We all have a unique SITS experience and first time visitor Praveen Ramesh, product marketer for FreshService  explains the conversations he had, the education sessions he attended and why he got so much value from the two-day event.

It was a sunny and warm afternoon in London. The Freshservice crew (including myself) had arrived for what is one of the biggest shows in the service management world. It was the first time at SITS for me, and I had mixed feelings about how the event would turn out (logistics, ROI, turnout and learnings from SITS18).

All my inhibitions became pointless precisely 10 minutes into the event. I started having a lot of quality conversations on varying topics like self-service, knowledge management, automation among others. From what I experienced during the two days, I can safely say that – there’s no other conference in the world that:

  • Offers a ton of learnings through speaking sessions
  • Has ample networking opportunities
  • Gives you a pulse about where the ITSM space is heading

And guess what? You get all this for free.

Trust me when I say this – if there’s only one trade show in ITSM that you can attend to learn from industry veterans, it better be SITS.

So, the next three sections will focus primarily on what we saw at SITS18: the learnings, the networking, the trends and the beers we got to try!

A paradise for learning
Trust me when I say this – if there’s only one trade show in ITSM that you can attend to learn from industry veterans, it better be SITS. If you’re someone who hates interacting with vendors but still wants to learn ITSM, you can hop from one theatre to the other and pick up golden nuggets from all the speakers.

Here’s an enumeration of a few talks that I loved.

How Netflix tore the rule book to reinvent IT
This talk by Dave Hahn was one of my favourites from the host of lectures I had attended. Dave spoke in depth about the importance of cultural changes required to be successful with DevOps, and the importance of ‘chaos’ engineering in making things more stable and reliable. 

I come from a non-technical background, and this talk broadened my perspective on the engineering of an app/website that I use almost every day. Not just me, here’s an example of how much tweeps loved the talk:

   

Stop Selfish service and deliver what the customer wants
A talk by a very good friend and colleague at Freshservice, Sanjeev’s talk focussed on answering one key question – are you putting your customers needs above your own? I loved this topic for two reasons:

  1. Communicating the problems with current IT practices in a really comical way through memes, GIFs and real life examples
  2. Offering practical tips and hacks to overcome frictions and achieving a selfless service.

Here’s a sample meme from his talk (I hope he doesn’t kill me for this):

SITS screenshot

All you wanted to know about the ITIL update
This was a talk that I was looking forward to attending. The reason? A lot of Freshservice customers use the ITIL framework for their IT support have asked us one question constantly.

“What to expect from the new ITIL update?”

I was handicapped, unable to answer. But many of the pertinent and frequently asked questions regarding the “new ITIL update.” Akshay touched a variety of topics like the validity of your current certifications, and how the new update will reflect modern ways of working among others.

Which framework is right for your business, if any?
A panel discussion was hosted by Duncan Watkins (Forrester) and the panelists included

If you’re someone who’s extremely confused about which framework to choose for IT operations, this was your session to attend. Here’s my biggest takeaway. Frameworks and guidelines are a means to an end. What you adopt depends on answers to a critical question that we all fail to answer – what problem are you trying to solve? Based on your response, pick and choose best practices from every framework that will work in your context.

There are 80+ talks and sessions for you to attend at SITS. I only wish I had the time to attend each one of the sessions by the impressive list speakers. SITS should consider recording these sessions for folks who aren’t able to participate in the session.

Insights and trends
You get a ton of insights about upcoming trends and technologies when you talk to vendors and other service providers at the event.

This year was no different. We had conversations with a lot of analysts, vendors and other service providers. Interestingly, a lot of themes seemed to repeat themselves in discussions and the capabilities that vendors were trying to build. Here’s what I observed

  • Self-service adoption still seems to be a problem. A lot of prospects and customers who had come to our booth had one question in common – how can I ensure more people use the service desk? While the adoption of self-service seems to be on the rise, it’s still not up to the level IT managers would like it to be.

Grant Harris, IT director from NHS and our customer, talking about how he nailed self-service with Freshservice.

Education at SITS

  • Chats, AI, and bots  Ah finally, after tons of blogs, articles, and hype about AI, ML and chatbots, I got to see a host of vendors showcase these capabilities. Though at very nascent stages, it was interesting to see a lot of end users and IT managers sharing their thoughts on how AI could help them save time and optimise their service desk for efficiency.
  • More power to the end user– I am glad the revolution is finally here. SITS was the first event where I saw a ton of folks talk about ease of use and user experience of service desk software. A couple of talks and panel discussions (like selfless service, and which framework is right for your organisation)  were centred around solving what the end users wanted and putting the user at the forefront of service management. Personally, it was very encouraging to see IT finally coming more close to the end users and hence the business.
  • Service management for non-IT functions   Enterprise Service Management (ESM) has been around for aeons. This was one of the few conferences where there were active conversations around specific use cases of service desk for non-IT functions. In fact, one of our prospects was using some other vendor for IT and wanted to try Freshserivce for marketing and legal functions in their organisation.

Don’t forget to network
While education sessions and demos are great, SITS is one place where you don’t want to miss networking. You have stalwarts from the ITSM world, analysts, bloggers, vendors, and a host of service providers who descend for the two-day event.

We were lucky to attend two networking sessions, one organised by the lovely folks from Back2ITSM. We had the chance to interact, meet and greet people like Stephen Mann, Sophie, William Goddard, James Finister, Akshay among a host of other folks.

Here’s where it started:

Sophie Danby SITS social

And guess what? We had our own happy hour party thrown to everyone who had attended the first day of SITS18. After all, SITS is not over until the beer is.

Here are few pics from the networking session we organised: 

 

Gaining knowledge, tool selection or just merely observing – you name it and SITS helps you achieve it. I hope to see you all at SITS19!

 

Guest post by:
Praveen Ramesh, Freshservice

Praveen Ramesh

Product marketer
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