A binge-watching we will go!
Collins English Dictionary recently announced its 2015 Word of the Year – binge-watch, meaning “to watch a large number of television programmes in succession, especially shows from one series”. Lexicographers claim that usage of the word was up 200% on 2014, fuelled by the prevalence of TV subscription services such as Netflix. If binge-watch strikes you as a little unedifying, you might consider some of the runners-up: contactless (a reference to smart cards, I think, but it could equally mean “a shortage of friends due to excessive binge-watching”), the very topical Corbynomics, or one with which I immediately identified, dadbod, meaning “an untoned and slightly plump male physique”.
I like Collins’ Words of the Year. They are a clear reminder that language is constantly evolving to reflect the needs and moods of the day. We learn the basics of grammar and vocabulary in our early years, but we’d soon lose the ability to communicate if we ignored new words and phrases or the subtle changes in the way that existing terms are used. OK, I’ll admit that I shudder a little when I hear ‘literally’ used to mean ‘metaphorically’ when it should mean the opposite, but on this point even that bastion of lexicography the Oxford English Dictionary concedes: “[The OED] is not an arbiter of proper usage, despite its widespread reputation to the contrary… Its content should be viewed as an objective reflection of English language usage, not a subjective collection of usage ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.”
Sounds a little like service management. We have plenty of guidance but who’s to say what’s really right and wrong? The IT world is moving forward at a furious pace and, although most service management professionals will have been through the various levels of formal training, they constantly need to adapt their knowledge to fit different technical scenarios and changing business requirements. And like dadbod and binge-watch, our industry is peppered with changing terminology, new solutions to old problems and old solutions to new ones.
This issue of ServiceTalk addresses many areas where ITSM specialists are struggling to embrace change – knowledge management, release management, capacity planning and service integration. All of these complex topics are changing fast and require new or adapted skills. It’s absolutely critical, as attendees at our latest Midland region event concurred (page 24), that we equip the next generation of service management newcomers with both theory and practical experience to prepare them for the daunting tasks that lie ahead. And as our article on collaboration explains (page 14), one of the most essential attributes for students and professionals alike is enthusiasm for teamwork, the ability to share knowledge and achieve real success through the different strengths and perspectives of colleagues.
One of the best places to find out about more about the changing service management landscape is the ITSMF UK Conference, which brings together the most dedicated and innovative practitioners for two days of intensive networking. I hope you get the chance to attend – it’s a great experience – but if not, remember to keep an eye on all our member events throughout the year where specific topics are discussed and new skills developed.
Happy reading, and I hope you get a chance to take in some binge-watching too!
Communications & Professional Support Manager
Profile, engagement and effectiveness
I’m delighted to be taking on the role of CEO for ITSMF UK for the next six months. Since this was announced I’ve received tremendous support from across the industry, with hundreds of positive messages. Thanks for all of these - I appreciate the sentiments and expectations and so there’s a job to be done…
I will try to share messages and information about plans and activities as much and as transparently as possible – the initial short-term focus is on the conference, which I am really looking forward to and where I hope to see as many of you as possible. Whether you opt to attend both days or you choose a one-day conference or exhibition pass, please do try to join us for what is always a sociable and rewarding event.
As an organisation there have been a number of changes recently – we are now a relatively new Board and can forge a new and positive direction. It’s also great to have some C-Level representatives joining the Board from member (service delivery) organisations – their input will be invaluable.
My focus will be on three areas – (1) managing and supporting the ITSMF UK office and team to be as successful as possible, (2) looking at new ways to deliver value, including new products from ITSMF, plus (3) reaching out to as many potential partners and industry organisations as possible to widen the ITSM debate and achieve more as a unified industry.
Work has already commenced to follow up the recent Leadership Council initiative, with some research commissioned to look at how to develop our skills framework. We are also starting to look, again with the support of the Council, at new ways to promote and market the industry and the ITSM value proposition. I will also be talking also to a number of other membership organisations about how they manage and maintain their services.
So initially I’ll be making myself available for conversations on collaboration and synergy – please contact me directly if you would like to engage. I’ll obviously be available at the conference and I hope to see you there.
My goal is to raise the profile, engagement levels and effectiveness of ITSMF UK – I look forward to your continued support in