New Challenges, New Solutions at ITSM15 Conference

The 24th annual itSMF UK Conference (ITSM15) was held in the Sofitel Heathrow in late November 2015 with a tagline of “New Challenges New Solutions”. The conference covered all aspects of IT Service Management including the hot topics of IoT, SIAM, DevOps, Agile, IT4IT, people, Collaboration and Customer Experience as well as ITIL.

The two day conference was hosted by a newer more up market venue with all the activities based within easy reach on one level.

itSMF UK as ever were grateful to a wide range of Sponsors including Platinum sponsor Axelos and Gold sponsors IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Sumerian and EXIN (who all were exhibiting as well).

After the final build for exhibition stands and plenary/session rooms was completed the organisation looked forward to meeting members not just from the UK but overseas.

After delegates had registered and got their badges they had a chance to visit the 25 exhibitor’s stands (including itSMF UK’s) to see what advise, support and software was on offer as well as networking with other delegates.

The Conference was opened by Chair Rosemary Gurney who welcomed the guests from both UK and other countries including Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina to name a few.

She also told the delegates about the gala dinner ITSM awards night and the AllThingsITSM podcast team who were interviewing during the conference.
The theme for the conference New Challenges, New Solutions was also expanded upon as she explained “This has been a year of immense change, with the organisation now sporting a new Chair and CEO.  I cannot let the opportunity pass without saying thank you for the work done by former CEO Mike Owen and we wish him luck in his new role.  I must also pay tribute to the tremendous work done by my predecessor.  I am sure John Windebank will be remembered as one of the hardest working and enthusiastic Chairs we have known; however, John would like me to make it clear that he’s stepping down only because he has reached the end of his 2 year term”

She also thanked retiring board members as well as the new Directors to the Management Board. She also thanked the hard work and dedication of the Regional and SIG Chairs.

In terms of IT Service Management and the supporting industry she said “It’s about getting the ITSM industry a profile and recognition that attracts high talent to want to be part of the industry and stay in the industry ... build sought after, high profile, destination career roles within ITSM that can actively compete for respect, recognition and reward with the top technical and leadership roles in the rest of the IT industry.”

Then next on stage we had the Opening Keynote with a presentation from Simon Wheatcroft who became an ultra runner, but who has to cope with also being blind.

He gave an entertaining and informative speech supported by slides from the events he has been part of and the issues of very long distance running.

The incredible story showed of his determination, endurance and the use of new technologies to enable him to do more and go further.

Then after a break to visit the Exhibitors stands the 4 streams of sessions started with the first session in room 1 with standing room only for the session “Service Management is Dead, Long live Service Management” from Johann Diaz (Capgemini).
Other sessions during the day were equally well attended including sessions on the hot topic of “SIAM: Lessons from the Frontline” from Martin Goble & James Finister (Tata Consultancy Services), the talked about “Taking the Mystery out of the Internet of Things from Robert Stroud (Forrester Research), “SIAM and SLM – How well do these work together?” from Tony Oxley and other members of SLM SIG, a key people session “SFIA V6: Using Skills to leverage your biggest asset – People” from Matthew Burrows (BSMImpact), a double length session from the Service Transition SIG looking at Two Speed transition and a Process Culture session “The WOW Factor – Creating a Process Culture” from Leanne Taylor & Theresa Wright (Computacentre).

There were also thoughtful sessions from the Gold Sponsors with “Surviving IT with e-Competancies” with Bernd Taselaar (EXIN), “Beyond Basecamp – taking a new route to improve Service Levels” with Stuart Higgins (Sumerian), “Cognitive Operational Analytics – Giving you the Insights you need” with Sven Stassburg (IBM) and “IT4IT – Managing the Business of IT” with Tony Price & John McDermott (Hewlett Packard Enterprise).

During the lunchtime on the itSMF UK stand their was book launch of “SIAM: Principles and Practices for Service Integration and Management” introduced by Ivo Van Haren with further words from Barclay Rae (itSMF UK CEO).

There was also the chance to meet and talk on the itSMF UK stand to the Regional and Special Interest Group Chairs. Then after further opportunities to visit Exhibitors (and Sponsors) such as Marval, BCS, PEOPLECERT, Service-Flow, Fox-IT and Van Haren the delegates went away to change for the evenings exciting event, the ITSM Awards Dinner.

After the pre-event drinks (sponsored by PEOPLECERT) the delegates moved into the beautifully setup Dinner room, with the dinner sponsored by Cyient and included gifts for all the diners. After a brief welcome from Chair Rosemary Gurney she handed over to the host for the evening John Parrott MBE the well known snooker and past BBC Question of Sport team captain.

He gave his amusing take on life in and around Liverpool, when he was starting on his snooker career and then moved onto stories about his fellow BBC Question of Sport team captain Ally McCoist, which was enjoyed by the room.

Then the raffle draw took place for a range of quality prizes with the proceeds going to the Chair (Rosemary Gurney) chosen charity of Make A Wish. The charity exists to grant magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.

Then John Parrott moved onto the main event of the evening the ISTM Awards for 2015.

The first award was for Service Management Project of the Year (Sponsored by Marval Software) with the finalist of Sungard AS, EE and Scottish Government. The Award was presented to Sungard AS.

Then we moved to Service Innovation of the Year (Sponsored by Fox IT) which was for the organisation offering the most novel product or service offering developed during the past year. This had finalists of Knutsford Academy, EE and Aviva. The award was presented to Aviva.

Next up was IT Service Management Team of the Year (Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise) with the finalists of EE, Yorkshire Building Society and NTT Data. The award was presented to Yorkshire Building Society.
Then we moved to the Senior Leader of the Year (Sponsored by PEOPLECERT) with the finalists being Paul Pattinson (Telefonica), Ian MacDonald (The Co-Operative Group) and Damian Bowen (NTT DATA). The award was presented to Paul Pattinson (Telefonica).

Next was the Young ITSM Professional of the Year (Sponsored by Service-Flow) which was for an individual under the age of 30 who has demonstrated and outstanding level of achievement, ability, team support in the early years of their ITSM career.

The finalists were Michael Bailey (CGI), Mark Curry (PwC), Ashleigh Morgan (LV=) and Matt Austin (LV=). The award was presented to Ashleigh Morgan (LV=).

Then we had the Ashley Hanna Contributor of the Year award which is awarded in the memory of past very active member Ashley Hanna. The ward is for an individual who has made in the judges eyes an outstanding contribution as a volunteer to itSMF UK during the past year. The finalists were Steve Morgan (Syniad IT), Rob Stroud (Forrester Research), Anna Leyland (Sopra Steria) and Matt Hoey (Grant Thornton). The award was presented by past itSMF UK Chair John Windebank to Anna Leyland (Sopra Steria) the current itSMF UK North Region Chair.

Next on stage was the Thought Leadership Award (sponsored by BCS). This is for the author of white paper, article or case study that provided the most informative, educational and thought-provoking ITSM content. The finalists were Mike Simpson (ITSM Consultant, CIH Solutions) for “Knowledge Management within ITSM”, Ian MacDonald (Independent Consultant) for “CSI – Making it part of the day job” and Priscilla Smith (Global Service Capability Lead, BP) for “The importance of Early Life Support”.

The award was presented to Ian MacDonald for his 6th award in total over the years he has been an active champion of ITSM.
Next up was Training Provider of the Year (Sponsored by Cyiant) with the finalists of Fox IT, BSMimpact, Smatra and Pink Elephant with the award presented to Pink Elephant.

Then we came to the Paul Rappaport Award for Outstanding Contribution to ITSM which was for an individual who has made a sustained and outstanding contribution, over a number of years, to the field of IT Service Management.
itSMF UK Chair Rosemary Gurney then read out the outline of why the award had been awarded and then presented the award to Tony Price (Hewlett Packard Enterprise). Tony was then prompted to make a brief speech in which he mentioned his link to the late Paul Rappaport who the award was named after.

Then the entertainment started with a disco in the main room and a Casino and Photo Booth in the Foyer, with the delegates spending their chips and having team fun photos.

Then on Day Two of the Conference, after a short night for some delegates and exhibitors, we moved onto the first session of the day which was by Platinum Sponsor Axelos with a presentation about the new ITIL Practitioner qualification, with input from Stuart Rance & Barclay Rae. Even with its early start this was a well attended session in the comfort of the Arora Theatre.

Then after a delayed start the 4 stream sessions started with sessions including “Lean Application Delivery at the Speed of Business” with Eddy Pauwels (Clarive Software), “Selling Problem Management – the views of the itSMF UK SIG” by Chair Barry Corless (Global Knowledge), “The Changing Role of the Service Manager: Delivering at Cloud-Speed” with Derek Moore (DMW Group) and “Service Design in Practice – a Practical Guide to Implementing & Operating an Enterprise Wide Service Design Function” with Kinjal Mody (Centrica British Gas).

Then after lunch and further time to visit and talk to the exhibitors to moved onto the Interactive Plenary which was looking at key areas of education, new methodologies and core ITIL questions. This was chaired by Barry Corless with a panel of John Windebank, Anna Leyland, James Finister and Catherine Cheetham. This session encouraged the interaction from the delegates and was a very useful and interactive session with hot topics such as DevOps and SIAM along with qualifications being discussed.

Then we moved onto the Closing plenary which was given by Bob Brown (CIO, Manchester City Council) supported by Fiona Benoist (Head of Service Operations, Manchester City Council). The keynote was entitled “Manchester – Devolution and Imapct on ICT”.

With powers soon to be granted to the Greater Manchester group of Councils, with an elected Major, Bob Brown explained the issues that Manchester city Council was facing and the positive ways that he and his team had moved forward to solve them. This included the fact that every member of the ICT team spent at least one day a month manning the Service Desk, so that the Senior team were still in touch with the everyday issues.

He talked about the rising population and the average young age due to the very high University population, but also the deprivation is some areas of the city and the issues that this brings and solutions offered.

Then after thanking the Closing Keynote speakers itSMF UK CEO Barclay Rae formally closed the conference and thanked all those involved for their hard work and was looking forward to moving the new agenda forward working with Chair Rosemary Gurney and the board.

There was one final session for members of the ITSM Leadership Council which had a separate meeting which was introduced by Rosemary Gurney and then led by John Sowerby.

After a brief time to recover the itSMF UK team will be planning the ITSM16 Conference with venue and dates to be announced shortly.


New Challenges, New Solutions at ITSM15 Conference
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 25 November 2015
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