Abstracts

09.45 - 10.30

Ian Osborne - The Benefits of New Technology Platforms and Services - and the Challenges of Controlling Them

Delivering better services for businesses is already driving organizations to adopt new technology platforms and services to become slicker. One of the challenges with change and configuration management is to understand the new technologies and service offerings ahead of time. Ian will provide advice, real-life examples, plus trends and insight to enable practitioners to be able to develop strategies to control the new technologies and service configurations and changes to these.

11.00 - 11.45

Ian Salvage - Demonstrating the business value of 'best practice' Configuration Management

In this session, Ian will explore current and future concepts of 'best practice' service management and how you can work towards achieving it. He will introduce a pragmatic, ITIL-driven approach to implementing Configuration Management that is independent of whether you are planning a federated or centralized view. Learn about the pitfalls and how to go beyond them to better serve the business. The session will include real-life experiences.

'Best practice' service management is a goal that most organizations aspire to. But what does that mean, both as a single view of best practice and for each organization? How do you get there and how do you know that you’ve got there? And what might tomorrow’s best practice look like?

Ian will use Configuration Management as an example of how best practice might look in the future. He will discuss the need to understand what the true business needs are as a prelude to implementing Configuration Management, rather than focusing on the technology and tools. Finding out what the business wants is not always a simple exercise, but unless Configuration Management implementation projects are driven by this, they will continue to fail.

This presentation will outline a practical approach to implementing Configuration Management that provides value and can thus be cost-justified. Ian will use the wealth of experience he has gained over 20 years working in the area of service management across a large range of industries and customers to intersperse his presentation with real-life examples of situations he has encountered.

Rainer Heinold - Improving an ALM infrastructure with OpenSource components

The session gives a brief history of the four generations of ALM management infrastructure. Main topic is to identify parts of the tool chain to be upgraded by OpenSource or Freeware tools. Another important aspect is the introduction and adoption of OpenSource Best Practices into an enterprise organization to benefit most from the existing assets.

Since the early 90’s of the last century, OpenSource communities have proven that highly distributed teams can develop extremely stable and successful Software - even with a simple infrastructure.

At the same time a lot of Enterprise organizations struggle with the dynamics and challenges of distributed software teams, although they did their best to support the teams with modern development infrastructure.

The session will talk you through some of the most important aspects of successful collaboration and will show, which of the best practices can and should be applied in every enterprise.

After discussing the four generations of ALM infrastructure and their attributes the session will give various examples of how an existing environment can be improved with OpenSource and Freeware components to help you overcoming the challenges of distributed development teams.

11.45 - 12.30

Dr Stephen J Pratt - Managing business and technology change together - improving quality, reducing costs and risks

Too often configuration management champions start from a standpoint of the inherent importance of a particular technical solution, a suite of tools or a methodology. Whereas we should be asking two key questions: ‘What is being configured?’ and ‘What is it being configured for?’. The answer should be: ‘Resources that underpin effective business services’. An effective CM strategy is crucial in supporting business strategy. An effective management team is crucial to implementing an efficient CM strategy. One of the fundamental questions facing those charged with the successful stewardship of any organization is: How do we do more with less? Assessing the impact of any change to the technological infrastructure is a complex one as it underpins all business operations.

No longer is it appropriate to talk solely about IT services as they are embedded within the delivery of every business support service. The demands of a dynamic market and its highly mobile workforce place increasing pressure on business support teams. A key factor in ensuring the effectiveness of any organization is the definition and management of a portfolio of business services designed to meet these demands.

Configuration management enables a thorough assessment of any change to be undertaken as the potential impact of any decision on business support services could be a significant corporate risk. Given the potential risk to an organization of an inappropriate decision it is essential that it is managed by an eclectic executive team, rather than be left with the CIO alone. It demands the involvement of business representatives, technology specialists and suppliers at strategic, tactical and operational levels.

CM helps to bridge the gap between those involved so that the balance between cost reduction, risk management and service quality can be holistically assessed.

13.30 - 14.15

Ian Preskett - Software Asset Management - The shortest route to success

This session is aimed at helping companies to see through the confusion of SAM. It will explore:

The roadmap:

  • Maturity assessments
  • Process assessments
  • Envisioning workshops
  • Education days
  • Technology mapping
  • SAM Plan
  • Implementation plan

Process:

  • Process
  • Do they work
  • How do they work
  • Are they efficient
  • How should they work
  • The holistic view

The technology:

  • Integrating Vs integrated technology
  • Mapping your process to the business or letting technology dictate
  • Selecting the right tool
  • Essential features or nice to have
  • The complexity of integration and is it worth it
  • Native Vs Hosted (SaaS)

Software asset management requires a level of hardware asset management. Together they provide the core of the IT departments configuration management records to which many other CIs should be linked. Yet many companies still keep this data separated, either because it is too complex to manage, or it is outside the scope of IT department. It is quite normal to find the PCs subdived by location, the financial records help This presentation will show how asset management can consume resource, or can be run very efficiently. It will consider real examples of efficiencies can be gained. At the end of the session somebody new to SAM should have a solid overview of the steps to use when planning to start or improve a SAM implementation.

Stephen Thair - An Operation Manager’s perspective on Change, Configuration and Release Management

This session gives you the opportunity to hear 'the other side of the story' - the Operations perspective Change, Release and Configuration (CRC) Management.

How does it make a difference to the day-to-day lives of staff responsible for the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of business systems? What do 'we' (Ops) think of 'you' (the Change, Release and Configuration Managers).

What would Operations want from the 'perfect' CRC system and what tools in the marketplace now might come close?

The aim of the session is to present a contrast to the other presenters who are predominately CRC practitioners.

Many frontline operations staff see these ITIL disciplines as impediments to their efficiency and productivity, yet conversely they would acknowledge that an 'uncontrolled' environment is a 'bad thing'.

So what causes this tension between Operations and the CRC disciplines, and can you ever truly have an effective CRC system unless the Operations staff fully supports it?

Is a 'Type X' command-and-control compliance model the only way, or can is a 'Type-Y' collaboration model a better solution?

Drawing on his experience as Web Operations Manager for high volume websites like www.totaljobs.com and www.tes.co.uk as well as 19 years experience in development, support and technical architecture Stephen hopes to make it through the presentation without being lynched...

14.15 - 15.00

Kevin Holland - Reducing costs and managing risks through effective verification audits

Verification audits are an essential tool of Configuration Management yet many organisations carry them out as a ‘duty’ without fully considering their purpose or how to conduct them efficiently. This session will give an insight into how audits can be both effective and efficient in providing value to an organisation. Verification audits are a fundamental tool of Configuration Management. ITIL V3 gives a good case for why they are required, to ‘verify that correct and authorized versions of CIs exist, and that only such CIs exist, and are in use in the operational environment’. It also offers useful advice on how to conduct them.

The advice, however, provides limited advice on how to make them effective, efficient, and save costs.

This session will give practical advice on when to do audits, how to address discrepancies, what should trigger an audit, and how to maximise the benefits whilst minimising the effort. It will also discuss the required roles and supportive culture required for effective auditing, so that the auditor can be seen to add value.

Matthew Wills - Environment Management - Controlling the Uncontrollable

This session describes some of the problems caused by a lack of ownership and control over non-production environments and how these might be overcome. There is a great deal of focus on controlling and managing a Production environment, processes such as Change, Configuration and Incident Management are common place in today’s IT Operations Teams. Yet, if you look behind Production, the chances are you will find many environments used for development and test that have far more capacity to cause delay and spiraling costs to the Business. How often have incidents raised in production not been seen during development and test phases? How often do Business deliverables get delayed because the environments they are developed and tested in are not fit for purpose? How much time is lost by overly controlled and inflexible test environment? Non-production environment management is often overlooked or done part-time by another team, yet the challenges in managing these environments can be great and the impact of doing it well can be significant.

Challenges such as:

  • Multiple software baselines
  • Environment Configuration
  • Open access
  • Roll Back
  • Test Data Management
  • Application Stubbing
  • Environment Support
  • Infrastructure Scaling

By understanding these challenges and making the right investment in people, process and tools, changes to Production can be less of a lottery and more of a dead cert.

15.30 - 16.15

Vawns Guest and Steve Straker - Process Governance: A how to guide for Configuration Managers

This session will deliver practical guidance on how to apply governance to Configuration Management and will cover how to carry out internal process reviews, how to elicit feedback prior to the review, key stakeholder involvement, how to ensure the review stays on track, and track those all important improvements.

This presentation will be a practical guide to the activities of applying governance to Configuration Management and will incorporate examples and explanations for each of the activities you will need to undertake.

Governance is built upon the 5 pillars of Involvement; Risk; Information; Audits and Improvement. If left untreated the impact on Business Services; Financial; Brand; Regulatory and Corporate will be felt throughout the organisation.

What does good governance look like? We explore the outcomes of a successful Governance process which will be ensure a 'service excellence' set of processes and procedures fit for purpose and requiring low maintenance.

We also look at ARCI charts and how they help in this role - no self supporting process should be without one. We investigate what the all important improvement process looks like to enable Configuration Management to develop and mature throughout its lifecycle.

And finally, we plot the progress using the results and achievements method enabling us to track and monitor our success.

Richard Croucher - Learning from the Cloud providers to use the CMDB to drive cost savings through automation

Cloud service providers use the CMDB to automate their environments driving much higher levels of efficiency than typically seen in the Enterprise. We describe how we measure the efficiency and maturity of an existing environment identifying those areas which will realize the biggest benefits from automation. How the CMDB is a key foundational component to delivering this automation and how this can enable the whole program to deliver far greater business benefits.

The big cloud service providers have created massive computing infrastructures. These have been created and are managed by using much higher levels of automation than typically exist in the enterprise space. As a result, they are benefiting from much higher levels of efficiency. A dependency in achieving this however, is the definition of the logical and physical environments.

The CMDB can contain rich configuration information which can be exposed through a web services API, making it accessible to the automation layer. If you are about to undertake on a CMDB project or are currently in process of populating one, then by addressing these additional requirements you can significantly improve the value back to the business.

If you are in the process of justifying a CMDB project, then the savings realized through this automation and the greater responsiveness of the agile infrastructure will help with this justification.

We will discuss some of these savings and show how the CMDB and automation should go hand-in-hand.

16.15 - 16.45

John Dixon- Controlling configurations and change for new technologies, including virtual and cloud computing

Following on from the plenary session, this interactive session will explore pragmatic approaches to controlling configurations and change for new technologies. Each table will brainstorm, discuss, define and prioritise:

  • What are the main challenges?
  • What do we need to worry about?
  • What are key configuration items?
  • What works?
  • What does not work?

The results of the session will be collated and will be available after the conference for participants.

John Metcalfe - Interactive session - Improving the transition of projects into service - what works and what does not work

In a multi-supplier solution it is essential that project deliverables are identified and controlled so that the integrity of the service solution can be assured. The session will kick off with a stimulus presentation on the service lifecycle and the key control points required to improve Service Transition. For key control points, each table will discuss, brainstorm, theme and vote on:

  • Who are the key stakeholders and what do they want to improve?
  • What works and what does not work in practice?
  • What improvements will add most value with minimum cost and risk?

David Cuthbertson - Techniques and methods for planning your CMS/CMDB

ITIL V3 showed how presenting configuration management data in appropriate views is recommended to support the needs of different teams and processes. A stimulus presentation will initiate the interactive debate and each table will explore:

  • Vote on key stakeholders and users of the CMS/CMDB.
  • What does a CMS have to do for it to be used successfully by its users.
  • Identifying the process requirements (outputs, results, deliverables etc.) to input into the CMS design