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ITSMF Australian LeadIT conference - Canberra

It’s been 5 years since PRD Software and HelpMaster attended an ITSMF event, and like last time, it was here in our home town of Canberra, Australia.  After attending a local ITSMF event and some thought, we decided to book a booth, pack our gear and head to the National Exhibition Centre to see what’s changed.

Back in 2008 our booth neighbours were a new service management company called ServiceNow, also sponsoring in the “Copper” range.  This year, ServiceNow was a major sponsor of the event, and had one of the biggest stands, and was accompanied by a few partners also exhibiting in separate booths (Thanks for the coffee Keystone!) 

What a difference 5 years can make!

It was nice to see familiar faces, catch up with old friends and hear the latest in vendor mutterings and ITSM rhetoric.  I've always enjoyed the "behind the news" speak that comes from the vendors about the state of the industry, the clients, the software and the teachings.  Enlightening stuff.

Putting faces to avatars

One of the great advantages to a physical conference is meeting people in the flesh that you’ve only ever communicated with via the internet, or phone.  This conference really delivered for me in this regard.  It was great to finally meet up with Aale Roos, Rob England aka IT Skeptic, Paul Jay (KCS champion), Ivor McFarlane, Charles Araujo, Kirstie McGowan, and many others.  Of course it was great to also catch up with old friends and faces, who have done many hours with us on the showroom floor in other events.

rod and aale

Aale Roos and PRD Software founder Rod Weir

Vendor ROI?

Is exhibiting at such an event worth it from a vendor perspective?  I guess that depends on how you quantify expenses and returns.  For PRD Software, it was great to meet up with our existing clients, talk with former clients and demonstrate the capabilities of HelpMaster to several very interested parties.  In a room full of overpriced software and over-hyped capabilities, it was gratifying to see the reaction of both clients and other vendors as they saw what HelpMaster can do.  

ROI?  We booked consulting work, encouraged some clients to upgrade from older versions, got some very good sales leads, spoke with other vendors about lead-swapping for tighter product alignment, and had several vendors from other stands request to become channel partners!  Additionally, our web stats spiked, our Tweets re-tweeted, our LinkedIn and FaceBook requests have fired up, and it was nice to hear Aale Roos reference us during his talk.

As mentioned, PRD Software haven’t been to an ITSMF event for 5 years, as we’ve been focused more on internet based sales, and have attended other trade shows that drive thousands of prospects past (and to) the booth, instead of the handful that ITSMF events do.  Having said that, we got our money’s I might have to re-think this.


The highlights of the national ITSMF conference came down to a few key things. 

The networking opportunities was definitely top pick – hands down.

Second place oddly enough was a road trip with Aale Roos.  On the Thursday morning, Aale and I cut class and headed off for a quick tour of Canberra, stopping by the PRD Software office, the top of Black Mountain tower, and a fruitless search to find skippy during the midday hours.  Alas, it wasn’t to be. (As I type this, I am watching 3 large kangaroos lazing about on the hill across from the office).  We talked about the ITSM industry, mountaineering, ski trips and ski injuries, software development companies (, Australian wildlife and other poisonous things. 

We returned to the conference just in time for the awesome lunchtime butter chicken, (food service being another notable highlight).  It was also good to see some decent beer being served for a change.  Well played ITSMFA.

It would be remiss not to mention the gala night.  The team from HelpMaster thoroughly enjoyed dancing the night away at Parliament House.  The girls had sore feet the next day.

Industry news

The Vital ITIL Recital

It was good to see ITIL get a hammering.  I’ve never been a fan.  Being on a stand next door to Pink Elephant, we had some lively debates and entertaining stories about the notion of “best-practice”, software certification badges, the effectiveness of ITIL foundation courses, and the ever enlightening responses to the question "If ITIL is the answer…what’s your question?

My tweet during the “Unlearning ITIL” session on “Best practice=no innovation” had a short burst of Twitterverse notoriety, and there is a nice spike on our web-server statistics chart to mark the moment.


The ITSMF effect


The “blues compliant guitar” analogy seemed to resonate…


Knowledge management is, in my opinion, a far more practical and important topic for service management, so it was good to catch up with practitioners on the conference floor to discuss the state of the art.  Aprill Allen, aka The Knowledge Bird always has great input within this field, and I really enjoyed swapping KCS ideas, algorithms and philosophies with Paul Jay.  Paul really knows his stuff (, and speaks enthusiastically about the remarkable changes that KCS principles and patterns can bring to any organization.  Exciting times ahead for knowledge management and the software of the future.

I’m sure if you were to ask IBMs Watson where he thinks the state of ITSM is at, his reply would be something like…”What is KCS?”…for $1000.


Thanks to the ITSMFA team for encouraging and helping PRD Software to attend the conference this year.  Special shout-outs go to Bradley Busch, Justin Gasparre, Barbara Hines, and Kathryn Heaton for their support, help and hard work!

It was great to be part of  ITSMFA again after a 5 year hiatus.  The HelpMaster team have returned with renewed zeal, enthusiasm and some great ideas and business connections going into the ITSM future.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the HelpMaster stand to say hi.

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