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Speaker abstracts and profiles


Celina Ablewhite, Nottingham Trent University
 Service desk goes from zero to hero. Zendesk - it’s all about the people!
We had used a variety of service management tools over many years that did not work for us. Then we were introduced to Zendesk. BANG! It changed the relationship between our staff and our customers immediately. Too good to be true? Hear how our satisfaction rate went up to a 99% average from our customer feedback.

Celina is the Customer Services Manager for at Nottingham Trent University and is responsible for the Service Desk, Change Management, Service Delivery and Communications. She is highly motivated and believes working should be fun and done with a passion. With strong coaching and mentoring ethics, she believes in nurturing the team so they feel confident in developing a strong rapport with customers.


Paul Boag, Boagworks

How to start a user experience revolution

Do you feel like the only person in your organisation who understands the importance of user experience?  Would you like to see change but cannot make it happen?  Then Paul's talk is for you.  Fast paced and practical it will help you place UX at the heart of your business.


Paul Boag is the author of the User Experience Revolution, founding consultant at Boagworks Ltd and non-executive director of Headscape Ltd. He is a leader in digital and user experience strategy with over 20 years’ experience. He has worked with over 30 higher education institutions. But his passion is promoting user experience through training, consultancy and mentorship.



Sally Bogg, Leeds Beckett University and Antonia Jones, University of Leeds
Creating a sector leading service desk
This session will focus on the UCISA Service Desk Toolkit and will provide hints and tips on creating a sector leading Service Desk. It will include some of the best practise material that has been collated from across the Support Services Community and help you demonstrate the professionalism of your Service Desk by documenting and describing your support processes and standards.

Sally Bogg

Sally is the Head of End Users Services at Leeds Beckett University. She is a motivated and adaptable IT Service Management Professional with experience in providing high quality customer focused user support services. Sally is Chair of the UCISA Support Services Group



Antonia Jones

Antonia Jones is a Senior IT Support Advisor at the University of Leeds. Always a believer that you never stop learning, she is passionate and dedicated to continually improving frontline and customer focused support.


Robina Chatham, Robina Chatham Ltd
How to become a Digital Business Leader
The digital paradigm presents many challenges for the IT leader of today.  During this session you will learn about the four key competencies needed to ensure you become the disrupter rather than the disrupted and take the mantel of Digital Business Leader.

Dr Robina Chatham is a chartered engineer, neuroscientist, former CIO, Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management, author and founder of Robina Chatham Ltd.  She offers executive coaching and training interventions aimed at helping IT leaders to increase their personal effectiveness and their impact at Board level.



Susanne Clarke, Bournemouth University and Tammi Sinha, University of Winchester

If Disney ran your University.  A fun and informative exploration of some of the things that you would do differently.

Cultural insights from Disney that are relevant to all of us.  Susanne and Tammi have a keen interest in the Disney approach to excellence, having adapted Disney approaches to quality standards and culture at their own institutions and in their teaching!  All underpinned by attending Disney Institute workshops and seminars.  The workshop will take a journey through Fred Lee's bestselling book - If Disney Ran Your Hospital and map all 9 1⁄2 things he tells us we would do differently.

Susanne Clarke

As Head of Service Excellence at Bournemouth University my goal is to ensure that a high quality academic experience is support by a strong culture of service excellence – I like to delve into approaches to excellence from across all sectors and experimenting with new approaches, especially when this blends having fun with work.

@SclarkeSusanne @tammisinha


Robert Gormley, University of Edinburgh
Sharing processes and resources: how a common process can work for disparate organisations

During his time at Edinburgh University, Robert has aided the implementation of UniDesk at eight universities, which supports 798,345 people. Although it is one solution, adapted specifically for the higher education sector, local factors such as internal processes, university culture and creativity have a huge varying effect on how universities deliver their services.

Robert Gormley is the Business Change Manager for Information Services at the University of Edinburgh.  Robert believes in improving process efficiency so sincerely that he once spent six months completely automating his own role at the University, and then had to find another job. Fortunately, it was this job, to which he is ideally suited - see above.


Graeme Hughes, Lancaster University

Setting the standard – how a standard interface for your teaching rooms can make people happy

This session will demonstrate how a standard, easy to use interface across all teaching rooms can make the job of using and supporting AV systems simpler and easier.  We will explore the landscape of technology and teaching and ask ourselves what next?  Standard or Flexible…


Graeme has over 30 years of experience in IT and AV support and is a passionate technologist and future thinker. He has worked across most areas of the IT Service at Lancaster University and currently leads faculty IT support


Neil Morris, University of Leeds

Reimagining traditional higher education in the digital age

In this session I will discuss some of the major changes impacting on higher education as a result of digital technology, including unbundling, marketisation, blended learning, changing use of learning spaces and mobile learning.  I will draw on evidence from the literature and from work at the University of Leeds.


Professor Neil Morris is Chair of Educational Technology, Innovation and Change in the School of Education and Director of Digital Learning at the University of Leeds, leading on several strategic technology projects. He is a National Teaching Fellow, winning a number of national awards for teaching excellence.



James Norman, Dell EMC
Enable your HIED institution to transform services and cut down costs
To prepare students for a constantly changing, connected world, higher education is shifting toward creating more personalised and collaborative learning environments. Students expect to access resources anywhere, anytime on any device and your professors and staff now strive to apply data driven analytics to track student progress in real time to improve student outcomes.

The challenge? Simplifying and upgrading your IT infrastructure in support of these learning initiatives. Dell EMC’s next generation educational solutions deliver the capabilities to successfully adapt to this new landscape and support your organisation as you prepare students for career readiness in a rapidly changing world.

James Norman

Kerry Pinny, University of Warwick

ICT departments vs. the world

Devoid of all original ideas, this presentation will unashamedly steal from the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010).  In this light hearted, affectionately teasing presentation we will examine the seven evils of ICT and how we might vanquish them.  No ICT professionals were harmed in the making of this presentation.

A glutton for punishment, Kerry has been working in higher education ever since graduating from it and declaring she’d had enough of education.  A great believer that you don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps, Kerry has worked in and out of ICT departments to support and encourage staff to adopt technology.  Currently an Academic Technologist at the University of Warwick.



Stuart Rance, OptimalServiceManagement Ltd

Unhappy is the land that needs a hero

Some IT organisations have a hero who regularly saves the day.  These organisations stagger from incident to incident, expending huge effort but never learning from experience.  This presentation will include stories illustrating the issue, and describe some ideas that can help you move to a more collaborative approach.


Stuart works with organisations all over the world, helping them create value for their customers.  He is an author of ITIL® and RESILIA™ and blogs at  He is chief examiner for RESILIA, an examiner for ITIL, and an instructor for ITIL, CISSP and many other topics.



Alistair Reid-Pearson, University of Huddersfield

Adding value with values

Organisational values are important.  Really important.  So much so that they come directly under the mission statement on any organisation strategy.  But what do we do with them?  Adding value with values will explore what values are, how to work out what yours are and what problems they can fix.


Alistair Reid-Pearson is IT Manager at the University of Huddersfield, responsible for desktop support, development and training.  He loves values, Lego, basketball and tea. Especially tea.


James Smith, Birkbeck, University of London
HELP! Observations from meddling with Student Support
Universities are increasingly concerned with the delivery of effective student support. Birkbeck is arguably more concerned than most given the poorer completion rates associated with its largely part time and non-traditional learners. This talk will cover the challenges and lessons learned from a number of Birkbeck’s student support projects, including attendance monitoring, personal tutoring and arrangement of adjustments for students with disabilities.

James Smith is Director of IT Services at Birkbeck, University of London – and is concerned with all things that job title implies – especially improving the experience of process participants, improving process efficiency, and simplifying the support of CIS services day to day in a time of exponentially increasing complexity.

Francesca Spencer, Leeds Beckett University

Technophobe testing - an experience of providing a service to those who fear, dislike, or avoid technology

You are probably a natural when it comes to technology however this may not be the case when it comes to staff from around the University.  Come and share our experience of providing a service to staff who fear technology and how we provided them with the support they required.


My name is Francesca Spencer and I am a technophobe.  I also happen to work as a Project Manager in the IT department at Leeds Beckett University and it has been my mission to turn my greatest failing into our biggest advantage when providing a service to the end users.


Wayne Winterbottom, University of Huddersfield
Laptop Loans - An incredible journey from mediation to automation.
An overview of our original offer to our students, the journey we have travelled to date and what we are offering currently and our road map for the future of the service. This will include our investment, our interaction with students and staff in taking the service forward and how we have taken on board comments and requests from customers.

Wayne is IT Support Manager at the University of Huddersfield – responsible for the IT Service Desk and the central Audio Visual Support Team. He has a touring caravan, is a keen real ale and whisky man (not when towing) and loves a cream tea, has to be cream on top.


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