Transition, collaboration & cute penguin videos – it’s the itSMF UK 2015 Conference! Part 2

Day 2

Following our coverage of Day 1 of the itSMF UK conference, we’re back as promised with Day 2!

Selling Problem Management – the views of the ITSMF UK Special Interest Group Barry Corless, Global Knowledge

First up on day 2 was Barry’s session on the itSMF UK Problem Management SIG whitepaper on selling Problem Management.

Barry’s session was focused on the output of the white paper, essentially, Problem Management needs a bit of a rebrand. It’s not a dumping ground for anything and everything, it’s a service driven follow up to reduce recurring Incidents.

Barry continued by asking the audience how they managed their Problem Management effectiveness stating “your measurements must have credibility”.

One really useful piece of advice I took away from the session was this: “go out and actually talk to your customers because not everyone fills out the customer satisfaction survey.” I loved Barry’s advice on promoting Problem Management: “selling PM is a balancing act. Crow about it too much and something is guaranteed to fall over the next day.” I’ve been there Barry *remembers own bitter experience*.

Barry finished up on a magical note: “our magic wand is to reduce risk and empower people with the skills to solve things themselves.” Brilliant point plus it made me think of this:

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Incident & Problem – Do we Really Need Both? Peter Hubbard, Pink Elephant EMEA

Next up was Peter Hubbard from Pink Elephant. His first act? Naming and shaming me as a partner in crime at previous itSMF conferences – thanks for that Pete!

Pete’s session was on Incident and Problem Management, how to get it right and what works in the real world. Pete opened by sharing what one customer said to him when he asked if they did Problem Management: “no, because we’re much too busy fixing Incidents.”

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It was an absolutely brilliant session and if you’re interested in Problem Management then I’d highly recommend having a look at Pete’s slides when they are published on the itSMF UK website. The highlight for me was when he talked about the ITIL books:

“ITIL says we should be on our Problems like a cheetah on a trampoline”

Just think about that for a minute (plus send me any funny pics you have of cheetahs on trampolines, I couldn’t find any).

Pete talked about how important proactive Problem Management is but how hard it is to get the buy in for it. When he asked how many people in the room did proactive Problem Management, only one hand went up.

Pete went on to reference Rob England’s standard case approach, giving real life examples of how it can reduce pain. He also gets bonus points for the cute cat picture:

The final part of Pete’s presentation focused on how to get support from our higher ups  stating “if you want to get some management fire power behind you, find out what business risks your exec is personally accountable for and see how fixing your Problem records could help.”

Collaboration for Successful Service Acceptance Sue Cater, Atos IT Services (UK) Ltd

After a quick coffee break, Sue Cater was up with her session on driving successful service acceptance. Sue’s session focused on 3 key areas:

  1. Operational Acceptance Criteria
  2. OLAs
  3. Service Acceptance Boards

Sue explained Operational Acceptance Criteria or OAC “lubricate the interface between techies and the business”. Sue went on to give some practical guidance on OACs reminding us that “they’re not build tasks. They’re at a much higher level”. Sue explained the benefits of OACs, “having OACs improved customer satisfaction levels. The cricket bat in my handbag had nothing to do with it!” We believe you Sue!

Sue continued on how using OLAs at an account level rather than a service level was much more efficient in her environment. By having one OLA per account, you can have all the individual (quirks) features of each service documented without the duplication. One of my favourite things about Sue’s presentation (apart from the cricket bat) was her guidance on putting together sensible OLAs. As the lady herself put it “make sure you have the right information at the right level. No one wants to be faffing about on SharePoint at 3 am trying to find the number for the support team”.

Next up was the Service Acceptance Board or SAB. As Sue said on the day “the golden rule is that there should be no surprises at go live.” Sue set out the rules for the SAB. It meets between 2 – 4 weeks before project go live and is attended by the project manager, the service manager and representatives from the business. The idea is to look at the service, ensure it’s hitting its previously agreed OACs and OLAs so that the people in attendance can make an informed decision at the Go / No Go point, just before go live.

Awesome session Sue and well done for styling it out despite loosing your voice on the morning. If I’d lost my voice the morning I was due to present I would have been simultaneously having kittens and tipping vodka into my coffee so kudos!

The Future of Work & Importance of Collaboration Technologies Patrick Bolger, Hornbill

The final session of the morning was Pat Bolger from Hornbill. 

Pat opened with this: “more functionality will not solve all your problems”. I really agree – how many times have we seen someone trying to fix business problems by chucking an expensive tool at it? It never ends well, believe me.

Pat went on to explain why social media had changed the game “one bad customer experience, and it’s out there”.

Pat talked about the benefits of collaboration “it gives people a voice. A study carried out by McKinsey found that collaboration can raise a person’s skills by 25%”

Pat outlined some top strategies for making it stick in the workplace. “Define the purpose of collaboration and make it sticky by using it to track productivity. One example of this is to link in with the timesheet system.” Pat continued by saying, “collaboration needs to be a destination application, people will go to it to get their stuff done.”

Pat finished on a really strong point – it’s better when we work together. You can view the video here (NB, no cute baby penguins were harmed during the filming of the video.)

After a long lunch, there was a quick interactive plenary and I do mean quick. Quite a few of the delegates were saying that they would have prefered a shorter lunch break and a longer Q&A session – maybe that’s something to take away for next year? People were definitely beginning to get a bit tired at this point:

For me, the highlights of the discussion were Jame’s take on DevOps “DevOps is a philosophy on delivering value to the business. ITSM and DevOps will compliment each other”and Caroline’s stance on Shadow IT “cockroach IT more like, only one licence but load of users on it”. Former itSMF UK Chair John Windebank reminded us to think of our customers “remember every Incident is a failure of our IT Services.”

Conference Closing Keynote Manchester – Devolution and Impact on ICT Bob Brown, CIO, Manchester City Council

The closing keynote, Bob Brown from Manchester City Council on how they’re making it work.

Bob gets bonus points for being the first speaker to mention the C word. Minds out of the gutter people! I’m talking about Christmas as apparently Father Christmas (or Santy for our Irish readers) is currently sat on top of their city hall:

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Bob’s mantra is “Manchester City Council services are life and death so we live and breathe our support for those services.” One memorable example was the crematorium as a member of Bob’s team said, “lose the IT services behind that and the bodies will literally build up”.

The theme of Bob’s speech was the customer experience. Bob’s team are careful to spend time with their customers with Bob personally manning their version of the genius bar once a month.

Before we knew it, it was 4 o’clock and it was time for Barclay to wrap things up. Thank you to the itSMF UK for inviting us, great conference and we’ll be back next year. Roll on #ITSM16!

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ITSM, SIAM & winning elephants – it's the itSMF UK 2015 Conference! Part 1

It’s London baby! The itSMF UK held their annual conference in London this week. The theme of the conference was “new problems, new solutions” and was held at a sparkly new location, the Sofitel at Heathrow.

Day 1

Rosemary Gurney kicked off the proceedings in style with a rousing speech; telling the audience “ITSM must stand up and be counted in the business world.”  Rosemary introduced the keynote speaker, Simon Wheatcroft.

 

Simon Wheatcroft Session

Simon opened the conference with an inspirational account of how he taught himself to run marathons despite going blind at the age of 17. Here he is in action!

SIAM: Lessons from the Frontline – Martin Goble & James Finister Tata Consultancy Services

The first session of the day was on SIAM and all eyes were on Martin & James.

Martin and James opened their session by taking some of the mystery out of SIAM stating that it’s “a framework that enables you to hit the targets in your vision.” So far so good right? Not too scary, even for a SIAM newbie like me. They went on to explain that SIAM isn’t an org chart or a model, it’s a framework that goes beyond ITIL.

SIAM isn’t however, a magical solution that will fix everything:

Martin and James’ session focused on practical advice on using SIAM. They explained how vital organisation Change Management was explaining “SIAM might be sexy to the CIO but if the Service Desk don’t get it then it wont work”. They went on to outline how to motivate suppliers in working together explaining that organisations need “a fair risk – reward model in order to drive collaborative behaviour.” When asked what a fair incentive would be, James gave a fantastic  example where he saw the CEO of the supplier company that had breached their SLA give £1 in person to the CEO of the company that was buying their services stating “it happens once, then everyone reporting to that CEO will make sure it never happens again because of the fall out”. Brilliant example and wise words indeed James.

Martin finished the session with one of my favourite quotes from the conference: “SIAM is a Major Incident bridge at 3 o’clock in the morning where the supplier does something above and beyond, that isn’t even in their contract, just because they like you.”

 

Cyber Resilience for IT Service Managers – Stuart Rance, Optimal Service Management

Next up was the total legend that is Mr Stuart Rance on Cyber Resilience and the new framework, RESILIA. Stuart opened the session by talking about why cyber resilience was critical to the business and that if you get it wrong “both your customers and your money will fly out the door.”
He referenced how commonplace security breaches occur citing Target, Talk Talk and the UK Child Benefit breaches as examples stating “if you think you’ve never been breached then your monitoring simply isn’t good enough.”

Stuart then introduced RESILIA, the new framework for cyber resilience. Luckily for all us ITSM geeks, it’s lifecycle based and sits nicely with ITIL. This is what the framework looks like – look familiar to anyone?

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Stuart walked us through the framework, giving practical examples of how to get involved suggesting “find out who the Infosec people are in your organisation and ask them how you can get involved. Look, we’re all lazy, we all circumvent controls because it’s easy and we all look sheepish when we’re caught.”

Stuart continued by stating that “ITSM and Infosec absolutely have to collaborate. Every single ITSM process has a part to play in information security so get involved in cyber breach scenarios and testing.”

Stuart concluded  by explaining the important role that CSI plays in RESILIA stating “ in Infosec, you wouldn’t even get away with not doing CSI for a month.” You can check out RESILIA here for free until the end of November.

 

Beyond Base Camp; taking a new route to improve service levels – Stuart Higgins, SUMERIAN

The first session after lunch was from Sumerian. It was tagged as being a session that explained how Capacity Management could support the other ITSM processes something I was really excited about because I don’t think that Capacity Management gets the love it deserves. It opened on a promising note with Stuart explaining “Capacity Management is key to improving service levels.” Stuart continued by talking about using three steps to delivering effective Capacity Management, “run, plan and optimise.”

Stuart talked about the need for automation in Capacity Management stating “most capacity related  Incidents could be prevented by using predictive analytics.”

The next part of Stuart’s presentation was a demonstration of how the Sumerian toolset could carry out Capacity Management tasks. For me, this part of the presentation didn’t work, as one delegate put it “it wasn’t bordering on a sales pitch, it went well over the line.” To be fair, Stuart switched back to explaining how Capacity Management could be aligned with other ITIL processes, using Configuration Management as an example. For my money, this session would have worked better as either an interactive demonstration of the software at the Sumerian stand or by getting the delegates involved in some sort of game to demonstrate Capacity Management.

Stuart finished with a great piece of common sense advice stating “we have to be more responsive in IT. Patch Tuesday happens every week, the clue is in the name people!”

 

SFIA V6: Using Skills to Leverage your Biggest Asset, People – Matthew Burrows, BSM Impact

Next up was Matthew Burrows talking about the latest version of skills framework SFIA. For those of you not familiar with SFIA, Matthew explained that “ it’s a common language to define skills, abilities and expertise in a consistent way.”

Matthew took the audience on a whistlestop tour of SFIA, explaining how it can benefit the business by having the right people, with the right skills in the right roles.

Matthew explained that both ITIL and COBIT reference SFIA:

What I loved about Matthew’s session was how accessible he made his subject matter saying “you don’t have to pay a fortune to use it, just download it and have a play with it.”

 

Two-Speed Transition: Tradition & Innovation – Starring Release, Service Catalogue & Early Life Support (Service Transition SIG)

The final session of the day was a workshop run by the Service Transition SIG. I’m not going to review it as I was part of the session as an enthusiastic SIG member! The theme of the workshop was two track IT, covering traditional versus agile ways of doing Release Management, Service Transition and Service Catalogue. The boss, @itammartin, was on bell duty, making sure that each speaker had their allotted five minutes. The output of the workshop will be pulled together by the SIG and shared with our members, so watch this space!
I missed the awards dinner because I was on child wrangling duty but congratulations to the winners and the nominees. You can see the full list here: and here is a picture of said children:

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To be fair, the hug I got when I walked through the door on Monday night more than made up for missing out on the gala dinner! In all seriousness though, a huge congratulations to all the winners and everyone that was nominated and a special shout out to Pink Elephant who won the training company of the year category. Awesome work guys #gopinkorgohome

That’s it for now – come back soon to see our coverage of Day 2!

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