An interview with Antonio Valle Salas

This is the English translated version of Antonio Valle Salas interview. for the original in Spanish please go here.


Antonio Valle Salas

1. Tell us about your experience with TFT13

Being part of TFT conferences is an incredible experience. When I participated at the first edition, in 2012, it was exciting because it was the first time something like that was organized. In this second edition everything was more mature and the competition to get selected among the 24 speakers was harder. It is not only about the conference’s media repercussion (it has generated more than 10 million social impact by twitter reach), also the organization, the sharing channels and the topics are profoundly innovative. Someone said TFT is the TED of ITSM and I think they are right.

2. This process mining stuff looks like a potent way for understanding Santard + Case patterns. But, when we still dont have records how can we prepare for latter process mining?

Ten or twelve years ago, that was the main problem faced by those starting with early process mining investigation. Nowadays, practically all information systems track process execution.

Anyway, the minimum attributes a log must contain in order to use it with process mining tools are:

    • Case ID
    • Activity
    • Timestamp
    • Operator

I believe there is no ITSM tool lacking this kind of information, since it is needed to ensure traceability for the executed actions.
The real problem comes when our process traverses multiple information systems hence log consolidation in one format must be achieved from different platforms with distinct formats must happen (the most popular case is trying to track a process “Order to cash”, where there may participate multiple information systems).

3. The CAPEX and OPEX dynamic duo. Is it always better to invest in processes allowing operational cost reduction?

🙂 I see you’ve searched well and have uncovered a document that has been written quite a long time ago! That paper has been written from a class I gave at university and my aim was to explain what today is known as a “technical doubt”.

The truth is the appropriate thing to do is to look for a balance between the different expenditure types, because one reflects a short-term thinking while the other (operational cost reduction) reflects a long term thinking.

Still, I think this topic has changed a bit as time goes by and now it is not so much about CAPEX versus OPEX, which is a relevant financial classification, more it has become “what is the money spent in IT for“, regardless of having or not cost recovery; for instance, all the new *aaS wave means that money is OPEX, even if in reality it is extending business.

4. Is Lean useful for Service Management? Is it not bet ter suites for industry?

This is another hot topic, even more when taking in account the value added by Rob England with his S+C approach.

Tradicionally, Lean was seen as a tool set meant mostly to cost reduction by standardizing and error elimination (waste). But this is a simplistic view of Lean.

Actually Lean is a management strategy that strives for maximising value delivered to the customer, and for that uses different paths. One path is cost reduction but problem identification, root cause search, introducing a continual improvement culture and putting in place best practices are some of many available tools.

This way, the relation between S+C and Lean is meaningful because within Lean we can find ideas, methods and tools that help us with the Standard part (where we can attack problems like standardization, variability reduction, flow leveraging and stock reduction) but also we can find great help for the Case part, where we have tools like Kaizen or the A3 thinking to apply the scientific method to case solving.

 It has been born within industry and can not be directly applied to service delivery practices, it has to be understood and adapted, but I firmly believe it is a good path to pursuit.

5. How do you see the future of ITIL® Training now with the Joint Venture?

Independently of the JV, I think ITIL® has right now it’s future somehow at stake. Slowly (at least in Spain), what before was a distinctive factor now has turned into an utility: using Nicholas Carr words, ITIL® does not matter, it is something everyone has…. if you dont have it, you loose reputation or contracts. but having it does not make you win more contracts.

So, I think JV has hard work ahead. On one hand it must incite the existing communities in ITIL market so they get back that feeling back from ITIL® V2, on the other hand it has to win back those communities and finally it has to come up with an innovative and attractive product (possibly combining the multiple reference frameworks it has, like ISACA has done with COBIT5).

And the training? If they keep dealing with it like a consumer market without ensuring certifications are credible, then ITIL® training is dead.

6. What new trends in Service Management are most promising for you?

Right now I think some trends are just being born and we will see they will become important in the next three to five years:

  • Process Mining
  • IT Governance and Corporate Governance of IT
  • Risk based Service Management
  • DevOps (but that wont be its name… it will be called Agile Service Management or something similar)

7. We finally realise ITSM is about people. So does regional culture affect the way we do ITSM? Eg is there Mediterranean ITSM? [a question from Rob England to Antonio]

Oh! Great question!

Yes, of course… there is a Mediterranean way of life, and living includes executing processes. During my professional life, that’s the most important problem I’ve found while helping companies to promote a service management initiative; every time I’m told that “we are not in Germany, we are not used to follow strict procedures”, and may be this is why it is so difficult to make the wheel move.

It’s fun that this question comes from Mr. Rob England. When I was reading Plus! Standard+Case, it surprised me that sometimes it proposes the idea that “we must accept that there exist another part of the reality that corresponds to the Case side of the coin”. In these Mediterranean countries, what we must accept is that there exists another part of the reality that corresponds to Standard (!). Moving this to the Cynefin framework, that locates us somewhere between Chaotic and Complex.


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5 Responses to “An interview with Antonio Valle Salas”

  1. Rob England (@theitskeptic) Says:

    Great discussion, excellent insight as always from Antonio. One minor point: Lean is about elimination of waste in repeatable procedures, the four Ms. That’s why it is called “Lean”. If we start expanding Lean to be everything-you-can-possibly-imagine then we are into Lean-as-religion, or Lean-as-yet-another-framework-for-lots-of-ideas-that-are-not-unique-to-it. please let’s keep it as a useful tool in some contexts.

  2. Antonio Valle (G2) (@avallesalas) Says:

    Rob, we should have a conversation on this topic. Can not agree with you because lean is more than “elimination of waste in repeatable procedures”.

    Anyway, think that Lean introduces a number of methodological tools that are very useful out of the “repeatable procedures”.

    A3 thinking is a good example for this.

    May be someday we will share a beer in one of Gaudi’s gardens in Barcelona and talk friendly about this 🙂

  3. rumagoso Says:

    Yes/si – we need open talk on this; enriching Case with Lean tools (as well as sources of problem solving techniques) looks an interesting path to build up practice for S + C. Beer at garden enticing

  4. 2013 Wrap-up | ITIL Blues Says:

    […] people in June and it has been a great ride! I recommend reading them here: Rob England, Antonio Valle Salas (Spanish), Jan van Bon, Lynda Cooper and Kaimar […]

  5. Process Mining News – June 2014 — Flux Capacitor Says:

    […] Antonio Valle sees process mining as an important trend in service management […]

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