ITSM India Podcast

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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Gamification - What is in for you as an ITSM expert by playing Apollo13?


This blog stems from my experience participating at the Apollo 13 Business simulation played in Delhi recently.   We had around 8 delegates who were specialized in delivering ITSM engagements internally or externally to their clients.

One of the key differences of the workshop was that we had 8 people from 6 different companies who got a chance to meet and interact with their fellow industry colleagues first time through the game.

From a background and experience perspective, delegates had around 10+ years of experience on an average and belonged to some leading end user organizations/IT companies in India & abroad.

While the participants voiced out several key learning`s over the 4 rounds as mentioned below, I had some great eye openers with this event and that is the beauty of running such simulations. Every time, the context, reflection and outcomes are totally different.






My personal takeaways from the whole exercise were as follows

 a) Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing exercise /Team building that can be done easily when you have the new joiners run through this simulation as part of the New- Hire Orientation.  They have fun, learning and overall develop a personal bond quickly before they are deployed to projects

b)  While trainings like ITIL V3 Foundation need investment of 2 days of time and effort for people to gain knowledge, these simulations bring about significant learning aspects to build competency like knowledge, behaviors, Skills and attitude

 c) One of the ITIL V3 Expert trainer mentioned that this simulation was an eye opener and a great experience of learning by doing. By this way he believed that the retention of knowledge would be far more longer for students

 d) It would be a great opportunity to play a simulation with the project stakeholders before kicking off the ITSM project. There is a whole lot of things that we unlearn and learn by doing.

e) Finally, lots of people have difficulty in articulating how to drive CSI in their organizations.  With rounds 1 to 4, there are action items that get reflected by participants and see definite improvements to carry those transfer skills to workplace. This could aid them for better efficiency and effectiveness in their journey to service excellence.



Saturday, 12 July 2014

What is the impact of IT Governance in your Organization?

Today we are in an era of rapid technological changes, complex operating environments and demanding consumerisation of IT.  Enterprises are forced to change gears to make the paradigm shift imminently not only to be competitive but to secure their place in business. In order IT to stay relevant and influential in this age of business,  that understanding the true meaning of IT governance is the key to our success. 
While organisations are spending time, effort and resources to scale up to new frontiers, there is no blue print to guarantee success in their endeavors.  Over and above, changing regulatory and legal compliance requirements make it a difficult proposition to sail through seamlessly.
Hence it is the need of the hour for enterprises to fall back to a robust Governance structure and control to handhold and guide them during this unpredictable journey.
Why is this important?
The recent PINK 14 conference that concluded in Vegas resonated with one clear message about Governance of IT being single greatest reason that businesses were unable to get real benefits of IT. In other words IT fails to give true business value.  Hence there is an increasing need for IT Governance to play a pivotal role in making this a reality.  While IT is getting overwhelmed with Cloud, Mobility, BYOD, Big Data and new market trends, managing complexity needs a phenomenal governance mechanism. It is important to get both IT and the business to understand how Governance can help provide true value to their customers and create customer delight.  Cobit 5.0 – Governance framework has become popular merely by the fact that it has appealed well to the business audience.
So what is Governance?
In today`s context, I see that Governance is used interchangeably with the word Management and would like to clarify a few distinctions between the two to set the context right.
IT governance is primarily concerned about two things: IT’s delivery of value to the business and mitigation of IT risks. On the other hand, Management plans, builds, runs and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance to achieve the enterprise objectives.  Governance involves executive committee and board that is independent of organization whereas the Management involves senior management staff within the same organization.
In simple words, Governance is doing the right things while Management is about doing things right.
People tend to relate Governance as an element of bureaucracy/executive control, which adds additional layers of approval and processes to ‘tightening screws’.
As a practitioner on IT Governance, I have seen several such myths perceived by the organisation that I had written in my earlier blog titled “IT Governance – 5 Myths to Break this New Year”
Let’s take a  simple example to articulate the importance of  Governance .  All of us know about the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy.  Valukas report that was produced by an independent investigator of bankruptcy revealed some startling facts.  A) Repo 105 ( Remove B$  security inventory from balance sheet) was completely illegal under the US Law and therefore Lehman Brother had to do all of these transactions in the UK under their London unit .  b) Out of 10 Board of Directors, only 2 had  direct experience in financial industry c)  The risk management committee  only met  twice in 2006 and 2007.
These areas get clearly addressed, if governance structure was formally established to deal with due-diligence proactively.  So what has been your experience with setting up of Governance in your organization?
This Post was published at Service Desk Institue

Process and Tools - The Argument Continues

This blog follows on from the recent post from Phyllis Drucker and stems from my recent experience delivering Service management tools training for Service desk professionals.

I recently delivered this  foundation training on Service Desk tools for Process owners. The course outline and prerequisites were communicated well in advance and when I stepped in for the first day, I had a great surprise. 80 % of the candidates did not have a formal ITIL foundation certificate and were sitting on a class that talks about service management tools aligned with ITIL process. When I enquired why they did not get themselves ITIL trained, the simple answer was we did not have time. We have scheduled a course in 2 weeks time.

I then spent half of my day 1 to just get them familiarized with the ITIL concepts and also managed to cover the rest of topic and lab exercises.

I was curious to understand how they planned to use the tools and the team leader mentioned that they were building a Service Mgmt COE and needed all service desk guys trained and on various SM toolset.
I see this issue mainly in countries like India where there is keen interest on tools and technology while the process aspect is always expected to be a freebie and is normally ignored.
Tailoring of tools or heavy customization is done by consultants within the client environment basically because they expect the tool to behave in a certain way and are not bothered about the actual need and rationale to customize.

Also I would have to say that  I have hardly ever  seen organisations leveraging more than 50 % of the features and capabilities shipped out of the box (OOB)
So in my opinion if the situation needs to improve there are 5 things that needs attention.

1. Understanding the true need of the organization or customer business requirements
2. Identifying the key ITIL processes that are applicable and help people understand the rationale behind usage
3. Identify an appropriate Service Management tool that fits to the purpose and objective
4. Enable meaningful business reporting to measure results and customer satisfaction
5. Ensure that the whole approach is communicated throughout organization and business units supported by training and soliciting feedback for ongoing service improvement
What has been your experience in addressing such gaps? Would love to hear your feedback and insights

This post was published at Shift on 03rd July 2014 

Why Should You Sign Up for a Mentor-Mentee Program?

As part of leading HP service management profession mentoring committee, I would like to register my thoughts as to why joining mentoring program would be a great value add and rewarding experience to enhance your career.
Most of us are busy in our existing roles delivering engagements or projects at a utilization of over 70 – 80 % that leaves us very little time for learning, exchanging views and developing new skills. We do not have the luxury to experiment on areas that we are interested and get exposure to people who have done that well in the past. So the aspirational area of our interest and passion is at the mercy of some miracle happening, to get us move closer to our goals.

Here is where I think organization should embark on Service Management mentoring program that can be handy and of immense value provided if you know your exact needs.
Here are my 8 Tips to make the Mentor-Mentee program effective once you get yourself signed.

1. Clear articulated requirements of mentee

Like every project, as a mentee ensure you have clear articulated requirements of what you would like to learn, what skill you would like to develop and outcomes expected after the tenure. I see some extract information like become expert on ITSM, ISO/IEC 20000. There is no clarity as to what your current level of knowledge expertise is and what you would like to achieve in the areas mentioned [Certification, Practitioner approach etc]

2. Develop overall plan, milestone and outcomes

In consensus with the mentor, mentee should develop and overall plan with milestone and outcomes expected. Mentee has to do the homework and ensure that mentor`s time is judiciously used while executing the plan. It is best to have at least once a month connected of 1 hour with planned agenda, experience sharing and resources that could be leveraged for further learning.

3. Commit time and frequency with Mentor

As a mentee, it is essential to commit time and agree on a definite frequency of synch up with the mentor to discuss on areas subjected to learning and development. Identify what time slot and date works better accommodating to the appropriate time zone. I don't like it when people don`t turn up on agreed date and time waste valuable time.

4. Adopt multiple channels of communication

While face-to-face is always recommended because we are globally diversified, phone calls and virtual rooms also work. In addition use email, chat and discussion forums to enhance your interaction with your mentors and community. This could make it quite a memorable experience.

5. Set up mutually beneficial agreement

Mentoring is a two way process in which both the mentor and mentee both needs to get benefitted. This means that every mentee should see how he/she can give back something for the mentor to get benefitted. This could be a different area where the mentee is expert at or provide aspects of support that would be needed for the mentor

6. Mentors stand to gain the most!

I have been a mentor myself for several years mentoring people from different geographies, skill set and experience. I have personally had a great learning experience culturally and also improved my people management and consulting skills. So if you are a mentor, be assured that this exercise will help you gain in all dimensions of overall development
Rewarding relationships with mentor and mentee happens when it is dealt with openness and absolute transparency. It is absolutely ok to say, I would not be able to help or share those information instead of beating around the bushes. Similarly, after a few conversations if the mentee feels that there is a disconnect with the way things operate, it is worthwhile to clarify and terminate with mutual consensus

8. Cash in on key lessons at your work

The best way to remember concepts is to put them to judicial use in your own work environment. So cash in on your key lessons and find ways to create value in your existing work. This ascertains value of this program to your manager.

These 8 steps have helped me and people I know gain immensely during a mentoring relationship. If you have had your experience, do share us your best practices that we all can imbibe in our future engagements.

This post was published at HDI Connect on June 23, 2014 



Tuesday, 20 May 2014

SITS14 - My Experience and Takeaways ( 29th, 30th April, Earls Court - London)

I have been very much looking forward to presenting at this part of the world for 2 primary reasons.  ITIL’s humble origin at the OGC /Cabinet Office and this country hosting some of the elite and vibrant ITSM professionals whom I have always wanted to meet face-to-face.

I did plan my self-funded trip from Bangalore to London for 3 simple reasons:  a) leisure & sight seeing b) attend and present at the SITS14 conference 3) connect with ITSM people & friends

What surprises me is that, how do you get such great quality speakers and sessions free to the audience?  As a delegate, it would be a bonanza to hear & connect with some fascinating ITSM minds across globe.
I agree with what James mentions in his blog – This has more value than much of the paid conferences.

The breakfast briefing on day 1 that had Barclay facilitate a panel discussion on customer experience was quite stimulating and the panelists including Toby, Simone and David did a good job in articulating relevant examples which complemented the CX survey results.

Having Jeff from Gartner as Keynote Speaker marked the icing on the cake and was glad that he was able to entertain audience for both the days.

I would admit that the Tube strikes in London was little unfortunate as we did loose around 15 % of registrants. However it also meant that 85 % of who did register were so compelled they had made alternative arrangements to be a part of this event.

This year marked 20 years of success for the Service Desk & IT Support show and couldn’t be a better fit launching the ITSM contributor of the year award.  Barclay’s contribution to the ITSM industry, knowledge, teaching and consulting have had a huge fan following for him including me.  It was heartening to see him win the well-deserved award.  Watch here.

The whole event had a good bunch of Keynotes, sessions and hot topics for 2 full days and it was a tough challenge for delegates to pick and choose merely by the high quality speakers.

I particularly liked a lot of sessions and would be difficult to point them all, but one thing that I need to make a special mention is the Panel discussion on “Is ITIL going to die”?  We couldn’t have a better panel team than  Stuart RanceKaimar KaruAndrea Kis and Ian Atchison, facilitated by Barclay Rae.
Special thanks to all the people who took their time to attend my session on “Governance & Fragmented IT – must service desks let go?”  I am humbled by the comments and feedback that indicated it gave some take-aways for everyone who attended.

For me the highlight of the whole conference was to catch up with lot of ITSM professionals discussing various diversified interest and make that emotional connect.  I did make sure to take snaps with all those I interacted with and no wonder I landed up with 500+ photos of just ITSM people.



 - With the SDI team: Howard, David, Tessa, Paul and me in front of the ‘Big Red Tool Box’ stand.
I did tweet a lot about what I learnt, enjoyed and missed at #SITS14 and you should just do a quick search on twitter as to what has been everyone’s experience.
I could start writing raving reviews of SITS14 conference and the best bet would be to catch up on SITS14 podcast  at the ITSM review  that has a collective opinion from James, Melanie, Toby, Simon, Barclay here.

Running such a conference is not a child’s play. Toby Moore did indicate when we discussed during our SITS14 podcast, that it took a whopping 7 months effort to turn a piece of paper to a reality event.  The Organizers and particularly Laura Venables has done a fantastic job in managing this event to perfection.

I cannot believe that 2 days at SITS14 has come to an end.  What a terrific event this has been.  I have earned great friends and made strong emotional connect and will carry those pleasant memories.
We will miss Laura Venables next year as she moves to OZ later this year, but am sure that the Leader of the Ship has some great people who will adorn the show next year.


Finally, I am certain that this is the best conference that I have attended in almost a decade and will look forward to being again next year from 3-4th June 2015.

This was published at SDI  on May 9, 2014

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

TFT14 - Leverage ITIL beyond IT to deliver true value

We have been swarmed for years talking about how IT can get benefited using ITIL best practice framework for more than a decade. Its time that as practitioners, we use them to provide value to various aspects of Industry like Hospital, Transport, Health Services and more importantly in our day to day aspects to deliver true business outcomes. This talk would focus on with pragmatic use case study to take ITIL beyond IT and deliver true value to your customers worldwide and also eat our own dog food in managing our personal and professional endeavors

If you would like to have this session at TFT14, this June 2014, 24 hour free online ITSM conference, then please vote for me.

 

itSMF Singapore Conference - ITSM Leadership Congress


As I pack my bags heading back to India, I wanted to share my initial thoughts and experiences of the recently concluded itSMF Annual Conference on 21st March 2014 at Park Royal Hotel, Beach Road.

The Theme of the Annual Conference was “ITSM Leadership Congress” that witnessed 125+ Delegates, 11 Speakers, 10 Sponsors, 6 countries, providing 5 PDUs, 4 Panelists, 3 Keynotes, 2 tracks during the 1 day jam packed schedule.

Just prior to the conference, AXELOS conducted its First ever Round table event at the same venue that attracted some of the leading ATOs and EIs attend full day event on 20th March, sharing some key insights and feedback to AXELOS leadership team.

Aligning to the theme of “ITSM Leadership Congress” – Broader topics were selected to present with both national & International flavors on ITSM Leadership trends.  Rama Prasad Mamidi, President itSMF Singapore welcomed all the delegates, speakers, sponsors and Council members gathering.

The President’s speech was followed by an energetic group of students from Republic Polytechnic do a group dance of rock & roll to pep up the whole conference using their electrifying performance.

The GOH, Leong See Sum – CIO of Defense Science and technology Agency (DSTA) mentioned that Singapore is the Asian hub for IT Service Management.

The Conference was divided in to two tracks based on choices and 3 key notes that had the entire audience attend at the big room

Some key aspects that would be of interest to know from this conference

a)      First 20 registrants received  a free 1 year itSMF Membership worth of SGD 200

b)      MoU was signed between itSMF Singapore & EXIN to collaborate and provide value to itSMF Members.

c)       This is one of the very few chapters in the world that provides global members of  itSMF voting power and acceptance to represent Executive Council/Board.

d)      AXELOS decided to host its first Round table event at Singapore and also chose to participate as the first Asian itSMF Conference.

e)      The Conference focused on diversified topics like Green IT, Service Governance Consultancy, The Era of End User Experience, Transitioning Services into Production, ITSM story telling, CSI in action, Leadership transformation,  Emotional Intelligence in action and Future Best Practices . Click Here
Running two tracks simultaneously has its fair share of pros & cons – However all presentations had pragmatic use cases, case studies in demonstrating ITSM leadership trends and best practices.
Four sessions that received maximum kudos from the feedback received from delegates were
 “Service Governance” from Peter Brooks, ITSM – Story Telling by Rui Soares,  Leadership Transformation -Be a professional problem solver by Matt Fourie  & Green IT by Ian Toland
I was particularly impressed by two sessions that appealed to me easily in both our personal and Professional life.   a) ITSM – Storing telling way   b) Emotional Intelligence in action
Rui Soares faced the challenge of doing a session parallel to AXELOS Peter Hepworth, but attracted quite significant interest and kept the audience captivated. I was glad to be a recipient of his personal drawing gifted towards audience question.
Drawing the technical sessions to a closure, Dominic Siow made an emphatic & energetic presentation inspiring all the delegates providing key takeaways to master emotional intelligence in both professional and personal life.

The Panel discussion had 4 panelists, 2 of them were representatives from end user organizations like Changi Airport & Citibank, while 2 were from itSMF Singapore and itSMF Australia respectively.  Panelists discussed about challenges, market trends and adoption of ITSM across different domains and industry sectors. The session was lively and little animated when the audience started debating on business value from IT Service Management.

There was plenty of traction during tea-breaks, lunch break & registration time among delegates, sponsors, speakers and council members.  I had some great discussion from practitioners and representatives of end-user organization on the context of how ITSM is creating the right value proposition to yield true business outcomes.

The Master of Ceremony - Marco & Ayish did a fabulous job in articulating a story thread from the beginning till the end creating logical continuity of flow from one session to another.







Vinay Jain, VP of itSMF Singapore proposed the vote of thanks followed by the big raffle draw and number of lucky draw prizes.
Later in the evening, the Annual Members night had a good informal get together of all itSMF members, speakers and sponsors to network with 8 course round table dinner, followed by cultural performance. 
 


TFT 14 - Best Practice Frameworks and Standards - Why complicate? Be Pragmatic

Best Practice Frameworks and Standards adoption- Why complicate? Be Pragmatic

Today we have several compelling best practice frameworks like ITIL, CobiT, CMMI and industry standards like ISO 20000 that makes organizations ponder the best way to go about and leverage maximum benefits. This talk would focus with pragmatic case study to illustrate a simplified approach and methodology to fit the framework and standard to the Organizational environment.

This talk is available as part of TFT14, done on 18th Feb 2014. Hope you enjoyed and feel free to share to your friends and colleagues


Link to recording: http://tomorrowsfuturetoday.com/tft14/suresh-gp

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/ServiceDeskInstitute/tft14-suresh-gp







Sunday, 9 March 2014

Beware – Don’t Let Branding Make you Blind

This blog stems from my recent experience and insight of how two of the best reputed companies in the globe delivered an unbelievable customer service experience.
As you might be well aware, Emirate airlines was named as the World`s Best airline in 2013 and the recent narration makes me wonder, if we are being misled by branding and awards
Five of the passengers had lost their baggage and did not receive it even after 40 hours, first update of missing baggage came after 36 hours, paid phones for customer service had a wait time of 25 minutes with no response, none of the emails sent to the service desk or twitter postings were even acknowledged. On top of all these, the staff were rude to passengers. More detailed insights from Vinod`s blog


While I can understand that there are technical and logistical glitches likely to happen, the aspects detailed above clearly indicate a fundamental failure to provide a supporting and courteous customer experience.
This cannot be termed as a one-off incident because there are clear disconnects at various touch points making it a pathetic and frustrating end-user experience.  From a Service Management perspective, I would focus on 4 main issues.


a)     Lack of ownership of the Service Desk to acknowledge, update progress and communicate to the user
b)     Staffing & Role fitment issues for various modes of email, phone, social media in addressing queries
c)     Behavior and attitude of customer service staff demonstrates lack of training, enablement and more importantly basic customer service etiquette
d)     Lack of Customer Liaison Champion or leader to be in charge, manage customer expectation and bring situation under control




The 2nd case is that of Fiat India where there was no customer redressal policy when one of its dealers, was at fault.
My friend had taken his Fiat Linea for service to get a break-fix done for an issue that occurred during his long distance travel. The dealer’s service engineers diagnosed it wrongly, suggested the owner should pay the charges without approaching insurance agency in order to save the no-claim bonus. After a few days, the issue reoccurred and highlighting that the dealer had done a shoddy job in fixing the root cause. During the time the car was with the dealer the front panel of dashboard buttons had been mishandled by technicians. So now the dealer does not own the charges even when they admit their carelessness and negligence in fixing it right first time. So when we escalated it to the customer service manager of Fiat India, there was a shocking excuse that they don’t have a customer redressal system if the dealer is at fault.

These reveal some startling aspects of Service (mis)management that can be summarized as follows

a)     Setting up of prerequisite criteria of requirements & compliance aspects before qualifying authorized dealers was not done in the first place.
b)     Absence of governance and control of dealer performance to the Fiat end users (Actions on feedback from customer, Customer redressal system, penalties)
c)     Lack of a clearly defined escalation path to get control of the situation and  address customer pain swiftly

Would not the lack of ownership by Fiat for the dealer`s mistake cost them dearly in terms of reputation and good faith?

Let’s not get carried  away by terms like value, customer delight when we are struggling to get the basics right and in spite of following the modus  operandi and standard escalation protocols, no result has happened for a month.

What can we do about it? As consumers, you have every right to voice your pain and publicize when the branded companies are refuse to admit and remediate for inconvenience.

So provide checks and balance to highlight the pathetic service and pass on the note to your friends and peers to be extra vigilant without blindly falling into a trap.

With the social media advantage, exercise your weapons to force companies to be accountable for their shortcoming and deliver corrective action and prevent such things happen in future.
Finally don’t get carried away by branding and certified standards.  Let’s ensure companies do not stay complacent on and rely on past laurels and history.   Will this be a wakeup call?

This blog post was published on Shift on 5th March 2014 Beware-dont-let-branding-make you blind

ITSM India Podcast - Meeting with AXELOS CEO

On 5th March 2014, I had the opportunity of having 1-1 with Peter Hepworth, CEO of AXELOS as part of 4th ITSM India Podcast discussing about ITIL Roadmap, ITSM in academia, Cost of Exam impact to Indian Market, Ways & Means India can contribute to the best practice roadmap and means to get engaged to take it forward.  Peter was candid enough to be open and transparent in his communications and highlighted the importance of India as a Strategic Important Market for AXELOS.

http://shiftmediainc.com/2014/03/03/itil-india-podcast-peter-hepworth-axelos/