Trains, planes, giant inflatable elephants & Yoda – Service Manager Day 2016!

It’s Utrecht Baby! National Service Manager Day is an annual event hosted by the NGI-NGN organisation in Holland. The NGI-NGN are the Dutch professional association for ICT professionals and managers. It is an independent platform where more than 2,500 members deepen their knowledge and maintain their network. Here’s our take on the big day.

Opening Keynote: The Future Of ITSM – David Cannon, Forrester

David kicked off the day in style with his take on the future of ITSM. David started off by outlining some of the challenges the ITSM community currently face telling his audience: “our customers drive innovation and that innovation is growing. We need to look at new ways to enable our customers.”

He continued by explaining that as ITSM professionals, we need to innovate “customers expect us to know all about them without them having to tell us” whilst keeping the lights on.

David went on to explain the our customers will continue to expect innovation something I completely agree with. Lets face it, we live in the world of Amazon, Facebook and Google – shouldn’t everything be that easy?

The next part of David’s presentation focused on the innovation cycle. David explained this by using the Google Maps example “Remember the first version of Google Maps? Best practice was to follow the directions then walk around for a bit until you found your destination. Nowadays if Google Maps doesn’t deliver you to the front door of the address you entered you get mad at them; ie innovation has met operation and IT needs to move from innovation to commodisation”. David also spoke about the need to manage technical debt explaining “We need to manage our services so that we can cover services throughout their lifecycle not just the first eighteen months. We must ensure money spent on operational systems to the original value proposition because if we don’t, we will only ever be associated with costing the business money”.

The final part of the session focused on practical advice. David explained that the focus has changed “It doesn’t matter what you call it, build and run must happen at the same time. The support model has changed, with the advent of genius bars customers want to know how they can use the technology they’ve got to do something new.” David used an Apple example to explain this “Apple have used genius bars to transform the worst part of a user experience, a broken device, into a real selling point”.

David concluded on this note “We need to learn the language of return on investment as a service manager – everything else is irrelevant.”


Next up was Christian Tijsmans on how Service Management can change your life. As someone who’s been in ITSM since I moved to the UK in 2000 I was all ears. Christian opened his session by talking about the only metric that should really matter – the personal happiness index.

Christian’s take on CSI is Continual Personal Improvement taking the audience on his journey from baseline to getting there and keeping the momentum going.

One of Christian’s key word of wisdom? Take accountability; or as he put it “stop starting things and start finishing things.”

Christian gave practical examples of how using KanBan and COBIT can make us more effective as well as the importance of planning and remaining agile:

My favourite part of the presentation was Christians reminder that people are everything “keep people at the forefront of your journey; Peter Pan needed belief to fly”



Minds out of the gutter people! This was Claire’s fab take on all things cyber resilience. The first part of Claire’s session focused on current threats:

Claire talked about how easy it is to accidentally compromise security telling the audience “50% of users will click on links from phishing e-mails, sobering stuff. Claire went on to explain why everyone is responsible for cyber safety – poor old Dave though!

The main part of Claire’s session focused on sorting out our cyber resilience. She started by introducing #RESILIA. RESILIA is the new framework for cyber resilience. It’s aim is to build cyber resilience in an organisation from the boardroom down. The RESILA framework provides practical guidance on:

  • Organisation wide awareness training
  • Cyber pathway tool
  • Leadership engagement
  • A certification pathway

Claire talked about how important it is to integrate cyber resilience into IT Service Management explaining “we need to integrate security into every one of our ITSM processes”. As a starting point; “use your experts to get security going in your organisation – stop hiding them away!” Getting buy in is a critical part of any security policy and as Claire put it “make senior management walk the walk” I completely agree. Let’s face it – how are you going to get end users to follow security procedures if all they see is senior management breaching them left right and center.

Claire went on to talk about the importance of training that engages the audience telling us “E learning where the person goes away and has a cup of tea while it plays then ticks the box at the end doesn’t work”.

Claire’s final slide gave the audience some key takeaways to consider including:

  • Risk Management
  • Knowing your critical information assets
  • Making a plan

Claire finished by signposting everyone to the official RESILIA website where the Cyber Pathway will be available free of charge next month.

The radical impact of DevOps on IT Service Management – Charles Betz

Following a quick power break with the world’s most awesome cake selection Charles Betz was up as the afternoon keynote talking about the impact of DevOps on ITSM.

Charles opened by talking about digital transformation as a driver of Agile and DevOps “Agile is transformative and descending on our organisations at speed”.  He talked about the challenges that the ITSM world is currently facing:

He went on to talk about the substantial benefits a DevOps environment can bring, if done correctly.

He talked about what to do if you bump into a scaling problem:

As well as referencing the work done by Donald Reinertsen on product development flow.

Charles talked about the need to speed up feedback loops and reduce the cost of delay explaining “a nine month Release cycle won’t work in a digitised environment”. I’ve talked before about Amazon’s release cycle; deploying new code every 11.6 seconds – can you imagine telling the CEO of Amazon that he could only have one Release every nine months? No. Nope. Nopity Nope, No.

The final part of the session looked at finding leverage points to get buy in and support. Charles suggested automation, shared services, and challenging over-elaborated processes. In the words of organiser Dave van Herpen

It’s all about the services: Implementing a Service Portfolio – Nelli Serifovski, NNIT

The final session we attended was by Nelli Serifovski. Nelli’s session was all about using the Service Portfolio to drive value and was based on her practical experience of implementing Service Portfolio Management across NNIT; one of Denmark’s largest IT services providers.

Why a Service Portfolio instead of a Service Catalogue I hear you ask? Let me explain. A Service Catalogue is essentially a menu of all live services available to the business. It can have different views based on the role you’re in (e.g business and technical views) and gives you a view of all services. A Service portfolio is so much more. It’s made up of three components;

  • The Service Pipeline
  • The Service Catalogue
  • Retired Services

The Service Pipeline gives you a view of services that will be launched in the future; a sort of preview of coming attractions if you will. The Retired Services section keeps a log of all legacy services that you used to support and the Catalogue is your basic menu of what’s available now. So if your Service Catalogue is a menu, The Service Portfolio gives you the past, the present and the future.

Nelli’s session was full of practical advice on implementing Service Portfolio Management from the first attempt “no one wants to read a 600 page Service Catalogue” to the final version with an impressive benefit realisation.

Nelli talked about the need for governance explaining that  dedicated roles and responsibilities from service owners to solution architects  were key. Nelli outlined the cost model and planning involved sharing that every service delivery manager had to create a service plan replacing 20 odd services status with five across the company.

Nelli finished by sharing her key learnings and this final message “You need to keep working and improving. Service Portfolio Management never ends!”

For our money Service Manager Day was brilliant; informative, empowering and inspirational. This tweet summed up the day perfectly:

A huge thank you to the NGI-NGN for inviting us and we hope to be back next year.


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