itSMF UK and me… 5 years on

This week I will attend my final board meeting as a director of itSMF UK. I’ve been a board member for exactly 5 years, with just under 3 of these as (operational) CEO. I am proud of my time with the organisation – it’s been a ‘roller coaster’ with many ups and downs, but it’s been overwhelmingly a very positive experience and one which I will reflect on with great memories.

When I took on the CEO role in 2015, there was a great groundswell of positive and energising feedback from people globally across the industry – most people want itSMF to succeed. The reality of building a new value proposition and modernising the organisation was of course a big challenge – one which is by no means finished. I felt it was important to try out some new options – some of which worked and others which didn’t. In the process we learned a lot and moved forward. We’ve built some great new models such as PSMF, as well as working hard to get itSMF back on the PR agenda for many organisations and the wider industry in general.  

At the turn of 2019/20 we had our annual strategy board meeting, where it really felt like we’d turned the corner in a number of ways – financially, product-wise and in terms of our position in the industry. 2020 has of course been a great challenge to all that, however I am confident that the organisation will prevail, due to both the operational team and the management board in place. 

The office team have been challenged over the years with many changes and threats to the business – they have risen to all of these with great resilience and commitment, and despite regular belt-tightening and re-focus. 

The management board has really grown in stature, with a number of new people with great business and industry experience – the strategy and direction is in great hands. 

I’ll miss working with all of the staff and board members, although I will of course continue to engage with many of these people now and in future. I’ll be delighted to continue delivering some itSMF services like workshops, training and events when required. I’m also really looking forward to the virtual conference this year – where I’ll be hosting an ITIL4 lead author’s session.     

The itSMF movement world-wide has many current challenges, not least of which is how this can be more integrated and speaking with one voice – the inability to really make this happen has been a disappointment to me. However I am confident that the UK business (it is a business) is in good shape and I wish everyone associated with itSMF UK, as well of course as the global community, good luck and best wishes for the future – albeit a future we are all still quite uncertain about. 

I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone who I’ve worked with who has been involved in the last few years and who has participated in making itSMF UK work and succeed. Thanks in particular to Rosemary Gurney and Martin Neville, who have believed in me, Richard Horton and all the other established directors who have supported me, and to the more recent directors that I’ve seen grow into their board roles. 

Of course I also want to thank the office team for their support – Mark Lillycrop, Sarah Nieto, Graham MacDonald, Rebecca Andrews, plus Colin Dudley, Teresa Corre, Claire Hartnett and many others who worked with us. This also includes John Sowerby, Ken Wilson, John Windebank, Sophie Danby, Rebecca Beach and John Noctor – and of course Laura Goss, our conference manager… 

We need independent industry organisations to provide the community with commercially free space and time to think and reflect on what we do, how we do it and how we can improve. Without these institutions we descend into a chaos of marketing hype and twitter. 

itSMF Uk is a great institution with a great history and also a great future – please support it. I look forward to seeing you at future events..!

Barclay Rae.

September 2020

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