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Chair outlines plans for the future at ITSM15

25 November 2015   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Lillycrop
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Opening address from Rosemary Gurney, Chair of ITSMF UK, at ITSM15:

Welcome to the itSMF UK 2015 conference at this year’s new venue, The Sofitel London Heathrow and with their usual attention to detail, our events management team have of course arranged for suitably wintery weather to greet our overseas friends from ITSMF Finland and ITSMF Russia, along with other delegates from Denmark, Iceland, Japan, The Netherlands, Mauritius, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, North America & Canada.

And to those of you who have travelled from all parts of the UK to be here today, welcome to you all.

Be assured though that wherever we are, the same warm welcome awaits you with our usual mix of thought provoking topics presented by speakers drawn from right across our industry. 

Our exhibitors are again here in force with solutions at the leading edge of ITSM and of course no matter where we meet the one thing we all bring is our desire to further our knowledge and understanding of IT Service Management.

Axelos are again with us as our Platinum sponsor and I encourage you to join them in the Arora theatre on Tuesday morning. With the impending launch of ITIL Practitioner they will share their vision of the future of IT service management and best practice.

Gold sponsors this year are EXIN, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Sumerian and we thank them all for their continued support.

I would also like to thank the team from All Things ITSM, who along with sponsors Cherwell and the Service Desk Institute will be filming a number of podcasts throughout today.

Please see inside your conference guide for timings of other special events such as the SIAM book launch and the drinks reception in the expo later this evening.

The Industry Awards at our gala dinner this evening will be hosted by John Parrott MBE. I’m sure you’ll recognise John from his celebrated career as a professional snooker player and TV personality. He won the World Snooker Championship in 1991, defeating Jimmy White in the final. He is one of only nine players to have compiled more than 200 competitive century breaks during his career and I’m sure will have a highly entertaining story or two for us tonight.

Tonight’s raffle is in aid of the Make a wish Foundation and we have a number of fabulous prizes including a Play Station 4 and game, 3 IPads, John Lewis vouchers and various bottles of wine and champagne. If you are not able to join us at the gala dinner but would like to participate in the raffle, please see the team on our stand G1 for an envelope.

Tomorrow, there will be an interactive plenary session in the Arora suite, a panel of service management luminaries will answer questions on a number of topical issues.

Bob Brown, CIO at Manchester City Council, will close this year’s Conference. Manchester has the eyes of the UK upon it as the first Council outside London to have been granted devolved powers. With these powers comes great responsibility at a time when budgets are tight and getting ever tighter. ICT in Manchester is focused on enabling many of the city’s needs and joining their disparate systems together with a common data sharing agenda. Bob will share his insights into this hugely important endeavour and the challenges that need to be overcome.

Which neatly brings me to the theme of our conference this year, NEW CHALLENGES, NEW SOLUTIONS.

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, he’s not been fired or gone off in a huff. He does have a very demanding day job though and I think his employer would like him backJ  Also stepping down after a number of terms on the board are Claire Agutter, Vernon Lloyd, Ian Whyte and Rajiv Dua, although as ever with ITSMF UK they all remain active volunteers.  Thank you all for your time and commitment.  Stepping up to the plate as board members are David Backham, Richard Horton, Martin Neville, Dave Walker and Chris Williams.

Lorna Hinds-Sotomey remains in her position as Finance Director.

I feel immensely privileged to have been elected into the role of Chair following many years on the board and my 2 year term as vice chair.  It’s a move though that has required much thought and reflection with friends, family and colleagues.

It was during one of these conversations with a friend, who is also a chair of a charitable organisation, that I was asked what my vision for the future of the organisation was. What would be my challenges and what would define my term as Chair?

As we chatted, it became clear that there were common themes emerging for other membership organisations too, all with their challenges to success and I’d like to share them with you now as I firmly believe these underpin the principles on which the organisation was originally based and on which we continue to operate. 

Firstly, it’s vital that we continue to provide a network for organisations and people to share and develop their knowledge, experience, ideas and opinions. We are a forum, after all.

We already have a thriving regional network who support and collaborate with each other and an ever increasing number of Special Interest Groups. Here though, the challenge for our members is that they are increasingly time poor and need information served up in easily accessible, digestible chunks.

To meet this challenge, you’ll find that we will be embracing appropriate technologies now more than ever, we aim to be more visible and active on social media platforms and are looking at new ways to provide our members with more relevant, on-line content. Ultimately our purpose is to enable you, our member organisations to maximise your return on investment in ITSMF UK as an organisation and the wider service management industry.

As a board, we are clear that we need to work hard on your behalf to make your experience of the forum ever more efficient, more relevant, more agile and more productive and not just act as a talking shop.

This means though that it can’t all be one way, as members of the Forum, you should be able to ask questions, raise issues and concerns not only about the organisation but also the industry we work in and we look to you, our members, to guide us in that direction, to ensure we’re providing the right content in the right environment for you to succeed.

I also believe that maintaining the balance between supporting our corporate and enterprise members with that of servicing the smaller corporate and individual members is vital.  This is without doubt the most effective way to harness best practice and innovation for everybody.

This leads nicely into my second theme that is the need to represent the interests of the service management sector.  ITSMF UK needs to be an innovator, an opinion maker and most of all the independent voice of our industry.

There is a growing determination within the industry to make service management relevant and valuable to the whole business beyond the traditional boundaries of IT.  I believe our role is to position IT Service Management as a real business enabler with valuable skills the whole enterprise can leverage; in short to stand up and be counted as a professional business discipline.

Here, the challenge is to determine what messages should we be sending out and how do we make this happen practically within the membership and to a wider audience… to industry, to education and even to government.

When ITSMF UK started 24 years ago, we were a lone voice. For some, the only place to go for service management advice and guidance. Now, we have to acknowledge that we’re not the only game in town, there are many competing alternatives out there.

To help meet this challenge, ITSMF UK led by our CEO, Barclay Rae, will be establishing new industry relationships so that we can better collaborate to the advantage of all our members so if you represent such an organisation and would like a to have a positive chat, do get in touch with Barclay.

My last theme is about the people.  As a sector we should be working to raise the wider profile, reputation and attractiveness of service management as a career path people want to undertake.  In particular there is an absolute need to engage young people more and encourage them towards having a career in Service Management. 

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.

We’re making a start. This year, for the first time we have a Young Professional award for an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement, business impact in the early years of their ITSM career and who also promises great potential for future success.

 ITSMF UK is also keen to determine ways of establishing ITSM best practices in undergraduate programmes.  Indeed, one of the finalists in tonight’s awards is a High school from Cheshire. The Millennial generation are especially vital for the future of Service Management because they come already armed with digital skills and they have been brought up as users of digitally-based services.

Currently too many ITSM roles are poorly defined and unrecognised. If you describe yourself as a project manager or even a programmer today, then most people would recognise the role.  However if you described yourself as a service architect or a service delivery manager, then I imagine that there would be as many interpretations as people asked.

To help understand this and other industry wide challenges ITSMF UK has established its first Leadership Council of senior leaders from member organisations.  This has since generated two work streams. The first looking at contemporary and future skills required within the industry and establishing a unified skills framework and role descriptions and the second, a group looking at ways to raise the profile and influence of the sector, to prevent Service Management from always being the hidden group within IT. Both those initiatives are moving at a pace with outputs expected in early 2016…watch this space, I’m sure we’ll be talking to you more about these initiatives in the months ahead.

As we move into the latest stage of our evolution, we do so in a very positive frame of mind. We fully remain true to our guiding principles of not-for-profit and independence, we are the truly independent, not-for-profit organisation representing the entire ITSM industry.  We have a sole focus on serving our members interests.

in that we will not be unduly influenced by any single member, supplier or stakeholder and retain our ethos of ‘for the members’. 

Our member organisations and the volunteers from them are key to everything the Forum does and are ultimately responsible for our direction and we continue to be grateful for all of the time, energy and expertise you expend on our behalf.

I’m looking forward to speaking to as many of you as possible over the next couple of days, if you want a chat but can’t immediately find me, please see one of the staff members on the stand however you can always contact me after the conference via the office or the new twitter account @itsmfuk_chair.

Inevitably there will be things you need to know over the next 2 days that are not covered by your Guide. If you have any questions at all, please ask one of the ITSMF UK team or call in to see us at stand G1 and the team will be more than happy to help you.

I really hope you enjoy this event and take every opportunity to ask questions and network with likeminded colleagues. Just a final tip for our overseas guests, don’t forget that if you find yourself in the queue for lunch or sitting in a session next to a stranger, a comment about the weather or the state of our transport systems are always great icebreakers and if you can combine the two, you’ll have made another friend for life.

So I’ve outlined the challenges, now I hope we can all work together to start to create the solutions.



Barclay Rae says...
Posted 27 November 2015
Our plans re a professional career framework are still being developed. Our intention is to be inclusive and to leverage existing skills frameworks (e.g. such as SFIA), not compete with them. We will be reaching out to relevant parties in due course to discuss this collaboration.
Matthew Burrows says...
Posted 25 November 2015
Several people asked me about your comment regarding building a skills framework. Could you confirm my understanding, so there is no confusion, that this is not an alternative to SFIA, and that SFIA will be used or referenced?

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