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ITIL Tattle

ITIL Tattle

Blog posts on ITIL and ITSM news and best practice from the ISG ITIL Team

The ITIL Team is 1!

The ITIL Team celebrates its first birthday on February 1st and this week we’re reflecting on our first year of existence and looking to what comes next for us. It’s been a busy old year, so grab a hot drink and settle down to read what we’ve been up to.ITIL Team with birthday hats

The Team

The one thing the ITIL team all have in common (aside from all being forty somethings!) is a love of good process and good service management. Back in 2018 we were already doing a lot of good “stuff” in our own arenas,

Robert has been an ITIL evangelist for over a decade. Matt was also the UniDesk Service Operations Manager, before taking on his role of Change Manager. James has been working on our Service Catalogue for almost 5 years and I was managing the User Support Team, with IS Helpline achieving SDI Certification. We were all part of the Information Services “Service Based Cultures” Change theme group. This group was set up as part of the Change programme, created by Gavin McLachlan (vice-Principal, Chief Information Officer, and Librarian)where Service Based Culture was at the heart of the programme. Our group met very regularly and included other Service Management experts including Stefan Kaempf who’d been promoting Problem Management, and Angi Lamb our reports expert.

So why did we need a team I hear you ask?

Well, while we all were working towards a common goal we still had our “day jobs” to do. We were all in different teams to each other and we couldn’t gain any momentum on best practice initiatives.

Gavin McLachlan and Gosia Such our User Services Director had both come from the commercial world where they’d seen the benefits that come from a dedicated Service and Process Management team and so, our team was created and we started working together in February 2019.

Our drive has always been to help Service Owners, Service Operations Managers and Business Service owners make the most of all of the process and management guidance that we have here at the University of Edinburgh. We have UniDesk as our call management tool and we have invested well in ITIL training over the years. Using these two things together in the right way is something that underpins all of our goals and we’ve made some great improvements in year one.

Major Incident Process

The new Major Incident process was debuted at the ISG All Staff Meeting in April 2019. This process is designed to ensure speedy restoration of any ISG services that experience a significant outage. We’ve had a few runs of this process now and the feedback is good, with Service Owners and Service Operations Managers appreciating the space it gives them to resolve the problem and our users appreciating the timely and clear communications, setting their expectations and offering any workarounds. It’s the sort of process you hope you never need to use, but practice makes perfect and we’re progressing iteratively with feedback, exactly as ITIL4 advises.


Facilitating the resolution of the cloud printing problem using Kepner-Tregoe methodology was a highlight for me.

Robert Gormley – Business Change Manager

ITIL Training

ITIL4 was launched at almost the same time as our team and we’ve had our first 3 cohorts go through the new ITIL4 Foundation exam. We’re still looking at how we’ll user ITIL4 as an organisation but we’ve had amazing engagement from Fraser Muir and Carne Burke from our College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Fraser and Carne have facilitated not only the first ITIL4 Foundations, but also several other ITIL Intermediate courses. They’re driving a programme of engagement across CAHSS and we’ve benefitted greatly from their enthusiasm and engagement, something we’d be keen to encourage in the other Colleges and Support Groups.


UniDesk is an international service with 11 Academic partners, including University of Malta who joined in 2019. Our team is accountable for the use of UniDesk at the University of Edinburgh and we’ve supported a number of new teams in starting to use UniDesk to manage their calls, problems, changes and system events. We’re also working closely with the UniDesk Service Management team to offer support and advice to all partners on the use of ITIL processes which are embedded in UniDesk and I was really happy to be able to present at UniDesk19 where I spoke about our achievements so far.


Over the last year, it’s been remarkable to see how well our existing Service Management processes hook into each other, and support each other. We’d always had an eye to this, even when working as individual process managers, but neatly slotting some of these pieces together has been really gratifying.

Matt Beilby – Service Change Manager

Change Management

Matt has continued to develop our Change Management Processes. Our GoCAB is now a standard part of the ISG week, where all upcoming technical releases and maintenance are discussed and reviewed to ensure the release will cause minimal end user impact. Matt has also been working on a Forward Schedule of Change which will be a really valuable “all seeing eye” in the form of a calendar showing key dates in the academic year and any planned maintenance so that people planning upgrades and downtime can better understand the impact for our users.



We’ve always had good data at our fingertips and Angi our previous Reports guru was a wizard at presenting our UniDesk data in an understandable and usable way. After Angi retired James took on the role of Reports Wizard and has started to use PowerBI to present a suite of reports that are not only very pretty, but also very informative and tailored to give Service Owners, Service Operations Managers and Team Managers the information they need to make business decisions. He’s created Operational reports which show teams their Service Health and he has worked with Robert to help people understand the mine of information that’s held in UniDesk.


A highlight has been so many colleagues engaging with our reporting. Colleagues have been keen to see how small tweaks to their processes lead to better service. This has been most evident in correctly attributing calls to the user, after all, it’s all about the people!

James Jarvis – Service Catalogue Manager


ITILTattle is our Blog (but if you’re reading this you already know that!)  started with a view to making Best Practice more accessible and give a more relaxed and informal arena for discussing Service Management and promoting best practice. We each take it in turn to evangelise about our favourite Service Management topic, or to offer advice to support any topical process or Service Management areas. We really love writing and hope that it give personality to what can be a bit of a dry subject area at times.


I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved as a team so far and I’m excited about the possibilities that come from our collaborations. I’m looking forward to working with more of you in 2020

Lisa McDonald – ITIL Team Manager

…so what’s next?

We’re still fired up after our first successful year and 2020 is about consolidating our great foundations and moving forward, providing you all with information, processes and advice that will hopefully help you make business improvements. We’ll be using the ITIL4 Guiding Principles to help us do this. (You can read more about these in posts that Robert and James wrote previously)

Some of our 2020 goals include

  • Providing key stakeholders with monthly Operational Reports so they can gauge the health of their service and we can offer advice on process improvements that might make things run more effectively.
  • Relaunch of UniDesk Log – We want to create a new UniDesk user group for all University of Edinburgh Operators so that we can all benefit from each other’s experience and that we can continue to develop UniDesk with your goals in mind.
  • We want to evaluate ITIL4 and start to use the good bits to improve our own processes
  • We want to develop Problem Management to help technical Service Owners and Service Operations Managers restore services more quickly, using workarounds and root cause analysis to get the show back on the road. We want to look at methodologies like Kepner Tregoe to see if these principles can benefit our processes.
  • We’re going to keep working with the University Business Continuity Manager to develop continuity plans for all key ISG services.

There’s no doubt year two is going to be busy, but we hope that we’re starting to show you all the value that a dedicated Service Management Team can bring and we’re really enjoying working together to form ideas that will hopefully help improve services and make life easier for our colleagues.

Our door (and eyes and ears) are always open, so please do get in touch if you have any ideas for service improvements, if you want any advice on any of the topics I’ve mentioned here today or if you’d like to know more about becoming involved in helping shape best practice.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re not here to be dictators, but to listen to what the University needs, to “progress iteratively with feedback” and help drive world class services for our world class University. And that’s what we’ll continue to do in 2020, so please do follow our adventures in Service Management each week in ITIL Tattle!



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