Some thoughts on recent changes and announcements in the ITSM world.

It is always interesting to see how people reacts when changes are announced. Think of being at school and when it was announced that your timetable was going to change, or you would be getting a new (scary) teacher. Or at work when a new departmental structure is being announced. You start asking questions…

‘What will this mean for me? How will we do xxx? What was wrong with the old way?  This doesn’t seem a better option..?’  

No matter what we all say, very few people actually like change, particularly when it has an impact on them. Yet we live in constantly changing times, and we work in continually changing environments. The pros and cons of change will always be debated, challenged and worried over. Having said all that, the outcome of the change is almost always different when viewed and understood from different perspectives. The view from the top of the hill is quite different from that down in the valley – or from the top of the tallest building compared to down on the street.

Take 2 recent announcements in the ITSM industry – (1) a new Incident Management model, and (2) the sale of Axelos (owners of ITIL and Prince2) to PeopleCert.  Both of these are potentially major events and milestones in the evolution of the ITSM industry. Both may have an impact on the industry, but not the practitioners in the industry, or not, or vice versa. Many opinions will be expressed. People will differ. But the big question is =- what difference do these changes make? – to the industry as a whole, to practitioners, end users, vendors, consultants, leaders, you or I etc.

For some perspective on these 2 things – here’s my very quick and summary view of what these developments mean…

(1) a new Incident Management model,

  • The new IT Revolution Incident Management model. This has come from the DevOps community.
  • It’s a short and summary approach for incident management , written in simple language, well presented with a summary model and graphic (Prepare, Respond, Review).
  • As an initial view this looks attractive and simple – its also positioned as a clear counter to ITIL and traditional service management ‘best practice’.
  • Every organisation needs Incident management, so this is a clear stake at appealing to the ITSM world as a clear simple solution, as well as providing IM guidance for develops pros who don’t want to go near ITIL.
  • The content includes some clear and simple messaging which should appeal to a broad and perhaps expanded group from the current audience.
  • The content contains a number of errors and omissions for standard Incident management, plus it also conveys a misguided view of the traditional issues with ITIL.
  • It looks as if this has not been peer-reviewed by anyone with experience in IM. This is a pity and an opportunity missed to bridge the ITSM/Devops worlds with some positive collaboration.
  • So, some people will view this as a good new model, although it will provide some problems for them, whilst others will see it as an incomplete and upstart model, plus an opportunity missed.
  • There’s also the question of why this only covers one key process/practice (IM), when there has been so much focus on integration of different activities and practices.
  • This also suggests that this is a commercial challenge to ITIL and the traditional ITSM world.

(2) the sale of Axelos (owners of ITIL and Prince2) to PeopleCert.

  • The Capita share in Axelos has been known to be for sale for several months.
  • This has now been announced that the ownership has now moved to PeopleCert, who have invested heavily (via VC funding) to do this.
  • The purchase prices and valuation is high (11.5 times run rate) so the expectations of commercial success will be high.
  • PeopleCert have been the sole partner for training approval and certification for the last 3 yeas with Axelos, so this may be a sensible move to co-ordinate and synergise activity across authorship and certification.
  • Hopefully this will help the industry to work more efficiently as well as making it simple and accessible for students to study and take exams ideally this will also help to allow modernisation of some of the more ‘traditional’ aspects of the the exams process.
  • Many of the training and consultancy community will not be happy with this development, as it removes some of the quality checks and also the clear boundaries of ownership and independence required in building and maintaining standards and frameworks.
  • Some of the training community will also see this purely from the perspective of more change and enforcement around branding and commercial control.
  • For practitioners and end users of these frameworks this could have little actual impact on their training, although new tools and techniques for training delivery would always be welcome.
  • Hopefully this will not impact adversely on costs – ideally this should increase the scope and reach of products like ITIL to achieve increased revenues.
  • It would be useful to see a new and visible approach to promotion, marketing and the value proposition for these products.

I’ve no idea or way of knowing whether my analysis or predictions will be correct for either of these – and maybe you have some different views and interpretations? Please let me know and let’s have a positive and reasoned debate.

My summary views are that (1) is still an opportunity to collaborate across the industry – so it would be good to take this forward. For (2) I think this may cautiously be a positive outcome for the end-users/ students of Axelos products, and the wider industry may get more exposure for these products, although the traditional industries and many subject matter experts won’t all like this.

Overall for both areas I hope that the end user is kept in mind, as well as the need for quality and collaboration as a way of working across old boundaries.

One thing is for sure – we should use facts and knowledge as part of our responses, as well as courtesy and decency in how we engage. Change is a constant for all of us and we need to get used to reacting and dealing with it properly and constructively.