In this episode regular host Barclay Rae talks to Rob Spencer regarding the ITIL Manifesto initiative. A community effort at articulating the core business values into bite-size chunks, an elevator pitch for ITIL.
First of all, a sincere thank you to our readers, contributors and followers for your continued support. Our humble little blog served up ITSM content to a mind-boggling 312,963 readers in the last twelve months from just about every country on the planet. This articles provides a high level summary of the hot topics and reviews that are proving popular on the ITSM Review.
ITSM Review Reader Analytics: Where do visitors come from?
Top 10 visitors by country:
Long tail of 195 other countries 23.09%
New visitors to The ITSM Review arrive via search engine, word of mouth or social networks. Our top 10 external sources of visitors are as follows:
Direct (e.g. bookmark)
The ITAM Review
The ITSM Review Newsletter
Other ITSM sites also send us visitors, here are the ten largest contributors by volume:
Many of the articles above were not published in the last twelve months. The most popular articles are the perennial, always useful guides based on real life experience.
Many expect that blog posts disappear after the initial bubble of social media, but for many ITSM Review articles the opposite is true. See the monthly views for Simon’s KEDB article below, note that visitors increase after six months then continue to attract readers for over 18 months:
Product reviews also stick around receiving readers several years after publication. See the visitors to this review of ServiceNow’s Service Catalogue capabilities by Barclay Rae:
Most Popular Product Reviews
Top 20 most popular product reviews by volume of impressions in the last 12 months:
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
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
A lot of people confuse the term Shadow IT for something more sinister, something straight out of a Tom Clancy cyber-espionage thriller.
If it were so, it’d be so much more cooler, of course, but on the contrary, Shadow IT is something far less sinister, something we have all been probably guilty of at some point in our careers. The act of purchasing or using technology for the workplace without the approval or knowledge of the IT department is called Shadow IT.
This could mean something as simple as someone using Dropbox to share company data or the DevOps team purchasing an instance of a caching server to increase performance of the website, all without the IT department’s knowledge or approval.
This phenomenon is commonplace thanks to a clear paradigm shift in enterprise buying patterns. Any manager armed with a credit card and access to the Internet can buy software thanks to vendors adopting the SaaS model, as long as it falls within the budget allocated to his department. With the consumerization of technology, it has only made things easier for credit card toting users. It is not only software that is gradually going beyond the scope of Shadow IT, but also hardware and gadgets. We live in an era where we can get a tablet delivered overnight from Amazon if the mobile testing team needs one immediately.
By 2015, 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures for most organizations will be managed outside the IT department’s budget.
Like any innovation or trend that emerges fast, there are two sides to this. The purchase of that SaaS marketing automation tool by the marketing department would definitely help the marketing team work efficiently towards the business goal of generating more leads, but that also means that there is an increased responsibility towards the IT department in making sure that there are no risks involved.
Some risks associated with Shadow IT
Acquisition of software from dubious sources – download sites, cloud services with poor security
Ill-researched information leading to bad tech choices
Bug infested software
Obvious data security risks
Risk of malware or virus infiltrating the corporate network
An important question is to be considered here is why do users bypass IT to make purchase decisions? A lot of people view the IT department as still stuck in the ‘80s or that the process of procurement is slow. With the market and competition moving at breakneck speed, businesses cannot afford to wait over a simple purchase that impacts business. With more and more businesses delegating decision making or opting for flat hierarchies, Shadow IT only makes more sense. In case of a sudden drop in performance, would the business rather have an engineer himself take the decision to purchase additional servers to balance load or an engineer who informs IT and waits for IT to supply the same, knowing it would take a few hours (or a few days?). IT would probably have to escalate to ask team leader, finance and a number of other stakeholders for approval resulting in unnecessary outage and hundreds and thousands of disgruntled customers. Phew!
Of course, such situations are not this black and white, but the challenge remains the same.
What can the IT department do to solve this deadlock?
Broad-minded CIO – The vision of the CEO is crucial in shaping the organisation; we know this. The same holds good for the IT department, for which the CIO needs to be open to innovation and new ideas. If that means getting rid of that legacy tool you have been using for the past decade, so be it.
Openness of the IT department – The IT department should not turn into a bureaucratic force in the organisation, slowing things down with a mindless adherence to the traditional way of doing things. It should act as a catalyst towards the ultimate goal of the organisation – to make more revenue and to be profitable. Understanding business needs and continuously reframing policies and processes is a given for a cutting edge IT department.
Communication – Business units must understand that it is good practice to keep the IT department involved in technology purchasing decisions, even ones which have to be taken fast. It becomes imperative for the IT department to reach out actively to business units and educate them about why they exist – not to slow them down, but to help them achieve their business goals. The IT department must use the announcements section of the service desk effectively, sending regular newsletters and engaging your users.
Protect and to serve – It is essential that business units and the IT department are on the same page when it comes to IT purchases. The IT team needs to be fully aware of the latest IT acquisition even if they are not directly involved in the purchase. At the end of the day, it is IT that are going to be firefighting if some security lapse arises. After all, you cannot really fight if you don’t know what exactly you are fighting. Step up on your internal training and empower your team to take decisions. Train your team on the latest IT technologies.
Do not look at Shadow IT as something that will put the IT department out of a job – look at Shadow IT as a huge opportunity to take unnecessary burden off IT – why would you want to spend your time on a minor purchase when you can spend the same time thinking about the big picture – IT strategy?
Remember, Shadow IT is not a bad word. We cannot stop business units wanting to invest in new technology to grow the business. But what we can do is work with them to ensure a smooth and productive work environment.
The aim of the review is to support prospective buyers with their selection process by providing features to consider when selecting a Self Service solution, and highlighting key competitive differentiators between products.
Configurability: look and feel, ability to follow corporate design, use of icons as well as text.
Design (areas that can not be configured): simple, uncluttered
Sign in: SSO, OAuth, OpenID, OpenID Connect etc.
Ability to log requests/incidents
Knowledge: search, display, auto suggest, rate
Interaction: live feed, chat
Ability to run customer satisfaction surveys
Ability to run diagnostics
Reporting: number of end user visits, areas visited, most popular articles
No time to read all the interesting news and info floating around social media and appearing in your inbox? Read our news roundup of what we’ve found interesting this week.
Why Shell, BP & PwC Teamed Up To Launch Platform-Neutral IT4IT Forum – Archana Venkatraman at Computer Weekly reports that Shell, BP and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), along with IT suppliers Microsoft, IBM and HP, have launched the IT4IT Forum – a supplier-neutral consortium that provides enterprises with a reference architecture to simplify their IT management, cut costs and improve IT efficiency. Read more here
Watch Out for Suspicious Microsoft Office Files…It Could Be Malware – Microsoft recently announced a security advisory warning of specially crafted Microsoft Office files that can give an attacker the same user rights as the user that opens it. Read more here
Ask A Superhero! Q&A With Jenny Jordan, Service Desk Superhero 2013 – As part of IT Service Week 2014 Service Desk Institute (SDI) held a webinar with Jenny Jordan of Edge Hill University who was the winner of last year’s Service Desk Superhero award. Listeners’ questions were put to Jenny and she was probed for tips on being a super-star on the service desk. Read/listen here
A New Kind of Service Catalogue? – Robin Goldsbro proposes an alternative approach to the service catalogue that better represents the business. Read more here
Twitter Wants To Be Your Gatekeeper – Twitter makes a move designed to do just what Facebook does…but with less data sharing. Read more here
Why CFO’s Should Embrace SysAdmins – CFOs often see Devs as creating innovation while sysadmins are there to make sure that innovation runs and runs efficiently with their view of technology coming down to this: Invest in innovation, and cut your infrastructure costs. Bill Koefoed explains why this way of thinking should change. Read more here
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 umpteen years I’ve been attending SITS, Laura has been synonymous with the show and the ITSM industry as a whole. Good luck Laura with your new adventures!
“Laura has been a great curator of the industry through the show and very positive and popular host.” Barclay Rae, Barclay Rae Consulting
“Laura…. Thank-you for reminding me how old I am ;-)….I think we met way back when I was at FrontRange, then Numara who was bought by BMC…..How time flies. I has been a delight working with you. All my very best for the future.” Andy White, EasyVista
“I was continually amazed at the quality of the Service Desk Show, which I know was directly correlated to Laura’s efforts. It is sad to see her go, but appreciate we sometimes need to flip our perspective to experience a completely new adventure. Hope you enjoy every minute of it Laura, and sent us postcard!” Courtney Wheeler, TOPdesk UK
First NHS IT Service Desk In England To Secure 3-star Accreditation – Informatics Merseyside has become the first NHS service desk in England to be accredited with 3-star certification from the Service Desk Institute (SDI) Read more here
Is The BIS Growth Accelerator Scheme Worthwhile For Technology Startups? – Caroline Baldwin reports on why few technology companies are taking advantage of the additional financial and growth support available. Read more here
Do You Have A Service Management “House Plan”? – Matt Hooper explains why one process at a time isn’t going to cut it. Read more here
Problem Management – The Value In Not Knowing– Ryan Ogilvie celebrates the opportunity of unrealized value. Read more here
FBI Warns: Criminals Could Walk Free If Tech Companies Encrypt User Data – As tech companies try to outdo one another in the battle to address user privacy concerns, the FBI is warning that new encryption methods might hinder investigations. Read more here
Should I Upgrade to Mac OS X Yosemite? – Golden delicious or bad apple? Read more here
How Microsoft Appointed Itself Sheriff Of The Internet – Cyber criminals, digital crime fighters and collateral damage. Read more here
Do you have an apprentice working in your IT department? Perhaps on your Service Desk learning the ropes, planning their rise through the ranks to Database Administrator or Network Engineer? I of course am generalizing and there may well be many apprentices out there wanting to pursue a career purely as a Service Desk Analyst it’s just that I have never met one.
I did however once meet a man called Paul who started working with me, not in IT admittedly, but who, having been made redundant and failing for over 18 months to procure a similar role, decided to apply for an entry level position in a very different sector to one he had worked in before. Paul was 58 years old.
The Office of National Statistics estimates that in July of this year approximately 325,000 people in the UK age between 50-64 were unemployed. Although this is thought to be about half of the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds, the prospects for the 50+ demographic finding long-term employment are considerably bleaker with almost 50% of those over 50’s having been unemployed for one year or more or forced into underemployment working part-time or to zero hour contracts.
Paul was extremely able, had an excellent manner and was very patient with the callers on the end of the line. His customer service skills were exemplary and in contrast to others, including myself at the time, he did not see the role as a rung on a ladder to somewhere else. He just wanted to help people and do the job to the best of his ability.
Looking back I can see that Paul would have made an excellent Service Desk Analyst. I very much doubt though that at the time, when this particular IT Department contained only one person over the age of 50 who was widely regarded by his colleagues as a dinosaur treading water until retirement, that Paul would ever have been considered.
Despite possessing a healthy interest in IT and possessing good IT skills, pretty much all that can be hoped for when attempting to employ an apprentice, the suggestion that Paul could take on the apprentice role would have no doubt received much laughter.
Luckily things are changing…
Although traditionally apprenticeships have been for young people fresh from education, the 50+ demographic is moving in. In the last year more than 34,000 people over the age of 50 have started an apprenticeship, with many applying for a ‘professional’ apprenticeship in areas that would normally be dominated by graduates.
Please don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support helping young people into work, my own working life started out this way and I am forever grateful for the opportunity but I think that organisations are missing a trick!
I believe that this older age group is an excellent fit for the Service Desk. With more decision-making and problem solving experience older workers already have a lot of the skills that would need to be taught to a young person alongside technical skills. And then there’s the general life experience aspect. Website Customer Champions carried out a survey on below average customer service and found that people over 50 are the most dissatisfied. It stands to reason that if you have received poor customer service you will work hard to ensure that your customers do not receive a similar service.
CIO's that fill SD's with 17yo's with no life xp show exactly how much they value the SD & Customer Experience – @barclayrae#itSMFEstonia
Opening up apprenticeships to the 50+ demographic also helps to create a larger pool of suitable candidates, something which in my experience is greatly needed and, as I previously mentioned, with older workers more likely to see working on the service desk as a career rather than a stepping-stone to other things your return on your investment will be far higher.
So do yourself a favour when looking for an apprentice and actively encourage applications from the over 50’s…they have a lot to offer
Types of apprenticeships
Currently in the UK there are over 200 different types of apprenticeships in areas such as retail, education, manufacturing, engineering and of course Information and Communication Technology.
Specific ICT Apprenticeships:
IT Application Specialist – providing apprentices with the competence, skills and knowledge to work effectively and efficiently with IT systems, communication and productivity tools and software applications
IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals – with the choice of focusing on either telecoms or IT this apprenticeship covers work in a broad range of digital technologies that help to use and share information.
Less obvious apprenticeships that may also be considered by an IT organisation:
Customer Service – teaching the apprentice the skills to provide excellent customer service as a customer facing employee
Contact Centre Operations – providing the apprentice skills in customer service, communication, problem solving and team working