Batman, SIAM and Mean Time Between Ass Kickings: SITS16 Recap

It’s the London Olympia baby! Last week was the 2016 Service Desk & IT Support Show or SITS for short. SITS is a annual, free event in central London dedicated to all things tech support and ITSM related.

 

DevOps Needs Leaders – Daniel Breston

The first session we attended was run by fellow Batman super fan and all round ITSM rockstar Daniel Breston.

 

 

Taking all of 5 seconds to get a Batman reference into his content, this was clearly destined to be my favorite session of the day. Daniel opened by talking about the iceberg of ignorance, in other words, the further away you get from service delivery, the few problems that you see. Daniel continued by discussing how one of the biggest challenges faced by managers is taking the time to improve.

Daniel introduced the ITIL, Agile and Lean triumvirate explaining how it’s not enough to have best practice, we must be responsive to the needs of the business and efficient in the way we deliver enterprise services.

The next part of Daniel’s presentation focused on how DevOps is a way to do better faster safer on a continual basis. Daniel talked about the need to focus on the entire value stream of better faster safer from strategy right through to operations.

Daniel went on to talk about measurements and advocated putting your business reports in a language your company understands for example from zero to we got this! He also introduced a brand new metric which I think our friends at AXELOS towers should be all over in terms of including it in the next ITIL refresh.

The final part of Daniel’s session focused on behavior. As Daniel put it “DevOps starts with management talking to people and finding out what their problem are.” Daniel talked about the 3 ways to manage effectively environment:

  • You built it, you run it
  • Project to product
  • Strangle the complexity – lose the nonsense

His final point? Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way, preferably with beer!

The Pros and Cons of Public and Private Cloud – Sarah Lahav, SysAid Technologies

 

Sarah opened her session by talking about the recent LinkedIn hack; asking her audience how many of them were able to understand if their personal data had been compromised from the e-mail response issues by LinkedIn – ie the importance of asking the right questions.

Sarah went on to talk about the public cloud and private cloud and the pros and cons of each approach. Public clouds are typically easy to use, flexible and operated by a third party but may be unreliable and less secure than an in house solution. Private clouds are organisation specific, customisable and more secure but can be more costly and require in house expertise.

The next part of the session looked at how a hybrid model can give organisations the best of both worlds without increasing risk. Sarah went on to talk about case studies of the SysAid product from General Cable. Fluortek and LAN Airlines who has the impressive statistic of being able to handle seven times the number of Incidents since using SysAid.

Sarah concluded by explaining with the evolution of SaaS and cloud, it takes new skills to manage your estate effectively, Sarah’s advice? Every organisation is different so in terms of cloud provision, capture the requirements of your organisation and then plan accordingly.

 

Transforming The Service Desk With SIAM & Lean – Joe Bicknell, ServiceNow

The final session we attended was Joe’s session on Service desk transformation. Joe opened with the frankly terrifying statistic of outside the workplace, 84% of requests are automated, inside the workplace only 33% of requests are automated. The upshot? The average employee spends around 15 hours of their working week faffing about trying to  battle the admin mountain.

 

Joe went on to explain the ServiceNow way of thinking “we believe everyone in your organisation requests something and everyone in your business is a service provider in some way.”

 

Joe used ServiceNow to demonstrate how ITSM can be applied to the entire organisation, streamlining processes and removing silos. His top three takeaways?

 

  • Own IT Service Management in your business; it’s the key link between the front and back office.
  • Change the way you work, don’t use technology to compliment what you do
  • Take the workshop to your organisation and start to take Service outside of IT

 

Did you go to #SITS16? Let us know in the comments!!

 

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Killer Cats, DevOps, ITSM & Star Wars – BCS CMSG 2016 Conference

It’s Covent Garden baby! The BCS Configuration Management Group held their annual conference on Tuesday. The CMSG was set up in 1995 to provide a forum for the promotion of Configuration Management as a discrete management process. The group now covers the transition areas of Change, Release and Software Asset Management, including the specialist UK SAM Networking Group.

The theme of the conference was “transitioning the future” and the event had three streams:

  • DevOps
  • Change Configuration & Release Management
  • SAM  Licensing & Strategy

 

Roo Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer at Digi2al Limited – Driving Transformation In A Government Environment

First up was Roo Reynolds on driving transformation in a government environment. Roo’s first task was a quick public service announcement on Larry, the cat that lives at Number 10 (where the Prime Minister lives for non UK readers). Apparently, whilst appearing cute and fluffy. Larry actually has a vicious streak so if you’re ever invited to Downing Street, consider yourself warned – the last thing you want is a Rabbit of Caerbannog scenario.

 

Roo talked about the challenges of working in a government environment and his transformation mission:

Roo shared how using Agile transformed the environment:

The next part of Roo’s session focused on practical guidance.

Roo talked about the importance of putting your customers at the centre of the requirements gathering phase “your users are unlikely to grow wings so they no longer need lifts”  As Roo put it “transformation doesn’t have to be huge, the smallest things can make a difference.”

Here are Roo’s top tips for driving transformation:

  • Start with the needs of the user; genuinely put the user first
  • Work with people who are committed

  • Show the thing. Minds out of the gutter people! Roo was talking about having prototypes and getting regular customer feedback.
  • When getting feedback for a prototype, feedback from five people is often enough (hits 75_80% of issues)
  • Walls are important

 

Vawns Murphy Senior ITSM Analyst, Enterprise Opinions – Going From Good To Great Using ITIL & DevOps

I was up next talking about my practical experience of using ITIL and DevOps to make things better in the real world. My session focused on a real life client engagement where we went from IT Ops and Dev teams literally snarling at each other from different sides of the room to a happy, collaborative environment with a 99.91% Change success rate and a 50% reduction in deployment time. There was also a lot of talk about Star Wars , the Avengers and erm, Frozen. You can check out the slides here.

 

Connor Shearwood, Developer,  Springer Nature – Managing Continuous Delivery

Up next was Connor from Springer Nature on continuous delivery. Connor talked about the need for common sense in a delivery environment: “keep things simple, have conventions around how software is built and tested.”

Connor went on to explain the importance of automation explaining “we need to make doing the right thing easy and the wrong thing impossible.

Connor gave practical guidance on continuous delivery, talking about the benefits of consumer driven contracts for micro services, and why automated testing is so important “most of your tests should be automated because people are fallible”.

Connor talked about how there’s no silver bullet; “you need discipline and willpower but having good processes makes things easier. If you make it easy for people to try new things there will engage and they will try”

My favorite piece of wisdom from Connor’s session was this: “You need to have an exit process, broken gets fixed, crappy lives on forever”. Be warned people!

 

Patrick Bolger, Chief Evangelist, Hornbill – Rethinking Your ITSM

Patrick’s session was all about rethinking your ITSM from Shadow IT to Agile. He started by talking about being schooled by his daughter on iPhone usage:

The first part of Pat’s session focused on the rise of Shadow IT and how we risk alienating our customers if we don’t keep up. The first step to sorting it out? Investing in your Service Desk

Pat talked about major trends impacting 21st century IT departments and what it means for IT decision makers:

  • User Experience
  • IT Delivery
  • Information & Communication
  • Innovation & Usage Models
  • Data

The upshot? Next generation IT is all about people.


Pat concluded by talking about the importance of being inclusive when driving transformational: “change is a threat when done to us but an opportunity when done by us”. A very powerful message and a great way to maintain focus on the customer when managing change.

 

Robert Cowham, Consultant, Perforce Software – DevOps In The Cloud, A Pathway To Heaven?

The last session we attended was Robert’s presentation on DevOps and the cloud. Robert opened by talking about the background of DevOps and how it links into Agile. Robert then went on to explain the impact of DevOps on continuous delivery on development and discussed the impact of cycle times.

The next part of Robert’s session focused on the impact of the cloud, advantages and the big players including Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

Robert went on to talk about the practicalities of applying DevOps in a cloud environment discussing how to maximise pipeline flow, automation, feedback, micro services and release technology & containers.

Robert finished his session by demonstrating a functioning pipeline – a fascinating example of real life application.

 

For our money the CMSG conference was a great day, informative, lots of practical guidance and lots of subject matter expertise. A huge thanks to the BCS for inviting us and we hope to be back next year.

Did you attend the CMSG conference? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Guest Post: Practical ways to end the DevOps – IT Service Management Stand-Off

There’s some great dialog in the final standoff between Batman and the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight. It’s no-rules anarchy versus incorruptibility – “this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object”- as the Joker maniacally puts it.

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In some ways it’s analogous to the friction existing between development and IT service management (ITSM) – especially how each group views DevOps. If you ask each team what DevOps means to them you’ll probably get two different answers. On the one hand, developers may stress freedom of action and faster releases, while on the other, ITSM practitioners might say DevOps changes nothing. After all, processes and controls painstakingly developed over many years is the ‘tough love’ needed to ensure regulatory compliance and address many other governance related issues.

Unstoppable force meets immovable object

Some ‘modernists’ will of course argue that old-style ITSM can be excluded from DevOps initiatives. After all, it’s a set of practices designed for a style of business computing where risk tolerance was low. So armed with new terms like lean, agile and fail-fast, it’s a case of get with the program or get out of the way. Well good luck with that, because without recalibration, those traditional incident, problem, change and release management contact points between development and ITSM will become even more abrasive. So enrolling the support of existing ITSM roles and practices is critical; turning naysayers and opponents into advocates. But this isn’t going to be easy and requires some deft organizational footwork. If everything remains equal nothing will change In order to remove friction, DevOps leaders should start by clearly communicating why it’s necessary to change. Care should be taken to avoid over hyping DevOps; preferring instead concise explanations as to why the change is occurring in the context of business impact and outcomes. During this early stage it’s also important to set a collaborative foundation; giving strong consideration to temporarily seconding key ITSM influencers to the DevOps program so as to build trust.

In many industries, computing controls, especially in areas such as change and release management, exist to ensure compliance with regulatory mandates. To development these appear cumbersome, but have been specifically designed to mitigate risk – even if that means slowing down processing. Furthermore, these controls deliver auditable proof that compliance procedures are being followed. The problem is that many of these controls might be too rigid to support development projects where risk tolerance is higher, so it’s critical for teams to optimize or right-size sets of controls for specific use cases. Here, care should be taken not to abrogate risk responsibilities by simply passing control ownership (for example, enabling development managers to approve changes but still carry all auditing responsibilities), since that might lead to increased friction and resistance to change – where you least want it – within the development group itself.

In terms of optimizing existing (but necessary) controls, this could involve enacting faster and more reliable ways to meet compliance requirements. For example, employing automated test suites during the actual development process – versus having auditing ‘gatekeepers’ come in at the end of the process and discover the system isn’t compliant.

In God we Trust – everyone else brings data!

Organizations have usually made a significant investment in IT service management tools. These tools, especially the knowledge bases supporting processes like incident, problem and change management can provide teams rich sets of information to drive DevOps improvements. Change records correlated with performance-related incidents and problems could help teams focus on non-functional aspects of development and testing requiring attention. Additionally, emergency change procedures could be reviewed to determine their applicability in supporting business-critical or urgent software updates. In all cases, however, teams should ensure flexibility doesn’t increase business risk – for example – by teams choosing the path of least resistance to avoid governance scrutiny. There are many other ITSM contact points teams can review to reduce friction. In incident management developers often complain that it takes too long for them to be notified of problems related to their code – only after lengthy level 1 and level 2 operations review. This causes friction because developers might be taken off projects to fire-fight problems that due to time delays have become more complex to diagnose and remediate.

To address this, teams should carefully review notification procedures; perhaps even changing the first point of escalation to be the development group responsible for the application or service – even after hours. Expect push-back where you least expect it. Developers may resist mandated on-call support. Therefore it’s important to impress how their early involvement in incident response is critical to drive improvements. It’s also a good idea to equip them with analytic tools and proactive methods that help them resolve complex and emerging issues. Finally, an important, but often understated bi-product of this ‘skin in the game’ approach is developers working to improve the ongoing supportability of applications. For example, it could result in improving documentation and fault logging so they only need to be called in when absolutely necessary.

Ignoring the points of friction between DevOps and older (but still important) ITSM processes will cause initiatives to stall or fail. The only way to ensure success is when teams put all governance and risk-versus-speed and agility concerns on the collective table and enact improvements in the context of required business outcomes. Always consider that without constant engagement, staff on both sides will revert to sub-optimal practices – the ones that stifle innovation or carry huge risk.

PW

This article was contributed by Peter Waterhouse, Senior Strategist, CA Technologies

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IT500 Conference: DevOps & Agile in an ITSM World

I spoke to Claire Agutter & Dave Van Herpen last week to talk about their upcoming masterclass at the IT500 conference in June: DevOps & Agile In An ITSM World.

Claire AgutterDave Van Herpen

The workshop will look at how you can use DevOps and Agile if you’re already doing ITSM but want to do something new. Claire and Dave will look at how to use a blended approach to get the best results and will look at practical ways to improve whilst blitzing a process backlog.

The session will be interactive and will follow the why – what – how journey starting from looking at drivers and building the business case for transformation to interactive group sessions including:

  • Looking at the 3 ways of DevOps
  • Designing Kanban boards
  • Applying Scrum
  • Selling DevOps
  • Investigating opportunities and risks.

You should attend this conference if:

You want to become an ITSM ninja familiar with Agile and DevOps!

The official bit:

DevOps and Agile represent a new way of working, but it’s not all about throwing away everything that’s already in place. We will look at how these techniques can be applied alongside other methodologies including ITIL and investigate other propositions such as Value Stream Mapping, Kanban for IT Operations and the use of Scrum.

 

Are you starting to move from ITSM to Agile, DevOps and beyond? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Agile, DevOps, ITIL & Buzzword Bingo; BEYOND20 SIXTEEN Podcast

We are pleased to share our very first podcast on the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference next month.

 

I spoke to conference rockstars David Crouch and John Gilmore about life, the universe, ITIL, Agile and DevOps!

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David Crouch
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John Gilmore

David’s session is: ‘The pros and cons of adhering to a single best practice framework – tales from the trenches‘ and John’s session is about integrating SDLC, DevOps & ITSM so between the two of them, there was a wealth of experience on the line.

Some of the things we talked about were traditional versus Agile approaches, closed loop models and how ITIL has evolved over time.

 

 

 

You can listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.


 

Who and what would you like to hear on future podcasts? Please get in touch and let us know – Drop us a line, send us a Tweet, leave a comment on this blog post or post ideas on our community forum. Thanks.

 

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Event Listing: IT500 Event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations

The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for the latest IT500 event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations being held on 1st June 2016 in Edinburgh

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Following on from the IT in the park event in November, IT500 surveyed their delegates to ask what else they would like to see in Scotland. The event will bring together 20 IT thought leaders and practitioners from across Europe to deliver a series of master classes and workshops designed to highlight obstacles, provoke creative thinking and provide answers to some of today’s IT challenges. How exciting is that?

 

Highlights include

  • IT4IT – how and where do you start?
  • 11 actions for SIAM success
  • DevOps – bring IT out of the shadows
  • Behave yourself – building IT relationships
  • Reignite your customer experience
  • Agile and DevOps in an ITSM world
  • Using ITIL practitioner skills to impress the CEO
  • ITSM in action – lessons from the real world
  • Introducing a CSI sat nav
  • Effective CSI in a SIAM eco system

 

Event Breakdown

WHAT: IT500 – The IT Learning Conference

WHERE: Edinburgh

WHEN: 1st June

WHO: IT500

HOW TO BOOK: Click Here.

We’re looking forward to attending and covering this event and hope to see you there!

BEYOND20 SIXTEEN – Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value

Ahead of the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference next month I caught up with Chad Sheridan, CIO of the USDA Risk Management Agency to talk about his session  Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value.

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Chad’s session will explore the leadership and cultural changes needed to make Agile work, especially in a government environment. Chad will share his own experience of driving business value, enabling a culture change from command and control, top down leadership to a more organic model, trusting and empowering people to do their job. As Chad said “while it’s great to change from the top down as CIO partnering at the exec level, we need a whole team of change agents. It’s not a one person battle, it’s a multi threaded effort to win hearts and minds. Be ready for resistance – this is a fundamental change for the business to accept a value driven IT partnership.”

The session will look at how to drive effective organisational change to create a culture of safety and trust so that value and transformation can happen. Chad will take his audience on the journey from IT as an order taker to an enabler; moving from technical practitioners to curators of business value. Chad will also talk about how embracing Agile and DevOps means embracing uncertainty as a competitive advantage, using it to drive innovation.

 

You should attend this session if:

CIOs, leaders of Agile practices, DevOps practitioners and anyone that wants to drive change in their organisation.

 

The official bit:

The conference overview of Chad’s session is below:

DevOps, Agile, and ITSM implementations often focus on practices and tools, many times forgetting the primary purposes of these efforts—delivering business value. How do we deliver on the vision from The Phoenix Project, which proposes to end the “dysfunctional marriage” of IT and the business as separate entities?? Put on your explorer gear as this session walks you through the jungles, swamps, mountains, oceans and deserts of the digital world, searching for understanding and the means to move from IT practitioners to purveyors of business value.

 

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Two Speed Transition – Agile vs. Traditional

The service transition SIG presented an interactive session at the itSMF conference in November to discuss modern innovative and traditional approaches to Service Transition.

The conference session covered Release Management, Service Catalogue and Early Life Support and arguments were made for both traditional and more modern innovative approaches in quick fire 5 minutes presentations.

After each round, the audience discussed and voted which approach they preferred.

Presenters were as follows:

Release Management

  • Agile – Matt Hoey
  • Traditional – Sue Cater

Service Catalogue

  •  Agile – Patrick Bolger
  • Traditional – Vawns Murphy

Early Life Support

  • Agile – Jon Morley
  • Traditional – Peter Mills

The final scores were as follows:

Two speed transition

As you can see in the table above, the audience favoured Matt’s approach to release management but were on the fence for both Service Catalogue and Early Life Support.

My key takeaway from the session was that most folks were keen to explore new innovative approaches as long as the key benefits were adopted from traditional methods.

Two Speed Transition – 5 minute Video Summary

For further information on the Service Transition SIG please visit www.itsmf.co.uk

DevOps and ITIL: Why Can't We Be Friends?

6347903993_4d1370e4d8_zThe IT world we know and love exists today thanks to the bedrock of the IT community: ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library. Since ITIL’s inception 26 years ago, the world has changed and an app exists for everything – shopping, messaging, ride sharing, or just staying connected via social media. We’re in the midst of a new technological age. This evolution has been guided by agile methodology and now, with the rise of cloud computing, many teams are embracing DevOps.

The consumerization of technology is changing expectations of IT. And IT has pressures to live up to these expectations. Because the pace of innovation is largely driven by DevOps and agile methodologies, IT must adapt. To do this, ITIL must support an agile environment. By working together, these practices reinvent how IT teams deliver reliable services to the business, faster.

DevOps and ITIL working together

Developers want an agile process – and it’s best for the organization that they have one. This means having a frictionless release process, and continuously improving software for customers.

ITIL’s framework is hyper-focused on reliable service delivery and support, with its feedback loop based on incident management. ITIL can combine with agile to get the best of both worlds: better software and a reliable, stable environment.

How agile saves the day

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Real world example – the Service Desk received reports of a slow loading login page. The underlying issue is confirmed by a bad Apdex score (a user satisfaction score reported by New Relic). The problem might be a runaway query so the development team implements the bug fix into their next sprint, which happen on a weekly basis. From incident to resolution, turnaround time is two weeks.

Using ITIL to support Agile and DevOps

Agile incident management

Maximize your team’s bandwidth with sprint planning. Reserve 30-40% of your team’s capacity for operational tasks, where priority 1 and 2 incidents are resolved immediately, and lower priority incidents are resolved within bandwidth. This means that incident management doesn’t affect sprint goals.

Agile problem management

Trim down on time-wasting administrative work. Manage problems as user stories in a product backlog. Don’t separate “incidents” and “problems” – everything should be cohesive. If a problem occurs more often, it should have higher priority in the backlog.

In ITIL orgs, there’s an assumption you’ll need multiple instances of an incident before starting problem analysis.

Instead of waiting for incidents to pile up, detect and solve problems faster with automated monitoring. Link monitoring tools to your incident management system to identify the cause of problems earlier and get it restored faster.

Agile change management

When it comes to change and releases, many IT orgs drown in bureaucracy related to heavy processes. That can change.

In a DevOps environment, releases are frequent. ITIL framework combined with DevOps means development, operations, and support are always collaborating. It means change requests link from incidents and problems. Issues related to changes are added to a developer’s backlog and allocated to their sprint.

In the end, there’s no budding conflict when it comes to these methodologies. It’s all about making processes leaner, making data visible and enabling faster resolutions. With the right practices, the ITIL framework supports the agility of DevOps.

Author bio:

Sid Suri is the Vice President of Marketing for JIRA Service Desk. He’s worked in various technology roles over the last fifteen years at Salesforce.com, Oracle (CRM), InQuira (acquired by Oracle) and TIBCO Software. An expert in the intersection between IT Support and DevOps, Sid helped create the detailed ebook, “How to Enhance IT Support with DevOps”.

 

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ITSM14 Preview: Tony Brough and Re-Igniting the Passion

Tony's session will be on day 2 within the ITSM and Agile track
Tony’s session will be on day 2 within the ITSM and Agile track

In the run up this year’s itSMF UK conference, ITSM14, I chatted with Tony Brough of Holistic Service Management International about his upcoming session entitled “Re-Initing the Passion”.

Q. Hi Tony, can you give a quick intro to your session at ITSM14? 

I had the idea after a meal with an old friend (and ex colleague) I hadn’t seen for a few years. He emailed me the following morning saying thank you for re igniting his passion for service management.

It made me think about the conversation we’d had over dinner and I realized people often need a reboot now and again to clear out the negative and re-establish the positive.

Service Management professionals face a wide range of challenges on a daily basis, so a regular boost of positivity coupled with realignment of perspective is essential.

We so often get so tangled up in the mire that we lose sight of what we are really aiming for. The aim tends to end up becoming to just get out of the mire rather than achieve the greatness we originally intended!!!

Q. What impact can passion, or lack of it, have on an organisation?

Passion is infectious. People with passion infect others who then take more interest in their own work and what’s going on around them. The consequences are that positive changes are made which benefit organisations at so many levels.

Continual Improvement attitudes and behaviors become embedded into the day job.

Lack of passion leads to stagnation.

For organisations to improve, not everyone needs to be passionate, but everyone does need to take an interest in what they do and what those around them do as well and have an attitude that nurtures improvement. 

Q. Is passion something that can be manufactured or created within an organisation?

It’s not something that can be manufactured but it can be nurtured and encouraged, which in turn begins to create a culture that is of great benefit to the organisation.

Q. What are likely to be the potential pitfalls and/or benefits an organisation may experience with attempting to create a culture of positivity?

Passion is a great catalyst to create positivity. We must remember though that we are dealing with people. It is important to manage how we best utilise it, as over-enthusiasm can have a detrimental effect on what we are trying to achieve. Balance, not suppression, is what’s needed. Benefits are endless. Organisations that have a positive, passionate, culture are able to achieve excellence and more importantly maintain it for the long term.


Tony Brough is acknowledged as a leading expert in the Service Management field and is best known for his pragmatic approach explaining every aspect in easy to understand terms, relating them to his students or customers own business. With over 20 years experience in the service management industry Tony is a certified ITIL Expert and ISO / IEC 20000 consultant and was also one of the first people in the world to become a certified BS15000 consultant.

Tony’s session at ITSM14 is on day two and featured within the ITSM and Agile track. To find out more or to book your conference place please visit itSMF UK

Follow Tony on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.