2011: An ITIL Versioning Odyssey


OK, so we all probably now know that the long-awaited ITIL “refresh,” ITIL v3.1 (or the ITIL 2011 Edition as it now seems to be called), is to be released on the 29th July 2011. But four years on from the release of ITIL v3 where are we exactly?

Let’s start with the provided facts about the updated version of ITIL. The ITIL Best Practice Management update points out that this is an “update” not a new version. Paraphrasing the update on the update, ITIL 2011 Edition is designed to:

  • Resolve any errors or inconsistencies.
  • Improve the ITIL publications by addressing issues raised to do with "clarity, consistency, correctness and completeness."
  • Address suggestions for change made by the training community.
  • Review the "Service Strategy" publication to improve accessibility and understanding.
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Getting Started With ITIL – The 30-Minute Version

Time is valuable, so many of us are cash rich and time poor these days. We value simplicity and loathe the complex. Things need to be done yesterday, if not before. 

I can only see this getting worse as we are pressured to deliver the proverbial "more with less."

To elaborate, and it's a little tongue in cheek, Flash only had 14 hours to save earth. Twitter only allows us 140 characters to express ourselves. Shorter industry analyst pieces seem to be in vogue and, thankfully, in demand. BUT trying to tell someone how to get started with ITIL in 30 minutes is a bit of a challenge.

Well I'm up for it, and here is my starter for 10 …

To begin:

  • It’s about adopting not implementing ITIL
  • Take an adopt-and-adapt approach. Use what you need rather than everything. It’s a framework not a standard
  • It should be people then process then technology


  • Do not underestimate the importance of people and their behaviors to ITIL success
  • ITIL is culture-based. A way of thinking as well as a way of working … IT delivered as a service (ITIL v2) … the Service Lifecycle (ITIL v3)
    • Too many organizations adopt ITIL without subscribing to its concepts
    • Many organizations stick with the common/core processes, never moving from these reactive processes to the more value-adding proactive processes
    • Many organizations say that they “do” ITIL v3 when all they “do” is a subset of the ITIL v2 processes and have bought Service Catalog technology and/or sent staff on an ITIL v3 course
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Support IT Service Management Tool Vendors That Support The ITSM Community

On a recent recording of the IT Service Management Weekly Podcast Rest of the World Edition (#ITSMWPROW on Twitter), one of my co-hosts - James Finister, an ITSM consultant at TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) - proposed an interesting new selection criteria for ITSM tool selection; this being the vendor's level of ITSM community support. To me it made a lot of sense: the US likes to buy American, France likes to buy French, and the UK likes to buy British (if the wind is blowing in the right direction in the latter’s case). So why shouldn't ITSM tool vendors be rewarded for the role they play in supporting the ITSM community? After all, ITIL adoption is allegedly a journey rather than a time-boxed technology implementation project. IMHO, selling technology and one-time professional services just isn’t enough when it comes to ITSM.

To put this in context, I’ve visited a fair few UK-located ITSM events in the last couple of years and I will always gauge who is and isn't there from the ITSM tool vendor-world perspective. To me, the non-attendance of high-profile ITSM tool vendors (both Big 4 and pure-play) at events such as the itSMFUK annual conference or the Service Desk and IT Support Show shows a disregard to their existing and potential customer base (in this instance in the UK and Europe), as well as a lack of understanding of the existing and growing sense of community within the ITSM ecosystem. In many respects, customers of ITSM tools are starting to bite back, so why should the ITSM tool selection process be any different?

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