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 FUSION 14 Blog


October 24, 2014 | 2014 itSMF USA Awards: We’re All Winners When We Share

The international itSMF chapters are all about giving back – the sharing of ideas, opinions, and good practices that help us to improve our IT support, service delivery, and the service experience. And let’s not forget those who volunteer (that’s sharing their precious time, knowledge, and experience) to make the international chapters, and their respective groups, successful.

Hence the annual itSMF USA awards – announced at FUSION14 and sponsored by Cherwell Software – are not just about recognizing and celebrating the achievements of groups, companies, and individuals. They’re also an entry point into the knowledge and experience of those who have already succeeded. You’ll read more on this below as this blog not only points to the people and organizations recognized by itSMF USA, but also shares some of their insight below.

The awards are also a great advertisement for IT service management (ITSM) and its applicability to organizations of all shapes and sizes. Take the itSMF USA Project of the Year for instance, where you’ve an educational institution, a public organization, and private organization all winning regional awards.

And, during the FUSION event, the overall Member of the Year title was awarded to Lisa Kass. With Lisa also playing a big part in the Higher Education SIG which won the SIG of the Year award.

Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles LIG, helmed by Donna, won LIG of the Year. And Eddie Vidal added the prestigious 2014 President’s Award to his regional member award.

2014 Regional Member of the Year Recipients

The Four Regional Member of the Year Recipients were:

East – Lisa Kass, Higher Ed SIG
South – Eddie Vidal, South Florida LIG
West – Donna Holt, Los Angles LIG
Central – Kevin Ritter, Heartland LIG

Insight from the 2014 Regional Member of the Year Recipients

We get a lot of advice at events such as FUSION but the best advice often comes from those that have recently “been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt.” So I asked the regional members of the year:

“What three pieces of advice would you give to service management peers who wish to give more to their company, itSMF USA and the wider ITSM community?”

Lisa Kass:

  1. Talk to people. Sitting in your office documenting process and writing proposals about the benefits of service management simply isn’t enough. We have to talk to our peers and leaders to understand their pain points and how to sell them the benefits of service management.
  2. Find a community. The single best thing that I ever did was to find a community of peers. itSMF LIGs and SIGs help you build a powerful network of people who are on the same journey, have made the same mistakes, and may have had successes that you can learn from. These are the people who can offer a life line when you hit the wall.
  3. Show up and contribute to the conversation. Volunteer to help your LIGs and SIGs. Every gesture counts. Join groups and forums where you can post questions and respond to your peers. You can help them and they, in turn, can help you.

Eddie Vidal:

  1. Say yes when they ask you to volunteer, it can take you to places you never thought you could reach. It also pushes you outside your comfort zone.
  2. Cultivate relationships with individuals in your industry.
  3. Give back by sharing your experience and knowledge. It could make a different in someone else’s future and they may pay it back one day unexpectedly.

Donna Holt:

  1. Always look for ways to improve the “status quo.”
  2. Set an example for others by sharing your experience, expertise and time.
  3. Utilize humor as a great learning tool!

Kevin Ritter:

  1. Get actively involved in a LIG/SIG community – attend the meetings, be part of the discussion, ask questions, etc.
  2. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities – there are lots of opportunities to get involved, whether it’s simply helping out with a local event, taking a leadership role in the community, or volunteering at Fusion
  3. Make contacts – network at local and chapter events, get online, get out and meet people and share your experiences. We can all help each other by sharing our experiences and asking others about their experiences. Best practices grow from sharing ideas, practices and experiences so we can together find what works best and under what conditions.

2014 Regional Project of the Year Recipients

The three Regional Project of the Year Recipients were:

East – McMaster University, Steering a Culture Shift at McMaster: The ITSM Process
West – County of Los Angeles, Service Management System Replacement
Central – Medtronic, Inc., Production Assurance

McMaster University – In facing the most significant technology driven project McMaster has ever undertaken – an ERP implementation – the University's Technology Services team recognized the need for new service management tools and techniques, and the need to redesign their service management processes, policies, and overall vision. The most important benefit is the improved ability to deliver projects in a timely and cost effective manner. The best example of which is the success of the first phase of the ERP implementation project – delivered both on time and on budget.

County of Los Angeles –
The project was established to transform LA County from an IT organization with technology silo-based delivery approach to a service-aligned organization (and the more effective delivery of IT services). Realized benefits include: lowered operating costs, an improved culture of accountability and collaboration, formal service definition and mapping, accurate configuration information (and its exploitation), proactive service improvement activity, and improved transparency into operating performance.

Medtronic, Inc. –
In response to a number of incidents that significantly affected the stability and availability of critical IT services at Medtronic, a production assurance project was initiated to: reduce the number of critical system outages, reduce the risk of critical system outages, decrease downtime impact, and reduce recovery time (MTTR). The project has resulted in significant reductions in the number of major incidents, the number of hours of critical business services impacted, and overall MTTR, plus an increased focus on risk management across the organization.

With all three projects fundamentally focused on improving the quality of IT services, service delivery, and user/customer satisfaction.

During the FUSION event, the overall 2014 Project of the Year title was awarded to County of Los Angeles.

Insights from the 2014 Regional Project of the Year Recipients

Projects can be difficult to manage. And managed projects don’t necessarily lead to successful IT and business outcomes. So I asked the Regional Project of the Year recipients:

“What three pieces of advice would you give to service management peers managing, or participating in, service management or IT transformation projects?”

Stephanie Telander (LA County):

  1. Find your “why” to use as the drumbeat for others to hear and follow through the heat of a battle.
  2. Collaborate and communicate early and often at every level of the organization
  3. Be a guide so that others will step up to be the leaders.

Christopher Gardner (Medtronic):

  1. Clearly define the problem you’re trying to solve (here’s the “Why”).
  2. Determine where you are (your current state), where you’re going (your objectives), and establish measures to know if the org is moving in the right direction.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate (as Stephanie said… early, often, and with ALL stakeholders).

Randy Steinberg (LA County):

  1. The management of people expectations, communications, and training is key and will take much more time and effort than process design or tool implementation.
  2. Make sure you get your operational act (services, support teams, SLOs, priorities, classifications, closure codes, etc.) together before you implement the tool – otherwise much rework will follow.
  3. Establish an ITSM Steering Group at the start – this will be key to leveraging your efforts and getting buy-in across the enterprise versus trying to make all the decisions on your own.

2014 Local Member of the Year Recipients

And last but not least, there were also Local Member of the Year award winners:

David Clifford – Central Virginia LIG
Bryan Coffman – Kansas City LIG
Pam Eifel – Greater Cleveland LIG
Tom Herrmann – Chicago LIG
Mark Kawasaki – Atlanta LIG
Leonard Neely – National Capital LIG.

So congratulations to all the award recipients and my thanks to all those (recognized at FUSION14 or not) who continue to volunteer their time, and to share their knowledge and experience, for the benefit of the wider ITSM community.

October 10, 2014 | FUSION: An Aptly Named IT Service Management Conference


FUSION“the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity” – is, in my opinion, an aptly named IT industry conference from two perspectives.


Firstly, and most importantly, it brings the North American, and some of the global, IT service management (ITSM) Community together to share and learn. And secondly, it’s co-delivered by the itSMF USA, the US chapter of the itSMF international organization, and HDI, a professional association and certification body for the technical service and support industry. And, as with heads, surely two ITSM industry bodies are better than one.


And the word “perspective” is worth lingering on in the context of the FUSION conference.


Perspective and perspectives


FUSION14 – both in terms of the formal sessions and informal networking opportunities – provides attendees with both perspective and perspectives on ITSM, IT service delivery, and IT support. With the formal conference sessions distributed across:

  • The Beginner’s View 
  • Continual Service Improvement 
  • Emerging Technologies 
  • The Expert Focus 
  • Industry Insights 
  • IT Governance and Security 
  • The People Factor 
  • Service Support and Operations 
  • The Strategic View

I personally love that there’s a Beginner’s View track – not everyone is a seasoned ITSM professional and, to be honest, how many IT organizations would benefit from people revisiting some of the ITSM basics?


What’s the word at FUSION14?


Looking at the main conference session descriptions, including keynotes but not breakfast briefings, through a word cloud lens offers up some interesting insights.


Word cloud created using


As expected, Service, Management, Support, and ITSM loom large in the FUSION14 word cloud. But there are some other words that it’s great to see:

  • Business (and Organizations, but this could relate to the IT or parent organization)
  • Services
  • Customer (versus a small Users)
  • Value (versus a small Costs)

Along with:

  • Share
  • Learn
  • Knowledge

Then there are those that we are used to seeing with anything ITSM-related: Tools/Technology, ITIL, Process/Processes, and Security.


The words that I expected to be bigger (in the word cloud) include People, Transformation, and Success. It’s also hard to find, if they are in there at all:

Desk (as in service or help desk) – it’s in the C of Service if you look closely

Catalog (as in service catalog) – it’s under the N of Management

Mobile or mobility

BYOD, Shadow IT, Consumerization, or similar



It will be interesting to see how exhibitor messaging stacks up against the popular and absent words.



FUSION14 is ultimately about the people


And you get two shots at the attending ITSM industry luminaries (as well as your peers). First, they’re most likely presenting at some point, you can check out the conference agenda here. Secondly they’ll be around during the Expo and after-hours events to informally chat with those that hunt them down.


And hopefully they’ll all be tweeting like mad people (not literally though) during the event.


Finally, if you can’t make it to FUSION14 but don’t want to miss out, you can follow the event Twitter stream using #smfusion14.