itSMF Estonia takeaways

Published on Wednesday 3 December 2014 by in News with 1 comment

It’s 03:30 a.m. I am in my hotel, having just awoken after the inspiring itSMF Estonia conference. I believe many of the other speakers have yet to return from an evening of festivities….understandable as Kaimar did say ‘beer was the best social lubricant and a way of bringing people together for more open dialogue’….so I guess they are all enthusiastically adopting this best practice.

These are my takeaweays from the conference, naturally I am biased towards my own pre-conceived conclusions about the challenges facing our industry, so I will therefore link my findings to the top ABC (Attitude, Behaviour, Culture) worst practice cards chosen in global workshops.

The Business & VALUE

I am pleased to see that the word business was a recurring theme in many sessions: ‘The need to engage with the business’; ‘the need to understand business problems’. Stephen Mann stated ‘We are so busy delivering our solutions we’ve forgotten to focus on the business problem’.  Stuart Rance made the bold statement ‘If you work in a big organization and you think you work in IT then you have a problem….you are working for the business’.  ITSM initiatives should be focused on delivering value for the business, once again few people knew that a service was all about Values, Outcomes, Costs and Risks and no hands went up when I asked how many measured the ‘impact’(VOCR) following training investments? Kaimar Karu also stated ‘ITSM can never be successful if it’s only done in the IT department’. And Pat Bolger explicitly mentioned these top ABC cards (below) in his session.


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Two high scoring cards in the ABC Customer exercise. The one on the left has been the Number 1 for 10 years!!!!: 

Stephan Mann quoted I believe from a Sysaid survey which found ‘Business Relationship Management highlighted as most important activity in creating superior users experiences’.











Top chosen Business & It alignment card in global workshops. The need for the marriage guidance counsellor or BRM’er.

Customer experience

Very closely linked to the ‘Business’ theme was the ‘Customer experience’ theme. David Wheable covered this in detail stressing that organizations that did this well improved stock ratings, whilst poor performers in this area felt the impact on bottom line results. This also happens to be the number 1 core value we see organizations trying to adopt as part of a cultural transformation within IT. The Sysaid survey also revealed that ‘67% of support centres wanted to provide a better customer experience’, and the PWC opening slide stated ‘The age of the Customer’.


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Two consistent (for the last 10 years!) high scoring cards!


Measuring came up a number of times as well. David Wheable: ‘We need to move away from basement measures ‘technology, process’ to ‘customer value’, ‘business outcomes’, Roman Jouravlev stressing the need to measure KPI’s and process maturity – ‘but first you need to know the goals’!. Stuart Rance also asked how many people measure the effectiveness of processes, stressing the need not just to measure process but preferably using something like a balanced scorecard for internal AND external measures. I also stressed the need to measure the impact of a training investment in terms of V,O,C,R – ZERO hands went up when I asked how many measure at this level! It seems that the majority of IT KPI’s and metrics are internally focused as opposed to business focused.











Continual Service Improvement

CSI was a popular theme, brought up first by David Wheable, he asked how many people were doing CSI – ‘only 1 person out of 200 has a CSI program’. CSI was covered in detail by Stuart Rance and was a popular recommendation in the expert ‘panel’ – ‘what’s the minimal level of process you should implement in your org’? CSI was mentioned 4 times, and was one of the core ‘values’ mentioned by Kaimar Karu in his closing speech on the way forward.











A top 5 ABC card in the way we ‘Implement’ or ‘Install’ ITIL.


ABC was a common theme. Adrian Cockcroft stated that Devops success was underpinned by a culture of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Responsibility’, Stuart declaring CSI was about Attitude, behaviour and Culture, Pat Bolger showed the top 10 ABC issues, and Bartosz Gorzinsky in the most popular presentation of the day ‘how to make a ITIL project fail’! stressed ‘to make  it fail people (de) motivation is vital! –‘whatever you do make sure you don’t get management backing’. Tobias Nyberg stated that ‘ITSM is all about the people’.  Kaimar Karu stressed the need to engage with the people ‘the highest paid person doesn’t always know what’s best for the business. You need input from all levels’.


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 Still the top scoring card in ITSM/ITIL resistance, and another top 10 in resistance being ‘not my responsibility’

In closing, Kaimar also stated: ‘values’ for the way forward from Axelos were ‘Collaboration and respect’ and ’Continuous improvement’ and a need to remove the blame culture. Indeed we see many organizations redefining their core values as part of a cultural transformation initiative. ‘Collaboration’and ‘team working’ is one of the top 3 values we see.


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All in all it was an inspirational high value content event. My presentation was all about the 8-field model and transferring learning into behaviour and results. The question is how many people will take away and apply the advice and the learning gained.






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