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Inspiration for the modern business Volume 1 : Issue 2 : November / December 2007

Customer Value Management knowledge powered IT driven

Companies Act 2006 ignore it at your peril

Climbing the Greasy Pole an IT way to the top

IT, the equaliser

big business advantage for SMEs FEATURE FOCUS: Service Management Professionalism pages 22-24

Unbiased advice and bespoke IT Service Management solutions

ITIL v2-v3 Foundation Bridge and ITIL v2 and v3 Foundation Certificate Public schedule and on-site options available. Visit our website for details.

Tel: 01582 488242 Fax: 01582 488343 E-mail: Website: Wardown Consulting Limited. Prudence Place, Proctor Way, Luton, Bedfordshire. LU2 9PE

IT Service Management Training & Consultancy



S John Hancock

One spin off from this changed role for the IT manager is that he or she now has to cultivate a broader management understanding

OME READERS may remember a time when IT or any business technology, was viewed in the same way as a Paul Daniels Magic show; good entertainment, a certain mystery, sometimes spectacular results but little that people could see how it could be useful to them. Later on, the mood changed to awe as the power of computers started to affect the way in which businesses worked. But even then it was the appearance of technology rather than its function that attracted most people. Then, with the proliferation of IT devices and applications, everybody from delivery drivers to the chairman had their own piece of technology. But throughout all of these developments one thing remained constant; technology was always regarded as an add on to processes rather than an integral part of the business. In the past decade, all that has changed. No longer are IT services managers viewed in the same way as, say, the transport manager or the premises manager – fulfilling an important function but not people to involve in planning the company’s future. At last, IT is being recognised as a core component within the infrastructure of the business in the same way that marketing, finance, human resources and administration have always been. At last, management is beginning to ask not simply, ‘How can IT enable us to complete this task more quickly and at less cost’ but, ‘What can IT suggest as a means to achieve our objectives.’ This is a big step, the equivalent of moving from, ‘service my car

so that I can drive to London without a breakdown.’ to, ‘I need to get to London, what is the best way of doing that?’ One spin off from this changed role for the IT manager is that he or she now has to cultivate a broader management understanding as the other management disciplines have always done. VitAL supports that broader management understanding with a selection of writing that looks not only at what IT delivers but also at broader management issues to which IT will be able to contribute positively. We believe that this is the way of the future for IT managers, to apply the power of their discipline and its capabilities not only to the current ways but to discovering and implementing new and better ways to achieve the business’s objectives. Over the coming issues we will develop this theme and would welcome your contributions either as writers or by suggesting topics that we could pursue. Of course, life isn’t all about facts; views and opinions are important and we are very pleased to be able to introduce in this issue our new regular columnist, Steve White, with his wry take on the world of IT and the world at large. Read, enjoy and, if you have a view, share it with us; the magazine is for you and so your views count most of all. John Hancock


November / December 2007 : VitAL




















Contents Inspiration for the modern business





In the knowledge economy and market, as Aiden explains, the continual acquisition and upgrading of skills and qualification will be a prerequisite of sustained success Editor John Hancock Assistant Editor Camilla Dunwell Advertising Sales Grant Farrell Production & Design Dean Cook Editorial & Advertising Enquiries 31 Media Limited, Media House, 16 Rippolson Road, London, SE18 1NS Tel: +44 (0) 208 316 7433 Fax: +44 (0) 208 316 5233 email: web:

Leveraging long term value from customer relationships is, for both parties, the key to customer retention and, as Mike explains, IT is now the key to achieving that

VitAL SIGNS – life in a world with IT


STEVE WHITE Customers don’t always act rationally and you cannot allocate resources for the worst case scenario but, says Steve, you’d better not be indifferent, that way lays failure


© 2007 31 Media Limited. All rights reserved. VitAL Magazine is edited, designed, and published by 31 Media Limited. No part of VitAL Magazine may be reproduced, transmitted, stored electronically, distributed, or copied, in whole or part without the prior written consent of the publisher. A reprint service is available. Opinions expressed in this journal do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or VitAL Magazine or its publisher, 31 Media Limited. ISSN 1755-6465

SHIRLEY LACEY Shirley explains the testing and validation of new or changed services


JOHN HANCOCK Are meetings dreaded in your business or do your people look forward to coming together? John suggests some ideas on how to create memorable meetings


Subscribing to VitAL Magazine VitAL Magazine is published six times per year for directors, department heads, and managers who are looking to improve the impact that IT implementation has on their customers and business. Subscription Rates: UK £30.00 per year Rest of the World £60.00 per year Please direct all subscription enquiries to: Printed by Pensord, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood. NP12 2YA


Tim Polding advises readers on the main considerations in the Companies Act 2006 which includes IT implications including communications and record keeping

Andy shares his views on the pressures that IT managers are under in today’s fast paced business environment and provides some practical tips


All Images © 2007

SUBSCRIBING TO VITAL MAGAZINE VitAL Magazine is published six times per year for directors, department heads, and managers who are looking to improve the impact that IT implementation has on their customers and business. Subscription Rates: UK £30.00 per year, Rest of the World £60.00 per year Please direct all subscription enquiries to:

November / December 2007 : VitAL


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For IT to be recognised as integral to every stage in the business, IT managers must upgrade the way they communicate and measure what they can do, says Rick


Smaller businesses could be at a disadvantage in a technology rich, big business environment but not, Diana believes, if technology transfer can bring big business capabilities to SMEs



Once the technology dictated how we worked but, says John, today it is possible for technology to use natural human ways of working as part of its own operation


ROSEMARY GURNEY The training that accompanies and supports ITIL has developed as the concept has developed and now forms a strong body of qualification and capability. Rosemary takes readers through the latest manifestation, where and how to use it



The Internet has created a new world order and, as Geoff explains, if you’re not truly signed up to it you’re probably not talking the language or part of the culture of a growing number of customers



CMDB is a good addition to the business but like any other powerful tool, says John, you should make sure that everybody learns how to use it safely and effectively

48 TECHNOLOGY IS NOT A STRATEGIC BUSINESS TOOL Multimedia Training can introduce amazing benefits to the business but following Kevin’s steps before betting the farm on a system might just save time, money and training value

FIONA DELAVAULT IT is a resource and, to get the best results from it, explains Fiona, the business needs to manage it properly, not treat it like an unavoidable and alien expense

7 In the first VitAL profile, we find out what it is that makes BMC Software tick – its philosophy, its Modus Operandi and what this provider can do for its customers – and find a business that thrives on making things happen for itself and for customers

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Title KT Resolve Application Manager Company Kepner-Tregoe Inc. Nature of Business Global Consulting and Training Company Contact Telephone 01753 856716 Email Web

Mike Bellman

Title Head of Customer Value Management Company Higham Dunnett Shaw Nature of Business Consultancy and Outsourcing for Life and Pensions Contact Tel 07921 106541 Email Web

Tim Polding


Title Head of Commercial Department Company Lees Lloyd Whitley Nature of Business Large national law firm Contact Tel 0151 650 5000 Email Web

VitAL : November / December 2007

Aidan Lawes

Title Independent Consultant Company AL Services Nature of Business Consultancy, authoring and speaking Contact Tel 0798 396 7551 Email

Shirley Lacy

Title Director Company ConnectSphere Nature of Business ITSM consulting and training Contact Telephone 0845 838 2345 Email Web

Camilla Dunwell

Title Assistant Editor Company 31 Media Nature of Business VitAL Magazine Contact Telephone 01736 793363 Email Web

Andy White

Title Director EMEA & APAC Company Numara Software Nature of Business Help Desk & Service Management solutions Contact Tel +44 (0) 800 1952373 Email Web

Rick Firth

Title Managing Director Company Parity Training Nature of Business IT & Technology services organisation Contact Tel 0845 873 0790 Email Web

Geoff Webb

Title CEO Company The Webb Partnership Nature of Business Brand and innovation consultancy/implementation Contact Tel 0207 235 4098 Email Web


Kevin Rossiter

Title Managing Director Company Rossiter & Co Nature of Business Corporate video multimedia web production Contact Tel 01695 726887 Email Web

Fiona Delavault

Title Marketing Manager Company Partners in IT Nature of Business Specialist Service Management Consultancy Contact Tel 01344 488123 Email ďŹ Web

Your VitAL Magazine News Views

Diana Thompson

Title Business Director Company University of Wolverhampton â&#x20AC;&#x201C; IT Futures Centre Nature of Business IT Consultancy, Advice, Support, Application-Research Contact Tel 01902 323396 Email Web

John Noctor

Title Senior Consultant Company ICCM Solutions Nature of Business Service Management Software & ITIL Training & Consultancy Contact Tel +44 (0) 1666 828 600 Email Web

Rosemary Gurney

Title Director Company Wardown Consulting Ltd Nature of Business IT Service Management training and consultancy Contact Telephoneephone 01582 488242 Email Website

Mark Newton Title UK Managing Director Company BMC Software Nature of Business Enterprise Management Solutions Contact Tel 01784 478800 Email Web

Strategy Management Case studies and Opinion pieces To advertise in VitAL contact Grant Farrell on +44 (0) 208 316 8002


Inspiration for the modern business November / December 2007 : VitAL


Cordys targets the UK A

NEW name has entered the UK IT market in Netherlands headquartered Cordys, a Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) provider established in 2001 by industry veteran Jan Baan. Today the company has over 520 employees and has rapidly expanded its global footprint in Europe and North America and now into the UK. Cordys has built its BPMS solutions to allow professionals to model business processes using the same tools and independent from underlying information systems.

The idea is that, by improving the speed with which implementation and change can be effected, an organisation should be more responsive to changing business conditions while avoiding the costs associated with customisation. Built on service orientated architecture (SOA) principles, Cordys BPMS provides a unified web based view of a business, together with an integrated environment that gives users access to all business information as well as the functionality to quickly model and integrate

business processes. Cordys provides Business Process Management Suites (BPMS) to Global 2000 companies. Its SOA based solution enables customers to design, execute, monitor and improve business processes more rapidly, with better performance, and with real adaptability. Companies from major industries worldwide have selected Cordys to support business performance improvement because business executives can continually optimize IT systems in real time within a code free environment.


sent their call centres overseas, Nationwide has bucked the trend and opened three new UK call centres, and refurbished two more, since 2002. As the Society reaffirms its commitment to UK call centres ahead of its merger with Portman, Nationwide reveals that over 90% of consumers believe it is important that their calls are handled by a call centre based in the UK. New research from Nationwide Building Society reveals: • 93% of people believe it is important that their calls are handled by a call centre based in the UK. • 79% of people say they would be less likely to deal with a company that used call centres abroad. • 52% of people say they would change to another provider if they found their main bank or building society had started using a call centre abroad. More than seven out of 10 adults (74%) prefer call centres in the UK as they believe: • They get better service. • It’s better for the UK economy. • Their calls are answered quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, nearly three quarters (73%) of adults think call handlers working in financial services companies carry out a skilled job. As many people only ever make contact with companies over the telephone, Nationwide believes it is important to listen to customers and provide the service they expect. Over recent years the number of UK organisations sending their call centres overseas has increased. It’s estimated that around 17,000 UK financial services call centre roles are now based abroad Graham Beale, chief executive at Nationwide, says: “Nationwide’s call centres handle over a million enquiries each month and we are committed to retaining them within the UK. Whilst many of our competitors see their overseas call centres as successful, and often more cost effective, some have brought their functions back to the UK as they believe customer service may improve. Our relationship with our members is core to our business and isn’t something we would wish to export overseas. At Nationwide we listen to our customers and pledge to provide the products and services they expect over the long term and it is important to them that we keep our call centres based in the UK.”



PAMMERS HAVE tapped into YouTube to send out massive quantities of spam, reports Marshal ( The spammers use YouTube’s own ‘Invite Your Friends’ system to send spam from YouTube users can invite their friends to view videos that they are looking at or have posted. This effectively allows them to email to any address from their YouTube account – functionality that the spammers

VitAL : November / December 2007

are exploiting. The messages have the same appearance as a legitimate YouTube invites but include typical spam content and links to spam Web sites. This is to defeat spam filters and to lower recipients’ guard by making it look as though the messages are coming from a perfectly innocuous email address. YouTube’s Help Centre suggests excluding the service@ email address from spam filtering.



N AUGUST 2007 Cisco® released results from an additional study examining mobile workers’ security behavior with regard to corporate security and its impact on businesses, revealing widespread plans to increase security spending by as much as 20 percent next year to protect expanding wireless networks and the growing numbers of mobile employees who access them. The latest research builds on earlier findings spotlighting the growing trend of mobile employees and how their security behavior can heighten risks for business’ IT organizations. While the previous findings involve more than 700 mobile employees in seven countries where wireless and mobility technologies are widely adopted, the additional findings released today reveal spending plans and business drivers for more than 700 IT decision makers who work in those same nations: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India, South Korea, and Singapore. Businesses today are boosting productivity and corporate agility by enabling more employees to connect to the corporate network via mobile technologies. Employees’ awareness and behaviors relating to mobile security are the crucial factors in protecting information and assets. Many mobile users say they aren’t always aware of security concerns. Many mobile employees say they access unauthorized wireless networks in public places and in their neighborhoods. Many say they don’t encrypt data on their wireless devices or set passwords to prevent physical access to their information. And, inevitably, some mobile users lose their devices or suffer from theft. More than half of the IT decision makers surveyed (55 percent) do not believe that the frequency of threats will decline. As a result, three of every four IT decision makers (74 percent) said security spending will increase over the next fiscal year in an effort to accommodate growing wireless and mobility requirements.

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IT in the news… It’s better to be saved than sorry Says Peter Bauer, CEO of Mimecast


HE ISSUE of email archiving hit the headlines with the demand from the Competition Commission (CC) that Tesco and ASDA hand over millions of emails and letters in response to claims that the grocery giants pressured suppliers to cut prices. This move thrust the archiving policies of UK businesses into the spotlight again as the law does not require firms to store emails or paper documents, except in relation to specific taxation or corporate issues beyond which it is up to firms to make their own policies regarding storage and retrieval of electronic communications. Email has become the mainstay of the business world as both a communication tool but also as a means of delivering a high proportion of business correspondence. In fact each of us is now receiving an average of 18 MB of data per day – and that’s due to increase to 28 MB of data per day by 2011. Add to this a fact recently reported by industry analysts the Radicati Group; that just 14% of business emails are being archived and the scale of the issue of storage and retrieval becomes evident. There appears to be a

The responsibility of maintaining the availability of email data for multi year periods is new for most IT managers requirement for enterprises to employ a centralised email data management tool or risk losing control over their important business records and being unable to retrieve valuable information. The responsibilit y of maintaining the availability of email data for multi year periods is new for most IT managers who are finding that creating a secure central repository of all email data can be both expensive and technically challenging. The larger the organisation, more mail servers are required and don’t forget the deployment of expensive redundant hardware, software and complex integration on local networks that are needed before a benefit can be realised. In house email archiving projects tend to consume a disproportionate percentage of budgets relative to other IT initiatives as a result of their complexity, requirements for offsite back up and the growing and unpredictable data volumes involved.

E f fec tive email data management is vital to every business, and IT departments need a practical strategy that is low risk, future proof, immediately affordable, easy to implement and manage, and critically, has a predictable cost profile over the many years of email data management that lie ahead. With the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS), email management solutions are now available as sophisticated, multi tenant, online email storage solutions with search performance, data security, availability and resilience based on a ‘pay as you go’ model rather than purchasing infrastructure. Wi t h t h i s te c h n o l o g y businesses can benefit from the safe delivery, storage, and management of hundreds of millions of messages for thousands of businesses worldwide every day regardless of their size. Where in the past storage of up to ten years worth of email would be reserved for

large companies that could afford this expenditure SaaS has enabled SMEs to also be able to have access to this type of application. SaaS offers an organisation the opportunity to store information in a robust and scalable format, retaining terabytes of data without any performance degradation. This means that as storage volumes grow users do not need to buy more server space as they can leverage the additional physical stores that a SaaS email Management service can provide. Staff and management can also access all business critical email information in real time. Any email route can be analysed to identify trends, patterns, abuse and so on. At a glance, the system can illustrate communications with key customers, who the communicating parties are and the frequency of communication over time. So before you are forced by business rules or regulation to provide copies of your email communications, ensure you have an email management policy in place which is both affordable and flexible enough to meet any future business demands.


I 12

NDUSTRY RESEARCH published in October 2007 reveals a sustained increase in investment to maximise the strategic value of service, capitalising on the potential returns it can deliver. The independent study into best practices and leadership in Strategic Service Management (SSM) shows that the high level of return has increased by 20 per cent in revenue return and ten per cent in margin return in the last two years.

Despite receiving only 15 per cent of the IT investment budget, service is accounting for 36 per cent of the revenue, and 55 per cent of the profit1. Having exhausted ways of maintaining revenue and margins on initial product sales, leaders are now developing innovative SSM strategies to compensate for product commoditisation and the consequent irreversible erosion in product margins. Published by Downton Consulting and backed by Accenture,

VitAL : November / December 2007

AFSMUK, Servigistics and The Service Business, the research highlights the sustained increase in investment in SSM, resulting in higher boardroom recognition of the returns it can deliver. The report also clearly outlines seven successful strategies deployed by the leaders across the entire SSM spectrum, enabling organisations to plan their own route towards such high performance levels. A hard copy of ‘Strategic Service Management: Best Practices’ is

available to order through www., or can be downloaded free of charge from

The CFO wants better margins.

The CMO wants higher brand awareness.

The COO wants better ways to manage costs.

The CEO simply wants results.

The CIO has to deliver all of the above and now has a way to make it happen.

Welcome to Business Service Management from BMC Software. Business Service Management (BSM) means the goals of IT are the same as the goals of the business. And with proven software and processes from BMC Software, BSM can be implemented in stages, demonstrating the value of IT as you go. ITIL v.3 incorporates BSM as a best practice. All business success stories have to start somewhere. With BSM from BMC Software, they begin in IT.

Visit us at stand H8/9 at ITSMF on 12-14 November 2007 to find out more about BSM and ITIL v.3.

Š 2007 BMC Software, Inc. All Right Reserved.


Relationships built on information Mike Bellman asks, if you don’t know your customers (and your business) how will you retain them? 14


MATTER of growing interest in the Life and Pensions industry, indeed a key strand of their business, is helping their clients to address the significant challenge of how to maximise the value from their existing customers - ‘Customer Value Management’ (CVM). But why is CVM such a challenging issue for firms and why in 2008 will firms

VitAL : November / December 2007

across the industry will be looking to spend £55m to £60m on this challenge, resources of which a reasonable proportion may end up being spent on solutions requiring the input of IT professionals. Historically most traditional Life and Pensions companies have had an extremely strong focus on growth, and this has tended to be

measured by the number of new policies being sold to new customers. This led to the industry being measured and measuring themselves largely on how much new business premium was sold. More recently, for reasons explained below, the amount of genuine new money coming in to the market has dwindled meaning that


…firms across the industry will be looking to spend £55m to £60m on this challenge, resources of which a reasonable proportion may end up being spent on solutions requiring the input of IT professionals. in order to continue to appear successful one company had to write New Business at the expense of another company who would suffer a loss. Insurance companies expect and plan for a certain amount of business to leave them early, however over recent year the amounts flowing out became significantly larger. There is a complex web of reasons for the loss of new money coming in to the market, but some of the key ones are as follows: • Changing demographics – more people are approaching or are already in retirement. • The UK Government has recognised that this demographic change coincides with a significant gap in the saving and retirement provision of the general population, a phenomenon that has been exacerbated by a reduction of consumer faith in the traditional life and pensions companies. • Challenges over the provision of appropriate cost effective advice for significant portions of the population who are often those who

stand in the greatest need of advice and who should be making their own saving provision for the future. • A reasonable proportion of IFAs (Independent Financial Advisers) need to generate up front commissions to make a living, and if there is limited new money entering the market, the only place they have to turn is moving their existing customers from one insurance company to another – a process known as ‘churning’. Last year HDS calculated that for every £1 of New Business sold, roughly 60p was leaving by the back door, leading to a big ‘money go round’ for insurance companies. Key stakeholders in the market such as the Financial Services Authority (industry regulator) and the Association of British Insurers (industry trade body) have recognised the challenges of the current business models for consumers, advisers and providers alike, and a wide ranging industry review is currently

underway with multiple working parties looking to identify an alternative model. The ultimate consequence is that the industry is starting to recognise the difficulties of generating value through acquisition alone, and this is starting to drive a focus on realising more of the potential value in the existing customer base. It is in this environment that leading consultants and service providers to the financial services industry developed CVM, helping address the challenge for life and pensions product providers of retaining their existing customers and indeed generating greater value from the ones they already have. Another startling fact is that it is approximately 10 times cheaper to retain an existing customer rather than replace them with a new one. On the face of it this is a challenge for Finance, Actuarial, Customer Services or Marketing departments in fact anyone but I.T. However, these difficult business challenges often

November / December 2007 : VitAL


We know ITIL inside-out If you’re looking to take advantage of the latest developments in ITIL® – especially with the launch of ITIL version 3 – you need to work with a provider with experience. One that’s at the forefront of ITIL’s evolution. From ITIL’s inception, Pink Elephant has been involved, contributing substantially to the original and version 2 book sets, and authoring one of the five new core texts in version 3, Continual Service Improvement. So we know ITIL inside out. And whether you’re new to ITIL, are taking your skills further or want to find out what’s new, we lead the way in offering the widest choice of courses – as we always have done. We were the very first in the UK to offer the original ITIL Foundation course and Practitioner courses. And we cowrote and delivered the very first IT Service Managers course with the Civil Service College.


We’re committed to the highest standards of training. Our lecturers are of the highest calibre. Not only do they hold full ITIL certification, they are all formally accredited by the examination institutes and complete our rigorous internal ‘Train the Trainer’ Programme to keep their skills sharp. Talk to the experts. Whatever your ITIL requirements, Pink Elephant can help. Whether you want information or advice on ITIL version 3, guidance on implementing an IT service management philosophy, or to find out more about our existing and new courses – including COBIT Foundations, SAM Essentials and ISO/IEC 20000 Essentials – just get in touch.

ITIL V3 Courses Launched - Book Now! Call +44 (0) 1189 036823/824 Email

Pink Elephant – Leading the way in IT Service Management Best Practices © Pink Elephant Inc., 2007. The contents of this brochure are protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in any manner. Pink Elephant and its logo, PinkVerify, PinkScan, ATLAS, PinkSelect, and PinkReady are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Pink Elephant Inc. ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce, and is Registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.


Another startling fact is that it is approximately 10 times cheaper to retain an existing customer rather than replace them with a new one. require the support of pragmatic, innovative IT professionals. Areas where we have seen this include; • Modification of existing management information (MI) suites to recognise and measure the value of business being saved; • Development of operational MI to measure the effectiveness of customer save teams; • Development of MI showing who is being lost, to whom and why; • Data manipulation to identify where the value lies in existing customer base; • Customer segmentation; • Propensity modelling; • Operational and Process Changes; • Web Sites and E-Servicing; • Product and System Development, Let us now explore these areas in a little more detail.

Management Information (MI) As we know complex organisations (particularly in Financial Services) feed off management information and it is fairly typical for firms to be able to report any desired aspect of new business progress. This revised focus on the value of the existing customers means that new MI is needed, often at pace. Some firms in order to drive the desired change in behaviour internally are setting financial targets and objectives linked to existing business. The recent 2007 HDS Customer Retention Benchmarking survey (14 participants including eight of the top 10 players representing over 70% of the UK life and pensions market) showed, among other things that: • More than half of the participants in the survey now have hard financial targets to meet; • A clear correlation can be seen between setting hard financial targets and advancement in CVM success. In order to measure themselves against these targets it has been necessary to modify MI packs, build mainframe system feeds

and in some cases build completely new MI suites – this is particularly important if staff remuneration or indeed executive remuneration is linked to the achievement of these targets. Also where firms have set up specific teams to save business, they want to be able to measure the success of these teams not only at the point of customer conversation but then again after three months and six months to see whether the business they thought they had saved, had actually been saved. This means building operational databases capable of talking to mainframe systems potentially feeding finance and actuarial areas of the system. The other key area under MI development is to understand who is leaving and why – is it particular IFAs that are moving business away; is it particular insurance companies that are ‘stealing’ most of your existing business; what reasons are customers giving for leaving?

Customer Segmentation and Propensity Modelling Often these firms have millions of existing customers with millions of policies – mapping this and understanding where are the pockets of value and risk is critical to be able to avoid spending money unnecessarily. Firms are looking to identify where they have most value, and where they face most risk which is where segmentation and modelling come in. One firm in the HDS survey was able to segment their entire existing customer base to such a point that they knew exactly which groups of customers were worth most to them. In the insurance world, this isn’t always about who has invested most money – often those really large policies have attracted really large sales commission. Value is derived looking at a whole range of factors including; • How was it sold? • How much commission was paid? • How long has it been in force? • What are the charging and fee structures etc? But just knowing where the value lies isn’t enough. Firms could spend a whole stack of cash on saving customers that were never going to go anyway. The next area to consider is risk; how likely are specific pockets of customers to leave? What is causing this? And how can it be prevented? This is where the IT and Marketing professionals combine to build propensity models. Looking at people who are leaving and understanding any patterns based on age, premiums paid, term, interaction with adviser, customer service etc. and then using this data to develop a propensity model. This allows firms to target their scarce resource at those customers most likely to leave.

Operational and Process Changes On a strategic level we have seen firms restructure into separate business units to focus separately on existing and new business which clearly represents a significant challenge for IT departments as the new businesses organise their IT to meet their emerging needs. On a tactical level we have seen people develop ‘customer saves’ teams and revise existing processes to make them more retention friendly. Insurance companies previously viewed paying claims as one of their key functions so often surrenders and cancellations were dealt with in an extremely tight timescale to the detriment of other processes. Firms are looking about how they can restructure the process to allow intervention time to try and save the business. Where firms haven’t restructured, a lot of the necessary change is pumped through the BAU (business as usual) routes meaning that change request processes and business change prioritisation needs to adapt to recognise the value of changes which aren’t necessarily about creating sales.

Web Sites and E-Servicing Firms have been moving towards e-self service for some time, often putting claim forms and surrender processes within easier and easier reach of customers and advisors. This can mean that a customer could leave before you have even had the chance to talk to them and potentially reinforce the benefit of the product and the firm. It has been proved that retention activity has significantly more chance of success when forms can prompt the firm to talk to their customers. The desire for clean and slick eself service should balance the need to be

…where firms have set up specific teams to save business, they want to be able to measure the success of these teams not only at the point of customer conversation but then again after three months and six months… November / December 2007 : VitAL




One firm developed the capability to identify when a particular customer had requested multiple valuations over the web in a given period and took this as an opportunity to pick up the phone… VitAL : November / December 2007

able to talk to customers. One firm developed the capability to identify when a particular customer had requested multiple valuations over the web in a given period and took this as an opportunity to pick up the phone to see if there was anything they could do to help their customer.

Product and System Development The products and systems of the future will need to address this challenge to avoid the problem perpetuating into the future. Firms will need to consider retention and customer loyalty at the heart of their product and system developments. They’ll need flexible products that change with a customers needs on platforms that can easily support

that flexibility. Firms aren’t here yet, but they will need to be, and soon. In summary, this is a complex business challenge requiring solutions at both a micro and macro level and at the heart of many of these solutions will be the IT professional. Often the business won’t be able to specify exactly what the requirements are because this will be new territory for everyone, so a pragmatic and collegiate approach will be essential. Although this article has been based on the life and pensions industry, a sector that has recently been forced to look very carefully at how it can maximise the value of current customers, it is not only that sector that needs to face the retention challenge. The


Love in the crucible Steve White wonders why people judge IT more harshly than life


trends identified and the cost effectiveness (not to say brand enhancement) of being the type of business with whom clients stay for the long term, is well worth the investment required to know customers better. Those valuable customer relationships are hard won in effort and cost: building on them requires good information and the means to identify and act on known trends which would, for most businesses, be next to impossible without IT. Interesting, isn’t it, that technology that was once blamed (whether or not fairly) for diminishing the value of client relationships in favour of process efficiency, should now be key drivers of profitable long term client relationships and customer value management.

VERYONE HAS a euphemism for things that go badly wrong often enough. I collect them; such as the concept of being RIFfed, RIF being short for ‘Reduction in Force’, i.e. made redundant. Another one is ripped, losing a contract to another supplier, who removes your equipment (often without care) and replaces it with theirs. These words point to things that happen regularly enough to have been given a label. ‘Bank Run’ had not been in the public awareness until it came to Northern Rock. Bank Run was coined in the 16th century; it’s nothing new, but it happens to other people. Unique to this ‘run’, Northern Rock customers were able to access their online accounts all at the same time and overwhelm the system as the internet site nosedived to a stop. Queues outside branches seemed to be pivotal in media reporting and some column inches have been devoted to the internet equivalent – both lambasting the CIO of Northern Rock for his capacity planning, and praise that he’d lived through it and gained valuable experience. What’s true of the Bricks should be true of the Clicks. I do not hear calls for additional branches to be opened at a moments notice

to cope. What made the media think that infrastructure built for coping with normal or even exceptional operation would cope with the extraordinary? What self respecting CIO would go to the board and say “we’ve not got sufficient capacity to handle all our customers taking out all their money at the same time, perhaps you’d consider a gazillion blade servers, just in case”. There’s a problem that comes with long distance support infrastructure – operators are never going to get a personal visit from disgruntled customers. Branch staff in Northern Rock will have personally entertained the public at a time of extreme stress and now have experienced the crucible of customers acting in what customers considered to be a perfectly rational manner. For internet only sites, the support organisation can choose to love, hate or be indifferent to customers. Indifference takes little energy, can be repeated, is cheap and unless some thought is put into the logical consequences of this lack of direct and personal feedback to the operators, may become the lowest common denominator in the internet trading world, with a loss of market share for all.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Take note of the Law Tim Polding explains why businesses cannot ignore the Companies Act 2006

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HE COMPANIES Act 2006 applies to all businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There will almost certainly be a separate piece of legislation enacted in Scotland which will largely mirror the principal reforms being introduced in the rest of the UK. The Act applies across the board to all companies (whether private or public and, if private, whether limited by share capital or guarantee or community interest companies) regardless of turnover. The Companies Act 2006 comprises of 1,300 sections, approximately one third

VitAL : November / December 2007

of which are genuinely new, including the following areas: • Company formation and constitution; • Company members and directors’ duties and powers; • Derivative actions and secretaries; • Company meetings and political donations; • Company accounts and auditors; • Private and public companies, share capital and allotments; • Company takeovers and investigations; • Companies not formed under the Act and unregistered companies.

What should businesses have done already? By now all companies should have made sure that order forms and other documents, whether hard copy or electronic, have been amended to include the company’s registered name (as opposed to just the trading name), number, place of registration and registered office. It is easy to overlook the updating of a company’s website in a similar way but such an oversight will make the company liable for a fine. Any officer of the company could also find themselves liable for a fine if they have authorised the issue (albeit innocently) of a


non compliant document. Parts of the legislation relating to public company takeovers and transparency provisions are already in effect and any companies involved in a takeover will need to be aware of and comply with these, particularly in relation to the disclosure of major shareholdings and periodic financial reporting. Again, a failure on the part of the officers of a company to comply with the new disclosure requirements will result in them (as well as the company) being liable for a fine. The officers of a company will undoubtedly be looking to its senior management team to build in appropriate levels of protection by way of checks and balances to ensure compliance.

What do businesses need to do? Administration is being simplified, particularly with regard to establishing a new business, and the financing of succession or management buyouts will be made easier. Electronic communication as a valid form is acknowledged with, for example, a company having the right to issue a notice in respect of a general meeting in electronic form or by notice posted on the company’s website. Such a notice should also indicate the method of communication the company will

accept in return and confirm the shareholder’s statutory right to a hard copy of the notice. More time and cost effective communication with shareholders reduces one of the perceived burdens of company legal procedures. The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators has published a useful guidance note on electronic communications with shareholders under the Act, which includes recommendations in terms of the approach and best practice that companies may wish to adopt. In the interests of greater efficiency, it is important for a company to review the communication provisions in its articles of association and consider any appropriate amendments to them to capitalise on the flexibility now offered under the Act. The majority of the provisions of the Act have now either come into force from 1st October 2007 with transitional provisions due to be published later this year or will come into force from 1st October 2008. The key areas covered are: • The codification (at last) of directors’ duties; • Improved rights for shareholders; and • Deregulation for private companies. With regard to directors’ duties, the Act introduces a new obligation to promote the company’s success. So, in future, when making any decision on behalf of the company, in addition to considering the likely long term consequences, the directors will also be expected to consider the interests of the employees, the need to foster business relationships, the impact on the community and the environment and the need to act fairly between shareholders. What counts as ‘success’ for these purposes will be for the members to determine. They will set the objectives of the company and it will be for the directors to promote the success of the company in accordance with those objectives. In many companies, the members will probably not articulate any precise objectives beyond commercial success and therefore value for the shareholders. For companies formed for specific purposes, for example, with charitable aims and objectives, success will be measured against those objectives. Either way, it will be important that a company disseminates information relating to the requirements for success to its directors and senior management team either through its website or via some other appropriate media. One further contentious issue is whether or not directors and senior managers should keep documentary evidence of the factors

which they have taken into account in case of any subsequent legal challenge. There is no statutory requirement for additional record keeping or the active provision of additional information regarding decision making. However, the approach is likely to vary from company to company and from transaction to transaction depending on the circumstances. Many decisions of an everyday nature will require no additional documentation. In a public company (especially one that is listed), however, directors may be concerned to ensure that their decisions are challenge proof which may lead to more detailed documentation of board decisions. On controversial matters, a board of directors may also want to bolster its decisions with reports and advice from consultants so as to show, not only that the board has had regard to the statutory factors, but it has also exercised appropriate care and skill in considering them. These new statutory requirements placed upon directors are conceivably very onerous indeed. While there are no major changes to the existing implied duties that flow from being a company director, the codification will certainly define and reinforce those duties. Businesses should take the opportunity now that this part of the legislation has come into force to ensure that their own house is in order and that the directors are fully aware of their responsibilities. Shareholders will benefit from improved rights, with indirect shareholders receiving more information and voting rights. Again perhaps the most important aspect of this part of the legislation for directors to be aware of is the right of the shareholders to sue directors individually for negligence or fraud. While any such action would require the permission of the court (which is only likely to be granted if the claim would promote the success of the company) it is imperative that a company’s directors fully understand the implications. Deregulation for private companies will mean, among other things, that they will no longer be required to have a company secretary or to hold annual general meetings in order to conduct their business. In addition private companies will be able to give financial assistance for the acquisition of their own shares and to reduce their share capital without the need for court approval. There will be various transitional provisions and guidance published over the next few months and every company should be giving serious consideration now to how it will comply with the new regime.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



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Service management professionalism It’s a continual process says Aidan Lawes

IT personnel need to exhibit different behaviours. There is a requirement for rounded skill sets, demonstrable and externally assessed capabilities, conformance to codes of conduct and integration with the businesses in which they operate.



HERE IS a wide spread recognition that the IT industry as a whole needs to project a more consistent, professional image in order to ensure that the same respect is accorded to those working within IT as is accorded to those in other, longer established professions. In order to achieve this goal, IT personnel need to exhibit different behaviours. There is a requirement for rounded skill sets, demonstrable and externally assessed capabilities, conformance to codes of conduct and integration with the businesses in which they operate. The BCS, in conjunction with Intellect, e-skills and NCC, recently launched a programme called Professionalism in IT (ProfIT) to address this need. ProfIT pulls together a number of initiatives that previously were, or appeared to be, unlinked point solutions. The programme has now been adopted by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) as an international effort and several major multi national corporations are signing up in

VitAL : November / December 2007

support of it. Success will only come about by changing the practice of many individuals and organisations. Key tasks include: • Helping more businesses become IT capable in terms of exploiting and managing IT; • Improving the professionalism of IT supplier organizations and thereby the performance of the IT supply chain as a whole; • Growing the available pool of competent, professional IT practitioners both existing and future; • Making the IT profession itself more relevant, and effective, i.e. achieve maturity; • Ensuring that the Education and Training sectors produce the knowledge and skills to support the above. Increasingly, career paths are being defined in terms of competence levels. Many organisations develop their own set of competence levels, but just as ITIL® provides guidance to help them develop the service management solution, so guidance is available

to assist in the definition of competence sets. One such aid is SFIA - the Skills Framework for the Information Age – and the associated BCS product SFIAplus. This framework, which embraces the whole IT space, provides a common reference model for the identification of skills needed to develop and operate information systems. It is a two dimensional framework describing 78 Skills (or areas of work) grouped in six Categories on one axis and seven levels of responsibility/ competence on the other. Not every skill is relevant for each level of responsibility and thus the matrix is not fully populated. SFIA can be used to describe job roles, assess individual’s competence levels, identify skills gaps and training needs, etc. SFIAplus is a tool that builds on the basic SFIA model, enhancing it and providing the capability of exploiting its power. Various bodies are enhancing their portfolios of qualifications in support of the ProfIT initiative. The BCS’s Information Systems


Different priorities mean different points of view ITIL – Shirley Lacey sets out stakeholder perspectives for validation and testing ITIL RECOGNISES

that there is a wide range of stakeholders involved in business and technology change. This is reflected in the examples of validating and testing a new or changed service from different perspectives. These include: • Service provider, users and customers – validating that the service requirements can be delivered in terms of utility, capacity, resource utilization, finance and risk. • Service level managers, operations managers and customers – validating that the service provider can deliver the service level requirements and warranties according to the agreed terms and conditions e.g. testing the response and fix time, product delivery



times, availability, capacity, continuity and security. Users and maintainers – to ensure that users can access and use the new or changed service, e.g. they have access to the updated service catalogue and contact details for the service desk. Usability testing – focuses on the intuitiveness of a service that helps to increase the efficiency and reduce the unit costs of both using and supporting a service. Contract and compliance perspectives – to audit and test that the criteria in contracts and regulations continue to be achieved e.g. ISO/IEC 20000. Service management testing – to ensure that the service performance can be measured, monitored and reported in production. Operational tests on the systems and services – to ensure that the service

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teams will be able to operate the service in production. Typical tests include load and stress, security, recoverability tests. • Service interface testing – to ensure that interfaces to the service are working. • Deployment – to test that the deployment processes, procedures and systems can deploy, install, commission and decommission the release package and resultant new or changed service in the production/deployment environment. Service Operations readiness testing ensures that a service and its underlying application and technology infrastructure can be transferred into the production environment in a controlled manner. ITIL V3 recognises that it is too early to finalize the SLA during the Service Operations readiness test. The SLA should be finalised in a pilot and in early life support before a Service Transition is closed.

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Examination Board (ISEB) offers a range of qualifications for the IT professional. The ISEB portfolio is sub-divided into 4 quadrants and in each of these there are qualifications at Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels. These also map onto SFIA levels. A well rounded professional is almost certainly going to need to exhibit competence not only in their specialist area, but also in at least one of the others. For example, a Service Management specialist may need Project Management and Security Management capabilities as well – but probably not at the same level as their specialist area As the original examination body in its space, ISEB is a major player in the ITIL qualification field. The popularity of these qualifications continues to grow worldwide as enterprises recognise the need to manage their IT investments in a more controlled manner. However, enterprises must understand that qualifications of this type are primarily about acquiring and being tested on knowledge. This is certainly a key building block in an individual’s development, but it is not the whole story. Prospective employers seeking competent staff require more than pieces of paper; they need some way of identifying individuals who have some external ‘seal of approval’ in terms of their competence, at the minimum as a way of weeding out the chaff. Belonging to a professional body provides the individual with this public recognition of their competence and professionalism, and demonstrates their commitment to quality and probity, which assists enterprises in identifying truly capable people. One such professional body, whose focus is on those individuals specialising in Service Management, is the Institute of IT Service Management (ISM). In order to become a member, individuals need to demonstrate competence at a particular level. A key source for defining the criteria at each level was the SFIA framework – at least in terms of the levels. At the time of the Institute’s formation there were significant gaps in the SFIA model around the Service Management space and ISM was instrumental in the inclusion of new skills in the current version of the framework. The Institute also helps individuals to manage their personal development and career progression. A key element of this is in maintaining a living and breathing record of challenges faced and learning achievements that demonstrate the ongoing development of the individual. This is referred to as CPD (Continuing Professional Development). Many enterprises will have an internal scheme for this very purpose – and in all likelihood it will have a slightly different label. But, as Shakespeare said, “a rose by any other

VitAL : November / December 2007

However, enterprises must understand that qualifications of this type are primarily about acquiring and being tested on knowledge. This is certainly a key building block in an individual’s development, but it is not the whole story. name would smell as sweet”, and it is the concept that is the important factor. People are the lifeblood of the enterprise, and must be recognised as such. Investing in people and developing the skills and competencies that will be needed both currently and in the future is rarely money wasted. Another feature that enterprises are adopting is to group their personnel in Communities

of Practice. These can provide the internal support for the evolution of the individual through activities such as mentoring and coaching. In a way, the ISM is a Community of Practice and as such can provide many of the same support facilities as an internal one – but of course from a much broader perspective. As such, ISM complements any internal initiatives.


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Meeting the need to inform without boredom The set up as much as the content can determine how well a meeting goes. Camilla Dunwell writes



OT ANOTHER blooming meeting!’ Is that how people in your business greet the news that they’ll be corralled together for a day of sleep inducing boredom or do they feel that, if the business is bringing them together, it must be a matter of some interest or import and so worth the time and effort required to be there? And, if the first response is the one, do you then assume that you preside over a ‘miserable lot’ or might you consider why meetings are so unpopular in the organisation? Like any other task, arranging and setting out a meeting will benefit from more consideration than simply booking the cheapest room and getting in a few sandwiches and coffee flasks. Getting the ingredients for the meeting right and assembling them with thought can be the recipe for turning a potentially dull day into

VitAL : November / December 2007

an informative and memorable event. The key matters that you’ll need to address are… • When; • Who; • What; • How and Where and… • Catering.

When You’ll want delegates to want to come to the meeting ready to listen so don’t choose a date when their minds will be on other matters. For instance, towards the end of a sales period, teams will be focused on earning and maximising their bonuses so that a day away from work is just a nuisance and, worse still, perceived as wasteful. They’d rather be out there making their figures and would rather the meeting fell in the week after the end of

a sales period. It would be the same near the end of a project period or during the run up to a major external event in which the business will be participating. Equally, don’t choose a day that would have some delegates late home to their families for the weekend or a public holiday. Having settled on the day, choose start and end times that will put least pressure on delegates i.e. no one having to dash from and then back to the airport or drive for three hours before the meeting with the same journey in prospect at the end. Not only will it make them jaded but also it will ensure that, during the last hour or so of the meeting, they will be watching the clock more than listening to the speakers or participating in the discussion. If necessary, arrange accommodation for those travelling from great distances.


Who While modern corporate practice is to keep everybody in the business informed, except in matters that might be commercially sensitive, that does not mean that people who are only indirectly affected should know at the same time as those who are directly affected or that the hierarchy can be ignored. The business will need its management team to support and enact policy so there is no harm in telling them first sometimes and then bringing those same team leaders to the meeting at which their staff are told of the changes. But not all meetings are announcements, many are in the form of training events and, again, you should consider whether senior personnel will be happy being trained with their staff. Some may, but you’ll know your own people. Also, the number of people at a meeting will be dictated by the nature of the event – you can make an announcement to hundreds but it’s usually better to train less than twenty – and the capability of the venue to cope (see below).

How and Where Getting the room right is more than half the story when it comes to planning a successful meeting and starting with the venue itself. It depends on the purpose for which people are

being brought together. By and large, if you’re making an exciting and positive announcement or congratulating the team on a good period of work with successful outcomes, an interesting venue will serve to reinforce the special occasion whereas if you’re announcing bad news – cuts, income freezes, redundancies – keep the venue clean but simple, such as a motorway business centre or a chain hotel or even the company offices, otherwise you’ll be adding yet another gripe to the inevitable grumbles – ‘if they’ve got money to waste on this…!’ Whatever the venue you choose, make sure that the room is well ventilated but not cold. There is nothing more sleep inducing for a group of people than sharing a limited air supply during a presentation of last year’s figures and little more distracting than trying to counter the effects of a draught on the back of the neck. Recent medical research suggests that more than a few of us are adversely affected by a lack of natural light so avoid those basement rooms with no natural light at all. And, even if the meeting is in the evening, people just dislike feeling enclosed; so windows are psychologically useful even when it’s dark outside. The other determinant of ambience is décor. For most meetings, muted and unobtrusive but not narcoleptic décor is best. And, always, the finish should be fresh, shabby rooms suggest a shabby approach. Just as house buyers are apparently attracted by the aroma of fresh coffee, venue seekers will be lured to the scent of new carpet. For a meeting you will need seating and tables. It is not usually a good idea to seat people at a single table unless you want them to participate in a discussion or they will be eating. Also, grouped around separate tables, some delegates will have to make themselves uncomfortable to see the speaker. However you seat them, make sure that the seating is perfectly laid out. I once worked with a boss who ran potentially unruly sales teams and always insisted on checking the lines of chairs before meetings to make sure they were millimetre perfect on the grounds that it demonstrated that the meeting was planned if the seating was neatly ordered.

What Just as bad décor or poor light and ventilation can dull the wits of delegates, so can monotony in the content and delivery style of the meeting. A short (up to one hour) meeting can probably survive one style of presentation throughout but for any more time you’ll need to vary the speakers and, unless the subjects dictate a strict order, try to break up the unsupported sessions with sessions involving slides or

PowerPoint presentations (avoid the ‘sheep counting’ kind by ensuring that somebody in the organisation really knows how to use PowerPoint and is available to help presenters) make sure, also, that the venue has the facilities to handle this type of support or is wired for meetings where delegates will need to use their laptops on the Internet. Also break up a longer meeting with short comfort and coffee breaks and make sure that, if there are smokers in the party, there is somewhere for them to go and indulge themselves during the breaks. And do try not to place the dullest topic of the meeting just after lunch – the delegates won’t remember a thing and the speaker will be demoralised by the snoring and nodding heads. If there is a less than exciting topic and, lets face it, there sometimes is, try to make it the second presentation after an inspiring opening and before morning coffee. They’ll still feel inspired and, with coffee in prospect, they’ll know there’s going to be an end to it. If a large meeting moves from presentation to participative discussion, arrange for break out facilities so that small groups can cover the ground and so that everybody gets a chance to put in their ha’pennyworth – people who feel their view has been overlooked will not feel positive about the rest of the meeting.

The purpose of a meeting is communication, whether one or two way, but at least half of a good communication is in the receiving end Catering If a meeting is important enough to need more than an hour, it’s important enough to warrant some decent – not necessarily lavish – catering. Tea, coffee and water will usually suffice for drinks and alcohol is not a good idea if you’d like the meeting to continue into the afternoon although a glass of wine at lunch to close a morning meeting may well add a final touch to an enjoyable event – drivers will need a choice of soft drinks. Food should be light and you must always include a ‘dietary requirements’ form in invitations to meetings but first make sure that the venue can cope, vegetarians hate having simply to pick the meat out of a salad. The purpose of a meeting is communication, whether one or two way, but at least half of a good communication is in the receiving end. A little care before the meeting to make sure that the place and event do their part in facilitating reception will make the whole exercise more memorable, more successful and more worthwhile.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Gaining control Andy White knows how the more ambitious ‘techie’s’ can start to move up the career ladder

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T HAS become the ubiquitous tool that supports all critical business processes. Web enabled communications, plus a multitude of new devices have driven an array of applications amid a Martini mindset for mobile employees that says ‘anytime, anywhere.’ This has put IT departments under enormous pressure to deliver never fail, 24 seven applications and guarantee a service level that is in line with business needs, and then to find better ways of improving service performance and reduced downtime. These are the touch points for what has been

VitAL : November / December 2007

labelled ‘Business Service Management.’ At the same time, IT is a business tool, and its costs have to fall. However, IT costs have continued to rise faster than hardware investments over the last ten years, while IT services as a whole have not improved process wise. Indeed, IT services still require as much manpower, and maybe more, to operate as in the past. With this background in mind, for some IT managers, the next day only brings more worry; more fire fighting in a chaotic organisation whose management doesn’t

realise that its IT Department is struggling to keep its heads above water. And like the fabled ‘tip of the iceberg’, most of the problems are going on unseen beneath the surface. The Board expects the IT Department to be improving strategic delivery: but it is still struggling (and failing) to get things done on a day to day basis. The Board would be shocked to know that at some companies, things are running out of control. But dare anyone raise a warning balloon, for fear of the effect on their reputation and career? Symptomatic of the pressure IT is under

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Symptomatic of the pressure IT is under are the demands on the help desk, which is already being swamped by technology and management challenges caused by an increasing proliferation of computing devices


are the demands on the help desk, which is already being swamped by technology and management challenges caused by an increasing proliferation of computing devices, business critical Web enabled applications, and IP based services. Users insist on being ‘always on’, wherever they’re working, leading to mushrooming IT operational and service delivery costs. Then there’s password paralysis. Leading analysts, Gartner Group, suggest that between 20% to 50% of all help desk calls are for password resets while Forrester suggests that the average help desk labour cost for a single password reset is about £50. Other reasons for calling the help desk include systems issues, such as hardware failures, which make up 16% of calls; enterprise software problems, such as trouble accessing ERP applications, which also contribute 16% of the workload; connectivity issues, such as problems accessing a virtual private network causes 12% of problems; and email complaints make up 11% of the calls. All these issues mean it is costing organisations a fortune to run their help desks, while the ratio of IT or technology staff to employees has climbed from 1:100 to close to 1:300. Arguably, the job of the help desk has never been tougher. End users are more dependent on technology than ever before in order to get on with their work. So when IT systems fail, productivity suffers too, putting the already hard pressed help desk under even more pressure to get things fixed ASAP. The new four letter word in help desk circles is said to be ‘just’, as in, ‘Could you just…?’ It’s no surprise that a ‘them and us’ situation has arisen between IT and users, increasing the IT department’s bunker mentality, especially when you have a few real conversations like these: Helpdesk: How may I help you? User: I can’t print. Helpdesk: Would you click on start for me? User: Now you’re getting technical on me! Or… “Hi, good afternoon, this is Claire, I can’t print. Every time I try it says, ‘Can’t find printer’. I’ve

VitAL : November / December 2007

even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the computer, but the computer still says it ‘Can’t find it.’” Or… Helpdesk: What’s on your monitor now? User: A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me. Or… Helpdesk: And now hit F8. User: It’s not working. Helpdesk: What did you do exactly? User: I hit the F-key 8 times as you told me, but nothing’s happened. Although most organisations’ help desks have to contend with calls like this, some IT departments are better than others at putting in the right structures to improve their service management. In doing so, they become more proactive than reactive. Indeed, this is a sign of a more mature IT organisation, where strategies are deployed to improve the quality of IT service delivery, while actually reducing the cost of that delivery. This is also the goal of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who is another thorn in the side of the hard-pressed IT manager. The CFO is fed up with forking out for support costs, and constantly signing off on support changes that don’t seem to improve service delivery. So both for the CFO and the IT manager, getting better price performance and clamping down on support costs has become a priority. Improved efficiency, through greater flexibility, integration, and business alignment will reduce the overall costs of the support

…some IT departments are better than others at putting in the right structures to improve their service management. In doing so, they become more proactive than reactive

centre and turn it into a service centre. To enable this, IT departments and their directors are trying to do more with less, adopting solutions that are: • Self service, putting more solutions in the hands of users; and • Automated, such as password resets. There is some hope at hand through the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) which fits well into this scenario, helping to provide some linkage between IT silos, especially when it comes to providing help desk support. Many corporate applications have their own help desk personnel, as do networking and the data centre. When problems occur, this overlap can distort the big picture, and instead of spotting patterns and identifying incidents, IT continually solves the same problem rather than finding the root cause. With ITIL, which encourages some centralisation of such help desk processes, the IT department can spot a trend and respond by deploying automatic password resets. What this gives the IT department is a much needed sense of control, which can act as a baseline to move IT maturity from chaotic and reactive to proactive and optimised, setting a roadmap towards providing real service, and ultimately, value to the organisation. David Coyle, Gartner’s Research Director, argues that customisable dashboards which provide aggregated reports can give IT managers the information they need to make judicious decisions that help lower costs and increase business satisfaction. For example, Track-It, the world’s most widely installed help desk and asset management solution, has helped IT professionals optimise help desk efficiency, systematically measure helpdesk performance, and reduce technician downtime at more than 48,000 customer sites. Ambitious IT managers tired of dealing with password resets, and keen to be involved in the real due diligence of corporate acquisitions, rather than being the last to know about them, and then being told to integrate them, should wake up and smell the coffee. Gain control and you start to gain respect! Gain respect – and you’re going places.


Breaking out of the IT enclave Rick Firth asks whether ITIL can ever step out of the IT department to deliver board level value?


TIL HAS the capacity to drive the strategic aspects of IT in every business. And with the introduction of a new version (V3), the goal is to raise ITIL awareness to board level and deliver quantifiable business value. Yet how realistic is this objective? Today, despite widespread adoption of ITIL processes, few organisations have attained a true business led IT focus. Today, according to research undertaken on behalf of Parity, less than 40% of IT Service Managers measure IT Service Management value to the whole business and only 27% have measured the


return on investment of ITIL implementations within their organisations. Instead, most are focused exclusively on internal customer satisfaction ratings. Yet with the majority of organisation functional departments demonstrating little or no interest in the process of IT service delivery, perhaps these figures are no surprise. Even with the arrival of ITIL V3, IT departments face a massive challenge if they are to break out of the IT enclave and delivery true, quantifiable value that is acknowledged across the business.

…while ITIL has gained huge acceptance across both public and private sectors, the vast majority of organisations only implement Service Desk and Incident Management functions VitAL : November / December 2007


If ITIL is to truly deliver on its promise, there is a pressing requirement not just to teach the ITIL framework but also to teach the skills required to make ITIL work across the business. return on investment of ITIL implementations within their organisations. Given the lack of understanding of ITIL focused return on investment it is perhaps little surprise that less than one quarter (23%) believe measuring budgets and costs is very important. So, despite growing maturity and widespread acceptance, why is ITIL focusing too much on process and not enough on quantifiable business benefits?

Narrow Focus

Customer Service Over the past decade ITIL has become the management language of the IT profession. It promises to align IT with current and future needs of the business and its customers, to improve quality of service delivered and reduce cost. The reality is that while ITIL has gained huge acceptance across both public and private sectors, the vast majority of organisations only implement Service Desk and Incident Management functions. The result is a strong transaction level focus across Service Management that bears little or no relation to business value. The good news is that successful ITIL implementations have undoubtedly transformed the quality of IT customer service over the past decade. The Market Research Group based at Bournemouth University asked IT Service Managers their views and opinion on the level of integration of ITIL within the business and how it is currently measured. Topping this list is a clear commitment to customer service, measured by 87.2% of IT Service Managers, whilst transactions and incidents are measured by 83.3%. Only 39.7% measure IT Service Management as a value to the whole business, whilst a paltry 27% of respondents measured the

Without a doubt, rather than support a broad, business based dissemination of IT service and value, ITIL’s extensive reliance on jargon has proved a strong barrier against IT process issues stepping into the business arena. Organisations have also suffered expensive implementations, many of which have lacked any understanding of either the cost of IT services or how best to attribute value to the introduction of ITIL based initiatives. Indeed, in many cases, the principle drivers of ITSM best practice was a system failure or failed change to commercial systems – often with an attendant major cost in lost revenue to the organisation – a fact to which very few IT Managers will publicly admit. In these situations the cost associated with introducing the ITIL framework is tiny in comparison, overshadowing any need for structured ROI assessment. Yet such attitudes create the wrong culture from day one. Where ITIL is approached purely as a way of managing processes rather than focusing on changing the way the IT department manages and thinks about itself, it is far less likely to succeed. When successfully implemented, ITIL creates a cultural change, evolving the IT department from the delivery of functional services to one that offers a measurable contribution to the wider organisation. It also gives the department a chance to design and implement further assistance to the whole organisation in a way which previously would have been difficult to instigate and to quantify. Yet, today, far too few IT departments appear to be able to leverage ITIL to achieve that cultural change.

Business Relevance It is in recognition of the lack of quantifiable business value that the objective of ITIL V3 is to move it into the boardroom, away from

its IT origins to other functional areas of the business. Yet when asked whether other functional departments in the organisation are interested in and supportive of IT Service Management processes, nearly 60% of respondents said they were not. The good news is that IT Service Manager respondents are keen to demonstrate IT’s business value, with over four fifths of respondents (82%) agreeing that access to measuring tools and case studies showing how to measure the value of IT service management would affect their importance ratings of this. However, there is still a massive hurdle to overcome – not only in delivering IT Service Management the tools, techniques and expertise to demonstrate IT value but raise adequate awareness outside the IT community. These findings underline some of the clear limitations of existing ITIL practice and practitioners. If ITIL is to truly deliver on its promise, there is a pressing requirement not just to teach the ITIL framework but also to teach the skills required to make ITIL work across the business. IT Service Managers are willing to step up to the challenge of matching IT deliverables to business value but they lack the skills and information required to make a strong, board level case.

Conclusion ITIL has met many of its original goals. Today, successful ITIL implementation is associated with a significant change in perception across the business; IT is no longer perceived purely as a cost and gains the status of a department which offers a measurable contribution to the wider organisation. Yet today over 73% of IT Service Managers are not measuring return on investment for the business, according the research. ITIL V3 offers a better insight to the challenge of extending ITIL outside the IT department however this is not just a framework issue but one that requires a cultural change with the moving of mindsets from measuring transactions and processes to that of measuring contribution and value to the business, extending this outside of the IT domain into every area of the business, and also a developmental issue where teaching the business skills to make ITIL more fully integrated into the organisation is paramount to measuring success.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Why a new era has dawned in marketing Geoff Webb reckons that the impact of the internet on global society today is so revolutionary that describing it as a revolution isn’t revolutionary enough

T 34

HE INTERNET has slowly crept up on us, after all the initial hype, and transformed how people live, work, spend their leisure time and how they buy things. The rapid emergence of social communities and the uptake of broadband means that we are now into territory where even the most web savvy marketing gurus are out of their depth. The point is: ninety percent of marketing professionals grew up in the era when TV, simple websites and magazines were dominant. But this is very likely not a model

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that helps your brand any more. The time has come to take a good hard look at how consumers are spending their time, what marketing really means today, and what it can achieve for you. Consider some of the pressing facts: • For the first time ever people now spend more time on the internet than they do reading print media; • Worldwide, a weblog (‘blog’) is created every second, adding to the millions of intersite links, comments and ‘conversations

The time has come to take a good hard look at how consumers are spending their time, what marketing really means today, and what it can achieve for you.

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without borders’ that are happening every day; • One million downloads are made from the video site YouTube every day, a site that was launched a little over a year ago and is now one of the top ten most visited websites in the world; • Globally, there are more than 200 million personal profiles on MySpace, Facebook, Linked In, YouTube, Friendster and Match. The growth in the number of people who are using social networking is enormous enough, but there is evidence that the rate of growth in how much time people are spending online is up to four times as great; • HMV gets more links-in from MySpace than from the MSN search engine. MySpace draws so much traffic it accounted globally for ten percent of all advertisements viewed on line in October 2006; • Virtual worlds have astonishingly large numbers of inhabitants. Habbo Hotel has 50 million members. Neopets has over 70 million virtual pet owners; • Globally, more than 100 million people log on every month to play interactive computer games. So what does all this mean? It means the chances are your customers are spending much of their time using a constantly changing mix of media rather than imbibing the traditional media you are mainly using. Yet, most organisations, and the vast majority of brand managers, remain unaware that the rules have changed. In my work, studying consumers and working with brands and how they are marketed I only see a handful of brands that are even vaguely starting to play these new games, and hardly any that are playing them successfully. The point is not that media is fragmented – it has been fragmented for years – it is now completely fluid. Only ten years ago, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV were watched by a total of eighty percent of people in the UK. Satellite and many new terrestrial channels started to cloud this simple picture five years ago. People were beginning to move from reading a newspaper over breakfast or on the train or tube on the way to work; many have now entered a media world where they graze on media through their day, ‘eating’, ‘drinking’ or ‘snacking’ on media at different times and in different places. Even the supposed demarcation between work media consumption and leisure media consumption hardly applies; after all, moving from a website associated with work life to one related to leisure is only a matter of clicking on a mouse or reading the next email. It follows from this that organisations wanting to sell need to think hard about

VitAL : November / December 2007

“…moving from a website associated with work life to one related to leisure is only a matter of clicking on a mouse or reading the next email.”

moving their focus wholly or partially from content marketing to presence marketing – with the brand’s messages and values ported and moulded to different situations and different venues, including the three dimensional ones where you can see your onscreen persona tapping into your lifestyle, your food, and your experience in the virtual world. Today, whatever your business specialisation, there are 1000 ways of getting your brand message out there and 100 ways of reaching your existing and potential customers. In practical terms the key is to understand where your consumers are spending their time. For example, 16-24 year olds consume the least amount of TV (source: BBC Commissioning) and the amount they consume is dropping every year. Eighty three percent of them are on line playing games,

downloading music, using instant messenger, social networks, and inhabiting virtual worlds. And they are doing this increasingly on the move. Ninety five percent of them own mobile phones. Given all of this, what do you need to do now to respond to all these changes and ensure that your organisation is working to take advantage of the revolutionary new marketing world, rather than being left behind by it? Above all, you need to: • Rewire your key people. Help your people to be re-educated into the ways of the newstyle marketing world. Help and encourage them to create new perspectives in how they see what they are doing within your organisation and what your organisation is aiming to achieve; • You will not be able to ‘place’ your brand across all the new media opportunities if


you don’t know intimately what the essence of your brand stands for in today’s world. How ever your essence works today it will need to be rethought, refocused and extended • Make strenuous efforts to understand your target consumers better than ever before. You and your senior people need to know who the consumers that have changed their habits are, what they will be doing and when they will be doing it. But this means really knowing them: it’s a lot more than just a matter of being aware who’s going to be watching Friends re runs or logging onto certain websites • Be creative. At the end of last year, the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, had an inspired idea. Instead of simply installing suggestion boxes that customers don’t use and stores don’t empty, they pulled

out all the stops to get customers to give detailed feedback on how to improve their services and stores, including websites, leaflets and billboards. More than 55,000 customers took part, commenting on service, assortment and convenience levels in over 700 stores in The Netherlands • Accept that in the new world, where there are so many newspapers and TV channels that their impact tends to be diluted, your organisation must be more capable, more innovative and more creative than it has ever been. Core competencies can no longer just be based around supply chains and pricing, developing thirty second TV ads or buying position on Google. Organisations used to think they were doing well if they were one of the ten percent with a half decent website that supported growth or were building a great

multi channel retail offer • Interact with your customers. Exploit the potential of user generated content and consumer input into new products and services. The customer is at the heart of your world, so create true two way and ten way conversations, not just annoying pop ups directing them to your website. Recent ‘customers make the ads’ examples like L’Oreal’s ‘You Make The Commercial’ and MasterCard’s ‘Write a Priceless Ad’ are good fun. But while getting some of your customers involved at a tactical marketing level is better than nothing, it doesn’t touch upon the truly massive opportunities that exist when you move beyond advertising: from product development to open conversation feedback and brand building/ advocacy schemes. Putting these strategies and approaches into

November / December 2007 : VitAL



If you are going to intercept your audience in virtual worlds it has to be fun, it has to be relevant, there has to be a reason why they would care.


action within the communication revolution will transform your business and help it survive. You should also remember that this revolution has created some crucially important new advertising and promotional techniques which you should start thinking about using now, before your competitors do. Remember: the first mover gets all the share of voice and free advertising. In social networking - perhaps the biggest growth area on the internet today - more than a quarter of people expressly use these sites to influence others. They do this, interestingly enough, not for any commercial reason but just because we all tend to get a kick out of sharing our pleasure in things we like with others. It’s the same kind of emotion that makes us want to tell our friends about movies we love. In today’s cluttered world, people are increasingly turning away from traditional advertising and towards their peers for information and product recommendations. In terms of talking to your audience, social

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networking sites offer a facility for doing this that goes far beyond internet pop up ads, banners and skyscrapers. Here, brands and product owners have an ability to target their recipients based on demographics, psychographics, interests and hobbies. Within social networking, the concept of affinity based networks is springing up where people with like minded interests share a more tightly connected online community. Be creative and imaginative in how you promote your products and services in the virtual world. That world is a landscape of users’ virtual screen personas living in virtual worlds, whether hanging out in virtual shopping malls, visiting virtual coffee shops, building their own real estate, test driving virtual cars or whatever else. Find ways of getting to them. Last year, in Canada, Habbo Hotel integrated Sprite products into its public spaces, and created ‘Club Thirst’: a two storey interactive environment for Habbos to socialise in. It also secured virtual pouring rights within

the hotel, making the soft drink the exclusive ‘real world’ brand in its virtual setting. To take another example: where better to promote a new hair product for teenagers than somewhere where teenagers actually hang out? L’Oreal’s Party Proof Gel set up shop in Habbo Hotel Germany last fall, opening two sponsored rooms, holding a Party Proof in game competition, and placing an advertorial on Habbo’s homepage. These are just some examples of the vast number of opportunities available for creative and imaginative presence marketing in the virtual world. At the end of the day, remember this crucial point: whatever you do, there’s got to be something in it for your customers. If you are going to intercept your audience in virtual worlds it has to be fun, it has to be relevant, there has to be a reason why they would care. Whatever you do, without clear direction and a clear understanding of your consumer, a tired or irrelevant campaign in ‘new media’ will not make your brand ‘cool’ or create a useful uplift in brand awareness. The way you approach your existing and potential customers via these fluid and fast moving channels needs to be genuinely inspiring, in context and something that doesn’t force trust. It needs to be genuinely engaging and must fit with the true brand personality – a personality that matches the values in the physical world. But remember: change is not about to happen, it has arrived. It arrived last year. No longer can traditional ‘more of last year’ and ‘let’s experiment’ marketing models be effective in this world half your customers are now living in, where a brand has potentially many voices and many ways of talking to audiences. Overall, the secret is to map out your marketing plan in a way that builds all these little connections – so you tie your retail presence, your webstores, your traditional media plans and all these voices and ways of talking seamlessly together. You should aim to create a ‘pattern of advertising and promotion’ that people see, sometimes over the course of a day, rather than see on page six or when it appears on Channel Five. If you market in the new world in this new, seamless, fluid way, people who are ready to start loving what you want to sell them will find you irresistible. Every little message you shout out will echo across channels and across time – building the brand and your opportunities for years to come.

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Getting the best from training multimedia Kevin Rossiter offers Top ten tips for Managers



OR MORE than 10 years I have been producing training multimedia packages for high profile clients. As a result I have seen a lot of things done right and a lot of things done wrong. Of course, you, dear reader, could also learn the hard way but trial and error is probably the costliest way to learn so here, instead, are ten ideas that I believe will help you to avoid some of the worst Training Multimedia pitfalls and leverage some of the opportunities that Training Multimedia brings to the table.

1. Talk to your IT department You may not think IT know much about training and be wondering why they are my top tip. You may well be right – and that is

VitAL : November / December 2007

half the problem. Many people now have a more powerful, multimedia capable PC at home than they do on their desk at work. To save money and to prevent viruses, Trojans and other undesirables from getting into the network, IT departments issue PCs without CD/DVD drives and without soundcards. In fact, what you are looking at now may not be a PC but simply a terminal on a thin client network. If you are going to embark on delivering training through multimedia, you need to get IT on your side from the beginning: • Can they upgrade at least one PC per branch or site so that it is multimedia capable? • Would they be happier if it was a standalone machine, maybe a laptop, not connected to the network? • If you want to deliver eLearning over your intranet, will they allow you the bandwidth – bearing in mind that training is going to get a lower priority than operational traffic,

even though your application may be more bandwidth hungry? • Is there a specific piece of authoring/design software they want you to use for ease of future maintenance? • Is the browser Java enabled? • Is it OK to use Flash?

2. Choose the right medium • • • •

Intranet? CD-ROM? DVD? Even a traditional video and workbook may do the job. The deciding factors are, obviously: • What’s possible in terms of your IT set up, organisation and budget, as well as your training objectives. • Don’t forget that material can readily be converted between media and also upgraded and extended as time and money permit.

VitAL SERVICES 4. Make your Multimedia Interactive Interactivity means more than having a button to take you to the next page. Some eLearning packages are really just electronic books and might be better on paper - especially as most people find it easier to read large amounts of text off paper rather than off a screen. Your authoring tool (the software used to construct the package) should allow you to set and record a variety of quizzes, tests and games, as well as displaying text and graphics, playing audio and video, etc. By and large, people learn by doing. The closer you can get to a simulation of the situation or process you are teaching them about, the more realistic and involving the learning environment will be.

5. Grab their attention Face the fact that a lot of your learners, particularly those trying to study through elearning at their own desk, rather than at a learning centre, will have distractions. The phone will ring, colleagues drift by, supervisors ask questions. Some people won’t be motivated to learn, particularly if it’s obligatory refresher training - financial compliance or aviation safety, for example. A challenging, media rich learning experience, particularly if you can put a novel spin onto the content and presentation, is more likely to win the learner’s interest than a worthy but predictable electronic lecture.

6. Use Carrot and Stick • Existing video can be recycled as part of a CD-ROM or streamed over your intranet, for example.

3. Feel the Flexibility Multimedia is amazingly flexible. Use this to your benefit. What this means is that you can create a package of learning material that is automatically tailored to the needs of the individual learner. This may take the form of navigation set up at the start (‘click here if you are a sales advisor / manager / administrator / other’), which then takes the learner on a specific route through the material. Or it may be more sophisticated; using tests to find out how much the learner already knows and maybe eve n their learning style, and so refining the route even further. This gives you a wider audience, more value from your investment in the material and, hopefully, a better result in terms of learning.

Motivation is very important. Studies suggest that anywhere between 20% and 70% of corporate online learners fail to complete the course. Carrots can include making it obvious from the start that the learner is going to get some value and enjoyment from the course or even awarding prizes or cash to people to finish successfully. Sticks can include excluding people from a further activity until they have completed the course or, in the case of one German car company, a financial penalty on the dealership or department if all their staff have not completed by a certain date.

7. Aim for Blended Learning This means blending input from a human tutor with the online training. This helps with motivation, both because there is someone there to encourage learners and because there are concrete deadlines. It also means learners can get answers to their questions. If they can’t do that, it can

be very discouraging. Learners can attend ‘in person’ sessions scheduled between online modules or this can be achieved electronically, using Virtual Classroom technology over the internet/ intranet.

8. Remember People have different Learning Styles You need to take into account how people learn, particularly when they’re at a distance. There are some 70 models which describe this (see the Learning & Skills Research Council ). Are your people ‘convergers’ or ‘divergers’; ‘activists’ or ‘reflectors’; ‘intuitionists’ or ‘analysts’? Advice from a professional instructional designer may help. ‘Pedagogic sheep dip’ is the term for including a variety of elements in the online learning which you hope will appeal to all types.

9. Manage the Learning • Who’s registered for the course? • How much time have they spent on it? • Have they finished? • Have they understood it? These are some of the questions that a Learning Management System (LMS) will answer for you. If you need to record this for compliance, legal or safety reasons, this is invaluable. An LMS is a specialised database and can be costly; if you only need limited information, somebody could write a piece of software quite inexpensively. If your material and your LMS comply with the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and/or Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC) standards, most commercial, off the shelf online learning material you buy will also work through the LMS.

10. Model, Pilot, Test The larger the project, the more important to model and develop the material in stages. Design and author a series of pages or learning objects so that you can get a sample of your audience to try them out and report back. Because multimedia is put together as a series of interlocked files, it is very easy to tweak and refine on a small scale, rather than have to rework the whole project when it’s all but completed. The more sophisticated Learning Management Systems can identify where trainees are struggling or losing interest. And, of course, before you release the final product, it should be fully tested and bug free. If heeded, these ten tips will help readers to get more value and less stress from operating Multimedia Training.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Levelling the playing field Diana Thompson discusses the Role of Technology Transfer in Supporting the SME



HERE IS no single definition for the term ‘Technology Transfer’; however, there are various definitions which fall into two main groups or categories. The first category is concerned with the development of patents, IPR agreements and spin off companies from University research activities. The second category is concerned with the transfer of technology and knowledge from a University to private industry which will enhance competitiveness or improve quality of life. As Lord Sainsbury put it, “The role of Universities as seedbeds for innovation and in driving technological progress continues to be central to the UK government’s economic strategy.” Older Universities in the UK have world class reputations for technology transfer (usually based on the first category). The UK’s newer Universities, on the other hand, have a reputation for technology transfer via such

VitAL : November / December 2007

Leisure and Tourism businesses in the region make far less effective use of ICT in their business than do similar businesses in other regions of the UK, putting the West Midlands businesses at a real disadvantage. schemes as Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), IT Futures Centre falls into this second category.

An example of Technology Transfer in action IT Futures is the brand name for the external funding activities of the School of Computing and IT at the University of Wolverhampton, based in a brand new state of the art building in the centre of Wolverhampton. The team (some 20 strong) delivers IT consultancy and

training to companies mainly based in the West Midlands. There are demonstration and training labs within the building where the team can invite companies to receive impartial advice on the latest hardware and software developments. One particular feature is the Radio Frequency Identification Laboratory (RFID) where the latest RFID technology is on display so that companies (particularly small companies) can gauge whether a particular RFID tag may be appropriate for their business. Commercial work is also undertaken by the

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Making Service Management work for you

VitAL SERVICES team together with project work carried out for the Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The projects being delivered at the moment include: • e-Business Adoption Project • West Midlands Mobile & Wireless Project • West Midlands Technology Network • e-Innovation Centre One of these projects delivered by staff of the IT Futures Centre is ‘e-Business Adoption’, a project targeted at businesses in the Leisure and Tourism industry in the West Midlands.

IT in the Leisure and Tourism sector Research undertaken by ‘Advantage West Midlands’ (the Regional Development Agency for the West Midlands) has identified that Leisure and Tourism businesses in the region make far less effective use of ICT in their business than do similar businesses in other regions of the UK, putting the West Midlands businesses at a real disadvantage. It was to begin the process of addressing this imbalance that the e-Business Adoption project was formulated. The natural temptation is to dismiss the Leisure and Tourism sector as being of no significance. However, this is far from being an accurate picture. Tourism is today one of the largest economic sectors representing three to five percent of GDP and of jobs and investment in industrialised states, and up to 30% in developing states. It is the fourth largest contributor to the West Midlands economy, 140 million leisure and tourism visits p.a. generating over £5 billion. Tourism supports 130,000 jobs whilst business tourism generates £6.6 billion, employing more than 100,000 people.

The IT Problems Encountered


The ICT problems faced by tourism businesses include all the usual ones encountered in most sectors, but also include several problems that are not usually encountered in other more ‘sophisticated’ business sectors. For example, a common problem encountered amongst bed and breakfast businesses is their total dependence on third party web design companies to design, maintain and host the business’s web site. The absence of any in house expertise often means that B&Bs are totally reliant on the IT company which can lead to difficulties. These difficulties can involve the lack of funding to update websites and the problem of making quick changes to the website such as adding updated prices or new pictures. One solution to the dilemmas faced by these very small businesses is to seek impartial

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advice from (for example) IT Futures staff. This can involve the development of a website in MODX or JOOMLA which can be maintained by the B&B proprietors themselves. IT Futures run monthly training sessions which show clients how to update their websites and also if applicable how to order and pay on-line for goods required by the business. Although IT Futures only operate in the West Midlands most Regional Development Agencies fund similar projects throughout the country which provide IT support for small companies. Another IT challenge experienced by Leisure and Tourism companies is the use of Destination Management Systems. These systems provide online availability and booking facilities for Leisure and Tourism outlets both hotels and attractions. Obviously, small companies with little IT expertise are very wary of these systems. One problem is that often owners of the B&Bs or small hotels want to have more personal contact with their clients via the telephone so they feel comfortable inviting them to their B&B or small hotel. Again, in this instance, explanation of exactly how the system works are necessary with a helpline being provided to support the SME at all times. Tourism organisations often support different DMSs and develop user groups to

assist. Organisations such as IT Futures can also help with advice when the system is first operated by the small company. A related issue for many companies is Search Engine Optimisation. Many companies worry that their website is not high up on a Google Search and feel that, especially with the Olympic Games of 2012 when many overseas visitors are expected, they won’t get the exposure they need to take advantage of this opportunity. Since search engines employ different algorithms, techniques that improve a site’s ranking on one particular search engine’s database may not necessarily improve the ranking on another. To help with Search Engine Optimisation companies can attend courses run by further education (FE) Colleges or they can read available literature on the subject. IT Futures has produced two short booklets which can help a company with Search Engine Optimisation. Accepting payments over the Internet can also be a problem especially for companies in the Leisure and Tourism industry. Providing information and advice in a non complex and down to earth fashion regarding proprietary solutions such as PayPal can often alleviate any misgivings and reservations the company may have.

An Evaluation However, using the knowledge and skills of University staff to achieve Technology Transfer to the SME community is not without its problems. Businesses are often cautious about seeking help from Universities, they may be perceived as academic and their staff, not worldly wise. This is perhaps quite understandable. To overcome this barrier, the University staff providing the support must be specially selected for their practical experience, sympathetic approach and business acumen. It ids desirable to use commercially experienced staff to carry out the technology transfer and these staff must be provided with a bona fide career path within the University environment. The majority of assistance must take place on company’s site, to maximise technology transfer and buy in.

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Defining, implenting and validating CMDB Getting the essentials in line, says John Noctor, is the key 46


ACK IN the early 1990’s I read an article which compared the use of Helpdesks to a Victorian Sweat Shop Mentality; 15 or so years on this ethos is, in my opinion, still prevalent. Service Desks are often the victims of their own success, the better they are the more business is retained or won and thus volumes creep (or sometime leap) ever upwards. Effective Problem Management will help to eliminate certain occurrences

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of incidents but this does not always in my experience lead to a long term trend of volume reduction. In industry, in general, we are often asked to do what we do now, or more, with the same levels of staff or sometimes even less. What is the solution to this conundrum? Well it’s easy, isn’t it? The right people, the right processes and the right technology. However, if it really was that easy then we would all be doing

it and the Service Desk would be a tranquil garden of calm and peace in which to work. It is not easy to align or get right all three of these areas and the symbiosis between the Service Desk and the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is a great example. A comprehensive and robust CMDB will allow the Service Desk agent to log calls with greater speed and accuracy, however the information has to be easy to access, concise


As the CMDB is configured the Service Desk should be involved to test its applicability and suggest how it can be improved. The Service Desk is a central point of knowledge…

A comprehensive and robust CMDB will allow the Service Desk agent to log calls with greater speed and accuracy, however the information has to be easy to access, concise and clear

and clear. To enable the Service Desk to work as well as it can and to manage the ever increasing demand, relationships must be defined and maintained. We need to know who is calling, where they are, where they sit in the organisation and what parts of the IT infrastructure they use or have access to. A poorly defined, implemented or validated CMDB will cause stress at point of logging, and lose the confidence of the Service Desk agent and the user, leading to circumvention of process and use of the database. If we remember that the user does not want to be contacting the Service Desk in the first place, as it means (in general) that something has gone wrong, then the last thing the agent needs is to prolong the contact by having to replace invalid screen data or falsely depend on configuration information which is subsequently corrected by the user or may send diagnosis teams in the wrong direction. The implementation of the CMDB is, of course, key to success and notice should be taken of the guidelines laid down by the process framework suggested within ITIL. How many Configuration Managers will admit to having a mission statement? Or one that is known to the rest of IT and the Business: this simple four or five line message will set the scene for what we are working towards and trying to achieve but is often not published or considered for the individual processes. Scope is the biggest decision which needs to be made early, we need to decide what is covered now and will be in the future but also admit and make clear what is not included and why. My advice is to take bite size chunks, start with an area with which you are familiar and confident about the data integrity, build up confidence, learn the lessons and implement the necessary corrective actions. This seems obvious but in the heat of battle we are sometimes too busy ‘doing’ to step away and make sure we are doing it right. Once the process is underway, think about the future! How will the database be kept updated and where does the responsibility for this lie? How do we ensure that the current picture of the business and IT is reflected in our CMDB.

It is clear that technology is essential for us to be successful, automated discovery tools are key to identification (but remember to address what they cannot find!) and ongoing audit, as are integration scripts (such as links to AD or Network/Server Management tools). Perhaps though, with a view back to the Service Desk, the most important of all technologies will be the Service Management tool they use, the CMDB must be accessible and presented in such as way as to enhance the Service Desk function, not inhibit it. All too often data is designed and stored in databases without a view to the types of live use to which it would be put. As the CMDB is configured the Service Desk should be involved to test its applicability and suggest how it can be improved. The Service Desk is a central point of knowledge on many areas of IT and the Business and their benefit to technology and process development should not be underestimated. So, when considering implementing or relaunching the CMDB it is vital that we talk to people both in IT and across the Business; look to align to a framework (ITIL); tell people what we are doing and why. If we get involvement from an early point we will avoid the ‘grenades’ later on, it is important we sell the idea as well as the finished product, after all a CMDB is for life and not just for Christmas! Look at automation and apply this as much as you can. Don’t create a behemoth which is out of control and rogue to requirements or just gives you data headaches; remember, bite size chunks. Make sure Change Management is in place or close on the heels of your Configuration Management process or all your hard work may start to unravel and unravel quickly. On the people side, we need to take them with us, it’s not just about roles and responsibilities, it’s also about education and discipline. Let people know of the benefits of the CMDB and the impact to IT service provision and the business when data is changed, removed or added without the proper process being followed. An old adage is to tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you have told them.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Technology is not a strategic business tool But as Fiona Delavault shows, it really ought to be


HE ENVIRONMENT within which we live and work is continuing to change rapidly. Mobilisation and globalisation of successful businesses coupled with more flexible workforces have driven innovation within even the largest of organisation. Technology has played its part in helping to drive this innovation, but do businesses really take advantage of what they have and do they use technology strategically to become more successful, efficient or cost effective? Just as any other resource in an organisation, technology needs to be maintained and managed – it needs time devoted to it to ensure that the most benefit is gained. But what do large and mid sized businesses feel about their information technology (IT) systems and services? Do they offer value for money? Are they being looked after i.e. managed and maintained? Are they working all of the time? And do they provide a competitive edge? When it comes to IT investment many CIOs think they can have their cake and eat


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it. However, research consultancy Gartner Inc advises CIOs to focus on the benefits IT delivers to the business rather than talk about IT budgets in terms of expenditures. That’s all well and good, but how do you determine the benefits to the business; how do you measure the service that IT delivers to your business? IT Service Management (ITSM) - a term that is thrown around by a multitude of people when describing how to ‘look after’ IT is a discipline for managing IT systems that deliver IT services to the business.

IT Service Management ITSM is process focused and is not concerned with the details of how to use a particular vendor’s product, or necessarily with the technical details of the systems under management. Instead, it focuses on providing a framework to structure IT-related activities and the interactions of IT technical personnel with business customers and users. ITSM is generally concerned with back office information technology for businesses – the

VitAL PROCESSES that the IT infrastructure costs are too much to maintain. As harsh as it may sound these companies may only have themselves to blame as they are not using IT as a strategic tool to help their businesses become successful. The launch of ITIL 3, however, may give companies an opportunity to refocus and consider a more strategic approach to their IT systems and how they will support their business. According to the research findings, it would also appear that this lack of strategic planning and buying has an impact on the IT personnel that are being hired to work within these mid sized companies in the UK, or the external consultants that are retained to work with them. When business managers were asked about the resources in terms of IT personnel that their company has access to 66% admitted that they do not have the best that they can afford; 63% said that their IT people are simply not proactive; and 35% also believe that their IT people are focused on technology for technology’s sake, rather than on getting technology to help drive the business.

So what can be done?

computer systems used by marketing and business development staff for example. IT Service Management is also frequently cited as a primary enabler of IT Governance objectives. ITSM is, generally IT thinking about the delivery of IT to the business. A recent report, Service Management – Is it Worth the Money? , made some startling conclusions about how technology is being used, measured and perceived by IT professionals. It revealed that today, technology is still not being seen as a strategic tool by UK mid sized organisations and is simply being used in an ad hoc way to support the business. The report found that this then has a knock on effect when companies buy technology and IT personnel.

Lack of strategic planning and buying Of those interviewed, nearly one third (28%) of business managers stated that there is no IT strategy within their organisation; another third (29%) admitted to working to an informal loose plan and; and the final third (34%) just buy systems as they need them. It is little wonder that 35% of respondents said that their business growth was putting pressure on their existing IT infrastructure. With only 18% of respondents having a formal IT plan which has been approved by the board and only 16% planning their IT investment on a three to five year timeline – in line with their current business plan – it may go some way to explaining why 55% of

business managers in mid sized companies believe that their IT set up isn’t providing good value for money. With no tangible IT strategy in place, 85% of these organisations are not always buying best in class technology and, in 65% of the companies surveyed, the various IT systems (e.g. accounts, marketing, sales) are operating in isolation from each other. For companies of this size, it is critical to be able to retain control of their IT spending and investment. And yet, the IT systems that are in place in many of these organisations due to a lack of IT strategies, have resulted in a staggering 68% of respondents not finding their IT costs predictable and 33% believing

There is evidently a significant divide between what managers would like to see their IT systems and personnel bring to the business, and the benefits that are actually being delivered. These results are showing a kind of chicken and egg situation as, in 82% of the companies surveyed, managers are not actually producing service level agreements (SLAs) for the IT people to work to. In order for IT to truly deliver value to the bottom line of the business, it is imperative for the organisation to get a handle on the technology in which it has invested – both in terms of maintenance and management - and develop a concrete IT strategy to bring the company’s technology more in line with the growth of the business now and long term.

Recommendations to help unlock the potential of your IT investment • Make IT a board level decision for all businesses. Ensure IT infrastructures are built and managed to support business activities rather than just buying at least cost. • Keep staff well trained. Without regular training and updates on technologies, processes and developments, employees’ lack of awareness will impact the business. In addition, the cost of having to recruit new staff because existing employees are under trained or unmotivated can be avoided. • Avoid point solutions and think about the road ahead. Think about the business strategy without IT and then with IT in order to qualify its value. • Evaluate the lifetime costs of services and products and not just the cost of acquisition. • Companies should not compromise quality of IT staff over cost. People are the life blood of your business – recruiting, retaining and training good IT skills is as critical to a business as having expert accountants or a highly focused sales force. Increasingly IT staff are the internal service function of successful organisations – without high quality, well trained IT staff your business systems will suffer. • Senior managers and directors should consider using managed services as a way of quickly and reliably achieving compliant delivery without an upfront investment

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Technology with a human touch Using technology needn’t mean dumping what comes naturally, says John Hancock.

S 50

OME MONTHS ago I was in a meeting where, as with so many meetings these days, the underlying sound was the clicking keyboards of delegates entering notes to their PDAs or dragging up information from the silicon depths of those machines’ address books, email managers and straightforward notes and charts. But one delegate, instead of clicking away manically at a tiny keyboard, was writing… yes writing, with a pen, onto paper! I cornered him at the coffee break to discover why he was persisting with such an old human system when there is such an array of glittering technology based systems

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available. His answer was interesting. “I find that keying, while I can do it perfectly well when needs be, does not come so naturally to me as writing. Keying into a PDA at a meeting might cause me to miss some points whereas I can easily write and think and talk all at the same time.” In fact, on the occasions when it was his contact that everybody needed or when he had to refer to other pages in the paper based organiser that he used, he usually managed to access and extract the information faster than others. But is the use of ‘traditional’ inputs such as speech and writing incompatible

with technology or would technology be better used if it was able to link seamlessly with normal human capabilities? I had to find out for myself. Starting with the paper based personal organiser; I contacted Filofax whose product became the generic term for paper based personal organisers whether from Daybook, Franklin Covey, Day Runner or the host of other manufacturers of such systems. Surprisingly, considering that their product first entered the common parlance during the 1980s, the Filofax personal organiser has a history stretching back to the First World War, while

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the name was coined in London in 1921 as a derivation from ‘file of facts’. More recently, the firm conducted research in 2006 showing that, while 16% of the UK adult population uses their paper personal organiser, only 4% use a PDA. Perhaps the reason can be found in the results of a survey conducted by the firm among 1,000 top level managers: 55% said they found it quicker and easier to write things down and 57% said they found it quicker and easier to find information using a paper personal organiser. 62% felt that being seen to write notes made them appear trustworthy, serious minded and professional while 58% ‘write everything down’ when it comes to taking notes, meetings and appointments. Put simply, paper and pen are still, for many people, more natural than a keyboard. And there are even a growing number of people who abhor the very idea that the arrival of emails might be brought to their attention at any time (think evenings and holidays) through their PDA. Having a mobile phone is enough. But what if, like me, you are a heavy user of Microsoft Outlook? How can you use paper also? Would you have to manually transfer all appointments and contacts to your paper personal organiser? The short answer is ‘no’. Most paper organiser manufacturers have developed simple address book and appointment software to make their system work with a PC. But even more easily, just print from Outlook or whatever system you use. For the diary select ‘Print’, then ‘Weekly style’ and A5 paper (for most paper organisers) then in the Printer ‘Properties’ select ‘two sided’ or ‘double sided’ and ‘side flip’. This will enable you to print the Outlook diary on double sided A5 blank stationery for the system that you use. It’s much the same with contacts although I advise printing each letter group discreetly so that you can still use the index cards provided with the organiser. Diary pages can be reprinted every week or so with completed weeks also reprinted after the event to ensure that the record accurately reflects what happened, not what was planned to happen. Any additions or amendments to the diary can be written in at the time to be keyed in later. New contacts can be written in to the address book or their business cards filed in the system’s business card holder to be written up at a more convenient time and then included in the next print update. Or you might try using one of the business card readers now available and able to create Outlook compatible cards. Within the ample folders provided, paper organisers offer a useful and secure filing and storage system with a range of inserts for every use (even a CD/DVD holder and a

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…keying, while I can do it perfectly well when needs be, does not come so naturally to me as writing flash drive holder under consideration to work with not instead of technology). All organiser manufacturers offer a portable hole punch that can make odd single pages fit the system (a desk based punch for large quantity use is also offered). For those who would like to employ their human capabilities as well as their technology but really cannot be comfortable without some electronic gadget, there is the digital pen. The two main offerings are from Nokia and Logitech whose io2 Digital Writing System uses a pen no larger than, say, a Mont Blanc, incorporating a small camera alongside the writing tip to record everything that is written using specially manufactured digital writing paper. The system works well (it can recognise my handwriting!) and the stationery can integrates with personal organisers as well as a range of notebooks and other stationery such as Post-it® notes. It will also record sketches and other drawn or written material which can then be either filed onto a PC as an image of the user’s drawing or writing or, in the case of writing, converted to plain text and then to a suitable program such as Microsoft Word or Outlook. It can even be told whether the next bit of writing will be free copy or a note or an email or something else. Having come this far, I could not resist trying a system that has been trying to make our minds the principle input device for technology for some years. Dragon Naturally Speaking, although not the only Speech Recognition software, is probably, like Filofax, the best known and these days it really does perform well. Although it is possible for speech recognition to work straight from the box with little in the way of training, a regular user who I know (a marine lawyer) found that by going through the training programme he was able to refine his own system to handle

quite complex and technical dictation and, of course, speech recognition systems can be extended to include new words in their dictionary. They’ll also accept input from a digital dictating machine – a great help for the traveller between meetings but not really able to use the full laptop paraphernalia. And do bear in mind that, just like the gentleman who found writing more natural in the meeting at the start of this article, most of us will speak about three times faster than we can type. Naturally Speaking can be accessed through a network connection from any PC on the user’s local area network plus it can be configured to execute routine but complex tasks from just one spoken word. Like many of you, I tried this type of software some years ago when products such as Via Voice from IBM and the original Naturally Speaking would only really work for those who spoke like the BBC newsreaders of the day. But that has definitely changed. And there is even a Microsoft voice recognition capability which works very well as long as you don’t mind your copy coming out initially in American English and which is able to perform command heavy tasks very well because it knows all of the Microsoft commands. To find it, simply plug in a microphone or headset to your PC and two microphones will appear on the bottom tool bar, one to turn the microphone on and off and one to choose which function (speech or command) you wish to use. Of course, none of this will replace technology, after all it is technology, and, for some, the lure of the keyboard may be too much to resist. But for others, the idea that the methods of work with which they are most comfortable, speaking and writing, can be accommodated in the PC age will come as an immense relief: if it can save time and avoid the risk of RSI, so much the better. We should try not to lose the human touch.


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Gaining The Knowledge Rosemary Gurney looks at the training that supports ITIL best practice processes

W 54

ITH APOLOGIES for making use of that much overused but unofficial Service Management term yet again - IT Service Management training, where now? Well, it depends! The trouble is, it depends on so many things. What do you want to do? Where are you on your career path? Where have you done so far? What qualifications do you already hold? What are you trying to achieve? How do you best study? Historically, ITSM training has had two levels of certification, Foundation and Managers certificates. The Foundation Certificate, 40

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question, multi choice exam ideally suited to those new to the study area but with some level of IT experience. Most taught courses took place over three days with the exam at the end of the 3rd day. This was considered the best way to ensure that all who undertook this level of certification came out on the other side with the same level of understanding of the way the ITSM framework supports the ITIL best practice processes. For the majority of candidates, their formal training experience ended here. If, back at their workplace there are others who

It is now time for the training and the certification schemes to be brought up to date along with the ITIL framework itself.


have progressed further up the certification ladder there may have been an element of informal coaching and mentoring but most returned to the day job with hopefully an enhanced perception of why they were doing it. Fortunately, there were always those who wished to pursue this area of learning further and willingly put themselves on to the next rung on the ladder, the Managers Certificate. This was the holy grail of ITSM training, with 11 days of intensive study, getting to grips with a case study based around organisations that in the real world might lead you to wonder how they survived. This intensive course had to be complimented with personal study as success in the exam was more about knowing how to implement the knowledge and adapt the processes to meet the business needs rather than just about knowing what’s in the books. After all, ITIL was never intended to be rigidly applied. The culmination of all this effort was of

course the two, three hour written exams and this is where the rumbles of discontent would start. Why did it have to be hand written? Surely an IT exam could make use of technology by now? Why are the exams only four times a year – it doesn’t fit into my workload? Why is there still a requirement for the paper to be written in English, this is a worldwide professional exam? It is now time for the training and the certification schemes to be brought up to date along with the ITIL framework itself. As an industry we listened to what the candidates, trainers and examination bodies were saying. A roadmap for training was required, a cradle to grave approach maybe so that depending on where you start your journey and what experience you bring with you, there will be a training route that meets your needs. It shouldn’t always be assumed that this route starts in the workplace either. Further and Higher Education also need to be involved so that we can educate people early on in their careers, giving them a better start and making them more attractive to employers. The ITIL v3 refresh has presented us with an excellent opportunity to address these and many other issues. As a 1st step, a survey of itSMF UK members took place during September/October 2005. The results were presented during a workshop at the itSMF Conference in November and published in ServiceTalk Journal in January 2006. The results showed that members were broadly happy with the Foundation Certificate although there was comment that in some cases the training was very exam focussed and, if the student had little service management experience, as opposed to IT experience there was a great deal of new information to take in within such a short period of time. The biggest area of concern with regard to content and objectives was the recently introduced Practitioner Certificates. This was the qualification which set out to teach a particular specialism such as Change Management, Problem Management etc. Its main objectives were to ensure that individuals are able to define its requirements, plan for its implementation and manage the activities using the best practice framework. This unfortunately is where the confusion existed. Did this qualification set out to educate a person in the skills required to undertake these activities or did it undertake to evaluate existing skills and determine areas of development. If it is the first, then perhaps there should have been more emphasis on practical skills and techniques and less on the syllabus, whereas perhaps the current format is too focused on the ITIL books and exams. All of these issues and many more have all

been brought together in a formal project which is part of the greater ITIL v3 project. As many of you will be aware, the five new core ITIL books were published at the end of May 2007 and at the same time the new v3 qualification and certification scheme was also released.

The ITIL v3 Qualification Scheme The new ITIL qualifications scheme recognises the value of existing v2 qualifications and introduces a system which enables an individual to gain credits for ITIL v2 and v3 courses. Once candidates have accumulated a sufficient number of credits, they can be awarded the ITIL Diploma in IT Service Management. The main features of the new scheme are that it is modular in design, allowing a flexible, more career orientated approach to learning, whereby the student can take the appropriate level of training at a point where it is relevant to their career, either for progression or to provide additional skills and experience. Examinations are now also available ‘on demand’ which will overcome the difficulties of sitting exams according to the Examination Institutes’ schedules. Another key change is that all examinations are now multi choice, albeit quite complex choices, doing away with the essay style of exam. There are four levels within the new scheme namely: Foundation, two Intermediate, and Advanced, which is currently under development. To achieve the ITIL Diploma, candidates must achieve a number of credits; the exact number is subject to approval by the Qualification Board. However, two can be gained at Foundation level. The Foundation level focuses on knowledge and comprehension to provide a good grounding in the key concepts, terminology and processes of ITIL v3. At the Intermediate level, there are two streams: lifecycle and capability. The lifecycle stream is built around the five core OGC books. The intermediate capability stream is built around four clusters. Both intermediate streams assess an individual’s comprehension and application of the concepts of ITIL v3. Candidates are able to take units from either of the intermediate streams. These units give them credits towards The ITIL Diploma. There is a further course which is mandatory to the awarding of the ITIL Diploma – ‘Managing across the Lifecycle’ - which brings together the full essence of a lifecycle approach to service management. Once a candidate has gained the requisite number of credits at foundation and intermediate level they will be awarded the ITIL v3 Diploma. No further examination or

November / December 2007 : VitAL





© 2007 Dell Inc. Dell and the Dell logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims proprietary interest in the trademarks or trade names of other entities used to refer to them or their products.


course is required. The Advanced Level Diploma will assess an individual’s ability to apply and analyse the ITIL v3 concepts in new areas. The Advanced Diploma is still in development.

Relationship between v2 and v3 Individuals with existing ITIL v2 Qualifications can use those qualifications as credits towards the diploma. Any ITIL v2 Manager who wishes to gain the v3 Diploma can take a bridging course and pass an examination. There is a also a one day bridging course at foundation which covers the differences between v2 and v3 and allows candidates to take an exam to demonstrate their understanding of the ITIL v3 approach. ITIL v2 Practitioner qualifications will also count towards the ITIL Diploma in Service Management. Depending on whether an individual holds a single topic certificate or a clustered certificate the credits will vary. It is recommended that candidates discuss their current qualifications in ITIL v2 with their Accredited Training Organisations to establish how many credits they have already accumulated and the best training programme for them and their organisations.

The ITIL v3 Foundation certificate The syllabus for the new v3 Foundation Course was issued in early June. It covers the whole breadth of ITIL v3 and the syllabus and examination questions are drawn from all five books. The recommended course duration is

Individuals with existing ITIL v2 Qualifications can use those qualifications as credits towards the diploma 24 hours and the exam comprises 40 multiple choice questions in 60 minutes with a pass mark of 26. The ITIL Foundation certificate in IT Service Management is not intended to enable the holders of the certificate to apply the ITIL practices for Service Management without further guidance. Examinations will only be provided to Accredited Training Companies. However, it is possible for a candidate to take a v3 Foundation Exam without attending an Accredited Training Course. Exams will be available at public centres organised by the Examination Institutes. Some Examination Institutes may also use online testing providers. Since its launch in June and to ensure that no bias exists, all examination questions were validated and if there were any anomalies in the results moderation took place before the final results were issued to candidates. The stage has now been reached where there are sufficient proven questions to enable papers to be sat, marked and results provided within a matter of days. These new papers became

live towards the end of September. Work is now underway to translate the Foundation Exams into several other languages and it is expected that these exams in languages other than English will be available from mid to late October 2008. As part of a continual improvement cycle, the Foundation syllabus will be subject to a formal review at the beginning of 2008.

The Foundation Bridge The Foundation Bridge Syllabus was issued and the examination has been available since August 2007. The Bridge Course is a one day course and the exam is an additional 30 minutes at the end of the day. It comprises 20 questions of which a minimum of 13 must be answered correctly in order to gain a pass. The syllabus has been designed to provide an overview of the new sections of v3 to the level where someone can fulfil an active role in a Service Management team utilising ITIL ®. The Foundation Bridge Exam is only available to candidates who attend a course run by an Accredited Training Provider and currently hold an earlier version of the Foundation certificate. It is expected that this examination will have a limited life and will therefore exist only as long as there is a reasonable demand for it.

The Managers’ Bridge The Managers’ Bridge Course and Exam have been introduced to provide the opportunity for

November / December 2007 : VitAL


VitAL PEOPLE AND PROFESSIONS all candidates with the Manager’s qualification from an earlier version of ITIL to increase their knowledge to cover the new components and to be eligible for the ITIL Diploma. Anyone wishing to take the Manager’s Bridge Exam must attend a course run by an Accredited Training Organisation. The syllabus and sample exams are being reviewed by the training companies and the Examination Institutes; the target date for the release of exams is early 2008. The Managers’ Bridge Course will take 28 hours of education. The exam duration is 90 minutes and candidates have to answer 20 questions based on 10 short scenarios. There is a very high pass mark of 80% in this exam as it has been designed to test experienced people on the difference between v2 and v3 at a level required for the market to continue to hold these qualified people in the utmost respect. This exam will also have a limited life.

Intermediate level Capability Modules There are four modules in the capability stream namely:• Planning protection and optimisation • Service offerings and agreement • Release, control and validation • Operational support and analysis Each course is likely to require 30 hours of education and the exams are likely to consist of eight questions to be taken in 90 minutes. Each question (subject to feedback from the current review and endorsement by the Qualifications Board) is likely to be a scenario with a choice of four detailed options, ranging from the most correct answer to an incorrect answer. Depending on the amount of feedback from the training community it is expected that capability courses and exams will be available towards the end of 2007. Attending an Accredited Course is mandatory before taking an exam in one of the capability modules.

Intermediate level Lifecycle Modules There are five modules within the Lifecycle stream, one for each of the core books It is likely that these courses will not be available to candidates until early 2008. Anyone wishing to take one of these examinations will have to take a course run by an Accredited Training Organisation. The ‘Managing through the Lifecycle’ qualification is still under development.

The ITIL Diploma Feedback has been received regarding the naming of the ITIL Diploma in that ‘Diploma’

is not necessarily an appropriate word in every country where ITIL is popular. Market research is currently being undertaken, through itSMFi, to try to find a suitable name. The concept remains but the name may change.

The Advanced Diploma The Advanced Service Management Professional Certification is under development. Candidates for this level will be required to have achieved the ITIL Service Management Diploma level and demonstrated practical application and experience through a period of evaluation. They will be assessed on the broader issues of ITSM implementations including, but not limited to:• Managing cultural and organisational change • Responding to industry change

• Continual improvement of ITSM capability • Preparing organisations for audit and certification Further details for the Advanced Level Certification are unlikely to be available until early 2008. So, there you have it: a new, more career focused qualification scheme that allows candidates to choose appropriate subjects depending on their particular requirements. For organisations or individuals currently working through a v2 training programme there will need to be a period of time when you assess whether v3 is right for you. You need to be aware that v3 is not a direct replacement for v2, rather a more natural business focused way of looking at our organisations and how they manage their service lifecycles.

November / December 2007 : VitAL


Making business service management happen John Hancock discovers that BMC Software doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t limit its work to providing programs; it helps clients to know themselves VitAL : November / December 2007



E LIVE and work in a knowledge economy, but what exactly does that mean? Is it that we are better equipped to complete the Cryptic Crosswords on the back pages of the broadsheet newspapers? Or does it make the pub quiz easier to win? presumably not, if everyone lives and works in the same environment. No, the knowledge economy is about information that we can use to operate more effectively and, in a business context, the time when we most need to use information is when making plans, measuring performance, making decisions and within relationships (in either direction; whether as customers or service/ product providers/vendors). In all cases, to a greater or lesser degree, we need a blend of internal and external information to create the knowledge resource on which we can base our actions. VitAL magazine cannot provide you with the internal information although we can and will provide articles with great ideas on how you can achieve that most effectively within your organisation. But what VitAL can do is place relevant and useful external information right in front of you, asking the questions that you would ask of the people and organisations about which you will need to make choices and decisions. To that end, we will, from time to time, bring you profiles of the type of businesses who would figure in your decisions; service/ product providers/vendors who may well be part of your considerations when seeking a new component in your business or seeking an informed solution to one of the challenges that business life throws up every now and then. The interviews on which the profiles will be based will always follow similar lines with similar questions so that readers will become familiar with the lines of enquiry and, from that, be able to evaluate the answers offered without having to make adjustments for different style and content of questions. But of course, the questions will have to evolve to meet evolving priorities in the market: also, if there is a question that you’d like us to ask during these interviews, send your ideas to me to be considered for inclusion in future profiles. For our first profile, we travelled to Egham in Surrey to the South West of London. Most famous for Magna Carter, the first real codification of rights to which his Barons forced King John to acceded on 15th June 1215 and also the site of the John F Kennedy memorial, Egham can lay claim to associations that have changed the world order. While our subject, BMC Software, might not seek political ends, it does seek to work with clients to establish their place in the new world order of the knowledge

economy. We caught up with UK Managing Director, Mark Newton, a busy man who nonetheless took both the time and trouble to answer our questions and, we believe, to add to the sum of readers’ knowledge about this business.

VitAL: What were the origins of the company: how did it start and develop; how has it grown and how is it structured? Mark Newton: BMC Software was founded in 1980 in Houston, Texas by Scott Boulett, John Moores, and Dan Cloer. Over the last 27 years the company has grown to become one of the world’s leading enterprise management service providers, with over 6,000 employees working in over 50 countries worldwide. The geographical sales centres are split into Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific (AP) and Americas regions, with specific teams to satisfy the needs of the relevant market.

VitAL: Does the company have any particular areas or product groups in which it specialises? MN: BMC founded and pioneered the approach of Business Service Management (BSM), by which businesses align their IT strategy with that of the business. BSM combines best-practice IT processes, such as ITIL and automated technology management with a shared view of how IT services support basic business priorities: grow revenue, reduce cost, lower risk. This means that IT can be managed through the perspective of the business rather than the particular technology. By doing so, businesses are able to gain more insight into their IT infrastructure and prioritise tasks and problems that need to be resolved in order for the business to meet its strategic goals.

VitAL: Is that specialisation to make best use of skills in the company or because it fits the company’s world view or has it simply evolved? MN: BMC believes that in order for a business to manage its IT infrastructure and maximise its efficiency, the IT strategy should be aligned with the goals of the business overall i.e. Business Service Management. In order to do this, BMC offers a range of products and solutions that support BSM. These include ID Management solutions and support for best practice guidelines such as ITIL. For example the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is at the centre of any BSM strategy. It provides a shared set of enabling technologies that bring business relevance to both BMC and third-party IT solutions by providing a single, business service model, and common views

that provide business relevant views into IT management. This shared set of technologies provides tighter integration across the tools that make up an IT environment, saving the IT organisation time and money. The product portfolio has of course evolved as the business environment changes. Over recent years there has for example been increased regulatory pressure with policies like Sarbanes-Oxley. BMC has various tools specifically designed to help its customers comply with such regulations and all of our products and solutions consider these issues. There has also been a lot of consolidation in the market and so many of our solutions are heterogeneous and can work with solutions from other vendors and our customers’ legacy systems.

VitAL: How has any specialisation influenced the company’s general stance? MN: Any acquisitions that have been made over the years have been to support the BSM strategy and enhance our customers’ route value. The focus on BSM has enabled us to provide high end solutions for our customers and cement a clear position in the market.

VitAL: Who do you see as the company’s main customers today and in the future? MN: Today we have over 15,000 customers worldwide. Our typical customers are larger enterprises, however we do have a number of mid market customers implementing our solutions. We estimate that 95 percent of Forbes Global 100 companies use BMC Software. Some of the world’s in leading companies spanning a range of industries from automotive to banking, supply chain and beverages, use BMC solutions. These include Toyota, UBS, Telefónica, Siemens and Diageo. As for the future; our aim is to give IT departments control over the IT infrastructure and the ability to manage it in the best interests of the business. With budgets becoming more and more important, we think that more businesses in various industries will be looking to BSM as a way to manage their IT departments like a business.

VitAL: What is the company’s business model: i.e. does it select a market and then design solutions to meet the needs of that market or does it specialise in particular solutions and seek markets where those solutions are needed? MN: Sales of BMC solutions are sold through both direct and indirect sales channels. This capitalises on the skills and expertise of resellers, SIs and original equipment manufacturers to adapt products for a

November / December 2007 : VitAL


VitAL PROFILE specific market. We have strong relationships with some of the world’s leading enterprise technology companies and solution providers. These include Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Capgemini and Accenture.

VitAL: What is the company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, i.e. ‘Green’ issues? MN: BMC recognises that there is a responsibility for all business, in any industry to take steps to protect the environment. Through this we are committed to complying with the relevant environmental legislation and regulations. From an operational view, we have a number of energy saving programmes in place such as the returning of printer cartridges to manufacturers. Across the globe, BMC is taking a number of steps to encourage all of our offices to adopt environmentally friendly policies across the business. For example old computers are resold and we encourage employees to recycle and share documents electronically, with each other and customers. In 2003 and 2004 our Houston office was presented the EPA’s Energy Star label (Energy Star is a programme that recognises excellence in energy management). BMC deployed technological and operational strategies resulting in energy performances that are among the top 25 percent in the U.S.

VitAL: How does the company communicate with Vendors and customers?


MN: We are keen to communicate with vendors, partners and customers and have a range of ways in which we interact with them. We have a dedicated Partner Network, Developer and User groups as well as a Thought Leadership Council, composed of individuals who are industry experts in a variety of strategic areas that impact IT organisations and their business customers. This group regularly develops articles and white papers on industry best practices related to Business Service Management, ITIL, Sarbanes-Oxley and other topics of interest. A number of key BMC executives make regular contributions to our blog and podcast page Here they share their experiences, thoughts and opinions on the latest developments in the industry and readers can respond in an open forum and engage in lively discussion. We also have a number of newsletters, both electronic and print, that are dedicated to specific areas of our business. The ‘Insights’ collection of newsletters features third-party articles, analyst reports, case studies and much more:

VitAL : November / December 2007

• BMC Activation Insights is a subscription based e-Newsletter dedicated to Business Service Management • Database Insights provides tips and techniques, upcoming technical DB2 and IMS webcasts, as well as special offers and advice around change management. • Infrastructure Insights provides information on how to better manage your distributed systems, servers, networks and middleware. Each issue explores industry news, upcoming events, and practical, hands-on distributed systems management tips. • Mainframe Infrastructure Insights explores how you can better manage mainframes as part of a cohesive enterprise management strategy, and includes practical tips and techniques for z/OS management. • Operations Insights focuses on more effective and efficient ways to better manage enterprise scheduling, batch and online workflows. Each issue explores industry news, upcoming events, and practical, hands-on tips to optimise your batch processes. • Service Management Insights provides the latest and greatest Service Management information coming out of BMC — from product launches to customer stories, local events to global campaigns, best practices to thought leadership. • BMC Educational Services Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter containing the latest BMC Educational Services education and training offerings. This newsletter includes product tips, education promotions, and the latest on new courses.

VitAL: What does the product range cover? MN: The portfolio of products is broken down into groups or families of products: Application Management, Database Management, Infrastructure Management, Operations Management, Remedy Service Management and Security Management.

VitAL: Has the company grown organically or by acquisition and how is growth expected to come in the future? MN: BMC has grown both organically and though acquisition since its inception back in 1980. As well as seeing some major growth in the late 80’s, BMC has embarked on a number of high-profile acquisitions since the early 90’s. These included PATROL Software, Marimba and most recently RealOps.

VitAL: What are the future plans for the business? MN: We plan to continue to grow business and enhance the product portfolio through strategic

We plan to continue to grow business and enhance the product portfolio through strategic acquisitions and extensive R&D.

VitAL PROFILE acquisitions and extensive R&D. This would of course be aligned with customer demands and expectations as well as in response to trends in the market. Currently our global BSM customer base is extensive with hundreds of businesses reaping the benefits of BMC solutions. We expect this number to increase as the uptake and market understanding of BSM grows. As the need for enterprise security and regulatory pressures increase, these trends will also help us to expand our portfolio even more so. Our last set of financial results was particularly strong and it was the ninth consecutive quarter that we met or exceeded our revenue earnings. We expect the next quarter to be just as strong, so we can again extend our leadership in BSM.

VitAL: What is your view of the current state of IT Service Management and IT in business and the economy in general; the challenges and the opportunities? MN: When it comes to challenges; at BMC we believe that companies can get a lot more from their IT investments but this first requires a mindset change among IT professionals to become more business focused. BMC is spearheading this change and have pioneered the thinking and software to make this happen. As far as opportunities are concerned; IT organisations will have to expand and mature their IT service management processes to address areas such as SOA, server consolidation/virtualisation and greening of the datacentre. In doing so, they must address an overriding condition that is common to all of these areas. Each innovation is intended to solve a certain kind of problem, however, customers who do not carefully plan and implement the innovations may inadvertently trade one set of problems for another. The challenge is to fully exploit innovation, while minimising any problems it might introduce. Service automation also presents a massive opportunity for providers. We recently launched a set of next generation service automation solutions that will allow organisations to manage services instead of just devices. The solution provides a complete overview of the IT environment and how it relates to the business without the need for customers to ‘rip and replace’ their old systems.

VitAL: Any other points that you’d like to add? MN: BMC will be at this year’s ITSMF conference in November, where Nigel Heney, Business Development Manager for BSM will be able to answer any questions that delegates might have.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



Address Management & Database Solutions CAPSCAN

Grand Union House, 20 Kentish Town Road, London NW1 9BB T: F: W: C: E:

+44 (0)20 7428 1255 +44 (0)20 7267 2745 Kate Overton, CRM Manager

Capscan is a leading supplier of international addressing software and data integrity services. The company’s award-winning solutions enable you to capture, verify and enhance name and address data. They help organisations to lower costs, reduce fraud and improve customer service.

Enterprise Software Configuration Management MKS SYSTEMS LTD

Duke’s Court, Duke Street, Woking, Surrey, GU21 5BH T: 01483 733 900 F: 01483 733901 W: C: Lara Sparkes, Marketing Manager E: Founded in 1984, MKS’s ALM solution and its single architecture, drives high levels of user productivity, facilitates rapid deployment, issue management and process standardisation while delivering a complete view of application development activity through real-time metrics, trends and reporting.

Customer Service & Call Centre Solutions CUSTOMER SERVICE NETWORK


Creative Industries Centre, Wolverhampton Science Park, Wolverhampton, WV10 9TG T: 01902 311641 F: 01902 311637 W: C: Chris Walker E: Customer Service Network are experts in Customer and Employee perception measurement. We work with many of the UK’s leading names to help them better understand what their customers and people want. Contact us to find out how we can help.

VitAL : November / December 2007



258 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 4DX T: +44 (0) 1753 464646 F: +44 (0) 1753 464647 W: E: eGain is a leading provider of customer service and contact centre software. Over 800 enterprise customers worldwide have relied on eGain to transform their traditional call centres, help desks and web customer service operations into multichannel customer interaction hubs.

Unit 4 Charlton Business Park, Crudwell Road, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9RU T: + 44 (0) 1666 828 600 F: + 44 (0) 1666 826103 W: C: Jessica Yeung E: ICCM supply Service software solutions & ITIL V2 & V3 training and consultancy to over 400 global clients in both the private and public sector. e-Service Desk is PinkVerify™ Service Support Enhanced, proving compatibility and pedigree for organisations seeking to align their business with industry best practice.

To advertise here contact Grant Farrell on +44 (0) 208 316 8002

Inspiration for the modern business Helpdesk Internal/External IBERTEK

Venture House, Arlington Square, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1WA T: F: W: C: E:

01344 742835 01344 742935 Nigel Todd

IBERTEK specialises in delivering successful ITIL compatible Service Management and complimentary Solutions to organisations of all sizes in all ranges of vertical markets.


150 Wharfedale Road, Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham, Berkshire. RG41 5RG T: 0118 918 6503 F: 0118 969 9749 W: C: Ben Clacy E: The itSMF is the only internationally recognised and independent organisation whose sole focus is on the on-going development and promotion of IT Service Management ’best practice‘, standards and qualifications. The forum has 14,000 UK members and official itSMF chapters in 44 countries.

IT Asset Management BMC SOFTWARE

Assurance House, Vicarage Road, Egham, Surrey. TW20 9JY T: +44 (0) 1784 478 000 F: +44 (0) 1784 430 581 W: C: Michelle Sunnick E: BMC Software is a leading global provider of enterprise management solutions that empower companies to automate their IT and increase its business value. Delivering Business Service Management, BMC solutions span enterprise systems, applications, databases and service management.


IT Service Management Systems EMC

Tower, Great West Road, Brentford, TW8 9AN, UK T: +44 (0)208 758 6750 F: +44 (0)208 758 6751 W: C: Suhela Dighe, Marketing Director E: As part of EMC’s Resource Management solutions, EMC Smarts for ITIL process automation and CMDB strategy empower customers to roll out their ITIL initiatives with minimum risk, automatically populate their CMDB with real-time information on Network, Server and Application resources.


IT Service Management Consultants ICORE

Connaught House, Portsmouth Road, Send, Surrey GU23 7JY T: +44 (0) 148 321 3200 F: +44 (0) 148 321 3201 W: C: Lindsay Potter E: Infra is the international developer of 100% web-based ITSM solution infraEnterprise - including Incident, Problem, Change, Configuration, Release, Availability and Service Level Management. infraEnterprise supports industry best practice methodology such as ITIL and KCS, delivering best value for comparative depth of functionality.

60 Lombard Street, London. EC3V 9EA T: +44 (0) 207 464 8414 F: +44 (0) 207 464 8888 W: C: Jane Tweddle – iCore Sales & Marketing Director E: The UK’s largest independent service management consultancy, this year iCore celebrates ten years in operation. Our services include maturity assessment, process design and development, service improvement and more. iCore has consultants who are fully qualified in ITIL, COBIT, ISO20000 and PRINCE2.




: 1 The Arena, Downshire Way, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG21 1PU T: 0800 3161155 F: 01344 468020 W: C: Rachel Barber-Kebby E: With over 20 years experience and 15,000 customers, Epicor is a leading provider of ITSM Solutions. Epicor ITSM provides a robust set of service management features that supports the key IT processes outlined by the ITIL.

Connect House, 21 Willow Lane, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 4NA

Atlantic House, Imperial Way, Reading. RG2 0TD

T: F: W: C: E:

T: F: W: C: E:


020 8274 3359 020 8274 3393 Royston Adamson-Green

+ 44 (0) 118 903 6824 + 44 (0) 118 903 6282 Frances Fenn

IXIF’s MidGuard is a critical component within the ITIL framework Best Practice for Service Delivery and Service Level Agreement reporting. IXIF is also a Jacarta Platinum Reseller for environmental monitoring products, essential for lowering your carbon footprint in the Datacentre.

Acknowledged worldwide as niche, independent, IT Service Management Education and Consulting providers. Having trained more people than any other company in ITIL related subjects since 1987, we have contributed to all 3 versions of the ITIL books.



Ares, Odyssey Business Park, West End Road, Ruislip, HA4 6QD T: 020 8582 8282 F: 020 8582 8288 W: C: Sales E: Supportworks’ Enterprise Support Platform (ESP) provides a fully integrated platform for automating and managing Service Management related processes. Supportworks ESP is the foundation of Hornbill’s ITIL, Helpdesk, Customer, HR and Industry Support solutions. Supportworks ITSM is certified Pink Verify Enhanced.

Prudence Place, Proctor Way, Luton, Bedfordshire. LU2 9PE

100 Longwater Avenue, GreenPark, Reading, RG2 6GP T: +44 (0)870 401 7300 F: +44 (0)870 401 7301 W: C: Kirsty Waller E: With over 8500 customers worldwide, FrontRange are the leading provider of consolidated IT Service solutions, including: • HEAT Service & Support – Award-winning Incident Management & Helpdesk Automation • FrontRange ITSM – Fully integrated, scalable, ITIL aligned IT Service & Infrastructure Management.

T: F: W: C: E:

01582 488242 01582 488343 Rosemary Gurney

Wardown Consulting was established to help businesses capitalise from the substantial benefits that IT Service Management can deliver. Our consultants boast a wealth of industry experience and are accredited to deliver ITIL v2 and v3 training.

November / December 2007 : VitAL



IT Service Management Consulting Training CONNECTSPHERE


Advertiser index BMC .................................................13

Business and Technology Centre, Bessemer Drive, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2DX T: +44 (0)845 838 2345 F: +44 (0) 845 838 2346 W: C: Shirley Lacy E: ConnectSphere has a great track record in delivering in successful service improvement programmes that deliver value. Let ConnectSphere help you to plan and apply ISO 20000 and ITIL service management practices using our assessment, consultancy, implementation and training services.

IT Support Training STI

Lewes Enterprise Centre, 112 Malling St, Lewes, E Sussex, BN7 2RJ T: F: W: C: E:

01273 890922 01273 890513 John Fahey

STI has been presenting Helpdesk courses since 1989. They are the longest established in the UK and probably Europe. We present at 7 UK public venues and frequently on-site. We are also an Authorised Training Partner for Help Desk Institute.

Qualifications and Accreditations AIM ACADEMY

Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon. SN2 1FA T: F: W: C: E:

+44 (0) 1793 417530 +44 (0) 1793 417570 Stephen Daniels

ISEB is a worldwide IT exam body. ISEB have provided 165,000 exams in the last 3 years to IT Professionals worldwide, covering eight major subject areas including ITIL, Software Testing, Business Analysis, Project Management, Systems Development and IT Law.

Publications, Events, Conferences VITAL FOCUS GROUPS

Media House, 16 Rippolson Road, London, SE18 1NS T: +44 (0) 208 316 8002 F: +44 (0) 208 316 5233 W: C: Grant Farrell E: The VitAL Focus Groups are for senior professionals who are keen to debate pressing IT related issues with their peers. Facilitated by a leading industry supplier the sessions are a ‘must attend’ for individuals who are serious about enhancing strategy within their business.


British Computer Society...............68 Capscan...........................................06 Customer Services Network .........25 Dell...................................................56 eGain ...............................................29 EMC..................................................23 Epicor...............................................58 FrontRange Solutions ....................45 Gartner............................................35 Harbrook.........................................51 Ibertek .............................................43 ICCM.................................................53 iCore.................................................39


Station House, Stamford New Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 1EP T: 0161 942 2121 F: 0161 941 4873 W: C: Paul Flanagan E: Aim Academy specialises in accredited training in: Prince2, ITIL, APMP, MSP. We are committed to offering the highest quality end to end service with courses delivered by experienced practitioners. Whatever your needs we can make your learning enjoyable and successful.

VitAL : November / December 2007

Wincombe Business Centre, Shaftesbury, Dorset. SP7 9QJ T: F: W: C: E:

01747 855607 01747 853579 Dan Jenkins

We specialise in your IT Service Management Permanent and Contract recruitment requirements. We have distinctive differentiators for both Candidates and Clients alike setting us apart from other agencies. Please contact us now to discuss your requirements.

Infra..................................................11 itSMF................................................67 Pink Elephant..................................16 PTS Consulting................................31 Wardown Consulting.....................02

xŠ~{ƒ{ƒx{ˆ‰ |…ˆŠ~{ƒ{ƒx{ˆ‰ The only internationally recognised and independent organisation dedicated to IT Service Management. It is a non-profit-making organisation wholly owned and principally operated by the members. itSMF is global with chapters around the world, giving members access to a network of industry experts and peers all ready to exchange ideas and experiences to avoid duplicating mistakes and improve service management. Regular regional meetings and an Annual Conference & Exhibition plus web-based facilities combine to provide a rich and rewarding learning experience. Plus there are huge savings to be made when purchasing best practice materials. The itSMF benefits IT service professionals at all levels within an organisation. It provides the latest industry information, facilitates knowledge sharing and helps members during every phase of the IT

helping develop & promote best practice & standards in IT Service Management

Tel: +44 (0) 118 918 6500 Fax: +44 (0) 118 969 9749 Or visit our website

ISEB Exams for IT Professionals ISEB is a worldwide exam body. ISEB have provided 165,000 exams in the last 3 years to IT Professionals, covering the eight major subject areas above. Qualifications in these areas are available at Foundation, Practitioner and Higher levels.

Delivering IT Professionalism


Visit to download your summary of ISEB qualifications portfolio.

VitAL Magazine - November 2007  

The November - December 2007 issue of VitAL Magazine