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21 November, 2023 Service Management Service Desk ITSM

ITSM’s Autumn Conference Celebrations

As the UK ITSM autumn conference season draws to a close, it feels like a good opportunity to reflect on both the Spark23 and ITSM23 which I was lucky enough to attend. 

There was a general theme across both conferences which is a continued and increasing focus across the industry on conversations related to mental health with some fantastic sessions at both events – this must continue with the increasing pressures on service management professionals to meet the ever-increasing velocity of businesses. A big thanks to Daniel Breston, Em Eldred, Simone Jo Moore, Karen Brusch, James Finister & Claire Drake to name just a few who are continuing to push the message of mental health & neurodiversity awareness across the industry. 

In addition, there were many high-quality presentations across both events, too many to list in fact, however, personal highlights for me were: 

  • Sally Bogg (NHS England) – From Surviving to Thriving – Creating the right culture for success in a rapidly changing word 
  • Matt Phelan (Happiness Index) – Happiness in 2023 
  • Sami Kallio (HappySignals) – Improving Decision-Making through experience data and insights 
  • Osvaldo Santos (Nestle) – How Nestle are modernising ITSM 
  • Rob Ackershoek (The Open Group) – The hitchhikers guide to ITSM practices and standards (loved the musical interludes in particular) 
  • Mark McGill (Moveworks) – Building an AI copilot strategy to automate employee support 

Almost needless to say, all of the keynote speakers across both events provided high-quality, engaging content whether that was through the use of electric guitars, highlight reels of fighter jets or breathing techniques – each one brought something different and insightful to take away.  

Both awards ceremonies were a spectacle – an amazing job by both ITSMF and SDI teams to seamlessly bring together awards ceremonies to celebrate our industry. The hosts of the awards did an incredible job and a particular thanks to Troy Hawke for not ripping into me too much at the start of his set, I got away quite lightly, thankfully…!  

Congratulations to all the award nominees and winners at both events – I suspect there may have been a few sore heads the morning after!  

Obviously, I couldn’t go without a special shout-out to the winner of the Paul Rappaport Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr Barclay Rae – a huge congratulations and a very well-deserved winner, I’m personally still not sure how you made it to an 8am meeting the following day after the celebrations, this is an achievement which should also receive some sort of formal award. 

Whilst ‘Conference Season’ is over for the time being to be replaced by ‘Festive Season’, it’s just a short couple of months until the next major event of SITS 24 – I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. 


Steve Cave