Review: itSMF UK Tooling Event [January 2013]

itSMF UK Chair Colin Rudd

itSMF UK Tooling Event, London, January 25th 2013

I attended the itSMF UK Tooling event on 25th January in central London.

That week in the UK was bitterly cold with lots of snow – so this event had low turnout or cancelled written all over it.

However, hats off to the itSMF UK events crew who managed to persuade around 100 ITSM folks to brave the snow and ice and discuss service management tools and technology.

The event blurb stated:

“Finding the right ITSM products and implementing them correctly is a challenge for any organization, and keeping abreast of the latest software developments is becoming increasingly difficult as users have less and less time available to explore the options.

itSMF UK’s ITSM Software Tools Forum offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring vendors, consultants and potential buyers together under one roof to discuss product selection and implementation.”

Running for Ashley

itSMF UK Chairman Colin Rudd was our opening speaker and guide for the day. Colin began by painting the big ITSM picture and discussing the 50,000ft view on what we are aiming to achieve with the practice of ITSM.

Colin’s opening served as a useful orientation and allowed delegates, who had taken a day out from being at the rock face of day-to-day ITSM, to gain the right perspective.

Colin also urged us to support the itSMF UK team with their Reading Half Marathon charity run in support of long time itSMF supporter Ashley Hanna.

Colin Rudd, John Windebank, Ben Clacy, Mark Lilycrop, Rosemary Gurney and Barry Corless will be running for Macmillan Cancer Support on the 17th March – make a donation here:

http://www.justgiving.com/ashleysbigchallenge

After Colin’s introduction we heard from Cherwell, Marval, Hornbill, 2E2, BMC and Topdesk.

CHERWELL (8/10)

An old adage for presenters to keep their message clear and concise is to:

  1. Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em
  2. Tell ’em
  3. and then tell ’em what you’ve told ’em

Simon Kent from Cherwell opened vendor presentations with a textbook example of this method in action.

He told us the leading Cherwell value points were: Ease of use, business value, service automation and innovation. He then proceeded to hammer each point home concisely by letting the technology do the talking.

MARVAL (7/10)

This is the first Marval pitch I’ve seen without Don Page. Whilst Don is clearly a leading pillar of the ITSM community and someone you won’t forget in a hurry, I thought it was refreshing to see a Marval presentation minus Don.

Underneath the façade of humour and expletives lies a solid ITSM company with a solid offering. The team are clearly service oriented and interested in the long-game consultative sale rather than just punting software. Good presentation from Tom West-Robinson, I look forward to seeing him present again.

HORNBILL (6/10)

The two presentations prior to Hornbill were focussed on ease of use, codeless configuration and DIY development. Prospective customers are perhaps thinking “If we swap our existing tool for something else we don’t want to re-mortgage the business to pay for the configuration”.

With this in mind, I felt the Hornbill proposition looked a little dated (versions aside).

Patrick’s presentation was good as per usual and Hornbill’s ‘Make IT Happen’ is a great approach but, given this is a tooling event, Patrick could have given us more to showcase the actual technology.

Quote du Jour from Patrick:

 “Renting software doesn’t make you any better at running it“ – Patrick Bolger, Hornbill

2e2 (1/10)

Martyn Birchall from 2e2 opened his pitch by stating that he ‘got bored with own PowerPoint’ and ‘preferred to make things interactive’. What a refreshing change – an interactive session before lunch? Alas, Martyn then proceeded to plod through his PowerPoint and not allow for interaction. I won’t dwell on his painful pitch since 2e2 unfortunately seem to have bitten the dust since the event.

BMC (8/10)

Andrew Smith provided a live demonstration of Remedy Force which included harnessing the enterprise social platform chatter into service management work streams. Remedy Force will look very cosy and familiar for anyone working with the force.com platform. It was a good showcase and attracted the most questions and interaction throughout the day.

For a big lumbering publicly listed conglomerate the demo showed surprising innovation. I also liked the tool BMC use to help potential prospects navigate the portfolio.

The video below was used during the presentation:

TOPDESK (7/10) 

Finally, last to present was Rob Goldsworth of TopDesk who stated that ‘ITSM is not an IT function’ and emphasized the use of their technology in HR, Facilities, CRM and so on.

Apart from a small home-goal with ITIL certification semantics Rob gave us a good tour of the compelling features within TopDesk via a live demo. In particular I liked the Kanban-style instant visualization of work in hand and resources available. Similarly the resource planner and process mapping tools look very well thought out. It was a good enough demo to whet your appetite without being too mechanical.

Whistle Stop Tour of ITSM Tools

In short, I thought this was a good event. It was well attended, had a good mixture of exhibitors and provided a great opportunity for prospective buyers to network with peers and engage with software companies without the formality of the normal sales process.

Note: This is just my opinion, as an itSMF member of an itSMF event. If you wish to share your own opinion on this or any other event please feel free to use the ITSM Review platform.

The itSMF UK 2012 Awards, Real Stars & No Backslapping

As the UK’s largest service management user group with over 12,000 members, the itSMF UK is no doubt resolutely proud to be announcing details of the finalists for this year’s Service Management Awards. The group’s “glittering” awards dinner is held as part of the annual itSMF UK Conference, which will be held at the Novotel London West on 5th and 6th November 2012.

Not (we are told) just an industry backslapping and glad-handing exercise, the iTSMF UK awards are designed to honour the “real industry stars” in Service Management and to recognise the achievements of those who have shown real leadership, imagination and skill in addressing service management challenges within their organisations.

“It’s very satisfying to see people recognised for their hard work and inspiration. It’s also important to showcase real-life projects that have been completed – hearing about the issues that member organisations have faced and the strategies they have put in place to improve customer service can really bring the details to life and indirectly solve problems that other organisations may be battling,” said Colin Rudd, chairman of the itSMF UK.

There are nine categories this year, each of which has been precisely described as “highly competitive” in nature.

Service Management Project of the Year – Finalists: Vodafone, The Co-operative Banking Group, Avis Budget Group

Service Innovation of the Year – Finalists: Stockport Council, Sunrise Software, Fife Council, Telefonica UK Ltd

Service Management Team of the Year – Finalists: The Co-operative Banking Group, HM Land Registry, Foster & Partners

Submission of the Year – Finalists: Ian Macdonald, The Co-operative Banking Group; Kevin Holland, Independent Consultant; Andrea Kis, Macmillan Cancer Support and Matthew Burrows, BSM impact

Trainer of the Year Finalists: Peter Saul, Smatra, Duncan Anderson, Global Knowledge

Contributor of the Year Finalists:  Stuart Wright, Severn Valley ITSM; Jane Suter, Red Tiger Consultancy; Martin Neville, Audit Commission; Mike O’Brien, ILX Group; Alison Cartlidge, Steria; Steve Straker, Fujitsu Services

NOTE: The Paul Rappaport Award for Outstanding Contribution to ITSM Service Management is presented to an individual who has made a sustained and outstanding contribution over a number of years to the field of IT service management. Finalists are not publicised for this award.

Student of the Year – ITIL Finalists: Peter Mullett, Identity and Passport Service (EI – BCS); 
John Hyde, Emerson(EI-APMG); Paul Williamson, RFI Global Services (EI – PeopleCert)

Student of the Year – ISO/IEC 20000 – Finalists: John Griffiths, Fox IT; Richard Stone, Fox IT; Martin Lee Hall, ITSM Consulting; David Lucas, BT;  Paige Lattimer, Capita; Michele Campbell, Capita.

The event’s  dinner is being hosted by Dave Gunson who is a renowned after-dinner speaker “famed” for his confessions of an air traffic controller talks and written work.

Event Listing: itSMF UK Conference, London, November 5th & 6th

Coming of age: The 21st itSMF Annual Conference

This year the itSMF marks its 21st birthday. What a milestone! The ITSM Review will be there – please give me a shout if you would like to say hello.

WHAT

itSMF 21st Annual Conference. Full Agenda here.

WHERE

  • Novotel London West, Hammersmith, West London.
  • Hotel Website
  • Google Map
  • Address: Novotel London West, One Shortlands, London, W6 8DR

WHEN

Monday 5th November – Tuesday 6th November 2012

WHO

The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) – The premier community for leadership in IT Service Management (www.itsmf.co.uk)

BOOKING & FURTHER DETAILS

http://itsmf.co.uk/Conference/2012Conference/Conference_2012_Information.aspx

itSMF UK Conference

Image Credit

Germany’s first dedicated ITSM showcase: SITS Europe

A new German trade show for the IT Service Management (ITSM) market and tech support industry has been announced by Diversified Business Communications UK, organiser of SITS, the firm behind the Service Desk & IT Support Show in London.

SITS Europe is the latest addition to Diversified UK’s trade show portfolio. The event will take place on 24-25 September 2013 in Berlin and the organisers describe it as the “first dedicated industry showcase” for Germany’s ITSM sector.

Service desk Mecca

The show will be run in partnership with Messe Berlin in Germany and modelled on Diversified’s SITS event in the UK, which has been running for 19 years and attracts over 4,500 service desk and business professionals annually.

“Germany is the largest economy in Europe and has one of the largest markets for the ITSM sector in the world.  Yet incredibly, until now, it hasn’t had a dedicated trade show for this ‘mission-critical’ industry,” said  Laura Venables, event manager of SITS UK.

“The driving force behind the idea has come directly from the industry and it has been tailored specifically to meet the needs of the German market.  The organisations we’ve been working with for the past six months all agree there is a huge gap for an effective event like this, which is much more business-focused than the more traditional conference models.”

Deep learning resources

Positioned as a highly focussed event providing businesses of all sizes with the opportunity to source new technology, services, suppliers and solutions, SITS Europe will also provide its visitors with an unrivalled opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s leading experts and subject specialists in a first class conference and education programme, consisting of keynotes, seminars, workshops and round table discussions.

“We are very excited to be working with Diversified UK to create a strong task force using both of our expertise to provide the European ITSM market with a high profile market place,” said Dr. Christian Göke, chief operating officer of Messe Berlin GmbH.

More info at http://www.servicedeskshow.com/sits-europe

TFT12: Tomorrow's IT Service Future

The first 24-hour global ITSM virtual conference will be held courtesy of the Service Desk Institute and calls for speakers have already gone out as of August 1 this year.

Topics covered will be pertinent to customer service, IT support, best practices, social IT, people management and ITSM processes — and online interactivity will govern much of how the content here will be presented.

This global IT Service conference will stream live to YouTube via Google Hangouts and feature a total of 24 ‘crowd-sourced’ speakers who will be specifically selected based upon their industry expertise and their ability to captivate the audience.

All around the ITSM world

TFT12 will start its virtual journey in New Zealand on 5 December 2012 and FOLLOW the SUN until it finishes in Hawaii. Each presentation will be 30 minutes long and will feature an additional 15 minutes for Q&A interaction.

The speakers will span three different time zones – 8 in Australasia, 8 in EMEA and 8 in The Americas. We will hear from futurologists, IT experts, service gurus, industry analysts, thought leaders in social IT along with ITSM practitioners with relevant and practical experience within the industry.

Notes from a related Service Desk Institute post detail the following, “A question that we are frequently asked at SDI is — “what processes should we be following?” Like many good questions, there is not one straightforward answer. Much will depend on the service that you are delivering, who your customers are, what you do/do not do as a service desk.  What is clear however is that processes drive everything that service desks do and their importance cannot be overstated. They are an essential component of any service desk and they perform an invaluable function that enables the service desk to deliver optimal levels of support.”

Rachel Botsman

Proposed speakers at the TFT12 event include Alex Hocking, a trainer & consultant at Marval, a leading IT Service Management software solution;

Ian Aitchison LANDesk who is involved with many initiatives where information and knowledge is already shared in the LANDESK customer community; and (to name just three of many) Rachel Botsman whose TED Talks At TEDxSydney are well known. Rachel Botsman says we’re “wired to share” — and shows how websites like Zipcar and Swaptree are changing the rules of human behaviour.

You can follow the event on social media as it takes shape on Twitter @FutureITService #TFT12

 

Review: itSMF Continual Service Improvement SIG

Like many who work in ITSM, I am of course aware of the need for, and the importance of Continual Service Improvement throughout the Service Management Lifecycle.

But what does it entail in real terms, and not just what I read on the ITIL course/in the books?

I came along to the itSMF CSI SIG, held in London to find out.

CSI in a nutshell

The purpose of CSI is to constantly look at ways of improving service, process and cost effectiveness.

It is simply not enough to drop in an ITSM tool to “fix” business issues, (of course backed up with reasonable processes) and then walk away thinking: “Job well done.”

Business needs and IT services constantly evolve and change and CSI supports the lifecycle and is iterative – the review and analysis process should be a continual focus.

Reality

CSI is often aspired to, and has been talked about in initial workshops, but all too often gets swallowed up in the push to configure and push out a tool, tweak and force in processes and all too often gets relegated to almost “nice to have” status.

A common question one sees in Linked in Groups is:

“Why do ITIL Implementations fail?”

A lack of commitment to CSI is often the reason, and this session looked to try and identify why that might be.

Interactive

I have never been to a SIG before, and it was very clear from the outset that we were not going to be talked at, nor would we quite be doing the speed-dating networking element from my last regional venture.

SIG chair Jane Humphries started us off by introducing the concept of a wall with inhibitors.  The idea was that we would each write down two or three things on post-it notes for use in the “Speakers Corner” segment later in the day.

What I liked about this, though, was that Jane has used this approach before, showing us a wall-graphic with inhibitors captured and written on little bricks, to be tackled and knocked down in projects.

Simple but powerful, and worth remembering for workshops, and it is always worth seeing what people in the community do in practice.

Advocates, Assassins, Cynics and Supporters

The majority of the sessions focussed on the characteristics of these types of potential stakeholders – how to recognise them, how to work with them, and how to prioritise project elements accordingly.

The first two breakout sessions split the room into four groups, to discuss these roles and the types of people we probably all have had to deal with in projects.

There was, of course, the predictable amusement around the characteristics of Cynics – they have been there and seen it all before, as indeed a lot of us had, around the room.

But what surprised me was a common factor in terms of managing these characteristics: What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)

Even for Supporters and Advocates, who are typically your champions, there is a delicate balancing act to stop them from going over to the “dark side” and seeing become cynics, or worse assassins to your initiative.

The exercises which looked at the characteristics, and how to work with them proved to be the easiest.

Areas to improve

What didn’t work so well was a prioritisation and point-scoring exercise which just seemed to confuse everyone.

For our group we struggled to understand if the aim was to deliver quick wins for lower gains, or go for more complex outcomes with more complex stakeholder management.

Things made a little more sense when we were guided along in the resulting wash-up session.

The final element to the day was a take on the concept of “Speakers’ Corner” – the idea being that two or three of the Post-It inhibitors would be discussed.  The room was re-arranged with a single chair in the middle and whoever had written the chosen topic would start the debate.

To add to the debate, a new speaker would have to take the chair in the centre.

While starting the debate topics were not an issue, the hopping in and out of the chairs proved to be hard to maintain, but the facilitators were happy to be flexible and let people add to the debate from where they sat.

Does Interactive work?

Yes and no.

I imagined that most people would come along and attend a Special Interest Group because they are just that – Interested!

But participating in group sessions and possibly presenting to the room at large may not be to everyone’s liking.

I have to admit, I find presenting daunting enough in projects where I am established.  So to have to act as scribe, and then bite the bullet and present to a huge room of people is not a comfortable experience for me, even after twenty years in the industry.

But you get out of these sessions what you put in, so I took my turn to scribe and present.  And given the difficulties we had, as a group, understanding the objectives of the third breakout session, I was pleased I had my turn.

The irony is Continual Service Improvement needs people to challenge and constantly manage expectations and characters in order to be successful.  It is not a discipline that lends itself to shy retiring wallflowers.

If people are going to spend a day away from work to attend a SIG, then I think it makes sense for them to try and get as much out of it as they can.

Perhaps my message to the more shy members in the room who hardly contributed at all is to remember that everyone is there to help each other learn from collective experience.  No-one is there to judge or to act as an Assassin/Cynic so make the most of the event and participate.

For example, in Speakers’ Corner, the debate flowed and people engaged with each other, even if the chair hopping didn’t quite work, but acknowledgement also needs to go to the SIG team, who facilitated the day’s activities very well.

I have attended three events now, a UK event, a Regional Seminar and a SIG and this was by far the most enjoyable and informative so far.

A side note: Am I the only one that hears CSI and thinks of crime labs doing imaginative things to solve murders in Las Vegas, Miami, and New York?  No?  Just me then.

Event Listing: Service Desk & SLM Seminar, itSMF UK, 12th September 2012, Manchester

What?

itSMF UK Seminar – Service Desk and SLM

The Service Desk is at the frontline to increase service quality, reduce cost and pressed to do more with less. Many are still searching for tools to help move them from their traditional fire fighting roles in-order to free up resources to more spend time on better managing customer expectations and improving service.

What are the best approaches to meeting this challenge?

This seminar is targeted at service desk, service level and service catalogue managers who want to ensure agreed customer expectations and promises are met

When?

Wednesday 12th September, 9am – 4pm

Where?

Museum of Industry & Science, Liverpool Road , Manchester, M3 4FP

Museum of Industry & Science Website

Map and Directions

Museum of Industry & Science (MUSI) in Manchester

Who?

itSMF UK

Agenda

Key learning outcomes of this seminar include:

  • Learn the processes that underpin a good service desk
  • Learn what are the key interfaces between the service desk, service level management and service catalogue
  • Learn how you know if you have got the right people working on your service desk
  • What is the skill profile and roles of a hybrid service desk manager and analyst
  • Learn which service desk structure is right for your organisation
  • Learn the challenges and approaches to managing a distributed or global service desk
  • Learn how to define a service catalogue with underpinning service levels that works for you
  • Learn how to get more out of 2nd line teams by implementing operational level agreements
  • Learn how to improve your workload planning and scheduling techniques to manage the service desk
  • Where will the service desk be in 5 years

Further Info…

Photo Credit

itSMF 2012: 21 Years Of Knowledge & Vision

Service Management should always be capitalised in full when it precedes the word Forum — in relation to the itSMF UK’s Conference and Exhibition. With this rule of protocol laid down then, we can now point to the ITSM12 conference, which is this year being staged from November 5th to 6th at the Novotel London West.

NOTE: That’s W6 8DR and Hammersmith Tube for those of you that want to mark your diary now. The 5th is a Monday.

This year’s event is billed as the largest industry gathering yet with an opening keynote from Simon Wardley, one of the UK’s top 50 “most influential people” in IT (as voted by Computer Weekly readers). Wardley will apparently focus on IT strategy and new technologies as he has a background in defining future directions for companies in the FMCG, retail and IT industries.

The itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition itself sets out to try and provide education and networking opportunities along with the “highly popular” Service Management Awards dinner.

So what’s really inside?

  • Over 50 educational workshops are scheduled.
  • Presentations from all the itSMF’s special interest groups — with an entire series of sessions dedicated to problem management.
  • Experience-based talks from user organisations including Tesco Bank, The Co-Operative Bank, Oxford University and Everything Everywhere.
  • An interactive plenary session will also be returning this year, allowing the audience to vote on discussion topics via interactive keypads.

Alongside the conference, the industry exhibition includes all the industry’s leading tool vendors, product suppliers and consultancies.

“This year’s conference is set to be our biggest ever. We’re pulling out all the stops for our 21st birthday and we are planning to make this an event to remember, said Ben Clacy itSMF UK chief executive. “We have a really packed two days and so many excellent speakers, delegates really will be spoilt for choice – the only problem will be fitting it all in!”

The Service Management Awards will follow the conference on the Monday night, recognising the outstanding achievements and significant contributions of Service Management professionals, teams, contributors, trainers and students. Details of all this year’s award categories are available at www.itsmf.co.uk/Awards2012.

Colin Rudd, chairman of itSMF UK, commented, “This year’s conference marks my first anniversary at the helm of the organisation. I’m really looking forward to helping the itSMF UK to celebrate its 21st birthday at the conference, a significant milestone in our history.”

itSMF Regional Seminars: Where Speed Dating meets Networking?!

Speed Dating meets Networking?

When I went to my first itSMF Regional Seminar last month, I never would have believed that I would be putting those words together!

The event (hosted by Attenda for the London and South East region) was focussed on End to End Service Management, as well as that all important networking element.

According to outgoing Chair Jane Suter, their last attempts hadn’t been quite as successful, revolving around groups moving from room to room.  However, on arrival, we were handed slips of paper with what looked like safe-combinations on them, and corresponding numbers were dotted about the venue, the idea being that at the various breakouts, we proceeded to the relevant number on the list to meet with like minded numbers!

This worked really well until we got to lunch time when we actually missed out one session altogether and the feedback session for the last one took a while – but it was actually a very valuable session.

I suggested that they should build in the time to do more detailed feedback, because after each presentation, and then each networking session, we were encouraged to look at the subject matter and incorporate those into our introductions.

I’m sure it’s an approach that has been done before, but was a pretty effective mechanism and a good icebreaker, especially for a few of us who were first-timers at these events.

The Role of the new CIO in an End-to-End Service Management Environment – Mark Fowle, Attenda

This was a well presented and well thought out presentation, not pitching Attenda, but putting forward their perspective based on their customer base.

The presentation focused on how the IT Director role was perhaps drifting away and being replaced with that of a Chief Information Officer as a key contributor – moving away from pure technical focus and looking to solve business problems.

When I put this in context with a CIO pitch a week later at the itSMF UK Software Tools Forum in Manchester – the focus of is very much on achieving business outcomes, setting and achieving meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Enforcing Service Management practices through interoperable systems – Neil Forster, Attenda

Neil’s time was perhaps a little shorter than he had intended, as he ran us through how Attenda put a management layer over the top of their third party tools to provide them with platform to get information to their engineers, when they need it.

Neil focused in three key areas – Event Management, Incident Problem and Change Management, and Service Knowledge Management

They have developed mechanisms to have their engineers check for likely “best bet” matching tickets, and with links to knowledge based articles approved by team leads.

His key message was the presentation of information at the point of need, as well as embedding knowledge in the process.

Service Management in an Agile/SOA environment.

The final speaker of the day was Graham Youngs, from Tata Consulting Services –I had been on the periphery of an Agile-run software development project for an ITSM deployment and until that project the only scrum I had heard of had everything to do with Rugby Union and nothing at all to do with ITSM!

In fact what it focusses on is speed of change versus quality of service, and what I could draw from my own experiences was that a good Agile project manager is as much a key to a development team’s success.

In my own experience, although there were attempts to break down the barriers between development and operations, it still needed flexibility and a firm hand from the agile/development management side to keep members of the team focused on their immediate role as well as the bigger picture.

Overall impressions

  • Highlights

A friendly environment and easy to network thanks to the “speed dating approach”

  • Things to improve

The structure of the networking breakouts were relevant to the day’s theme and I think that they should allow some feedback time on the sessions as the group become very interactive at that point, making the seminar worthwhile.

Winners and Losers in the ITSM Premier League

Six leading ITSM vendors went head to head this week at the itSMF UK Tools forum. The free event was held at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, home of the 2012 premier league winners Manchester City.

This was openly promoted as a tool focused event. A perfect opportunity for some of the leading lights of the industry to showcase their technology and highlight their competitive differentiators.

An opportunity to shine?

It’s a tough, competitive market out there. Differentiate or die.

I was eager to find out which vendors could articulate their unique qualities, who could position themselves in the market? Could they inspire confidence in buyers? Would buyers be safe in their hands?

The result? In my opinion – Delegates experienced the full spectrum from cutting edge to dull as dishwater:


Roy IllsleyOvum (6/10)

Roy gave us an interesting, thought provoking presentation. The content seemed to be a bit out of place for the theme of the day but otherwise it was great talk and I look forward to delving into the slide deck when it becomes available (Applying Lean principles to IT Strategy).

Patrick BolgerHornbill (9/10)

You can tell why Patrick has ‘Evangelist’ in his job title. Patrick gave us an inspirational pitch for not only his company but also the industry as a whole. If all Hornbill customers have the same software installed and the same ITIL training – how is it that they experience vastly different results? Patrick argued that it is because of the people. Hornbill believes in putting their successful customers on a pedestal when positioning their solution. Nice job Patrick.

Tony Bambury, FrontRange (1/10)

Tony provided us a live demo of their SaaS solution and ran through a user ordering an iPhone. I struggled to see how FrontRange differed from the rest of the pack. An opportunity missed.

Kevin Parker, Tom Burnell and James Warriner from Serena (8/10)

Serena have some closet amateur dramatics buffs in their midst. Serena declared an end to dull PowerPoint pitches and provided a refreshingly different demonstration of their technology. We were entertained by means of a reenactment of one of their ‘Doug Serena’ episodes.  For me, it would have been the presentation of the day – but unfortunately it was difficult to hear their presentation and the ‘actors’ were not always visible, so we lost the thread at times. Otherwise – an excellent slot by Serena and they should be congratulated for their effort, preparation and originality (the product looked good too!).

Dave D’Agostino from ServiceNow (5/10)

Dave gave a safe and steady presentation on ‘SaaS driving forces’ and positioned ServiceNow as a cloud platform rather than pure ITSM focused tool. I’m personally not convinced that the market needs telling the advantages of cloud anymore and I would welcome some more pragmatic advice about shifting services to the cloud. E.g. if you are in this particular industry facing abc market forces and xyz legislation this is what similar customers achieved. Perhaps it’s time to move the conversation on from ‘You don’t need to buy servers!’.

I also thought Dave’s ROI model of on premise versus cloud looked a bit shaky, given the likely implementation / customization costs of ServiceNow over a 3 year period – I would welcome some independent industry statistics on this.

Don Page, Marval (4/10)

I tuned out for Don’s session. It was entertaining but a bit of a rant. If I were a prospect for a new ITSM tool provider I would be left with the impression that Don is a great guy and unique personality, but I would be a bit lost if you asked me to remember the redeeming features of his solution, apart from ‘Buy British’.

Tony Probert, Cherwell (7/10)

Tony set out the stall for Cherwell in his no-nonsense forthright style. Tony urged us to think about business services over support and that if we were doing break-fix for a living we were ripe for outsourcing.

He openly stated that most of Cherwell’s features were ‘just like everyone else’ but then managed to clearly articulate their competitive differentiators:

  1. Code-less configuration
  2. Autonomy from Cherwell (not dependent on consultancy and feature lock down)
  3. and seamless upgrades despite customization.

Three bullets to separate Cherwell from the competition and an attractive proposition for those migrating from on-premise tools. That one slide was a refreshing change to the others of the day who struggled to articulate their competitive differentiators.


Same again next year?

Like the SDI tools day, this is a great format by the itSMF and I hope they repeat it again soon. As with regionals – perhaps some real life user feedback could be shoehorned into the day. Further upcoming itSMF events can be found here.

Great seminar location: The view from the 'Legends' lounge at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.