This week I attended the Fusion (joint HDI/itSMF) conference in Nashville Tennessee. I delivered a workshop, which got some very nice feedback. It’s also great to meet up with like-minded industry people, friends and peers, so networking was also a big part of the show – the bars and music venues of Nashville rang to the tune of many good ITSM stories…
What I didn’t expect was to be involved in a ‘revolution’, but that happened too…
Over the week – and with the support of the organisers – a number of meetings were held with a cross-section of ITSM people who wanted to see change happen and to do something about it – now. A few people were initially invited and others like me simply joined as part of the conversation . The sessions were originally set up with the intention of discussing how to improve or develop the role of the itSMF (especially in the US) – which (with the exception of some great chapters in northern Europe and elsewhere) is perceived to be flagging. The discussion moved on from that to a bigger and more fundamental view of how to fix the industry – perhaps idealistic but certainly with positive intent.
This was a powerful experience, with knowledgeable, committed people across a spectrum of experience and opinions – the common factor was desire and emotional attachment to improvement, quality and value,  plus the need for change. Think of Paris and the Impressionists, or Russia pre revolution, or even the early days of ITIL…!? It was a productive and unifying process – exhausting, but also great fun…
The outcome of this was a Call To Action, supported by some key principles, which challenge the IT and ITSM industry to change, in order to stay relevant.
core values
The details and signatories can be found at – please take a look and sign up if this speaks to you.
In summary these are some guiding principles that are relevant now and for the future. We currently promote models and practices that are dated and irrelevant, driving the wrong behaviours – e.g. SLAs and processes rather than outcomes and business value.  Our industry moves too slowly and is in danger of losing touch with real demand and expectation – we need to be more flexible, adaptable and able to move quickly.
I contributed to this and signed the Call to Action. Here are my thoughts on what the development of this might mean to various parts of our industry:
[important]For practitioners – this should support what they’ve known all along – i.e. that process is always trumped by people and business outcomes.
For CIOs  – this should ring true as a guiding light towards more value-based operating models and ways of working in their organisations.
For ITSM vendors (of all sorts) this should be a clear call that its OK/good to move away from dogma and to concentrate on delivering real value for customers. Many will argue that they already follow or promote some of these ideas – true in many cases.  However this can be – or be seen to be – agenda-led and more direction is needed from the centre of the industry to support these ideas.
For industry bodies like e.g. itSMF this should be a mandate to break out of the ‘best practice’ industry chains and politics, to then support and promote more new ideas – e.g. at events and conferences.
For Axelos, the new ITIL owners, it’s a clear notice about the need for radical change – quickly. This point has been raised to them already and this is a further and broader re-emphasis, from an international community.[/important] Effectively the work done this week is an opening gambit, hopefully that can get a good deal of support and galvanise activity for change across our industry. What was produced may look simple and idealistic, but it is was certainly done from the heart – this was also pushed out quickly so there will need to be more details and developments around actions to make change happen. As this was initially an itSMFUSA-supported initiative there will hopefully be some initial direct input to that organisation.
None of the content should be a surprise, as many industry figures and commentators have been talking about this for some time. There’s no real radical new ideas in the initial output. The key point is that there is now a focussed and consolidated view as to what the issues are and the need for change.
‘Revolution’ can be a challenging and perhaps inflammatory word to use. This was one initial banner under which the sessions came together. To me the use of this term reflects frustration about the pace (or lack of) change, whilst there is a real perceived need for it to happen sooner and faster. ‘Congress’ is a more reflective and unifying heading for this.
To me there is very little in the initial statements published that most people living in the current world would really disagree about. Despite many positive noises and initiatives, in reality little has changed in recent years.  Axelos has made many positive noises, but the route map for change still looks slow and unclear.
No-one wants wars and battles, so hopefully we can unite and work together. This initiative is meant to be positive and is based on a passionate belief that the industry needs to change, not driven by any specific agenda.
[/notice] We’ll see how this develops – take a look, sign up, or engage if you don’t think it’s right. The first step is to get a groundswell of support. Let’s make this a short debate, and then all get moving together…