The service transition SIG presented an interactive session at the itSMF conference in November to discuss modern innovative and traditional approaches to Service Transition.
The conference session covered Release Management, Service Catalogue and Early Life Support and arguments were made for both traditional and more modern innovative approaches in quick fire 5 minutes presentations.
After each round, the audience discussed and voted which approach they preferred.
Presenters were as follows:
Agile – Matt Hoey
Traditional – Sue Cater
Agile – Patrick Bolger
Traditional – Vawns Murphy
Early Life Support
Agile – Jon Morley
Traditional – Peter Mills
The final scores were as follows:
As you can see in the table above, the audience favoured Matt’s approach to release management but were on the fence for both Service Catalogue and Early Life Support.
My key takeaway from the session was that most folks were keen to explore new innovative approaches as long as the key benefits were adopted from traditional methods.
Two Speed Transition – 5 minute Video Summary
For further information on the Service Transition SIG please visit www.itsmf.co.uk
After an action packed few days at the itSMF UK conference last week, I was lucky enough to catch up with itSMF UK CEO Barclay Rae for a quick chat about life the universe and everything, or in our case, IT, SDI, AXELOS and the sparkly new ITIL practitioner qualification.
The Conference has been a big focus over recent weeks and has been generally seen as a huge success.For those of you that didn’t manage to go, some of the highlights were SIAM, winning elephants and cute penguin videos so it was all kinds of awesome! Barclay’s focus is now on taking that energy forward. So what has Barclay been up to over the last few months? Well firstly, his role is part time which means that as well as itSMF, he’s also had the day job and some exciting work with the Service Desk Institute to get on with.
The Service Desk Institute
Barclay is part of the author team for the SDI standards and was heavily involved in updating both Service Desk training and Service Desk Certification (SDC) standards. For those of you not familiar with the SDI, it’s a professional body for anyone working in the IT service and support industry. It sets the standards for the analyst and manager exams and runs a Service Desk certification program.During our chat Barclay talked about how the Service Desk in St Andrews University went from no stars to four stars with the support of the SDI. It’s a really inspiring journey and you can read more about it here.
Barclay was also an architect on the new ITIL Practitioner qualification. His take on it? “given the constraints we had, it’s pretty damn good”. The idea behind the practitioner course is that it provides real life guidance, which can be bundled with the ITIL foundation course so that delegates get 5 days of ITIL fun. As an ex trainer, I think combining the two courses will work brilliantly as delegates will be able to spend a decent amount of time learning and getting a really solid grounding in ITSM. It will also ease the transition from foundation to intermediate qualifications, again with my training hat on for a second, the first day of any intermediate course was always a shock to the system for attendees as there’s such a big jump from foundation level to intermediate level. Anything that eases that pressure has got to be a good thing.
So what is Barclay’s mission for his 6 months as head of the itSMF UK? To boost performance and reinvigorate the business side of things so that it can provide more value to members. Barclay wants to make more services available so that being a member gives tangible benefits to both individuals and companies. Barclay wants to build positive, constructive partnerships with other key players in the industry as well as complementary relationships with other organisations such as the BCS, and also vendor organisations.
Key to driving more value for members is the new leadership council. The leadership council is made up of senior, C level people who are experienced practitioners in ITSM. Having the right people with the right skills in place will enable the itSMF UK to provide more accurate industry analysis, better and more detailed briefings as well as driving new products and services for ITSMF, e.g. for career frameworks and benchmarking tools.
In summary, Barclay’s aim is to make a positive contribution to the itSMF UK, so that it’s seen as a vibrant industry contributor. An announcement on the dates for the 2016 conference will be announced soon – for those of you that can’t wait a whole year there’s a tooling event in early February. 2016 promises to be an exciting year for the itSMF UK, more events, better value for members and exciting new partnerships so let’s get this party started!
I find attending conferences and events extremely useful. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge in the shape of industry experts, vendors and people like you and me who have already gone through those pain points we are currently dealing with. All we have to do is listen, take notes and grab handouts.
Useful as conferences are I, like many of you, do not always have the ability to take a day or more out of my working life to attend and as for getting money from the boss to travel to, attend and in some cases stay over at events, well lets just say I’m getting lots of practice at writing business cases with persuasive arguments.
To save you some energy for that impressive and compelling business case here is my list of the events, conferences and experiences for the first half of 2015 that are worth your time and (your bosses) money*.
The first of a new series of Knowledge Exchange seminars sees itSMF UK looking at Service Management today and how industry experts and leaders are dealing with the current big challenges we’re facing and promises to help us prepare for the intense changes ITSM is currently undergoing.
Despite being a trade event SITS has a fantastic amount of useful info you can take away with no less than 36 seminars being held over the two days from the likes of the fabulous Andie Kis who should have a conference all to herself and everyone’s favourite Texan Daniel Breston.
What’s more if you book before Tuesday 2nd June entry is free!
If you are a public sector service desk then this one is for you. SDI events are always well thought out with the mixture of presentations, case studies and interactive activities making for an enjoyable, engaging and worthwhile experience.
At £185 (+VAT) these days are fantastic value for money and are particularly good at focusing on a particular subject or issue.
If these all sound great but you just don’t have the time then there is an alternative…
Every 2 months Conference in a Box send out a package covering a different subject with Metrics, Social IT, Best Practice, Gamification and Kanban being covered so far. In your box you’ll find a collection of learning materials, access to the speakers online and some goodies to ensure you don’t miss out on one of the best bits of trawling the exhibition floor.
Conference boxes are between £29.99 and £59.99 and have the added bonus of you being able to attend in your pajamas!
*All conferences/events etc above have been attended/test driven by either myself or a team member. If you run or know of a conference that you think would be beneficial to the ITSM community please let us know via this link
This article is a summary of the ITIL Manifesto session held at ITSM14. It was written by Rob Spencer, who has been coordinating, recording and agitating the discussions around this initiative after it was first discussed on twitter between Stuart Rance, Claire Agutter, Barclay Rae, Suresh GP, James Finister and Kaimar Karu.
Firstly thanks to itSMF for giving us a late-notice slot at ITSM14, to Barclay Rae and David Backham for introducing and facilitating the session, and Richard Horton for helping me communicate the ideas and progress behind the manifesto.
The session was a lively and (from my perspective as the person coordinating the ITIL Manifesto discussions) productive one. It’s important to me that I know what the community (you) want, so that in my role facilitating and coordinating discussions, I know our eventual objectives.
After Barclay’s introduction, I quickly played back the progress to date (using a variation of the Phase 2 Output Summary slides available on itil-manifesto.wikia.com) and Richard talked about some of the data and early analysis we’ve done based on some stats gathered from the time spent on tricider.com.
Then we opened for questions. It quickly became apparent that there were a lot of questions and a lot of people wanted to see this initiative done right. Here are some of the questions from the session or asked offline/afterwards, the responses we gave at the time (from memory and hastily scribbled notes) and some further thoughts.
1. What is the ITIL Manifesto?
We think that it’s the list of first principles that ITIL/we never had (but often came up with our own versions of). We think that it is part sales/promotion (for example if your CEO asks why business managers should bothered about ITIL), part check/balance, part philosophy/core beliefs about what ITIL should be, partly correcting how ITIL has been seen/positioned or even misrepresented to date.
2. What will it look like? Is ‘Manifesto’ even the right term?
We don’t know, but as a straw man I suggest that we come up with a principle for each of the key themes identified during the early stages of the ITIL manifesto initiative and then decide whether there needs to be a wrapper or summary statement on top of these. This is the structure used in similar initiatives. I suggest we keep the term manifesto for now, if this changes then we can decide this as a community before we publish it.
3. What will AXELOS do with ITIL Manifesto?
That depends on the quality of the content as well as the quality (and maybe breadth) of the community engagement. I had the chance to speak to Kaimar before the session and he remains supportive of the initiative and keen to see the products of the discussions.
4. This is about the 5th initiative on this or closely related topics – do we really need another one? Why can’t we just join this with SM Congress? How widely have you engaged?
The fact that this is about the 5th initiative tells me there is an itch that still needs scratching. That said, there’s no point reinventing the wheel. From what I’ve seen of SM Congress, it’s come up with some simple, clear statements of value plus a ton of community support. I always saw the ITIL Manifesto principles as being more descriptive than the simple “we value A over B” format of SM Congress or the Agile Manifesto (which inspired ITIL Manifesto).
The SM congress values were added to the ITIL manifesto tricider.com stream for voting and got some positive feedback (you can see votes and discussions of this on the Phase 1 Output page on the wiki).
The manifesto contributions to date have been focused in the UK, but I/we have been trying to widen the engagement. In the room (and contributing from the start) we had the president of ITSMF India, and we’ve had contributions from around the world via the Back2ITSM Facebook and Google+ groups. I do agree this needs pushing further though.
Since ITSM14, I’ve been introduced (virtually) to Charles Araujo (the head of itSMF USA and leader of the SM Congress initiative (thanks to Patrick Bolger for making the intro)) and we’re starting discussions about how to establish whether or not there’s an overlap and where we can work together. I’d like to do this on a public broadcast google hangout where we can take audience feedback and questions. This will be announced on the Back2ITSM groups and on twitter via the #itilmanifesto tag.
5. How will we test this with the customers?
Good question. I think there are two groups of customers, the most important being the business colleagues who we want to understand why we’re doing this and why we use ITIL. The other customers are of course us – the ITSM professionals who will (hopefully) use it. Coming back the the question, we do need find a way of testing the manifesto with the target audience – if anyone has any ideas on this, we’d be keen to hear.
One thing the entire room agreed on unanimously was that the manifesto must be phrased in business language.
6. Where’s the material?
On itil-manifesto.wikia.com. As wikia is a free (ad-supported) site, you will see adverts on the page – I’m looking now at moving this away to a more neutral platform. All of the material gathered to date is available on the wiki in both raw and interpreted/summarised variants. If you need helping finding anything specific, please let me know (contact details below).
7. What next?
I think we should focus on resolving 2 of the key questions asked in this session, namely:
What is the definition of the ITIL Manifesto (and what exactly is its purpose)?
How do we widen engagement and make use of initiatives which have gone before?
Either via a google hangout, or live twitter chat, or some other method. Again, keep an eye on the Back2ITSM Facebook and Google+ groups, and on twitter via #itilmanifesto. If you think you can help directly, please email me on email@example.com or on twitter via @changerelease.
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!
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.
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?
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.
Embarrassingly it took 3 versions of #ITIL before service management became Service based @ivormacf#itsm14
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.
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
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.
First time I've heard someone say NOT to be a service provider. Interesting notion #itsm14
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.
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.
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…
Doing the right things is governance, doing things right is management – @sureshgp#ITSM14
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.
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.
In the run up this year’s itSMF UK conference ITSM14, I chatted with Patricia Speltincx about her upcoming session entitled “The seven building blocks for IT Service Management success”.
Q. Hi Patricia, can you give a quick intro to your session at ITSM14?
In my presentation, I will challenge the classical ITSM implementation approach and propose a different paradigm based on 7 building blocks, hence the title of my presentation and of my white paper that won two itSMF awards (UK and International) in 2013.
I have worked in IT environments for 30 years and more specifically in ITSM for the last 15 years. I have seen organisations trying hard to implement ITIL® best practices with various degrees of success. It progressively became clear to me that focusing on processes and technology (2 of the 7 building blocks) was far too restrictive and therefore was not the right thing to do.
To achieve success, there is a need to broaden the scope and open to a more systemic view of the ITSM reality, in other words to see it from a more global perspective. An IT Service Organisation is still an ‘organisation’ and therefore ITSM should not be the only reference model.
Using different reference models coming from organisational theories, I came up with 5 additional building blocks, which I will discuss at the itSMF UK conference in London.
Q. Why is getting IT Service Management right so important for organisations?
Well, it is important to get everything right nowadays, so IT Service Management is no exception.
We live in an interesting period where old paradigms are seriously challenged due to the difficult economical context.
High levels of performance have become a survival condition for organisations. As a consequence, there are more and more pressures on people who have more and more difficulties to find motivation at work, which in turn has a negative impact on results. A lot of organisations seem stuck in this vicious circle. To get out of it, it is important that they get their global strategy right, two key elements of it being people and IT. Nowadays, you can’t do without engaged people and without efficient IT.
Q. What can attendees hope to take away from your session?
In my session, I will encourage attendees to open their mind to a different, broader and more systemic approach to ITSM. They will understand on which other building blocks organisations should focus their attention in order to achieve success. They will take away concrete ideas to build solutions to the current ITSM difficulties organisations are facing.
Patricia is an ITIL® Expert with wide experience as a trainer, consultant and coach in IT environments.
Fascinated by human potential, she is also a certified coach. She studied and practiced several theories linked to the development of individuals and organisations. This, combined with her coalface experience in IT allowed her to develop an original approach to IT Service Management.
She is currently focusing her activities on helping individuals and organisations that are willing to challenge themselves to achieve high levels of performance.
Patricia’s session is on day one of ITSM14 and featured within the Skills track. To find out more or to book your conference place please visit itSMF UK
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.
In the run up this year’s itSMF UK conference, ITSM14, I chatted with Karen Brusch of Nationwide Building Society and itSMF UK about her upcoming session entitled “Managing Multiple Suppliers from an SLM Perspective”.
Q. Hi Karen, can you give a quick intro to your session at the itSMF UK Conference?
The itSMF UK Service Level Management SIG has always been keen to research and present topics that are identified as problem areas by practitioners in the industry. Supplier Management and how that impacts Service Level Management has been an area of discussion which has gained momentum over the last 18 months. This session takes a look at some key points around the complexities of managing multiple suppliers.
Q. What impact does managing multiple suppliers have on an organisation?
The most obvious impact is the failure to deliver what an organisation’s business needs. It is hard enough to understand and document business requirements when you have one supplier; but when you have a multitude of suppliers, there is a real risk that requirements become diluted, compromised, or more crucially missed. Managing multiple suppliers is a black art, where what works for one set of suppliers will not necessarily work for another; so each combination requires a modified approach. Service Integration specialists (SIAM) have helped to shape some answers, but even here, flexibility is the key. So any organisation embarking on a multi-vendor strategy has to have the knowledge, capability and determination to succeed.
Q. Where should organisations start with managing multiple suppliers?
The most important thing is to understand your business’ end game; where do they want to be in 5 years’ time, for example. Once you have this information you can begin to formulate supporting IT strategies and requirements. Too many organisation write their Invitations to Tender (ITTs) and Request for Proposals (RFPs) without understanding business strategy
Q. What are likely to be the potential pitfalls and/or benefits an organisation may experience with implementing a framework for managing multiple suppliers?
An organisation will derive real benefit for taking the time to develop an appropriate governance framework for the selected preferred suppliers. As I’ve said already, each combination requires a modified approach, so it really pays to invest some time in this activity. The fundamental pitfall that I’ve seen on many occasion is that organisations select the cheapest provider for each area/tower of service, not taking into consideration the overall impact and integration issues. It goes back to having people with the knowledge, capability an determination to succeed.
Karen is an ITIL Expert, recognised as a member of the itSMF UK Expert Faculty, and a Service Design specialist with 12 years’ experience. She chaired the itSMF UK Service Level Management Special Interest Group for several years, and has recently stepped down from this role to support the newly formed Service Design SIG. When not engaged in itSMF activities, she works for Nationwide Building Society as a Service Design Consultant.
Karen’s session is on day two and featured within the Managing Complexity track. To find out more or to book your conference place please visit itSMF UK
Last year reader Gregory Bayliss-Hall triumphed with his submission and you can read his experiences of the event here.
The free ticket will include:
Entry to the pre-conference networking event on Sunday 9th November
Entry to both days of the conference and exhibition (Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th November) containing four dedicated tracks of service management presentations, numerous opportunities to meet with other service management professionals and an ITSM exhibition featuring over 40 exhibitors and sponsors
Entry to the fabulous Awards Dinner hosted by comedian, radio and TV personality Paul Sinha on the evening of Monday 10th November
The ticket will not include:
The ticket may include:
Embarassing dancing (yours and ours)
Let us know why you deserve to attend itSMF UK. Share with us the fabulous things you have achieved within ITSM this year, how this conference will help you in your day-to-day job and how this ticket will change your ITSM life!
Please keep it short and snappy with 200 words or less please.
I recently chatted to the new CEO of itSMF UK, Mike Owen, about his perspective of ITSM and challenges the industry faces.
In this interview Mike shares a great vision of where to take the forum and changes being discussed to the itSMF’s founding chapter.
Q. ITSM Review: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Mike Owen: My background is primarily in marketing and then general management. The first 15 years of my career were spent working in various companies including Time Warner, BT, Lloyds Bank, Barclays Bank and Grant Thornton – mostly in sales and marketing roles. After I did my MBA, I then worked for a national NHS authority as head of strategic planning. For the last 10 years I’ve worked across the commercial, non-for-profit and public sectors in various operational director, interim CEO and consultancy roles, specializing particularly in business-to-business sectors and membership organizations. I’ve worked with professional membership bodies such as The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, trade associations, and general business groups like Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
What interested me about the role at ITSMF UK was the opportunity to join an established membership body operating in a vibrant, exciting sector that IT clearly is – but where there was a fresh management challenge and an opportunity to further develop the organization, build its profile and help shape a new wave of growth. I’ve previously been MD/CEO of three small member-based enterprises – including one in the field of facilities IT – and I have always liked the shared ethos of membership bodies, but where there is still a commercial imperative to make things happen and develop for the future.
What are you making of the world of IT service management (ITSM) so far?
I’m finding it very interesting so far! I’m learning quickly and meeting lots of new people. Although I’m new to ITSM, I actually see that as quite a good thing as it means I’m inclined to ask questions that perhaps some more technical people might not. It also makes me more interested in looking for the context of how ITSM fits in with the rest of IT and wider business management.
A few things that have particularly struck me so far are:
ITSM is quite process and operations focused. Certainly, it is very valuable for people working in ITSM to have good models and frameworks to indicate effective practice and how to carry out tasks, but I wonder if there is a need to increase focus on wider and more strategic areas affecting IT and service delivery – like business strategy, IT architecture planning, operational process design, business structure and culture, staff skills/job design, relationship management with partners/suppliers, client satisfaction measurement, risk management, service quality management and so on.
ITSM currently appears to revolve substantially around ITIL. Although this is, of course, a well established and proven approach, I don’t think one framework can fully suit every organization out there; in my opinion the field needs to be seen more as an overall suite of different tools and methods to suit different contexts and a constantly changing IT environment. Other models already exist, of course, for example ISO 20000, COBIT, SIAM, Lean IT, and DevOps, but I think more needs to be done to present – and develop – ITSM as a discipline with a larger, richer, more flexible set of concepts, tools and methods.
There is a lot of potential to take ITSM beyond the IT department and relate it to wider business functions. I definitely get the sense that more and more people working in ITSM consider that the field needs to be seen in a broader and more holistic light than has been the case historically. As IT is nowadays such a key driver and enabler of business strategy, operational processes and customer-facing products/services, I think perhaps ITSM needs to relate to that wider frame of relevance more, not just serve as a template for running and delivering internally-focused IT operations more effectively.
Do you think ITSM is in danger of becoming irrelevant?
Not totally, but it seems to me that ITSM does need to broaden its outlook. ITSM needs to adapt to manage today’s more complex environment and wider developments – for instance, issues like cloud computing, social media, BYOD, big data and the huge growth of mobile. If it doesn’t, ITSM may possibly run the risk of withering into an outdated set of processes. IT often places too much emphasis on technical or operational processes. How many people in IT currently stop to think “how does this process link to our customers?” It’s pivotal that IT understands that it needs to have an outward, not just inward looking view of how to define the services that they are managing.
So in your opinion the future of ITSM lies outside of IT?
ITSM’s heritage is in the IT department, but I would say, yes, its future lies more outside of IT than in it. I believe that the future of ITSM is more to help organizations manage and deliver their overall customer/market-facing services and operations where they have a high dependency on sound and effective IT. Today, ITSM is more often than not about running internally focused IT operational services. Tomorrow has the potential for ITSM to evolve to be more about running IT-enabled, externally centred business/customer services. As such, ITSM professionals will need to work more closely with marketing and service operations colleagues and complement their deep technical/IT knowledge with wider business knowledge. In time, perhaps the sector will lose the “IT” from “ITSM”, but we need to careful we don’t stretch ourselves into being too generic!
So with regards to ITSMF UK, what do you see as the biggest challenge you have to face in the next 12 months?
Well, we need to continue operating a good day-to-day service for our members, of course, but there’s also a need to refresh the organization and put it in a strong position for the longer-term. This year, priorities for us include improving the efficiency and effectiveness of how we do things; improving our engagement with members; starting to develop and enhance our services and benefits to members; and building our marketing, profile and connections within the ITSM sector. ITSMF UK has a very valuable role to play in the sector – as the leading membership body for organizations, managers and staff involved in ITSM. Like any organization, we just need to keep moving and adapting to suit the world around us.
How do you intend to provide better value to your members?
Overall, itSMF is about providing value in several ways: particularly: boosting professional knowledge and learning to help organizations and their staff get better results from ITSM; networking and sharing between ITSM professionals; providing news, information and objective guidance about ITSM matters; helping to develop and promote ITSM as an overall discipline; and bringing together and representing the different parts of the ITSM sector. We’ll be looking to steadily build value on all these fronts and we’ll be seeking to do this in some cases by working in partnership with other professional bodies and groups in the sector.
Furthermore, we’re moving away from a “one size fits all” membership approach to presenting a more tailored offer and service approach to the different parts of the community. For example, we’ll be doing more to provide value to and support senior ITSM managers and leaders in our member organizations. We’ll also be doing a lot more online.
What can we expect to see from ITSMF UK over the next 6 months?
We’ll be moving forward on all the development areas I referred to earlier, but the areas of marketing and member communications will see some of the earliest changes. For instance, we have already introduced a much better Forum website whose functionality we will be developing steadily over the coming months – including expansion of our online reference resources. We’re refreshing the look and feel of our communication materials and tools and we’re revamping the editorial approach to our main publication, ServiceTalk to integrate it better with online media and cover ITSM issues, news and topics in greater depth.
The other major thing happening in the next six months, of course, is our 2014 Annual Conference and Exhibition. We’re also continuing to run our wide range of regional meetings, specialist topic seminars, and advanced masterclass events.
We’ve also started successfully to expand our membership base – that’s both our number of member organizations and the number of individuals registered to use our Forum’s facilities.
In the past resource has been an issue for ITSMF UK, how do you intend to achieve all these planned changes and updates?
By running a tight ship and moving forward in a careful but steady manner. We’ll prioritize what we do, always staying close to what members want, and we’ll work with our members and external partners as effectively as possible. I should stress that you don’t need to have lots of people to do more things. It’s about better utilizing the talent you have and involving members and appropriate external partners where necessary.
We also want to do more to facilitate and encourage more ‘peer-to-peer’ member activity and more support between members themselves. A membership body like ITSMF UK shouldn’t just be about a central office doing things for members ‘out there’: a Forum is equally about members networking and sharing with each other directly. That’s the beauty of a body like ours and something we want to expand further, making more use of our website and social media.
What’s happening with the Big4 agenda? Will you be planning a Big4 for 2015?
The Big4 agenda has been about trying to stimulate discussion, support and information around a particular set of ITSM topics that members told us last year they were particularly concerned about: back to basics, skills, managing complexity, and ITSM and agile. The initiative has been very useful, with activity ranging from dedicated seminars, online discussions, and articles in ServiceTalk and, of course, shaping many of the sessions at our upcoming 2014 Conference.
Of course, though, there are always many, more topics and issues on the minds of ITSM professionals at any one time and the Forum always needs to relate to those wider topics too.
In terms of thoughts about 2015, it’s a bit early to tell how we’ll approach the initiative next year, but certainly we’ll be minded to keep it as a useful way to help engage with members and assist in focusing our activities.
You mentioned the ITSMF UK Annual Conference and Exhibition, what can we expect from the event this year?
Well, we’re very confident it’s going to be another great event – the premier exhibition, conference and awards event for the UK ITSM sector! Still three months ahead of the event, we’re already delighted with the level of bookings – from delegates, sponsors and exhibitors. We’ve got a wide range of major and leading organizations who will providing speakers this year, including: Aviva, EE, Barclays Bank, BSkyB, Telefonica, Axelos, Capgemini, Deloitte, Tata Consultancy, and the NIHR Clincial Research Network. The conference will have over 30 separate presentations and workshops and the ITSM Exhibition will have over 40 exhibitors from major product and service providers across the ITSM sector. I’m really looking forward to the event.
What can we expect from ITSMF UK in the future, above and beyond just the next 12 months?
What I can say at this stage is that we will continue the journey I outlined earlier of steadily building the Forum and adding more and more value to both members and the wider ITSM sector. We need to be realistic, it’s going to take 18 months to two years to do everything we want to best fulfill the role of being the leading membership body for organisations, managers and staff involved in ITSM. Everything will come in steady steps, but the overall goal is to better support our members, to help people adapt and succeed in this new age of ITSM, to represent the ITSM community, and help promote the overall value of ITSM.
It’s an exciting mission for ITSMF UK. Everyone at the Forum is motivated by it and we view the future, with all our members, with a great deal of confidence.
The ITSM Review team welcomes Mike to his new role and looks forward to collaborating with itSMF in the future.