Friday, 9 November 2012

My First ITSM Conference

To balance out my own view of this year's itSMF UKconference I've asked Andrea Kis to provide a practitioner's perspective:

" I have been always a keen follower of itSMF and its events, contributors, publications and occasionally I have even managed to get hold of the Service Talk Magazine to read too. Sadly so far I haven't worked for organisations who were members so attending the annual ITSM conference was always a very distant wish.

This year, however, thanks to an amazing offer from Matthew Burrows at BSM Impact to collaborate on an article about Business Relationship Management, I have found myself being involved with itSMF UK despite not being a member. Our article was published in the summer edition of Service Talk Magazine and later it became a finalist in the Submission of the Year Awards.

Then thanks to even more kindness and generosity by Sophie Danby of Ovum and Ben Clancy and itSMF UK I was invited to ITSM12 taking place in London.

I was incredibly excited about the conference because I believe that meeting like-minded professionals is the perfect opportunity to broaden my own knowledge, share and exchange ideas and learn a lot. As a comparative novice in the Service Management industry I was very excited to be meeting some of my ‘ITSM Heroes’ in person and I was very much looking forward to seeing the presentations of those who I have seen presenting on other conferences and I've learnt to expect good thought provoking topics from.

What surprised me at the conference was the one shade of gray of the delegate ‘pool’. There were moments when I’ve felt I was possibly in the wrong place, as if I had wondered into a Victorian British Gentlemen’s Club in St James’s. It made me wonder where are the new faces in Service Management, where are the newcomers, where are the new generation passionate service managers who can continue and build upon the established building blocks of this industry? I wonder what can be done to bring out more of the ‘freshers’ into the light?

I think I would try and reach out to more practitioners, engage with them before the conference, give platforms to more real life studies and practitioner experiences. It is the perfect opportunity for all on different experience levels to get together.

I love networking, and being a bit of a Miss Chatterbox [Editor’s note: We’d noticed] I really enjoyed all the conversations I had with fellow delegates. It would  be good however if delegates could have more opportunity to be able to bond and chat without having to do so on the vendor exhibition floor, on the limited space lunch area and bar or between seminars when you need to rush to the next presentation.

I was also surprised to see how many ‘theorists’ attended and how rare it was to bump into a real life practitioner, someone  who doesn't just preach the best practice theories and frameworks but actually does them. It would be great to see more presentations by practitioners to see how something can be achieved and done. I would love to hear about CSI, problem management, business and IT alignment, basically all those exciting hot topics and theories told in practice, in real life. I may be too passionate but it frustrates me if I hear or read too much about what doesn't work, how it should work or what should be done about it, yet I don't see many practical solutions and real life examples.

Because of this reason I thoroughly enjoyed Angela Wint’s (London Borough of Merton) presentation Turning Adversity into Advantage – Supporting the Council’s Transformation Strategy It was an excellent insight into the journey of the Council’s transformation agenda and how was it supported by IT.

Also I have been extremely taken by Mark Smalley’s presentation Reinvent IT Service Management and Pre-empt Occupy IT which made me realise that I am a partisan revolutionary service manager who has never been limited by thinking inside the ‘IT box’. After his presentation I was even more determined to go poke and persuade others working in IT to open their eyes and stop worrying about the so called gap between IT and the Business and between IT processes and Business processes. That gap is something we created for ourselves in a space where there shouldn't be any gap at all.

It was a real pleasure to meet Paul Wilkinson finally whose blog is a big favorite of mine since I’ve read an excellent rant about why everything is IT’s fault

I have always had a deep respect for Stuart Rance and Aale Roos so I was delighted to meet them in person. Aale’s Unlearning of ITIL and Stuart’s common sense approach to service availability is something everyone should learn from. Meeting Kevin Holland, who was weirdly kind and made me laugh a lot, embarrassing Jimbo Finister with my outspoken battle comments (he will hide under chairs when Hurricane Kis will approach next) and finally meeting Mark Lillycrop in person were other peak points of my conference experience I will fondly remember.

It was great to discover that I am not the only maniac who demands amazing quality of service and observes service processes everywhere. This discovery even resulted in inventing a buzzword for 2013 with Michael Busch (ServiceBlub) and Mark Smalley: OCSD (Obsessive-Compulsive-Service-Disorder). This is something we want to build upon and expand it’s possibilities so watch this space.

I would also like to say a few words about meeting Kathryn Howard who is a delightful, beautiful lady with a strong intelligent presence to look up to. The service management industry needs strong women so other women can be inspired to follow a career path into it.

All in all it was an excellent experience attending ITSM12. Thank you for those who made it possible for me to attend and my thanks to everyone whose task was to make the event possible and made everything run smoothly. Ben disguised as a wedding party organiser with an ear piece and organiser in his hand, the facilitators, guests and presenters alike."

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