As part of the founding itSMF UK group, I attended the first UK Conference in Stratford 27 years ago as Managing Director of the UK start-up Pink Elephant. Very exciting times! Since then, I’ve attended many itSMF UK conferences and continue to be impressed with the support that the organisation receives within the IT service management (ITSM) community.

itSMF UK was very innovative back in 1991, and I certainly couldn’t list many products and services that have enjoyed the same longevity over this period; but there is no doubt that change is now needed. Of course, we all know that ITIL is the main body of knowledge that has underpinned itSMF UK’s success, and ITIL continues to be the backbone of service management in so many organisations; but equally, there’s not been a full refresh since before the iPhone was made available. However, as most readers will be aware, the long-awaited ITIL 4 is due to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2019, and AXELOS will be providing a full update at this years itSMF UK Annual Conference (ITSM18).

In June I was asked to assume the role of interim General Manager for itSMF UK which I accepted on the premise that this year’s Annual Conference must be a catalyst for change in the months ahead. You see, I’m part of the problem – one of the Old Boys’ Club that continues to exert a disproportionate degree of influence across the industry. This is exactly why I accepted the challenge and certainly wish to “pass the ball” to the next generation.

In my view, service management has never been so big and so important. Service management is the “noun” and all of the other great initiatives such as DevOps, IT4IT, and VeriSM are the “adjectives”. If you were to ask a CEO if they understood ITSM they’d give a good description and an opinion on the quality of service management in their organisation; but would they know about the other initiatives mentioned above? I doubt it, and they likely certainly couldn’t give an opinion on how effective they were individually.

We now must work hard to ensure that itSMF UK remains relevant. We have to up our game and that starts now. Service management is a profession and we need to demonstrate this fact to all those who are choosing to build a career path in this sector. With this in mind itSMF UK has developed an outstanding competence resource, namely the Professional Service Management Framework (PSMF), which offers both individual and organisational guidelines on growing the necessary service management competencies. It also provides a digital scorecard to capture important achievements and record areas of strength and scope for future professional development.

Not a bad idea to help cultivate the most expensive line item in any service management budget – the people. As the only asset that really appreciates in value, why wouldn’t we want to measure it, enhance it, and maintain it?

itSMF UK also has a significant programme of masterclasses to roll out in the next few months on a range of new topics – events that help us live up to our raison d’etre as an industry forum, bringing together those members with leading-edge knowledge and expertise to facilitate events and networking opportunities for other members. We’ll also be introducing a new range of industry focused events, covering new solutions and products from our vendor members that address new business requirements. Watch this space for further information!

A Conference for the Future

Right now, my focus is on our upcoming Annual Conference, and this year’s speaker programme is a powerful reminder of the abundance of new initiatives that are being embraced within the industry. Topics such as experience level agreements, digital customer experience, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine humanity are all being explored and exploited as service management teams help to transform their businesses and meet the demands of the millennial generation.

It’s also refreshing to see how practices that are fundamental to service management are being deployed outside IT. Our opening keynote speaker Roy Wilsher, Chairman of the National Fire Chief Council, will be discussing how major incident management is addressed by professional fire fighters. When I first spoke to Roy, it was quite humbling to hear him describe the UK’s part in the incredible international team effort at the Japanese Tsunami, and I’m looking forward to hearing the full story. As I explained to him that in IT our response to major incidents relied on great people, great process, and great technology, Roy said that it was the same in the Fire Service – but with an emphasis on great communication, don’t miss that one!

Roy also touched on the need to manage the personal aftermath of major incidents with his staff, which leads nicely into our second keynote this year. Thomas Jordan from SANE will be discussing mental health in the workplace and provide what promises to be a very thought-provoking session on supporting one another as individuals within an increasingly stressful working environment.

So, in conclusion, this is going to be a pivotal Annual Conference for itSMF UK, where we’ll be openly discussing our relevance within the industry, setting the agenda for the future of itSMF UK, and considering – as always – how to deliver greater value to our members. I hope to see you there!


Interim General Manager at

Ken is an energetic and entrepreneurial Manager and Leader with wide ranging experience since early days in British Airways before moving direction towards new business ventures developing and growing several Professional and Managed Services companies along with Software Sales organisations.