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Author, Speaker and Digital Business Alchemist

Value

If you’ve read or paid attention to anything that I’ve written over time, you’ll know that I hate clichés.

OK, I’m lying through my teeth! I love them, but not for the reason which might seem apparent. You see, I think there’s a lot of truth and a lot of mischief in clichés. In each one, there is a nugget of truth which is often obscured or masked by a thick layer of common sense. Not the common sense that is like “you shouldn’t let your kids play in traffic.” No, I mean the common sense that is more like sleight of hand — if you say it quickly enough, (most) people will accept the statement at face value, nod their head approvingly and then move on as if what was said is (actually) true — even if it’s not or a gross oversimplification of reality.

I enjoy them, because I enjoy identifying them, stomping them into the ground and having people come to recognize them for what they truly are. In the expression “you only get what you pay for,” we have another viable candidate to do damage to.

Why am I railing against this one now? Why is this relevant to ITSM? I’m glad that you asked!

ManageEngine recently announced that its Standard Edition product would be made freely available to all current and future customers.

What does this mean? Why is it important? Is the cliché really true?!

Let’s have a look, shall we?

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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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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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