ITIL or the IT Infrastructure Library is not a term that we’re commonly familiar with. In fact, we’ve rarely heard about it. Well that was all about to change. Held on the 27th of March 2017 at the newly opened Mövenpick Hotel Colombo, ITIL 2017 dealt with closing the gap between people and technology.

In case you’re lost, the ITIL is a set of practices that align IT with an organization’s business needs. In essence, think of it as a guide or toolkit on how to use Information Technology to your businesses advantage.

First up was Jonas Bridgwater, Director of Creative Software

Jonas was up on stage to deliver the welcome address. Apart from relocating to a new office, Creative Solutions has also been renamed to Creative Software. The reason? To differentiate themselves from design solutions and establish themselves as a software development company.

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Jonas Bridgwater, Director of Creative Software delivering the Welcome Address
Image credits: Mahesh de Andrado

He spoke about what Creative Software offers such as software development, application management, quality assurance and product development. He went on to explain about what Creative Software does. Initially developed in Sweden, the company also caters to local clients such as Dialog, MAS, Expo Lanka, SLT Mobitel and HNB.

The guest speaker for the day at ITIL 2017 was Pieter Hoekstra

Pieter, a Belgian expert on ITIL spoke about working with your leaders, managers to align IT services with the needs of the business. Pieter gave the audience a background about himself and also shared his life experience switching between IT and HR, Management fields and working at Shell Corporation. His company BeGrip, provides training akin to ITIL, and programs on communication etc.

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Pieter Hoekstra addressing the audience on ITIL
Image credits: Mahesh de Andrado

As a response to the growing dependency on IT, the Government of UKs Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) released a set of recommendation in the 1980s. The reason being that It recognized that Government agencies and also private sector contracts began to independently create their own IT management practices and the ITIL was seen as a method to bring it all under one roof as a standard set of practices. Initially released as 30 books, version 3 of ITIL (also known as the ITIL Refresh Project) was grouped into 5 volumes and arranged around the concept of Service lifecycle structure. Version 3 of ITIL is now known as ITIL 2007 Edition.

Pieter then went on to explain how ITIL creates work flows

This is basically the process of a customer complaining at a service desk to recording the issue or “incident” to informing the relevant department of it, to actually solving it. Issues are known as Incidents, whilst any changes required by a customer is known as a service request. Rather than walk around with an issue, the main goal of ITIL is to create a central repository of incidents, give them a unique number and then solve them accordingly.

With ITIL, you can create a matrix with process workflows. This allows you to have a unique service. What is a service? A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without ownership of specific cost and risks. In simpler terms, it is basically a way to deliver value to a customer by understanding what the customer wants.

Pieter then spoke about demand supply governance or matching demand and supply. You will have a list of demands from your clients. Without having to do everything at the same time, you can prioritize the demands and supply it accordingly so that everyone is happy.

Pieter also emphasized the fact that companies should always keep their IT department up to date as they know the way to make your lives easier and hassle free. Constant communication is the key.

Pieter’s next topic was the service life cycle

When it comes to software, developing a software is just half the equation. The other half revolves around support, training etc. There’s no point spending your company’s resources on a software suite if no one knows how to use it. The transition may be slow but it will guarantee a much smoother operation. He also urged those in IT departments to work in the business environment as it would provide them the insight and provide a background to how the business processes work so that they can implement IT processes accordingly.

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Image taken from Pinterest

In essence, ITIL help to make the bridge between business and IT. It also standardizes the ways of working, centralizes your information in a familiar way. It also helps learn the key services of your business

He then took two real life examples

The first was the European Commission. Two departments had priorities in two different ways. The first line of contact would be the line service desk. Anything not working would be an incident. Anything else would be a service request. For example, a password reset is a service request, not an incident. Before adopting ITIL practices, incidents were uncountable. But after sorting out incidents from requests, they found out that tactual incidents were fewer than thought of and IT incidents dropped significantly after the first 4 months.

KPMG was Pieter’s next example. He explained how a service catalogue is the food menu of the IT Department. Providing a laptop for a new employee would usually take around 3 weeks. All because they didn’t have the necessary practices in place. Pieter worked with KPMG and they finally brought down the waiting period to 2 days. It’s all about having your processes up and running in the correct way. As such, you need to have your “menu card” running in the proper way. He then spoke about better priority setting and agreeing on solving time and service delivery time.

Every company is a service company and an IT company at the same time because a service company cannot run without an IT company – Pieter Hoekstra

With that Pieter’s speech came to a close

A presentation by Sheran Corera was up next

The presentation was about an e-Learning platform called Layup. It is also called the learning driven social platform.  Think of it as an e-Learning platform for training employees. Sheran explained 5 points that he and his team had come to understand about training new recruits and even existing employees.

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Sheran Corera speaking to the audience about LayUp
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado
  • Gamification can significantly boost your adoption strategy – awarding points and badges can really help if you’re trying to adopt something
  • Start developing people even before they are recruited –
  • Even the simplest rewards make people feel they are valued and appreciated.
  • There is a vast expanse of untapped knowledge within your organization, are you utilizing it to its full potential?
  • Employee development directly affects bottom line growth, do it efficiently at scale.

Following his presentation was a presentation by Emma Debeljak on Giftsmart.lk

Emma, a Marketing and Communications Consultant at Creative Software spoke about traditional corporate gifts such as hampers and gift vouchers. The problem there is recipient satisfaction, or lack thereof.

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Emma Debeljak talking to the audience about GiftSmart.lk

This is where GiftSmart comes in. We covered GiftSmart a while back in 2015. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s basically a platform that allows you to purchase vouchers for a specified amount that are eligible for use in 100+ retail stores so the person being gifted with the voucher is not limited to one store only.

With that, Emma’s presentation came to a close and also signaled the end of ITIL 2017. We congratulate Creative Software on a job well done in educating the audience on what ITIL is and look forward to other events they are organizing as well.

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