I’ve recently been fully occupied with a variety of new things (and this will continue for some time), from mentoring to a big Service Catalogue project and ITSMTV and podcasts. I’ve not had the usual time to indulge in too much social media and its been very refreshing to get a bit of perspective.
The TV interviews give me a unique opportunity to tune in to a variety of people and their opinions on a regular basis – its like being at a conference every week… The thing that really hits me with this is simply this: Whilst we worry at the ‘industry’ level about what we are producing and where we are going, for most people who have a day job, it’s really not an issue or topic of conversation. Few are actually interested or consumed by the fact that there’s a new issue of ITIL just released, far less care about it – or frankly need to.
Sometimes it feels as if we forget this point – and in fact it can work both ways for the various current debates around the value, format, ownership etc of ITIL – ITIL can be seen as irrelevant and over-cooked, or indeed it can also be just something that works that nobody worries about too much. I  personally still feel that the current format and size of the output is a missed opportunity to provide clarity and real guidance. However the simple fact is that, for most people, it’s only one of many plates to spin and they have a job to be getting on with…
I do still see the same old problems and issues cropping up that are in many cases the result of the lack of clarity and real guidance however, and feel we don’t really do enough to get the right messages out.

  • We don’t have e.g. enough central and standard ‘benchmark’ metrics for our industry that would help many organisations to set better operational goals and also help to standardise some basic processes.
  • There’s not enough credible business information about ITSM projects and their successes,  and I see organisations start anew every time on building business cases.

The current (ongoing and seemingly worsening) economic situation will continue to demand more in this area and IT people and IT businesses must step up to better commercial awareness.
Much of the written and certifiable guidance that is available also seems to ignore that fact that many people find themselves in difficult and constraining situations in organisations, and are not always able to ‘talk to the customer’ or get all the ‘relevant stakeholders together’ as people like myself would tend to advise. Maybe we annoy them by then apparently being critical if they can’t and don’t follow the received wisdom…?! We should stick to our principles of course, but also we must remember that practical implementation is usually how to apply these in different situations. However with little real industry data available its difficult to be too ‘principled’ if we can’t actually prove the value…
This is the practical side of the current debate that Stephen Mann of Forrester Research has hit on the head around ‘giving back to the industry’ – and to which I subscribe, particularly on the need to develop some open and industry standard metrics. Over the last 20-odd years the question or questions I get most asked are about exactly that, e.g. ‘ how many staff do I need to support X?’, what is the ROI on individual ITSM processes?, Whrere’s the data on successful ITIL/ITSM projects?
These are all questions asked by real people in real project situations, delivering real services. If we don’t do something to answer these questions as an industry, we risk not only looking daft, but even more irrelevant than we currently do.
What do you think (if you’ve got the time…)