The 19th edition of SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show, which took place at London’s Earls Court last month, on 23-24 April, has been hailed a successful, productive and vibrant event having attracted 4,362 visitors from 40 different countries.
Firmly established as the UK’s leading event for IT service and support professionals, this year’s show floor was packed with thousands of highly-focused and informed visitors looking to research new technologies and service management provisions. Among them were service desk and help desk managers, CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, and senior IT decision-makers from organisations as diverse as Capita IT Services, SCC, G4S, Transport for London, Fujitsu, the Home Office, Camelot UK Lotteries, Tesco Bank, CIMA, Talk Talk Group, British Airways, Next, H.J Heinz Company, and the NHS.
It was this quality of attendees, the high level of engagement, and quantity of new business leads that impressed countless exhibitors – prompting over 70% of them to rebook for next year’s show; whilst many new companies have been eager to be added to the 2014 waiting list.
As a snapshot of the ITSM market, the 2013 event certainly reflected a more buoyant mood than in recent years. Feedback from the show floor saw many delighted exhibitors/vendors commenting that this year’s buyers were ready and, perhaps more importantly, able to do business. Whereas budget constraints over the last 12 months or so had seen many ITSM projects stuck in the planning stages, 2013 seems – at least from the evidence garnered at SITS13 – to herald a more positive shift towards implementing them.
“Without doubt, based on the reaction of our industry, SITS13 was our best edition to date,” says event manager Laura Venables. “It was clear that, whilst some companies had been previously locked in the project planning stages, SITS13 showed itself to be the time and place to make big purchasing decisions.”
Exhibitors celebrate successful show
“My first impression from this year’s show is that the quality of attendees was high, and the people we spoke with have real projects and a business need,” says Tony Probert, European managing director of long-standing exhibitor Cherwell Software Limited.
“A highlight for me was the requirement for surround technologies and functional capabilities,” says Probert, “It is not just about incident, problem and change but the need for mobile and social media capabilities, systems adaptability and agility, plus a strong requirement to easily provide business metrics via dashboards and reporting. The role of the service desk is changing, and the SITS event provides the ideal platform for Cherwell to demonstrate solutions for the current and future needs of service desks.”
“We’ve had some really good conversation and made some great contacts this year,” agrees Rickard Jönsson, senior marketing and business development manager at TechExcel. “The sheer number of people within this contained market that come to this show, is what makes it really stand apart from the rest. We will absolutely be returning next year, we’ve already booked our stand!”
Inspiring show content draws in the crowds
With 12% of attendees visiting across both days, one of the show’s key draws has always been its exceptional show content – including six Keynotes, two breakfast briefings, 44 seminars, and 24 hot topic roundtable discussions – which mixed a host of practical case studies and strategies with thought-provoking debates on the future of the ITSM industry.
“We work hard every year to ensure that our excellent content programme stays as fresh, and as relevant, as possible for our audience, and the support from our new partner Gartner really helped to enhance this for 2013,” explains SITS event manager Laura Venables.
“There is such a strong sense of community within this industry – and, once again, SITS was hailed as the ultimate forum for connecting, supporting and learning from one and other. I am delighted that we – as event organisers – can offer this platform that not only enables our exhibitors and visitors to do business but also acts as a meeting place to strengthen relationships. After such a great show, we are all really looking forward to seeing how the conversations that started here progress over the year ahead,” says Venables.
Once again Keynotes saw standing-room only crowds and many seminar sessions were fully-booked within an hour of the doors opening on both mornings. The well-received introduction of the show’s new advance booking option, which was available to all pre-registered visitors online until 22 April, helped to allay potential disappointment at seminars being full on arrival; whilst also serving to raise over £500 for organiser Diversified Business Communications UK’s official charity Events for Namuwongo.
Notable highlights for 2013 included Keynotes by Gartner’s Jeffrey Brooks and – show regular – IT support consultant Noel Bruton. Seminars enjoying over 100+ delegates included sessions hosted by Barclay Rae; Simon Skelton (John Lewis Partnership); Steve White (Kepner Tregoe); Rebecca Beach (SDI IT Service Excellence Professional of the Year 2012) and Tessa Troubridge (SDI); and Karen Brusch and John Moore (The itSMF UK Service Level Management Special Interest Group).
“Diversified UK’s annual Service Desk & IT Support Show has forged a deserved place for itself at the heart of the UK’s IT user support industry. Its mix of vendor showcase and training opportunities, and its broad agenda from philosophies through strategies to pure technique, make it – in my view – an essential, must-attend event for IT support professionals and decision-makers,” comments Noel Bruton.
“As ever this was a busy and brilliant event for the industry – clearly the most focused and clearly defined of all the IT support exhibitions and a treasure trove for all concerned – networkers, vendors, buyers, practitioners, analysts and consultants,” says independent management consultant Barclay Rae.
“For the event as a whole I think it was seen as a success by all – particularly the involvement of Gartner, who brought a new level of focus to the proceedings,” adds Rae, “It was very positive to hear Jeff Brooks taking about buying in line with a culture match and not just a technology tick list – hopefully that message will have been actively heard by buyers at the show.”
Visitors that were unable to make it to specific sessions or even the show itself this year, benefited from lively, interactive commentary and debate throughout, courtesy of the official #SITS13 Twitter hashtag, which recorded over a thousand uses each day. Prolific tweeters included James Finister, EMEA lead for IT service integration and governance consultancy at Tata Consultancy Services – one of the most retweeted of all users – who signed off his two days of reporting with: “Tomorrow is going to feel flat after the invigorating intensity of #SITS13”.
“As a first time visitor I found it not only a great opportunity to meet lots of vendors but a brilliant chance to network with peers from other organisations,” comments Oliver Plumpton, assistant head of ICT, Darlington Borough Council. “The Keynote speeches have also been particularly relevant to current issues that I’m dealing with. So it’s a combination of access to expertise, fantastic networking opportunities, and all the information that I need in terms of products that I’m looking at – all in one room. It was a thoroughly enjoyable show, and we’ll be back next year,” he concludes.
SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show will return to Earls Court, London, on 29-30 April 2014. For further information, please visit www.servicedeskshow.com, or stay up-to-date with all the latest news and 2014 exhibitor information via the show’s official Twitter account – www.twitter.com/SDITS.
High resolution imagery is available upon request:
SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show was shortlisted for Best UK Trade Show Exhibition (under 2,000m2) at the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) Excellence Awards in 2012.
For more information about Events for Namuwongo, please visit www.eventsfornamuwongo.com.
Diversified Business Communications UK Ltd (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton, Sussex, and Nailsworth, Glos. In addition to SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show in London, Diversified UK’s portfolio includes SITS Europe in Berlin (new for 2014); Ocean Business; office*; Natural & Organic Products Europe; Natural Products Scandinavia; Nordic Organic Food Fair (new for 2013); lunch!; Casual Dining (new for 2014); camexpo; Natural Products magazine; and the Natural Beauty Yearbook.
Diversified UK is part of Diversified Business Communications, a leading international media company with a successful portfolio of sector leading exhibition, conferences, publications and websites.