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Author, Speaker and Digital Business Alchemist

Service Management

Since the ITIL tender was issued in late 2012, there has been much discussion about the future of the framework and what this means to those that have come to rely on it. Indeed, as time has passed, especially over the past few weeks, many have anxiously awaited the Cabinet Office to publish the results of their evaluation and announce a “winner. In a certain sense, I can’t blame anyone for that. After all, many have jobs and/or are engaged in businesses which are directly related to this framework, so any reduction of uncertainty regarding its future should be a good thing for them.

As far as I am concerned, I’d like to go on record as saying:

I am not (and haven’t been) attached to the outcome. The fact that Capita has won is fine with me! It’ll all work out, in the end.

It’s not that I don’t “care,” because I do. I just think that the work I am doing transcends any one of the numerous frameworks or standards that I might be paying attention to at any given point in time.

Despite this, I think that this single event provides us with an opportunity to talk about a number of things that are very important to those with an interest in service management. So, for the purposes of this series of posts, I shall use ITIL as the foundation for a discussion about the power of cultural forces.

Let’s dive in, shall we? Good! 🙂
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Let’s start off with a simple, necessary assertion:

No one book will ever contain all of the things you need to know about a given area of study/interest.

No place is this more evident than in the area of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and (more generally) IT Service Management (ITSM). If you’re reading this, it’s 99.99% likely that you have some interest in one of these topics and are likely consider yourself knowledgeable about them. A wise author once wrote:

“It’s not what you know, it’s what you know that just ain’t so”

Now you might be saying to yourself, “what does this have to do with the ITIL books?!” Well, I am very glad you asked, because I have a story to tell you. Let’s get started…

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One of the reasons I enjoy social media is because it allows me access to some of the best minds in our industry. Because of a recent tweet exchange with Paul Wilkinson (of GamingWorks) and Stuart Rance (of Hewlett-Packard) on the topic of ITSM and organizational culture, I proposed that we schedule a Google Hangout to discuss this topic, record the session and make it generally available to the ITSM community.

hangout graphic

Would you like to know more? Good! 😉

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18 July 2012 was an important day for those of us who pay attention to international standards. Why? Because it was the date that ISO published this document on the pending makeover of the management systems standards.

One could consider this from a surface perspective (i.e. how a management system standard is organized) and completely miss the point!

“So, what’s the point?”, you might ask?

It’s about  demonstrating conformance, people!

Article on ISO website

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For the past number of days, I don’t remember how many actually, Hurricane Earl has been bearing down on the U.S. East Coast. Inevitably, there would be significant media attention paid to it. We were not let down. As I was wandering through my RSS feed, I found two articles on it and in a recent tweet I wrote:

“Bad weather, big problems. Are you ready?”

Also included the links to the articles, eh? It wasn’t really relevant for this blog posting, so I left them out… check my Twitter feed, if you want them. Anyway, each articles talked about some aspect of how the hurricane could impact IT organizations. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t have any issues with the articles per se — they are well written and it’s topical content.

What’s my issue? Simple. It’s too late.

Let’s consider why I am saying that…

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In a Tweet on 03 Mar 2010, I said:

You heard it here first – next big thing to watch out for is “ValueWashing”. Be diligent and think it thru to identify the diff!

Really, it was inevitable. Any term that has some form of living spirit to it shall eventually fall prey to vendor marketing and popular misuse. The most recent casualty is the term “value”.

In a certain sense, I am honored, because I’ve been ranting about value for many, many years. Long before I could probably even spell value, I was an advocate for it. Now, I find myself being dwarfed by the gigantic marketing machines and webinars that try to suck people in with visions of value that cannot really deliver value.

This is nothing more than “Valuewashing”. Yes, you heard it here first. I’m claiming the space. That now begs the question — “what is valuewashing?”. Well, I  started thinking about this in terms of Greenwashing. Let’s look at the Merriam-Webster definition for Greenwashing:

expressions of environmentalist concerns especially as a cover for products, policies, or activities

I’ve seen other definitions that I like better, but I’ll start with this one and expand out.

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In a recent Tweet, I said:

The frameworks in common use today are fine the way they are. What needs to alter is our expectations and the manner in which we use them.

When I wrote this, I was specifically thinking about the I.T. Infrastructure Library (ITIL), but it’s important to remember that this thought applies to any framework, methodology or body of knowledge.

I could just as easily have put COBIT, MOF, PMBOK, Agile or whatever other framework or methodology one might be fond of there. Even the USMBOK! <gasp!> 😉

Some of you who know some of my other work may be surprised to see me writing “nice things” about ITIL. If you are surprised, then you have completely missed the point or misunderstood what I’ve been attempting to say the whole time!

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