through it, completely entranced from beginning to end – even my 3 year old which is nothing short of a miracle I can tell you) not only did the RA desk ensure that extra team members were on shift, they also made provided extra wrap around support for early in the morning and late at night, as well as working with Vue to ensure all tills were tested and fully operational prior to the premier date.

Another example Dan talked about was for a retail customer in central London. A fire at a local BT exchange effectively took out their card systems during the weekend. The RA analysts were able to remotely dial in and set a £50 floor limit to enable the customer to be able to take debit and credit card payments of up to £50 so they could continue to trade. As someone who worked in retail all the way through college (Hi Tesco & Easons!) being unable to take card payments at the weekend is the stuff of nightmares so all power to the Retail Assist guys for being able to come up with a workaround.

One of the things that really impressed me about the Retail Assist Service Desk was its commitment to it’s people. There are two permanent trainers on the team, there is an Application Academy for further reading and all team leaders go on the ITIL foundation training. The Service Desk supports career progression, some examples of next roles include second line support, project management and analyst programmers. The procedures and work instructions are there to support rather than limit the analysts who are encouraged to use their judgement and skill to look after each caller.

A big well done to the Retail Assist team for their win and fair play for donating their winnings to charity – you rock!

To find out more about Retail Assist you can check out their website here. For more about the Service Desk Institute you can get to their website by clicking this link.

Has the Retail Assist win inspired you to enter your Service Desk into next year’s SDI awards? Let us know in the comments!

 

Agile, DevOps, ITIL & Buzzword Bingo; BEYOND20 SIXTEEN Podcast

We are pleased to share our very first podcast on the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference next month.

 

I spoke to conference rockstars David Crouch and John Gilmore about life, the universe, ITIL, Agile and DevOps!

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David Crouch
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John Gilmore

David’s session is: ‘The pros and cons of adhering to a single best practice framework – tales from the trenches‘ and John’s session is about integrating SDLC, DevOps & ITSM so between the two of them, there was a wealth of experience on the line.

Some of the things we talked about were traditional versus Agile approaches, closed loop models and how ITIL has evolved over time.

 

 

 

You can listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.


 

Who and what would you like to hear on future podcasts? Please get in touch and let us know – Drop us a line, send us a Tweet, leave a comment on this blog post or post ideas on our community forum. Thanks.

 

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Event Listing: IT500 Event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations

The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for the latest IT500 event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations being held on 1st June 2016 in Edinburgh

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Following on from the IT in the park event in November, IT500 surveyed their delegates to ask what else they would like to see in Scotland. The event will bring together 20 IT thought leaders and practitioners from across Europe to deliver a series of master classes and workshops designed to highlight obstacles, provoke creative thinking and provide answers to some of today’s IT challenges. How exciting is that?

 

Highlights include

  • IT4IT – how and where do you start?
  • 11 actions for SIAM success
  • DevOps – bring IT out of the shadows
  • Behave yourself – building IT relationships
  • Reignite your customer experience
  • Agile and DevOps in an ITSM world
  • Using ITIL practitioner skills to impress the CEO
  • ITSM in action – lessons from the real world
  • Introducing a CSI sat nav
  • Effective CSI in a SIAM eco system

 

Event Breakdown

WHAT: IT500 – The IT Learning Conference

WHERE: Edinburgh

WHEN: 1st June

WHO: IT500

HOW TO BOOK: Click Here.

We’re looking forward to attending and covering this event and hope to see you there!

The DIKW model for Knowledge Management

Following on from last week’s article about the advantages of Knowledge Management and how to get started, let’s look at the process in more detail. When I’m running ITIL foundation courses I generally hit Knowledge Management as part of the Service Transition stage of the lifecycle towards the end of day 2. Put yourselves in the shoes of the poor delegate for a second and think after 2 solid days learning about 20 odd processes and 4 functions even the brightest person in the room is starting to get a bit tired of all the terminology. To try and fix that; here’s my handy guide to Data Information Knowledge and Wisdom aka the Dick Whittington model for Knowledge Management.

DIKW

Data

First up we have Data. No, not the character from Star Trek TNG (although – spoiler alert – I’m still heartbroken by the ending of Nemesis) but the facts and figures which relay something specific. ITIL describes data as a discrete series of facts about events. When we talk about data; it’s raw in format, not organised in any way and providing no further information regarding patterns, structure or context. Data represents singular facts or numbers but by themselves, data items have little meaning.

The key Knowledge Management activities include:

  • Capturing accurate data
  • Reviewing data and adding context so that it can be transformed into information
  • Ensuring only relevant data that adds value is being captured as lets face it, anything else is just noise.

Information

Data becomes Information when it can be viewed in a specific context. According to ITIL, for data to become information it must be contextualised, categorised, calculated and condensed. If data is a series of facts, information is generally stored in some sort of structure for example, e-mails, documents or spreadsheets.

The key Knowledge Management process around information is managing the content in a way that adds value. In other words, ensuing information is easy to capture, query, find, reuse and re learn from experiences so we don’t keep making the same mistakes and duplication is reduced.

Knowledge

For information to become knowledge it must be processed organised or structured in some way, or else as being applied or put into action. Knowledge combines information with experience and can be used as a basis for decision-making or taking an action. Knowledge is made up of the experiences, ideas, insights, values and judgements of your people. When we introducing formal Knowledge Management; creating the right culture is absolutely critical so that people feel comfortable adding to Knowledge Bases and articles ensuring the right knowledge is captured. Done well, Knowledge Management will engage and up skill your people so it really is worth focusing on.

Wisdom

Wisdom is the trickiest stage to explain. ITIL defines wisdom as being the ultimate discernment of the material and having the application and contextual awareness to provide a strong, common sense judgement. I’ve been in IT long enough to realise that you can’t teach common sense but by having the right training and support in place goes a long way to avoid a herding cats situation.

My favourite way of explaining Wisdom to ITIL foundation delegates is this example from Irish legend Paul Howard (author of the Ross O’Carroll Kelly books)

In all seriousness though, by applying Wisdom, you have the ability to increase effectiveness. It’s the value add based on being able to improve accuracy, drive efficiency and support CSI.

So that’s the basics to the Data Information Knowledge Wisdom model, what do you think? Let us know in the comments!

 

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ITIL Practitioner: Preview of forthcoming attractions, geekery & pink elephants!

As most of our regular readers will know I’ll jump on any opportunity to get my ITIL geek on so when I heard about the new ITIL Practitioner qualification, I was all ears. For those of you new to the ITIL qualification scheme, or if you’re simply old school like me (I was a V2 Manager / red badge) here are the basics.

ITIL Qualification Scheme Explained

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There are five levels:

  • Foundation
  • Practitioner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • Master

The foundation exam is your basic guide to ITIL and Service Management. It’s a three day course with an exam at the end which will give you the basics in ITIL. The foundation is a prerequisite for any other ITIL qualification and is worth 2 credits.

The practitioner qualification is new and aims to bridge the gap between the foundation and intermediate qualifications. As a former consultant and trainer, one of the things that stood out when we moved to version 3 in 2007 was the jump from foundation to intermediate levels. When you’re only got 3 days to explain 20+ processes and 4 functions at foundation level; jumping straight into the intermediate levels came as a shock to the system for some delegates. ITIL practitioner aims to build on the knowledge gained at foundation level and add in practical guidance on CSI, organisational change management, communication and measurement & metrics; giving delegates a more rounded experience as they continue through the qualification scheme. The practitioner qualification is worth 3 credits.

The intermediate levels are the next stage in the certification scheme and can either be life cycle based (Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation and CSI) or capability based (Operational Support & Analysis, Planning, Protection & Optimisation, Release, Control & Validation and Service Offerings & Agreement). The lifecycle intermediate exams are worth 3 credits and the capability exams are worth 4 credits. The Managing Across Lifecycle (MALC) module sits between the Intermediate and Expert levels and is the final required qualification gaining Expert status. It is intended to help you apply and integrate your knowledge of ITIL in real-world settings and in your own workplace. MALC is worth 5 credits.

The expert level aka the purple badge, is awarded automatically when you reach 22 credits made up of the foundation and MALC qualifications and then any combination of the intermediate and practitioner qualifications.

The master level is the final stage in the ITIL certification scheme and validates the candidate’s ability to apply the principles, methods and techniques from ITIL in the workplace.
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Focusing On: ITIL Practitioner

So back to the practitioner qualification – why do I think it’s so important? As someone that’s worked in ITSM forever, one of the main reservations I had about the ITIL v3 qualification scheme was that it was too focused on the perfect exam answer (and a multiple choice exam answer at that) rather than what works in real life. One of the fundamental principles of ITIL is that it’s a framework. It’s not prescriptive and you can flex the approach to suit your organisation and your people. When the version 3 certification was launched, one of my concerns was that the intermediate courses simply didn’t give delegates enough real life practical experience (even with MALC) when you compared them to the version 2 manager course. To me, the inclusion of the new practitioner level will change that, as it will give delegates an extra level of understanding of IT Service Management as well as building on their foundation knowledge with the nine guiding principles:

  • Focus on value
  • Design for experience
  • Start where you area
  • Work holistically
  • Progress iteratively
  • Observe directly
  • Be transparent
  • Collaborate
  • Keep it simple

Pinkification

Let’s face it, anything that empowers delegates and gives them more practical, real life experience can only be a good thing! I’m so excited about the new course, I’m going back to the classroom at my old stomping ground Pink Elephant to do the course in May. I used to work for Pink so I’m really excited to see their sparkly new take on the practitioner qualification. Here’s their official summary of the practitioner qualification:

‘The qualification aims to demonstrate that IT Service Management (ITSM) professionals are equipped with the skills to apply ITIL concepts in their organisation, ensuring maximum business value by delivering fit-for-purpose and fit-for-use services. At the same time, it’s designed to give confidence to managers that the members of their team are ready to initiate and successfully carry out required improvement initiatives.’

I’ll be reviewing the course and exam experience during their upcoming course in May. If you’d like to find out more or register, you can do so here.

What do you think? Will you be doing the practitioner course? Let us know in the comments!

 

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BEYOND20 SIXTEEN – Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value

Ahead of the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference next month I caught up with Chad Sheridan, CIO of the USDA Risk Management Agency to talk about his session  Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value.

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Chad’s session will explore the leadership and cultural changes needed to make Agile work, especially in a government environment. Chad will share his own experience of driving business value, enabling a culture change from command and control, top down leadership to a more organic model, trusting and empowering people to do their job. As Chad said “while it’s great to change from the top down as CIO partnering at the exec level, we need a whole team of change agents. It’s not a one person battle, it’s a multi threaded effort to win hearts and minds. Be ready for resistance – this is a fundamental change for the business to accept a value driven IT partnership.”

The session will look at how to drive effective organisational change to create a culture of safety and trust so that value and transformation can happen. Chad will take his audience on the journey from IT as an order taker to an enabler; moving from technical practitioners to curators of business value. Chad will also talk about how embracing Agile and DevOps means embracing uncertainty as a competitive advantage, using it to drive innovation.

 

You should attend this session if:

CIOs, leaders of Agile practices, DevOps practitioners and anyone that wants to drive change in their organisation.

 

The official bit:

The conference overview of Chad’s session is below:

DevOps, Agile, and ITSM implementations often focus on practices and tools, many times forgetting the primary purposes of these efforts—delivering business value. How do we deliver on the vision from The Phoenix Project, which proposes to end the “dysfunctional marriage” of IT and the business as separate entities?? Put on your explorer gear as this session walks you through the jungles, swamps, mountains, oceans and deserts of the digital world, searching for understanding and the means to move from IT practitioners to purveyors of business value.

 

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