I’m going to the first AXELOS workshop

So, the first phase is heating up – the charm offensive has generally been good and well received, although now it’s time to start doing something…

I’m referring of course to the progress of the ITIL JV (now called AXELOS), which is the new company formed jointly by TSO and Capita to run the SWIRL IP, business and approach. To date there has been a positive and engaging level of communications from AXELOS – for me far more (for whatever reasons) than there has been in the last 20 years or so from the various manifestations of  ‘Castle ITIL’. (I really hope that’s the last time I use that term..). However it’s now time for action!

So there are initial workshop meetings being held in London 16 – 18 July, to discuss PPM and ITIL. I’ve been invited re ITSM and I will be there. I’m looking forward to it, to debate the future of our industry and hopefully be able to contribute something to that.

I’ve contributed a lot to standards and models for SDI/HDI over the years, but (apart from some document reviews), not formally been involved with ITIL in any significant form – to me it has long been a bit of an ‘old boys club’ and I’m pleased to see the barriers coming down. I’ve shouted from the outside for too long and would now prefer to contribute positively to the industry I care about and believe I believe something to say about…

I did have some initial  reservations and thoughts about attending, how and who might be invited and attend this, and how this would be received, so here are some thoughts:

  • Why have I been invited? I guess I’m pretty visible and active in the industry and social media, as a pundit/watcher/analyst type as well as a consultant, plus I submitted a document with my thoughts and ideas for the development of ITIL Barclay Rae Consulting input to ITIL JV
  • Whilst being delighted to be invited, I did (probably like others) wonder who else was invited, what was the criteria for this, is this public knowledge etc. There’s an uncomfortable moment when you wonder if you can/should talk about this when you don’t know who has or hasn’t been invited. However the agenda has come out quickly and the list of attendees looks to be a good cross- section of views and experience, with a definite leaning I’d say towards the slightly radical…
  • AXELOS have also made it clear that this is the first of other meetings and there is no intention to exclude anyone – they knAXELOSow the stakeholders who should all have an opportunity to contribute. For now Educational Institutes (EIs) are not invited, due to the sensitivity around potential changes to the operating model, although once this is clear they will be involved.
  • Personally I think this is a difficult situation, where there is a need to move forward and do something practical, whilst at the same time taking note and consulting with all areas of the industry. So however this is played will probably result in some criticism across the industry. From a purely practical point of view you can’t have the whole industry at a meeting and make progress. So I believe and expect that anyone who wants to contribute should have the opportunity to do so.
  • My view on the progress of this is that the JV needs to make some brave decisions, otherwise it may get mired in trying to please or appease everyone across the industry – a bland compromise will help noone. Hopefully the process will result in some fairly radical changes to both content and format of what ITIL is and does. The real test of value must be to the ‘customers’ of ITIL out there – organisations and practitioners – who I feel are now being let down by the current nature of the framework and training programme.
  • So I am going to the workshop to air my views on this – not just from my own perspective but on behalf of and based on the feedback I get every week from my clients. They want practical help and frankly don’t care about how this is achieved, but right now they are not consistently getting it. 

[notice]What do you think? If you have questions you want to be raised I’ll be happy to take them along and raise them – please leave a comment or email me at [email protected]  [/notice]


A big week for ITSM – SITS13, G2G3, ITIL, CAPITA

So that was the week that was – what a week in the ITSM world….! Here’s some summary thoughts

SITS13 – the (UK) Service Desk and IT Support show

London 23 – 24 April

As ever this was a busy and brilliant event for the industry – clearly the most focused and clearly defined of all the IT support exhibitions and a treasure trove for all concerned – networkers, vendors, buyers, practitioners, analysts and consultants.

As a presenter, exhibitor and industry watcher I found it fascinating, rewarding and exhausting – but most of all very enjoyable to meet up with so many industry people from all fronts to discuss Service Management. I was pleased that the key themes emerging were very similar to my own approach and position with ITSMGoodness – evolution not revolution, outcome focus, practical and pragmatic customer focus. In particular it was very rewarding to hear of several people using the content from this successfully and on their own initiative.

For the event as a whole I think it was seen as a success by all – particularly the involvement and sponsorship of Gartner, who brought a new level of focus to the proceedings. It was very positive to hear Jeff Brooks taking about buying in line with a culture match and not just a technology tick list – hopefully that message will have been actively heard by buyers at the show..

Anyway, great credence to Diversified Communications and of course Laura and her team for another great event…! Look out for some interviews on ITSMTV.

G2G3, ITIL and Capita

At the show it was announced that G2G3 had been acquired by Capita. This was a surprise although in the context of the week it set the agenda for the big announcement about Capita also winning the bid for a joint venture with the UK govt for ITIL and Prince2. Formal announcement.

So, in the course of a few days, The ‘crown jewels’ of the ITSM industry have gone to one large corporate firm, in partnership with the UK government. Also they have acquired one of the most creative and forward thinking companies in the industry.

For me personally and my clients, the ITIL announcement has little or no impact – I don’t ‘do’ any ‘formal’ ITIL work and haven’t been involved in the formal training or publishing programmes, really for some time, if ever at all… I know it will be a difficult time of uncertainty for many in the industry, although I believe there will be little immediate change. There may of course be longer term shakedowns for all of us in the industry but that can always happen so we shoudln’t panic or overreact negatively to this. I’ve also grown bored of the debate around the relevance and future of ITIL, when for many practitioners, the debate (and ITIL) has little to do with the requirements and practicalities of their day jobs…

There is of course already a lot of speculation and concern on social media around what this will all mean – here’s my initial thoughts:

  • As an industry, we have been complaining about the way ITIL is delivered and run for some time – now we’ve got it! This is potentially a radical opportunity (with resources) to re-shape what this is and how its delivered
  • It’s a big concern that one corporate entity now owns and can control this – obvious concern for other vendors and interested parties – we will need clarity quickly on how this can be properly, transparently and equably managed
  • The goal of all of this must be quality IT delivery to support businesses and customers – not just short term financial gain  – that has been a concern for some time however…
  • Using the ‘£500m boost for (UK) taxpayers’ as a leading message isn’t a great start as a driver for the global industry and misses the message about IT quality…
  • We should view the investment opportunity as a possible means to further professionalise the approach and delivery of ITIL – moving away from the cottage industry to a proper business model. So hopefully this will mean a more professional and co-ordinated writing and editing approach for consistency, plus I hope e.g. we can see more clear business metrics and data that support the value derived from ITIL
  • Capita has some detractors and in some quarters an image problem re its track record with government projects – taking on ITIL and Prince2 involves a responsibility to deliver in accordance with not just best but excellent practice
  • I’ve known G2G3, its owners and many of its key people for some time – (I gave them their first piece of paid work ..!). I have a lot of respect for their innovation and business acumen. Their inclusion here would not be done without much care and is to me a positive part of this process – ideally as they (1) might have some good influence on approach and (2) this could mean more focus on experiential learning as part of the ‘ITIL’ training programme (something I think is long overdue). Their inclusion is central and potentially pivotal from my perspective and I hope this can suggest a positive outlook.

So, overall I think it’s interesting, slightly unexpected, challenging and potentially game-changing, although this could all go several ways and possibly not always as the current ITSM industry sees or wants it. That in itself might not be a bad thing. However there are real concerns on quality and direction and it’s down to Capita and their partners to work on messages and communication with clarity and openness as much as possible.

There are many challenges to be met.

For me – and I suspect a great number of people – I’ll get on with doing what I do and react accordingly – particularly when there is more information made available. It would be nice to hear more and I hope to get some interviews for ITSMTV and the ITSMROW podcast when possible.

What do you think will happen? what are your concerns?

The real value of IT? Better get moving…!

Value value value value, business value, business outcomes, moments of truth, key metrics, IT value, commercial and operational value, business value, value….value.  In case you hadn’t noticed…?!

When we in the IT industry aren’t ranting about the death of IT, ITIL, ITSM, Email, Service Desk and all that, we are still banging on and on constantly about value – and the need to deliver and demonstrate it. I’m a major offender here, having started using the V word and the ‘demonstrating value’ line really since the mid 90s. (I recently found a whole pile of stuff in my loft from 1997 which I could practically use today…)

I have a friend and colleague who has been ribbing me about my use of those terms for some time now – I point him now to the explosion of content on this subject like someone who has followed a band through their wilderness days and now they’ve gone global and I don’t wan’t to know them… :-)

However to me it’s quite a simple concept – IT value is what is derived by customers and the business via the technology. So this will vary by organisation from the need to meet compliance or legal requirements, to getting products quickly to market, or to delivering commerical efficiency and profit.

In order to be able to achieve this and measure it in some way, we need to be able to separate out the commodity aspects of technology, from the business-specific aspects. (The commodity services should be delivered in the most cost effective way, whilst the value added services may need more focus on speed, business knowledge, risk reduction etc.)

[important]This is why in a service catalog we try to define (1) ‘Standard’ or ‘core’ IT Commodity Services – like PCs, mobile, comms, email etc  and (2) ‘Business’ Services which either support internal users with their key functions or external customers with organisational-specific technology and services.[/important]

Value isn’t just about the financial aspects but this should be identified wherever possible. However the real nature of IT value is what it is that makes (particularly an internally retained) IT organisation special and speciifc to its customers, in terms of what it delivers and how it delivers it. So an internal or external IT organisation should be able to focus and demonstrate the value that they deliver to their business/organisation via their business and service knowledge and understanding.

In other words – it’s what retained IT organisations should have been doing for years – i.e. working for the companies or organisations that pay their salaries – not just ‘working in IT’… and measuring their delivery in business terms.

If they can’t do that – ie differentiate themselves and demonstrate this – then they are not adding value and therefore open to serious competition – and the risk of extinction.

So it really is: identify value – or become irrelevant quickly. And if you don’t know what that value is… [Tweet This]

[warning]Better get moving[/warning]






What is your defintion of IT value? – how do you define this for your organisation and customers?








Processes don’t happen by themselves

How do you make processes work? so that you can achieve success and consistent quality of service?

2 recent client experiences brought home a simple and classic point to me recently – one organisation with good intentions to improve but no idea how to make it happen, and another who have made quality and consistency happen via positive culture.

Organisation #1 had a number of good people and a great sense of desire to improve service, however the people who were in positions to do something about this – bring people together, instill some clear direction and discipline into delivery and communicate the value and benefits of doing this – had no idea how to do this.

Step 1 for me was to make them aware of these requirements and then step 2 that they had to make them happen..!  Implicit in the thinking of these guys was simply that processes and best practise would deliver – IE by simply defining a process this would change everything – which of course is absolutely not the case.

Organisation #2 on the other hand had worked hard to develop a positive and open management culture – with strong leadership and clear direction. The culture in this company is tangible and leads staff to take a self critical view of themselves and their operation – for continual improvement yes, but also it makes processes happen simply because people buy into them.

There was no sub-culture of  ‘how we’ve always really done things and so we won’t change’, If there is a change of practice then people follow this positively and constructively because its probably been discussed with them and not forced upon them – and they also have faith in the approach and need to do things consistently and well as a   whole.

‘Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner…‘ – is one of my favourite quotes and it is  a simple reference to the fact that we can plan and document and do lots of stuff and try to push it out into our organisations. But it will not stand a snowball in hell’s chance of working unless we also tackle culture, people and governance.

People often say ‘ that meal’s not going to cook itself’ – we have the ingredients and the recipe, but we still need to actually carry out the task of cooking it…

Similarly we can say  ‘processes just don’t happen by themselves’. So you need to think about how to get people to follow them as much as what is in them.

Actually, unlike meals,  processes do happen by themselves of course – but unless you have taken care of the culture, they won’t happen the way you (and your organisation) need them to work for business success…


So what do you think..?

Lets make 2013 a year of ITSMGoodness…

So, another year and  the ITSM industry is alive with debate and discussion, opportunity, challenge and as ever some uncertainty. I’m not one for making resolutions or big predictions (both usually fail in mid January..!), but I do have some basic aspirations for the year ahead…

These can be summarized in 2 words: Practical Unity

  • Practical – as I feel we are still not providing enough real guidance and useful messages to practitioners on how to make ITSM successful – and meet the new challenges
  • Unity – so that we as an industry can forget some of the negative debate and move on to actually engage with the challenges and deliver real value from technology.

So what I would like to see is the industry coming togegher more, as well as providing more useable and practical advice and ‘stuff’ for our practitioners to use. We need to forget about whether or not we agree that our methodologies are perfect/imperfect and get on with simply using our experience and creativity to step up and deliver value from IT Services. Of course we need to ensure that what we use in terms of content and approach is usable – as a lot of the existing stuff is.

There are  a whole lot of great people practitioners, consultants, trainers and vendors out there with fantastic experience who know how to make ITSM work, and they should be celebrated and supported along with those who are coming up with great new ideas – both are required and required tow work in unison – not in polarised opposition.

So lets have a year where we really get together as an industry to support our industry !!!


New cover with arrow v2

My own contribution to this will be a development of the ITSMGoodness stuff that I’ve been putting out over the last few months – This is now a series of 7 simple steps to practical ITSM success and includes e.g. checklists, templates and practical guidance, all of which I’ll be espousing over the coming months, including presentations at PINK13, SITS13 and SDI13 amongst other shows and events..

The 7 ITSMGoodness steps are:

  1. Engage and Listen to Customers
  2. Build Services based on business outcomes
  3. Invest in the Service Desk
  4. Get Problem Management working
  5. Report on useful stuff
  6. Get the whole IT organisation involved
  7. Change the pitch – sell the value

So lets all have a year of ITSMGoodness – together…!

What’s your plan for ITSM Goodness + Practical Unity?

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.