ITSM14 Conference

OVO Energy win IT Service Management Team of the Year at ITSM14
OVO Energy win IT Service Management Team of the Year at ITSM14

This ITSM14 conference article is written jointly between myself, Vawns Murphy Guest of Virgin Media and Duncan Watkins of SHL Talent Measurement from CEB the winner of the ticket giveaway we ran jointly with itSMF UK

This year’s conference saw something old and something new. The old was a return to the Novotel London, a venue whose size fitted nicely with the event and had a much better layout than last year at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. The new was the double session format. This meant that each seminar session was made up of 2 x 30 minute sessions rather than a standalone 40/45 minutes.

In amongst the usual mix of consultants and vendors in the exhibition hall were a couple of welcome newcomers. The Conference In a Box stall had a fine selection of salted caramel brownies to give away, whilst the Velocity stand had an entertaining and highly competitive ankiDrive game (a new twist on the Scalextric) where delegates compete against each other for a prize. Rebecca came a very respectable joint fifth and we wont mention Duncan’s abysmal performance!

The Conference

John Windebank, Chair of itSMF UK kicked off the conference reminding everyone that with $3 trillion invested in IT every year we have a great responsibility to ensure that we stay current and relevant and not just rest on one’s laurels.

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Next up was Richard Corbridge, CIO at NIHR Clinical Research Network asking us to be prepared for the future. With the internet of things rearing its head we need to know now how we’re going to deal with all those items that will soon be connected to our networks, such as heating systems, flood, fire and dementia monitors. Is it even sensible to try and catalogue all of them?

Sessions

Back to basics? Shouldn’t that be forward to basics? – Ivor Macfarlane, Service Management Specialist at IBM

This session focused on real world learning and how we’ve got to get the basics right to be able to deliver value to our customers.

Ivor started by talking about what the text books say versus the real world. If we’re trying to demonstrate value quickly so that we can get support and buy in, why would we start with Configuration Management? If it can take up to 18 months to see tangible value from a CMDB, why are we doing it first if quick wins are key? Start with something the CEO and CFO like and go from there.

Things have changed since the good old days, now everyone does ITIL to some degree; it’s the levels as you go up and improve that are amazing. New back to basics needs to focus on Service and giving our customers value.

We need to keep moving forward. Expectations of improvement are a huge compliment so let’s take it as such!

A practitioner’s tale: adding value through real ITSM in the real world” – Dave Churchley, Service Management Officer at Newcastle University

This session was based on Dave’s take on Newcastle University’s ITSM journey over the last 5 years. Dave’s point was that we need to be lead by our customers.

One of our favourite examples from the session was a Service Desk call David happened to oversee. One of the doctors from the university called the Service Desk to report his PC wasn’t connected to the network. Service Desk tech asked him if he could check if the network cable was plugged in to the back of the PC. The reply?

“I’m afraid I don’t know how to do that. I’m only a brain surgeon.”

Like Ivor, Dave is very much of the opinion that we need a culture change; we need to focus on customers and services rather than just the technology. We need an open environment and we need to talk to each other. Not rocket science but it’s amazing how many people forget. Sometimes all that’s needed to sort something out is to pick of the phone or go and see someone. It’s easy to hide behind e-mails but let’s face it – a stroppy, passive aggressive e-mail chain as long as your arm helps no one – least of all your customer.

One of the main messages of the session was that having an expensive, market leading ITSM software solution will not solve all your problems. As the saying goes, a fool with a tool is still a fool.

Conquering the black arts of licence compliance management – Steve Massie of Incit Technology Ltd

What we loved most about Steve’s session was his honesty. Yes, getting control of your licences is not easy and it’s not a one off exercise. In our experience, it can be a complete freaking nightmare but you’ve got to start somewhere.

The session had lots of interesting facts here about how to get support and buy in for your Software Asset Management process. 30% of software used in Europe is being used illegally. A recent Gartner study has revealed over 30% of CEOs are concerned about software audits.

He also shared his advice on getting started. Don’t try to fix everything at one – start with your top vendor and work down. Great advice! We’ve seen so many people try to do it all at once and either miss something glaringly obvious or get in a right old flap about where to start, panic, and then give up.

Keynote – Mark Hall, Director of Service Management & Operations at Aviva

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There were a number of standout sessions. At this year’s event. In the realm of future ITSM, came Mark Hall’s first day keynote speech. He talked about the benefits associated with building teams that are able to take advantages of agile frameworks to move more swiftly. A key component of this are self-forming teams that are empowered to right their own agenda in a bottom up fashion, rather than a micro-managed top down approach. However, the key idea that for me was the dissolution of the traditional customer/supplier relationship. Rather than think of ourselves as suppliers delivering to internal or external customers, we should see ourselves as part of an extended value chain that extends outside of technology through the whole of the business. For me this was a fundamental shift in perception about what I do and more importantly how I do it.

Bring me problems – Not solutions! Tobias Nyberg

Tobias opened with a quote from Einstein:

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

Moral of the story? Problem Management is about getting it right first time. Having Problems isn’t a bad thing, it’s how we respond to them that adds the value.

Tobias talked about his experiences trying to focus his team on understanding exactly what problems are rather than jumping straight to solutions. He detailed a three stage approach that ultimately can be applied to almost any area of life. First you focus on detailing what the problem is and all that relates to it. Secondly, you look at the goal you are trying to achieve. And lastly you look at the solution once you’ve truly explored the other two. What really made the presentation stand out for us was Tobias’s focus upon how problems make us feel. Approaching and acknowledging the feelings we have about problems allows us to better deal and ultimately solve them.

Day 2 Keynote – Peter Hepworth and Keith Richards of Axelos

Axelos announced the changes to the website and the extension to the PRINCE2 best practice PRINCE agile the first of, what I’m led to believe will be many “Axelos and…” initiatives. As always there were the supporters and the detractors but I feel that it shows Axelos’ acknowledgement that it’s best for organisations when they cherry pick the bits of the best practices that work for them.

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Governance – Custodian to Changing Business Trends and IT Landscape – Suresh GP, TaUB Solutions

Suresh’s session started on explaining that there is a lot of confusion over the difference between Governance and Management with IT governance primarily concerned about IT’s delivery of value to the business and mitigation of IT risks whereas Management plans, builds, runs and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance to achieve the enterprise objectives or, more simply put…

After lunch Suresh’s enthusiasm and energy were just what we needed to get us through to the end.

Awards Dinner – Hosted by Paul Sinha

Nothing short of hilarious and I think the majority of the attendees were immensely entertained. We thought the food was delicious, although there have been others that disagree and as we were on a table with the Velocity guys we were well entertained.

Unfortunately the actual awards were not as good as they could have been. We would have liked to see more lead up to the awards with more information circulated on why the nominees had been nominated. There seemed to be a slight absence of interest with the applause dying out in many cases before the winner had even reached the stage. It is such a huge achievement to win an award and we truly hope that more thought is given to promoting the nominees and their achievements next year.

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.

In Summary

A big topic of discussion was the new double session format. For our money, when it worked it worked well but when it didn’t, it really didn’t. A positive example occurred on the first day with David Wheable followed by Eva Franconetti & Mark Adley of Telefonica. David was able to use real life examples from Telefonica’s approach within his talk. This gave an element of ground work to Eva and Mark’s, allowing them to concentrate more fully on the detail. In contrast, Tony Brough and Daniel Breston had spent a lot of time working together to align their presentations. Despite their best efforts though, the subject matter of each was too far removed to begin with. In the end it felt like two separate presentations that didn’t quite have enough time.

The venue was lovely and easily accessible albeit extortionate in terms of parking. At £45 for 10 hours we would have expected the car park to be made of gold with vodka & coke fountains and unicorn valets but, in fairness, I guess that’s central London for you.

All in all it was a good event with some great content. The ultimate test is whether there is anything you want to try when you get back to the office and we certainly felt that, whether our colleagues are ready for our new ideas is another matter altogether.

Thank you to itSMF UK for inviting us along and we hope to see you again next year.

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ITSM14 Preview: Simon Durbin with "Don't let SIAM cloud your judgement"

Simon Durbin of Information Services Group
Simon Durbin of Information Services Group

In the run up this year’s itSMF UK conference ITSM14, I chatted with Simon Durbin about his upcoming session entitled “Don’t Let SIAM Cloud Your Judgement”.

Q. Hi Simon, can you give a quick intro to your session at ITSM14?

I am going to be demystifying some of the hype that surrounds SIAM. As with any new management or technology ‘trend’ there is always of lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt as people grapple to understand what is really new and unique and what is simply the re-badging of familiar tried and tested concepts.

If you peel away the layers SIAM is actually rooted in some very well established management disciplines, but with the continued evolution of sourcing and service delivery models (such as Cloud) we need to re-frame and adapt these techniques to the realities of our modern complex, multi-sourced, mixed-sourced world.

Q. What impact does SIAM have on an organisation?

One of the greatest impacts that SIAM can bring is control. This is achieved by focusing on robust processes, clearly delineated roles and responsibilities between internal customers, internal functions and service providers; strong governance, all underpinned with quality data and information flows. All too often service providers give clients the ‘run around’ because they know more about your business than you do. SIAM establishes the mechanism to manage the complex interactions between supply and demand for IT services.

Q. What are likely to be the potential pitfalls and/or benefits an organisation may experience with implementing SIAM as a framework?

One of the big pitfalls with SIAM is to try and bite off more than you can chew. As with any process or service improvement initiative, focus and prioritisation is essential. Identify where the biggest pain points are and the critical business drivers and objectives. Align your SIAM efforts to business goals and addressing the pain. Pick your battles and don’t try to boil the ocean (apologies for the overused clichés!)


Simon Durbin is a Director with Information Services Group (ISG) and leads the SIAM practice in the UK, working as a key member of the global ISG SIAM team. He has more than 25 years’ experience in IT service and supplier management working as both a practitioner and consultant. Simon advises both public and private sector clients, across many industry sectors, on Service Integration strategy, operating model design, sourcing strategies and transformational change management

medium ITSM14 banner aug 14

Simon’s session is on day two of ITSM14 and featured within the Managing Complexities track. To find out more or to book your conference place please visit itSMF UK

Connect with Simon via LinkedIn

ITSM is like riding a bike… (itSMF Conference Ticket Winner)

And the winning ticket goes to...
And the winner is….

We recently gave all you, our fantastic readers the opportunity to win a FREE ticket to the upcoming itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition (10-11 November at Novotel London West), and it’s time to announce the winner of the competition!

The instructions were simple: Tell us why you deserve a free ticket in less than 200 words.

And the competition winner is…

Duncan Watkins, IT Service Management Analyst at IT Project Manager at SHL Talent Measurement from CEB!

Duncan’s entry was chosen because of his commitment to making ITSM easy to understand and enjoyable together with his sheer dedication to the cause by not one, not two but FOUR wardrobe changes during his submission video! Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself…

Duncan states that ITSM should be as simple as possible for people to understand, engage and debate in. Having witnessed those attempting to mystify attendees to perhaps try and sell more, appear wiser than they are or simply for bit of showing off he promises to use the ticket for good and debunk and demystify a lot of what will be said across the 2 days.

In short, I see it not just as an opportunity to engage, network and learn but also an opportunity to help those who might otherwise be dazzled by the bright lights of er, the Novotel.

We look forward to catching up with Duncan at the event, and hope that he doesn’t mind being photographed, videoed, expected to sing once Mr Barclay Rae tracks down a piano and generally pestered by us throughout the conference

And to all the other entrants…

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone else who submitted an entry. We hope to be able to run similar competitions for other exciting ITSM events in 2015.

Whilst there are no further free tickets available, there is still plenty of time for you to book your place at the conference. If you can’t make it, then keep on top of the event by following the Twitter hashtag #ITSM14.

We hope to see you there!

ITSM14 Preview: Tony Brough and Re-Igniting the Passion

Tony's session will be on day 2 within the ITSM and Agile track
Tony’s session will be on day 2 within the ITSM and Agile track

In the run up this year’s itSMF UK conference, ITSM14, I chatted with Tony Brough of Holistic Service Management International about his upcoming session entitled “Re-Initing the Passion”.

Q. Hi Tony, can you give a quick intro to your session at ITSM14? 

I had the idea after a meal with an old friend (and ex colleague) I hadn’t seen for a few years. He emailed me the following morning saying thank you for re igniting his passion for service management.

It made me think about the conversation we’d had over dinner and I realized people often need a reboot now and again to clear out the negative and re-establish the positive.

Service Management professionals face a wide range of challenges on a daily basis, so a regular boost of positivity coupled with realignment of perspective is essential.

We so often get so tangled up in the mire that we lose sight of what we are really aiming for. The aim tends to end up becoming to just get out of the mire rather than achieve the greatness we originally intended!!!

Q. What impact can passion, or lack of it, have on an organisation?

Passion is infectious. People with passion infect others who then take more interest in their own work and what’s going on around them. The consequences are that positive changes are made which benefit organisations at so many levels.

Continual Improvement attitudes and behaviors become embedded into the day job.

Lack of passion leads to stagnation.

For organisations to improve, not everyone needs to be passionate, but everyone does need to take an interest in what they do and what those around them do as well and have an attitude that nurtures improvement. 

Q. Is passion something that can be manufactured or created within an organisation?

It’s not something that can be manufactured but it can be nurtured and encouraged, which in turn begins to create a culture that is of great benefit to the organisation.

Q. What are likely to be the potential pitfalls and/or benefits an organisation may experience with attempting to create a culture of positivity?

Passion is a great catalyst to create positivity. We must remember though that we are dealing with people. It is important to manage how we best utilise it, as over-enthusiasm can have a detrimental effect on what we are trying to achieve. Balance, not suppression, is what’s needed. Benefits are endless. Organisations that have a positive, passionate, culture are able to achieve excellence and more importantly maintain it for the long term.


Tony Brough is acknowledged as a leading expert in the Service Management field and is best known for his pragmatic approach explaining every aspect in easy to understand terms, relating them to his students or customers own business. With over 20 years experience in the service management industry Tony is a certified ITIL Expert and ISO / IEC 20000 consultant and was also one of the first people in the world to become a certified BS15000 consultant.

Tony’s session at ITSM14 is on day two and featured within the ITSM and Agile track. To find out more or to book your conference place please visit itSMF UK

Follow Tony on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.