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itSMF Asia Summit – ITIL, ITSM, trends and lessons learnt

It’s 6am here and I am sitting in my hotel room trying to summarize 2 days of Asia Summit. What do you learn when you attend a summit like this? Even after almost 15 years in the industry? Well – as it turns out, quite a lot! (although not everything has to do with the subject matter on hand!)

First of all I’d like to ask where everybody was! According to Umar Chandran (the president of itSMF Singapore) the chapter has 285 members and as this was the ASIA summit you’d expect chapter members from Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, India to attend. That’s a LARGE slice of the globe! And you know what? there were 88 delegates (136 when you include all vendors and speakers). 88! Where is the rest?!! You can’t tell me that all the other members in the industry don’t have the need to be educated…. very interesting! (to me at least)


  1. The presentations:
    Must admit that there were some amazing presentations but the delivery style was sometimes less than desirable. Again, it’s not WHAT you have to say but HOW you say it. If you want to get your message across tell stories, be prepared and engage with the audience, don’t read your texty long listed bullet-pointed slides but have visuals and be the value add to the presentations.
    Rob Stout (CA) knows how to do this – he is a very engaging speaker and lovely to listen to! Sharon Taylor also knows how to do this and probably practiced practiced and practiced her talk 5 million times by now! But the delivery is still as if it is the first time ever she tells this story and that is very good!
  2.   vs.
    Most of the presentations were very basic from a content point of view. Mr. Puranachoti from the Stock Exchange of Thailand gave an overview of IT Service Continuity Management and how they applied it in their data centres. The keynote speakers on day one were very clear on the need to align the IT operations with the and that without this link you will have a very hard time getting your case approved (Laura Knapp’s keynote) and spend too much time trying to explain why certain decisions were made (Eric Lauzon’s keynote).
  3. The itSMF Asia members survey
    It was very interesting to see the results of the Asia members survey. 155 people responded so it’s a very elite cross section of the Asian market. My biggest suprise was the fact that 17 people said they fully implemented ISO/IEC 20000. That is almost 11% And on top of that 9 people said they had projects in progress. WOW.
    The other suprise was the project benefits: the top 3 of benefits of implementing IT Service Management and ITIL are:
    a) improved customer satisfaction
    b) Service Delivery as per the agreed Service Levels
    c) improved management of change requests.
    Reduction in IT cost was pretty much the last one in the list…. 
  4. Business users are friends… not food!
    Sonia Chorng-Der Shyr had a great example on how they used the most disgruntled end-users, the ones who complain the most about IT services and have turned them into IT Pals. The IT Pals are asked to provide input into functional specifications and are also part of end-user testing. When they are satisfied, chances are that the rest of the user community agree as well!
    Brilliant move if you ask me!
  5. Speaking of food…. the lunches were AMAZING!
    When you love light lunches with only 1 or 2 choices… you were clearly in te wrong place! The buffet style lunch was amazing… I probably put on 2 kilos in the past 2 days!


So – what did I miss?

  1. The Party!
    itSMF conferences are renowned for their social events. This time there was only a cocktail networking event… maybe it’s a cultural difference? Maybe people in Asia don’t like to party? (although I find that hard to believe…. I watch discovery channel….. ha ha!)
  2.  The ‘meat’ in the presentations
    Most presentations touched on the surface of IT Service Management with ITIL… Maybe this happened because the presentations were approx. 30 minutes each? It gives enough time to give people an overview of what you have been doing, but not enough time to get into the lessons learnt and what the delegates can take away from this.
  3.  The exhibitors.
    There were only 8 companies in the exhibition hall… maybe this is due to the fact that Terrapin organizes the entire conference and that the overhead makes sponsorship and exhibition at the summit too  expensive? (after all for 2 days we’ve been talking on ROI!) I couldn’t see a clear ROI for any of the exhibitors to be honest… shame…

 Anyway, that were a few of my initial thoughts on the conference. No doubt more stuff will trickle through in the coming days and weeks.

Now, I’m off to the airport on my way back to the office!