The Capita ITIL JV Wasn’t “Big News,” So What IS Important To Real-World IT Service Delivery?

I guess I should have expected this (but alas I didn’t) – the Capita ITIL, the IT service management best practice framework, joint venture with the UK government wasn’t big news. If anything, the story made ripples rather than waves; and from a UK government “finances” rather than IT service management (ITSM) best practice perspective.

It’s interesting to consider why – particularly when enterprises are so adamant on requesting ITIL-alignment in ITSM tool selection RFPs. But first a few links:

One thing that I probably didn’t make explicit in my blog is that while it is indeed an opportunity to boost the success of ITIL from a revenue generation perspective, it is also an opportunity to boost success from an execution POV. We often talk of “cradle-to-grave” in ITSM, e.g. processes or services, but what about ITIL from cradle-to-grave? That is ensuring that ITIL isn’t just another set of books on the shelf and another qualification on CVs. That ITIL is something used in anger to deliver better IT services to internal or external customers.

So it got me thinking – what is important to the people out there with real jobs in IT-service-delivery-land?

The “analyst inquiry” POV

I’ve used my inquiry stats before in a blog but looking at them through an “ITIL-conversation” lens I have very few inquiries actually related to ITIL. And that ITSM tool inquiries outweigh ITSM/ITIL inquiries 3-to-1 – but I guess I am an IT industry analyst and people want to talk IT.

These non-tool-related inquiries are mostly around: metrics, improving IT’s image (and value), consolidating service desks, etc. And when ITIL is brought up it is often a client looking for advice on its applicability for a particular use case, such as: ITIL in small organizations, ITIL for digital services, or ITIL for shared services. The other main one is how to get started with ITIL.

What I don’t get is “how can we use more of the ITIL framework to improve …?” Maybe this is left to consultancies to step in on the back of maturity assessments, risk assessments, or gap analyses?

The “blog read” POV

Firstly remember that popular doesn’t mean best; and that a read doesn’t necessarily mean that the blog has actually been read. But here is a top-10-list of what’s been read most since I started blogging at Forrester in June 2011.

  1. “We Do A Great Job In IT, Our Metrics Dashboard Is A Sea Of Green.” Really?
  2. Top 10 IT Service Management Challenges For 2012: More Emphasis On The “Service” And The “Management”  
  3. Top 20 (OK, 50) ITIL Adoption Mistakes
  4. 12 Pieces Of Advice For IT Service Desks – From A Customer!
  5. “We Need To Talk About ITIL”
  6. BMC To Acquire Numara Software: A Few Thoughts From Your Favorite ITSM Analyst  
  7. The Top 10 IT Service Management Challenges For 2013 — But What Did You Achieve In 2012? (an update of #2)
  8. Where Is All The Incident Classification Best Practice?
  9. IT Service Management Metrics: Advice And 10 Top Tips
  10. ITIL Adoption: 5 Steps That Can Help With Success

All of which have over 8,000 reads and all of which have something in common – they are focused on “now.” I’d like to say that they are also all “practical” but alas in the main they don’t constitute stuff that can be “picked up and run with.”

As with the inquiries there are common themes:

  • Metrics
  • Improving perceptions of IT
  • Starting with ITIL
  • Service desk operations.

With the odd-one-out being the BMC-Numara blog.

My point?

Maybe Capita (OK, all of us) can learn from these; or, more importantly and better still, from talking to real IT service delivery people to better understand how ITIL and all the parties generating revenue from the IP can be better positioned to help with execution over exam success. What's needed to help with the challenges of “now” and what needs to be considered to future-proof us for the challenges of “next”?

As always your thoughts and comments are appreciated.


The days of implementing frameworks are behind us


I think those who are in the trenches have seen a shift back to pragmatism recently. By that I mean IT organizations just dont have the time, money and resources to embark on an 'implementation' journey for ITSM and especially ITIL, in the hope of future benefit. I know I've blogged to this 'field of dreams' approach (build it and benefit will come).

Anyway, I find folks just trying to get past today, and peer into tomorrow. The approach that is winning is one of small, incremental adjustments - just as originally intended by the 1950s continuous improvement movement. Atomic level change within an overall context of 'keep the customer happy'.

Not sure what others are seeing, but I spend an increasing amount of time chalkboarding strategies to engage, interact, support customers. The emphasis is in being able to detect a movement by the customer, and respond with 'agility'. Now I've used the agile word I need to qualify it, as by agility I mean a blended response that offers a walk, jog, sprint speed.

As for Capita and ITIL, add in G2G3 as well - I think this is indicative of the general malaise within and around ITSM. ITSM is much more than just ITIL. I hope the new stewards of ITIL recognize that, as its in there the new opportunity likely lies. IMHO ITSM has for too long been deliberately anchored to ITIL alone, and as a result ITIL's brand has been tarnished somewhat.

Its my experience that when ITIL's contribution towards a wider ITSM scope is properly explained, the value of ITIL increases! When this is done as part of a 'learn by doing' with real world context, as typically seen in games/simulations, it sticks. The old 'learn by listening' ITIL training is that - old.

So I am one with renewed hope that this gives many of us the chance to remind our community ITSM is service management concepts and methods applied to the challenges of IT. All we have to do now is agree on the true scope of service management... deja vu?

I totally agree with Steve in

I totally agree with Steve in his satement that the Capita JV "Maybe Capita (OK, all of us) can learn from these". I question whether organisations that have previously supported ITIL (and associated aspects), helped develop and promote the approach because of its independence will continue to support and promote now that independence has disappeared. We wait and see.