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

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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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