2 Speed ITSM



I recently met with Rodrigo Flores (creator of Service Catalog Community and Blog) for a drink when he was in London. Rodrigo set up newScale and drove the market with Service Catalog functionality – this was sold to Cisco last year and he now works there, generally working at the bleeding edge of Cloud and the new world of fast IT deployment and ITSM implementation that laughs in the face of ITIL and other ageing and creaking frameworks.

Whilst we were debating the nature of this new world – with its new set of problems, or at least a new area where these have landed – and in particular its relationship with things like ITIL, he reflected that he was probably working with only about 6% (or less that 10%) of the world’s IT organisations and that his world was all about innovation and new fast advantage. Whereas I was pointing out the fact that I still go to many organisations that resemble the IT departments I worked with in the 1980s – i.e. where there is no social media, no BYOD, no Cloud, lots of ITIL activity and plenty of mainframe legacy…

The gap is tangible and has definitely widened in recent years – of course there are many organisations that are somewhere in between the ‘bleeding edge’ and the ‘80s legacy’. But for me and many of us, in the industry it’s becoming quite a schizophrenic multi-speed existence – on the one hand going to events and conferences, talking on podcasts etc, about the new scary world that’s here already and with many more implications for jobs and careers. Yet at the same time then spending much of our working life with clients and organisations that don’t entertain any thoughts or concerns about these issues and still seem to be sailing blithely and perhaps blindly on the ITIL galleon and heading towards extinction.  The ‘Clouderati’ pirates will storm aboard and bag their loot as well as casting them to the sharks in the cold sea…

I was told by some clever people in IBM that the Helpdesk / Service Desk would be gone within a few years – that was in 1990. Do we really think that many of our major institutions might go to the wall or lose serious traction  because we don’t embrace new technology and ways of working? Certainly this is possible and may happen to one or two, but for most organisations change is still a threat and also a major cost in terms of capital and resources, so change has to be based on solid business decisions. OK for some industries that may well lead to success or failure in terms of speed and time to market. However for many that is not the case and I don’t care what anyone says, I can’t see banks going bust because their staff use blackberries rather than iPhones – we don’t give everyone a Mercedes Benz for a company car.

Business is itself multi-speed and the adoption of technology reflects that. We need to be vigilant and definitely wake up to the new challenges. But for many that will take time and we should not be too concerned about a little bit of schizophrenia.




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