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What Can Estonia Teach You about IT Service Management?

By | December 18, 2014 in ITSM

The 2014 itSMF Estonia conference, held in Tallinn last week, was an international IT service management (ITSM) fest. The circa 180 delegates had travelled from 12 countries (including strong Finnish and British contingents) and the presenters came with a variety of international perspectives.

It differed to many of the other international itSMF chapter and global IT service management (ITSM) conferences I’ve previously attended, in that:

  • It was a single day event – which very handily kept the conference and travel costs (and time spent away from the office) down.
  • There was a single session track – itSMF Estonia President Kaimar Karu had billed all the sessions as keynotes. He wasn’t too far from the mark as the rapidly delivered content was of a high quality.

What Estonia can teach you about ITSM

I’ll not cover all of the conference content in this blog, it wouldn’t be possible. Instead I’ll come back to a number of sessions in greater detail in additional blogs. These will include:

And I believe Stephen Mann has promised Toby Moore of ServiceDesk360 a blog on his “Consumerization of Service” presentation.

The Importance of Customer and Workforce Experience

David Wheable, of Forrester, started the conference with the importance of customer experience. Not just that companies with better (external) customer experience outperform the stock market but also that customer and service experience are also applicable within the enterprise.

David used Forrester research to show that external customers need: their experiences with companies to offer value; to be able to easily access that value; and for the experience to be enjoyable. And that to create a great customer experience you must have customer understanding, strategy, and design – along with effective measurement, governance, and culture.

But this is only one side of the same coin – the other being workforce experience, where employees need to be engaged, productive, and impactful – with such employees positively contributing to customer experience and business success. I think most of us would fail to argue against the corporate IT organization, through the services it provides, having a big part to play in workforce productiveness and impact.

A key takeaway for me from David’s session was the link to a later session on Continual Service Improvement (CSI) by Stuart Rance – that offering a great customer experience isn't about changing what you do. Instead it's about making improvements – it's CSI. If you are interested, Stuart has written about CSI here.

Confessions of an ITSM Tool Vendor

Patrick Bolger of Hornbill (yes, he is one of “the competition”) gave the audience an interesting and humorous insight into how customers tender for ITSM solutions. Some of Pat’s key points included that:

  • ITSM solutions are over engineered for the needs and maturity of many organizations
  • Organizations are struggling to improve their ITSM maturity and have struggled for well over a decade
  • Buyers often suffer from “shiny objects syndrome” – with a cycle of oohs and purchases related to SaaS, mobile, social, gamification, big data, outside IT, analytics, agile...
  • History repeats itself becaue often only the tools are replaced, and they are replaced on a like for like basis – “We need a new ITSM tool. Ours isn't working... And we'd like it to operate exactly like our current tool please.”

Thankfully Pat did offer advice on how customers should select an ITSM solution (which we agree with):

  1. ITIL compatibility should not be your primary consideration
  2. Invest the time to define your requirements properly (rather than using someone else’s RFP template)
  3. Involve customer service professionals
  4. Be very clear on the problems you want to solve
  5. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a reasonable timeframe
  6. Understand that implementing a new tool is the start of your journey, not the end

My Personal 5 Top Takeaways from itSMF Estonia 2014

As I wrote above, sadly I can’t cover all of the presentations without it looking like your Twitter feed. Although, if you want short sound bites from all of the presentations you can look at #itsmfest (but note that you will need to scroll down to the photo of Kaimar kicking off the event and then to work upwards). This will also include content from:

Considering the content from all of the conference’s presenters, my personal key takeaways were:

  1. Remove the culture of blame and encourage people to take ownership
  2. Speak in a language the business understands
  3. Focus on delivering business VALUE
  4. Talk AND listen to your customers
  5. Measure only what matters

Two of my colleagues also attended the event (Dena Wieder-Freiden and Ami Shimkin) and their top takeaways were:

  1. As was one of my takeaways - value, value, value! Everything comes down to business value / the value you provide to your customers.
  2. Improve, improve, improve! You can never stop improving. CSI is the most important process in any organization

Toby Moore has also created a Storify-based blog on itSMF Estonia 2015, with a free conference podcast included as a bonus, should sifting the Twitter stream seem too daunting.

Finally, it was a fantastic event and one that I hope to attend again next year. You should consider it for 2015 too … and look out for my future blogs on fast delivery and failing ITSM projects.

itSMF Estonia 2014 with top ITSM pros from around the world

Like this article? You may also like: Everything ITSM in Less Than Three Days.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Sophie Danby

About Sophie Danby

Sophie is a freelance IT service management (ITSM) marketing consultant, helping solution vendors to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. As a vocal and collaborative member of the international ITSM community, you can often find her at global ITSM conferences or engaging in "ITSM chatter" on Twitter. Sophie also previously worked with at SysAid as our VP Marketing.

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