Event Listing: IT in the Park 2016

 

Event Listing: IT in the Park 2016

It’s Edinburgh baby! IT500 and Scot-Tech will be hosting Scotland’s biggest ITSM and IT Operations Management conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh this October. This conference will follow previous IT500 & Scot-Tech events such as IT in the park 2015 and the IT500 Learning Conference; both of which gained great acclaim from speakers, sponsors and attendees alike. The 2015 conference had over 200 IT professionals gathered in one place to share ideas, hear case studies and learn about new products and services.

Delegates were a good mix from both public and private sectors. Speakers included the CTO of Arnold Clark, CIO of St Andrews University and senior representatives from Standard Life, the Scottish Government and Fife Council. Over 95% of delegates surveyed post event stated that they intend to return with many indicating that they would also be bringing additional colleagues. The event facilitated great networking opportunities with high levels of engagement and a real buzz. New faces, sparkly new products, case studies and workshops – what’s not to love?

 


Event Highlights

On October 25th 2016 the crack team of IT500 & Scot-Tech will take IT in the Park a step further, adding industry hot topics such as SIAM, DevOps and ITAM to complement their existing core messages around best practice and value driven IT services.  The agenda promises to be exciting and action packed; here is a list of some of the presenters and experts who will be speaking on the day:


Event Break Down

 

WHAT: IT in the Park

WHERE: Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

WHEN: October 25th 2016

WHO: IT500 & Scot-Tech

HOW TO BOOK: Click Here

Data Driven Automation ITSM & Skynet; LOGICnow Global Survey Results

A sparkly new global survey from LOGICnow shows that data-driven automation is imminent among IT service providers.

logicnow-xsmall

Introduction:

LOGICnow have recently released the results of a survey into data driven automation in the ITSM community. The results overwhelmingly suggest that data driven automation is becoming an important trend in the ITSM world with over 44% of IT Service Providers & MSPs calling themselves “data driven” and of the 54% of IT service providers that collect and store data on customers’ IT performance, 81% were able to use the data to proactively improve service delivery.

 

So What Is Data Driven Automation & Why Do We Need It?

Data driven automation is:

  • The ability to automatically transform raw data into insights that can be implemented immediately

 

Or

  • Enabling data to automatically trigger corrective actions using analytics beyond simple event/ threshold triggers

 

So far so Skynet right? The reality is that data driven analytics is becoming more and more prevalent in ITSM as we move from the traditional reactive model to a more proactive stance to improve customer experience. The concept of simply waiting for our customers to ring the Service Desk to report Incidents is becoming less and less useful as we have more sophisticated event monitoring in place to capture alarms, alerts and notifications before they spiral into Incidents that adversely impact our people. It’s not just the Service Desk that are getting more proactive; Problem Management is a key area for getting ahead of the game, from trending to simply going out and asking our support teams and delivery managers what keeps them up at night; proactive activities give you a solid list of potential issues. Extend that out to other processes such as Change Management, Knowledge Management and CSI and you have potentially game changing improvement options.

LOGICnow Research Findings In Their Own Words:

LOGICnow, now a part of the SolarWinds family and still a global market leader in integrated cloud-based IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions, today announced the results of a global research study entitled “The value of data-driven automation to the ITSM community.” The results are based on a survey of over 350 ITSM companies across the US, UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. Results show that the ITSM community is on the cusp of a massive shift towards data-driven automation. This is fueled by the widespread recognition of its importance and commercial potential—and the fear of losing ground to early adopters who are already enjoying measurable commercial benefits.

According to the research, 44 percent of IT service providers and MSPs are already “data-driven” i.e. able to collect, store and act upon performance data drawn from their customers’ IT estates. However, automated processes to produce proactive recommendations and reactions based on this data are currently a step too far for all but eight percent.

The findings also highlight the quantified benefits that those few companies that are using automation are enjoying, including 38 percent seeing client servicing capacity at least double; 72 percent now able to service more complex IT estates; and 21 percent able to identify 100 percent or more ROI from automation.

Key findings from the new LOGICnow research include:

  • 54 percent of IT service providers collect and store data on customers’ IT performance, 81 percent of whom are able to use the data to proactively improve service delivery. Yet only eight percent have put in place automated processes for transforming data into actionable recommendations.
  • 21 percent of these early adopters have enjoyed 100 percent ROI or more; within two years, those experiencing 100 percent or more ROI is expected to rise to 47 percent.
  • Of those who have not yet deployed data-driven automation strategies (the 92 percent majority): Almost 75 percent believe that doing so will enable them to deliver a range of new services, while 49 percent believe that it is a route to offer more sophisticated services and win more business. 85 percent believe it will give them a competitive advantage, and 52 percent actively fear they will lose out to more advanced competition if they do not adopt automation. Six percent believe either late or no adoption will lead to them going out of business within two years.

“The need to collect and query customers’ IT performance data delivers a proven competitive advantage, regardless of the MSP’s size. Armed with this data, IT service providers have the power to investigate trends, pre-empt threats and deliver more thorough and proactive services,” said Alistair Forbes, Managing Director, SolarWinds MSP (former General Manager, LOGICnow). “However, the most powerful benefits of data use stem from automating the actions and recommendations, empowering engineers to escape routine tasks and focus on value-adding services. Every day that service providers spend not doing this enables their competition to surge further ahead. The industry is predicting a major shift: that data-driven automation will be the norm in less than two years. Considering the progress made so far and the benefits already seen, it is hard to disagree.”

The full report, “The value of data-driven automation to the ITSM community,” is available to download here.

About LOGICnow

LOGICnow ® delivers the only 100% SaaS, fully cloud-based IT service management (ITSM) platform, backed by collective intelligence and the highest levels of layered security. LOGICnow’s MAX products including Risk Intelligence, Remote Management, Backup & Disaster Recovery, Mail and Service Desk – comprise the market’s most widely-trusted integrated solution. Deployed on over two million endpoints across 240,000 networks, the platform has the industry vision to define and deliver the future of the market. LOGICnow provides the most comprehensive IT security available as well as LOGICcards, the first ever IT notification feature powered by prescriptive analytics and machine learning. LOGICnow’s passion is helping IT professionals secure and manage their systems and data through actionable insights, rewriting the rules of IT. For more information, visit www.logicnow.com.

 

Image Credit

Three Projects for Your Five-Year ITSM Plan

6479063181_6feafaa8e6_z
Building ITSM solutions today that can meet the demands of tomorrow

When making plans to improve IT service management (ITSM), most IT leaders adopt one of two approaches. They either improve what they have by integrating with other IT systems, or they adopt forward-looking projects that leverage IT trends and advancements such as cloud, mobility, social media and IoT to help drive efficiencies and plan for the future.

According to a March 2015 report, “The Future of ITSM,” the top three strategic priorities for most ITSM teams include:

  • Improved experience for end users
  • Improved operations-to-ITSM integration for incident and problem management
  • Improved operations-to-ITSM integration for configuration and change management

However, these improvement plans should not exclude projects that address IT trends, as Gartner’s “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends” report reinforces:

“IT leaders must understand and prepare for the impacts these disruptive trends will have on people, their businesses and IT departments, and then determine how they can provide competitive advantage.”

With both incremental and future needs in mind, here are three projects to consider for your five-year ITSM plan:

Project 1: Add IT Asset Management

Without ITAM integration, technicians must rely on verbal discovery, a process that can waste valuable time. By mapping IT assets to the person using the asset, support can quickly determine which devices and software the employee is using, including hardware, OS and application versions, recent updates and warranty expirations. Having easy access to these details aids in decision-making and rapid problem resolution. It also allows analysts to more easily determine if certain devices or configurations are the source of recurring or major incidents.

Furthermore, many IT organisations now automate repetitive tasks and processes, including ordering and assigning IT assets. For example, if someone needs specific software for her job, an automated request and software delivery process can eliminate the need for an analyst to get involved. Automations may also result in an improved user experience. However, software asset management is required as part of the process, in order to track software entitlement and protect the organisation from allocating more licenses than it owns.

Despite the obvious benefits, many organisations have failed to properly define and fund asset management projects in the past. With the rapid rise of IoT devices on the network, however, that may no longer be an option.

Gartner estimates that by 2020, a typical family home could have more than 500 smart devices – a significant increase from the approximately ten we see today. Imagine, then, what that means for average-sized organisations; especially when you consider connected devices are expected to explode from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 25 billion in just five years.

This aspect of an ITAM-to-ITSM project has forward-looking considerations. For many organisations, there isn’t an immediate need to integrate IoT into their ITSM solution. However, as the influx of IoT assets continue, it’s hard to imagine controlling hardware inventory, licenses and security without a proper IT asset management system in place.

Any time IT has to investigate issues on the network, there are costs associated. The longer it takes to find the issue, the more it costs. With potentially millions of IoT devices in a large environment, just determining where those assets are located could quickly overwhelm IT resources. Additionally, connected devices could pose a security risk unless properly managed.

Organisations can prepare for the oncoming IoT surge by taking on the right projects now, and integrating IT asset management into an existing ITSM implementation is a good place to start.

Project 2: Automate Processes and Integrate Tools Wherever Possible

In many institutions, automating processes like inventory discovery or software updates serve as go-to tactics for reducing IT cost. Eliminating the need for support to make a single trip to an employee’s desk to troubleshoot or apply updates often justifies the cost of such tools. With such a rapid ROI, many IT leaders have implemented client and mobile device management. However, only a fraction of these groups have taken the next step and integrated their systems management solutions with their ITSM environment.

If you are operating with reduced budgets, one of the best ways to improve service offerings and prepare for emerging trends is to integrate those tools with the ITSM environment. In doing so, you’re making their capabilities more easily accessible to both service analysts and end users.

As you evaluate how to make this project a reality, look for opportunities to automate wherever possible – inside and outside of your ITSM solution – and then integrate the processes.

For example, HR has procedures for new hires that require employees to complete tax and insurance information. Rather than keep information siloed, why not connect these processes to your ITSM solution to coordinate related IT onboarding requests such as hardware procurement or automatically provisioning the system with the software and network access required for the job?

Once this architecture is in place, your ITSM environment will be better prepared to handle evolving technology trends and the increased workloads expected as IT support is required to extend to non-traditional devices.

Project 3: Improve Self-Service

Many organisations provide basic self-service portals to allow employees to request corporate software. As millennials and other tech savvy employees enter the workforce, it makes sense to empower them to handle common IT requests on their own. Done correctly, self-service projects also improve service desk response times and end user satisfaction.

A recent global study shows that more than 81 percent of end users try to solve their own IT problems before asking for help. With that in mind, it’s beneficial to help them be as successful in their attempts as possible. However, that same research also indicates that less than 18 percent of those users leverage their organisation’s service portal, turning to Google or co-workers for help before calling IT directly. Clearly, there is room for improvement.

For instance, when a user has a problem, a good self-service portal should provide access to a knowledge base of common issues and frequently asked questions. Recent knowledge management innovations simplify the process even further. Now, a user can take a picture of an error on the screen and the system will automatically search for an answer. If additional help is needed, the user can open a support request from the page, using a simple form designed to route the incident to the appropriate group.

The automation example above can also extend to self-service. For example, while many organizations provide automated password resets for customer-facing websites, they haven’t made the same capability available to employees. When a user forgets his/her password, a support person with the appropriate rights has to unlock the account using network tools. An automated process would instead allow the analyst to trigger the reset by simply pressing a button on the incident page. Ultimately, the best way to handle this scenario is with a self-service process that eliminates the need for an analyst to be involved at all.

Whether your self-service portal needs an update, or you need to build one from scratch, this project can leverage your asset management and automation efforts. The good news is, like automation, self-service projects can significantly reduce IT support costs – freeing up the resources necessary for other initiatives that enable your organisation to adapt to future technology demands.

IT leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve IT service management, but no matter how they aim to tackle it, keeping the end user experience and operations-to-ITSM integrations in mind is key. When putting together a five-year ITSM plan, leaders should be cognizant of both the immediate needs of the organisation and what’s to come in the future. Taking steps to prepare for the IoT surge and accompanying IT asset management demands, growing need for automated processes and integrated tools and self-service portals will not only assist IT teams now, but for years to come.

Marcel Shaw

 

This article was contributed by Marcel Shaw, ITSM and ITAM specialist at LANDESK.

 

Image credit

Integration, Bow Ties & Service Catalogues; Cherwell SIAM Survey Results

Andy White, Cherwell
Andy White, Cherwell

 

 

Our friends over at Cherwell recently conducted a survey on all things SIAM and I was lucky enough to catch up with Andy White, Vice president & General Manager for EMEA to talk through some of the findings.

 

 


Andy’s take on SIAM:

“SIAM provides a performance regime to govern and control so organisations only pay for things they can use and access. It delivers explicit service integration parameters that govern performance, availability, quality but more from a user’s perspective rather than a commercial or vendor perspective. It supports the skills and capabilities required to manage third-party suppliers in a commodity-based environment. SIAM’s really delivering an open view, an open standards view, to delivering workflow, reporting, financial metrics in the entire service delivery to the ultimate end customer.”

In other words, SIAM is a way of delivering value to customers via multiple suppliers in a seamless way that ensures performance, availability and quality requirements are taking care of.  As Andy put it, the bow tie is getting bigger. On one side you have customer perception and on the other side you have the technology available with IT in the middle. Drones, the Internet Of Things, AI, as technology becomes more and more accessible, customer expectations will increase meaning IT departments have to deliver in order to stay relevant.

Here are some of the highlights of the Cherwell study:

  • SIAM isn’t going anywhere. 45% of the survey respondents managed between 21 and 100+ suppliers and nearly a third of all respondents had already implemented SIAM.
  • Those at the sharp end of IT operational issues better understand the benefits of SIAM. The research found that more senior IT professionals (38%) have implemented SIAM processes compared with director level respondents (21%).
  • Whilst obtaining reports and metrics is deemed easy, managing risk is harder. An enormous 93% of those surveyed reported being able to access management information easily. Managing risk effectively in a SIAM environment is a tougher prospect  with over 24% of respondents admitting to finding it hard or very hard to assign tangible risks in a multi vendor environment.
  • Service Management is maturing; 76% of respondents had an integrated Service Catalogue in place to enable end users to select business services.

The top 3 takeaway findings from this survey:

  1. Everyone knows SIAM.
  2. We need to be having the right conversations with C level and above so that SIAM gets on the business agenda.
  3. We need the right tools to be able to visualise performance. Dashboards and reports will supply C level intelligence and help to drive performance.

 

You can check out the survey in full here. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Supercharging Your Service Delivery Using SIAM

The lovely people at Cherwell invited me to join one of their webinars to talk about SIAM so here is the link to the recording!

My session was all about how ITIL and SIAM can be used to take your service provision from good to “let’s rock this!” The world and its mum knows that ITIL is the globally recognised framework for ITSM best practice but in a world where outsourcing, co sourcing and multi sourcing models are being more and more common, ITIL alone can’t cope. Enter SIAM; the framework that enables an organisation to manage their service providers in a consistent and efficient way, making sure that performance across a portfolio of multi-sourced goods and services meets user needs. In other words, SIAM is a flavour of ITIL that supports organisations in managing multiple suppliers whilst keeping the user experience seamless for the rest of the business.

We all know that ITIL is inherently all about continual service improvement and a SIAM environment is no different. That said, here are some of the things to look at when looking at SIAM:

Span Of Control

How many vendors can you manage without things being missed, balls being dropped or angry mobs turning up at your door? Look at your span of control and if your numbers of suppliers, partners and vendors is increasing faster than you know what to do with, look at introducing the lead vendor concept to regain some control. Lead vendors.

Understand Vendor Dependencies

However many suppliers or partners you use, the buck will always stop with you from the perspective of the business if something goes wrong. Map out your IT services, how they support business outcomes and which supplier delivers each IT service. The CMDB or a technical view of the Service Catalogue will help you to do this and will enable you to spot any areas of vulnerability so you can plan accordingly.

Organising For SIAM

When preparing for a SIAM environment; having a strategy is key to ensure that you have a holistic view of your end to end service, making sure nothing is lost or missed. This strategy should be used as the basis for policies, procedures and work instructions to ensure that there are consistent ways of working across the board. Each vendor should have a catalogue of service offerings to ensure dependencies are identified and documented.

Relationship Management

An effective SIAM environment is all about the relationships between the customer organisation and its partners. Moving to a SIAM model will require a culture change so building a collaborative culture is vital. One way of nixing a blame culture is to use the practice of unconditional positive regard (UPR). UPR is a term credited to humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers and means accepting and respecting others as they are without judgment or evaluation i.e treating everyone with the best of intentions. If all else fails, there might be another term that works – TCB or tea coffee and biscuits!! The overall aim? There’s no more “them” and “us”, there’s simply one team.

Managing Performance

As with the span of control, the more SLA, OLA and Contract documentation you introduce into your process, the more admin is required and the more difficult it is to keep things under control. One solution is to have a shared service level agreement across all vendors to cover the end to end service which will encourage collaboration and reduce any potential blame culture. Measurements should be based off this single SLA to communicate how processes are performing, identify any improvement areas and to demonstrate that improvement is happening.

Tools

The ITSM tool industry is moving to support SIAM environments. Out of the box integrations, codeless functionality and add ons are all available in the market giving customers options.

Benefits

  • A single point of contact, ownership & control for IT Services
  • Clearly defined roles & responsibilities
  • Optimised cost of services
  • Streamlined management of IT services
  • Consistently applied processes
  • A more transparent IT landscape
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction!

Did you listen to the webinar? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Image Credit

Batman, SIAM and Mean Time Between Ass Kickings: SITS16 Recap

It’s the London Olympia baby! Last week was the 2016 Service Desk & IT Support Show or SITS for short. SITS is a annual, free event in central London dedicated to all things tech support and ITSM related.

 

DevOps Needs Leaders – Daniel Breston

The first session we attended was run by fellow Batman super fan and all round ITSM rockstar Daniel Breston.

 

 

Taking all of 5 seconds to get a Batman reference into his content, this was clearly destined to be my favorite session of the day. Daniel opened by talking about the iceberg of ignorance, in other words, the further away you get from service delivery, the few problems that you see. Daniel continued by discussing how one of the biggest challenges faced by managers is taking the time to improve.

Daniel introduced the ITIL, Agile and Lean triumvirate explaining how it’s not enough to have best practice, we must be responsive to the needs of the business and efficient in the way we deliver enterprise services.

The next part of Daniel’s presentation focused on how DevOps is a way to do better faster safer on a continual basis. Daniel talked about the need to focus on the entire value stream of better faster safer from strategy right through to operations.

Daniel went on to talk about measurements and advocated putting your business reports in a language your company understands for example from zero to we got this! He also introduced a brand new metric which I think our friends at AXELOS towers should be all over in terms of including it in the next ITIL refresh.

The final part of Daniel’s session focused on behavior. As Daniel put it “DevOps starts with management talking to people and finding out what their problem are.” Daniel talked about the 3 ways to manage effectively environment:

  • You built it, you run it
  • Project to product
  • Strangle the complexity – lose the nonsense

His final point? Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way, preferably with beer!

The Pros and Cons of Public and Private Cloud – Sarah Lahav, SysAid Technologies

 

Sarah opened her session by talking about the recent LinkedIn hack; asking her audience how many of them were able to understand if their personal data had been compromised from the e-mail response issues by LinkedIn – ie the importance of asking the right questions.

Sarah went on to talk about the public cloud and private cloud and the pros and cons of each approach. Public clouds are typically easy to use, flexible and operated by a third party but may be unreliable and less secure than an in house solution. Private clouds are organisation specific, customisable and more secure but can be more costly and require in house expertise.

The next part of the session looked at how a hybrid model can give organisations the best of both worlds without increasing risk. Sarah went on to talk about case studies of the SysAid product from General Cable. Fluortek and LAN Airlines who has the impressive statistic of being able to handle seven times the number of Incidents since using SysAid.

Sarah concluded by explaining with the evolution of SaaS and cloud, it takes new skills to manage your estate effectively, Sarah’s advice? Every organisation is different so in terms of cloud provision, capture the requirements of your organisation and then plan accordingly.

 

Transforming The Service Desk With SIAM & Lean – Joe Bicknell, ServiceNow

The final session we attended was Joe’s session on Service desk transformation. Joe opened with the frankly terrifying statistic of outside the workplace, 84% of requests are automated, inside the workplace only 33% of requests are automated. The upshot? The average employee spends around 15 hours of their working week faffing about trying to  battle the admin mountain.

 

Joe went on to explain the ServiceNow way of thinking “we believe everyone in your organisation requests something and everyone in your business is a service provider in some way.”

 

Joe used ServiceNow to demonstrate how ITSM can be applied to the entire organisation, streamlining processes and removing silos. His top three takeaways?

 

  • Own IT Service Management in your business; it’s the key link between the front and back office.
  • Change the way you work, don’t use technology to compliment what you do
  • Take the workshop to your organisation and start to take Service outside of IT

 

Did you go to #SITS16? Let us know in the comments!!

 

Image Credit

Killer Cats, DevOps, ITSM & Star Wars – BCS CMSG 2016 Conference

It’s Covent Garden baby! The BCS Configuration Management Group held their annual conference on Tuesday. The CMSG was set up in 1995 to provide a forum for the promotion of Configuration Management as a discrete management process. The group now covers the transition areas of Change, Release and Software Asset Management, including the specialist UK SAM Networking Group.

The theme of the conference was “transitioning the future” and the event had three streams:

  • DevOps
  • Change Configuration & Release Management
  • SAM  Licensing & Strategy

 

Roo Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer at Digi2al Limited – Driving Transformation In A Government Environment

First up was Roo Reynolds on driving transformation in a government environment. Roo’s first task was a quick public service announcement on Larry, the cat that lives at Number 10 (where the Prime Minister lives for non UK readers). Apparently, whilst appearing cute and fluffy. Larry actually has a vicious streak so if you’re ever invited to Downing Street, consider yourself warned – the last thing you want is a Rabbit of Caerbannog scenario.

 

Roo talked about the challenges of working in a government environment and his transformation mission:

Roo shared how using Agile transformed the environment:

The next part of Roo’s session focused on practical guidance.

Roo talked about the importance of putting your customers at the centre of the requirements gathering phase “your users are unlikely to grow wings so they no longer need lifts”  As Roo put it “transformation doesn’t have to be huge, the smallest things can make a difference.”

Here are Roo’s top tips for driving transformation:

  • Start with the needs of the user; genuinely put the user first
  • Work with people who are committed

  • Show the thing. Minds out of the gutter people! Roo was talking about having prototypes and getting regular customer feedback.
  • When getting feedback for a prototype, feedback from five people is often enough (hits 75_80% of issues)
  • Walls are important

 

Vawns Murphy Senior ITSM Analyst, Enterprise Opinions – Going From Good To Great Using ITIL & DevOps

I was up next talking about my practical experience of using ITIL and DevOps to make things better in the real world. My session focused on a real life client engagement where we went from IT Ops and Dev teams literally snarling at each other from different sides of the room to a happy, collaborative environment with a 99.91% Change success rate and a 50% reduction in deployment time. There was also a lot of talk about Star Wars , the Avengers and erm, Frozen. You can check out the slides here.

 

Connor Shearwood, Developer,  Springer Nature – Managing Continuous Delivery

Up next was Connor from Springer Nature on continuous delivery. Connor talked about the need for common sense in a delivery environment: “keep things simple, have conventions around how software is built and tested.”

Connor went on to explain the importance of automation explaining “we need to make doing the right thing easy and the wrong thing impossible.

Connor gave practical guidance on continuous delivery, talking about the benefits of consumer driven contracts for micro services, and why automated testing is so important “most of your tests should be automated because people are fallible”.

Connor talked about how there’s no silver bullet; “you need discipline and willpower but having good processes makes things easier. If you make it easy for people to try new things there will engage and they will try”

My favorite piece of wisdom from Connor’s session was this: “You need to have an exit process, broken gets fixed, crappy lives on forever”. Be warned people!

 

Patrick Bolger, Chief Evangelist, Hornbill – Rethinking Your ITSM

Patrick’s session was all about rethinking your ITSM from Shadow IT to Agile. He started by talking about being schooled by his daughter on iPhone usage:

The first part of Pat’s session focused on the rise of Shadow IT and how we risk alienating our customers if we don’t keep up. The first step to sorting it out? Investing in your Service Desk

Pat talked about major trends impacting 21st century IT departments and what it means for IT decision makers:

  • User Experience
  • IT Delivery
  • Information & Communication
  • Innovation & Usage Models
  • Data

The upshot? Next generation IT is all about people.


Pat concluded by talking about the importance of being inclusive when driving transformational: “change is a threat when done to us but an opportunity when done by us”. A very powerful message and a great way to maintain focus on the customer when managing change.

 

Robert Cowham, Consultant, Perforce Software – DevOps In The Cloud, A Pathway To Heaven?

The last session we attended was Robert’s presentation on DevOps and the cloud. Robert opened by talking about the background of DevOps and how it links into Agile. Robert then went on to explain the impact of DevOps on continuous delivery on development and discussed the impact of cycle times.

The next part of Robert’s session focused on the impact of the cloud, advantages and the big players including Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

Robert went on to talk about the practicalities of applying DevOps in a cloud environment discussing how to maximise pipeline flow, automation, feedback, micro services and release technology & containers.

Robert finished his session by demonstrating a functioning pipeline – a fascinating example of real life application.

 

For our money the CMSG conference was a great day, informative, lots of practical guidance and lots of subject matter expertise. A huge thanks to the BCS for inviting us and we hope to be back next year.

Did you attend the CMSG conference? Let us know in the comments!

 

Image Credit

 

Event Listing SITS16 – The Service Desk & IT Support Show

It’s nearly time for SITS16! The Service Desk & IT Support Show is one of the biggest UK based exhibitions for IT Service Professionals, it’s also completely free to attend. The event takes place every year across two days in London. The exhibition has over 200 products and services from the leading suppliers of ITSM software, integration tools, IT training, consulting and managed services. The event has over 50 free-to-attend seminars and keynotes and more than 20 facilitated roundtable discussions on everything from becoming a more responsive Service Desk to do we really need both Incident & Problem Management?

sits16-white

Event Breakdown

What: The Service Desk & IT Support Show 2016

When: 8 – 9 June 2016

Where: London Olympia

How To Book: Click Here

Are you going to SITS this year? Let us know in the comments!

Governance 101: The role of effective Service Management governance in an IT services organisation and the key features of a governance framework

Delivering consistent and quality IT services for customers is not easy – and can be even more challenging – if they are not governed effectively. For example, how can an IT organisation look to improve if it doesn’t measure the amount of service-impacting incidents properly?

Take the high profile service outages of several major banks in recent years for example. Their customers were unable to make transactions or access services for periods of time. Even in such a highly regulated environment as financial services, where IT is governance is generally tighter, there are no guarantees that the outages could’ve been prevented by governance alone.

Equally, too much governance could be seen as overly bureaucratic. A complicated – and lengthy – change control process could drive the wrong behaviour from some members of the IT organisation in that they may simply bypass the process.

By order of the management, doesn’t always mean effective governance!
By order of the management, doesn’t always mean effective governance!

In any case, a business is often dependent on its IT services, and as such, there needs to be controls in place to not only protect – but gain value for – their customers. This of course needs to be appropriate as not all businesses are financial service providers needing tight control.

What is governance and why is it important?

Before implementing any type of governance, it is worth understanding what it actually is. According to Wikipedia, “governance refers to all processes of governing undertaken…and relates to the interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem”.

The Harvard Business School describe IT governance as “specifying the decision rights and the decision-making mechanics to foster the desired behaviour in the use of IT”.

A key thing to note is that governance is not the same as management. Ultimately, ITSM governance is concerned with control, compliance and performance.

It is important that ITSM governance has effective decision-making in place; drives the right behaviours (and, by implication, discourages the wrong behaviour); and has policy and processes are in place so that it is easier to discover issues and remedy them quicker.

Going back to our banking example earlier, HSBC had an issue with ATMs and Online Banking in 2011 but were able to pinpoint it and restore service within 2-3 hours. If they didn’t have good governance in place, it feasibly could have taken considerably longer to obtain information and decisions.

What are the different aspects of ITSM governance?

In order to understand, design and communicate effective ITSM governance, Harvard Business School suggests “a decision, rights and accountability framework” should be created that covers aspects like:

  • What decisions should be made and what information should be considered
  • Who can make decisions and who is accountable for them
  • How can decisions and governance be measured?

You might also want to consider different aspects like those the in the table below:

Aspects Questions or things to consider
1.      People Communicating with guiding principles that inform and involve all relevant staff; leverage their expertise; and ensure strong input from Senior Management
2.      Process Governance should be controlled and executed through policy, process, ownership and performance
3.      Technology What technology and tools are required to support the process?
4.      Information What data such as measurements and metrics are required to inform decision making?
5.      Services What are they; how much do they cost; and how do they add value to the business?
6.      Suppliers What are their processes and metrics and how are they involved in your governance?
7.      Customers Who are your customers and how do they benefit from your governance?

How can you evidence your governance improves service costs, their perception and value delivery?

8.      Corporate Governance How does your governance align to the corporate governance, strategic objectives and architecture; and are IT involved at the right level within the organisation in this regard?

How is ITSM governance executed?

After considering what aspects to include in ITSM governance, it is equally important to consider how to design and execute it in practice. The following are some suggestions you might want to consider when implementing ITSM governance.

Firstly, identify the types of frameworks and methods to be used – particularly if you are starting from scratch. Whilst not exhaustive, the following are some common methods and how they can be applied:

  • COBIT is an IT governance framework that focuses on what should be covered in processes and procedures and they can be directed and controlled.
  • ISO/IEC standards like 20000 (Service Management), 27000 (Security) and 38500 (IT Governance) are international standards provide specific advice and controls IT can be audited against to gain industry recognised certification
  • TOGAF is a framework for enterprise architecture that provides an approach for designing, planning, implementing, and governing an enterprise and service orientated architecture
  • Other specific best practices for governance such as PRINCE2 for projects; USMBOK and ITIL for service; MoR for risk management; CMMI for benchmarking and maturity.

Secondly, ITSM needs to be involved with – or even own – certain internal governing bodies like:

  • IT Pipeline and Portfolio Board to understand the upcoming projects and be ready to design, transition and operate the services being delivered as necessary
  • Architecture Governance Board to influence and ratify all architecture designs and decisions
  • Change Advisory Board to review/approve changes – particularly to the live production environment
  • Other Governance or Steering Groups involving the business to ensure IT is represented appropriately

Thirdly, ITSM Governance needs to ensure key policies, processes and metrics in place. This may vary depending on the needs of the organisation but things like incident, change and release policies should be created to ensure service-related issues or changes are controlled, evaluated, measured and resolved in appropriate way to ensure minimum risk and impact to the business.

Finally, and arguably, the most important thing is to build an improvement culture that involves the support of the whole IT organisation. By establishing quick wins; involving staff in the policy development; and empowering them to take ownership as appropriate; and using improvement techniques Deming’s Plan Do Check Act cycle; ITSM governance is more likely to be established accepted and acted upon by the IT organisation.

Summing Up

The key things to remember when implementing ITSM governance are to:

  • Ensure it is appropriate for your organisation and limit bureaucracy were possible
  • Remember that governance is not management and is primarily about driving effective decision-making and ensuring control and performance of services
  • Make sure it aligns to the strategic and corporate governance and objectives of your organisation
  • Control, improve and mature governance through policy, process, benchmarks and measurements using industry best practice if practicable to do so.
  • Develop and maintain an improvement culture within the IT organisation so that staff understand the value of – and contribute to the success of – ITSM governance

References:

Image Credit

Jon Morley

 

This article was contributed by Jon Morely – Vice-Chair of the itSMF UK Service Transition Special Interest Group and  IT Service Transition Manager at the University of Nottingham.

 

 

IT500 Conference: DevOps – Bring IT Out Of The Shadows

I caught up with Daniel Breston ahead of tomorrow’s IT500 conference in Edinburgh to talk about his session with Helen Beal.

Daniel BHelen B

The session will involve Daniel and Helen working with the audience to figure out what good looks like and how to develop a culture of sharing and collaboration. Delegates will take away a chart of behaviours from zero to “let’s do this”. The session will focus on how to use the principles of DevOps to deliver real value to your organisation, as Daniel put it “In DevOps you know you are having a good day when you are enabling business objectives”.

You should attend this session if:

You would like to find out more about DevOps and practical tips on how to get started.

The official bit:

One of the biggest threats to organisations today in unmanaged technology. Shadow IT, technology solutions not meeting business needs, performance indicators not driving behavioural change, knowledge not being shared and automation capabilities being misapplied. What would happen if you had a way of going from idea (strategy) to realisation based on a communicative, collaborative and improving culture? This is DevOps, a mindset using technology to define “great” removing business obstacles and enabling goals on a daily basis, top down. Learn how to apply the principles of CALMS (Culture, Automation, Lean, Metrics & Sharing) to create sustainable development, delivery and improvement.

 

For more information, check out this link.

 

Image Credit