Companies Should NOT wait

Ann All, of the IT Business Edge writes in her blog:

If you are thinking of undertaking an ITIL initiative, it might be best to wait for the dust to settle between the APM Group, the organization recently appointed the new ITIL accreditation body, and the two groups that were recently responsible for accreditation. Gartner says that a disagreement among the three bodies could result in confusion and even “a parallel qualification scheme.”

I respond:


How can you reasonably suggest to a company that needs to improve their operations and achieve better alignment with the business that they should wait. Waiting is what they have been doing for years. It has not helped anything. Telling customers to wait for a new and improved ITIL is like telling someone not to go to the doctor when they are critically ill because doctors aren’t perfect yet. This kind of thinking serves to highlight that IT just doesn’t understand business realities.

Business is not like technology, you don’t wait for the next revision or the first service pack. A company’s competitors will continue to move forward in an imperfect world. By the time waiting companies get around to starting a “NEW” ITIL project they will be far far behind. I liken this to the automobile industry in this country that waited and waited and waited before implementing these kinds of changes. Now the big three is the wimpy three. Toyota dominates on every front, is rapidly expanding, has superior profitability, and will soon become the number one car maker in the world by volume, surpassing General Motors.

So, IT departments can wait it out just as the American big three did but the results are predictable. IT pundits may think IT can wait but I doubt the business will agree.

Using the individual certification scheme problems as an excuse for the business not to move forward with ITIL makes no sense at all. Companies do not become certified under the existing or future ITIL certification scheme. Companies become certified under ISO/IEC 20000 which was developed from BS 15000 which came directly from the current version of ITIL.

Students who achieved their certifications over the last 15 years will not suddenly be less credible because a new company is chosen to provide certifications going forward. Nor should new students delay becoming certified. EXIN and ISEB have 15 years of credibility and IP behind their certification process. Instructors are not allowed to be present when the exams are being delivered nor do they have any contact with the exams during any part of the process.

Until very recently the certificates did not even mention ITIL at all. They are certificates in IT Service Management. I for one have much more faith in the existing certification bodies and their extensive IP. My company is an EXIN accredited training provider. I personally am a member of the EXIN ITIL expert group, We continuously improve the exam questions. I stand behind EXIN. EXIN’s credibility to certify individual knowledge of IT Service Management concepts continues to be stellar.

The OGC may just make themselves irrelevant as more and more universities are beginning to take up IT Service Management as a leading edge field of study. If you look closely you will find that no single piece of ITIL is original to the OGC. Every concept in ITIL existed before it was included in ITIL. The OGC does not have exclusive ownership of any single concept or the entire collection of concepts discussed in ITIL. (Some copyright issues do apply to the collection as a whole, but you can not copyright an idea, just the unique presentation of that idea.)

It is my opinion that the industry should move towards the more open term IT Service Management (ITSM) and encourage more universities to move this area of study forward. Otherwise the industry will be held hostage to a government agency that can not by its very nature have the industry’s best interests at heart. (Disclaimer: I am also a member of the itSMF Academic committee, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Graduate Program in IT Service Management at the University of Dallas)