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.

SDITS12 Session: "ITIL 2011: Any the wiser?"

2011 - Does anyone care?

Having gained my ITIL® V3 Foundation Certification before the new ITIL 2011 updates, I was really keen to hear this key-note seminar, at the recent Service Desk & IT Support Show 2012.

There was small gathering for the post-lunch session, and the assembled panel certainly did not lack experience.

Roy Illsley, Ovum, led the panel discussions, and was joined on stage by Ben Clacy, Chief Executive of itSMF UK, Don Page, CEO of the Marval Group, and Sven Strassburg, IBM.

Most people in the room seemed to be using at least some level of ITIL in their organisation, but as to the specific nuances between ITIL V3 and 2011, well that was anyone’s guess.

Something that I had not been aware of, raised by Don Page, was that the advent of ITIL 2011 was also supposed to bring a lot of complementary material, but none has materialised.

A quick check on the official site still has ITIL v3 complementary material, and indeed I managed to snaffle a selection of “Little ITIL” books that were being handed out free, because people are clearing stock for the new versions.

The view from itSMF was: “Just do the bits you want to.”

And there we started to diverge.

The Business Benefits

A question from the floor was around the thorny topic of how to sell the benefits of ITIL to the business.

It is a valid response to say that the business SHOULD be taking an interest on what it is paying out for.

But I am not entirely sure that answered the question, and the conversation then seemed to sit in the IT/Business separation arena.

OK – so we got the business bought in – does my new tool make me coffee?

 “A fool with a tool is still a fool.”

At this point I rather hoped we might start to venture into something I believe in quite strongly in that the ITSM processes in particular should always be the fuel that drives the Service Management tool engine.

But alas the topic stayed on fairly esoteric grounds.

A very valid point, again from Don Page, came in response to query about whether it was time “IT” was dropped from ITIL.

He believed, however, to do that would maybe dilute the content so much as to make it unworkable.

Sven Strassburg gave examples where ITIL was maybe being used to drive processes in nuclear power plants, or aircraft.

  • There was a quick wrap up where we just came back to the same points – adaptable to environments, check.
  • Something to help put structure around processes? Check.

So … what IS ITIL 2011?

It is apparently much improved, but I will make that investment in the books and will see for myself.

What I want to know more about, though, is exactly what complementary material should have materialised with the new version.

As part of my role at The ITSM Review, I want to run an article looking at what ITIL information is out there (and more importantly of actual use to people) ahead of doing courses/gaining certification.

What is it that we are missing?

Does anyone care?

The people currently on a whole heap of ITIL related groups on Linked In care a lot about this!

Which version do I need?

Can I get by with the old V3 for the new exams?

I think it is safe to say that for those taking the new exams, they will have to be at least aware of the differences with older versions that they may have access to, and newer material, for the sake of terminology in the exam.

Is there a quick way round this?

Not as far as I can see.

Start making friends with people who can help you plan for training

Look for helpful material out on the web specifically on ITIL 2011

Are you, Ros, any the wiser?

As an analyst, with experience mainly around the Service Lifecycle, I knew coming into the show that I would need to get up close and personal with ITIL 2011.

As someone with a solution architect background, I have seen projects flounder without due thought around how this is sold, but in my past life have been too low down the food chain to influence those kinds of discussions.

But at its very essence – ITIL is still an adoptable and adaptable set of guidelines.

My view, therefore, is as it was before.  Just needs an update!

For more information on the specific updates, please refer to ITIL Publication Updates