Step Right Up and Witness the Miracle of Service Management! (Stripping away the hype)
A strange thing has happened in our industry in the last 10 or so years since I was first introduced to and certified in the ITIL and Service Management world.
Back in 2000 when I was first introduced to ITIL, it was a pretty obscure and little known thing here in the states. Many IT shops were still focused on large scale infrastructure upgrades and living in daily firefighting mode. Technology was fast becoming a huge part of everyday business life, and IT folks were revered as “Witch Doctor” equivalents due to the fact that the businesses were still trying to figure out how to use technology beyond putting an “i” or an “e” in front of every traditional product they sold.
I was lucky enough that we chose an ITIL trainer and consultant who not only knew ITIL and had been a long time practitioner, but he also brought a healthy dose of skepticism and a realistic approach to the advantages and pitfalls of the ITIL Framework (the fact that he had a proper English accent also added instant credibility).
Over those first few years as my knowledge grew and I had interactions with more and more experienced practitioners, a common trait I found was that healthy skepticism, especially from those who had a hand in authoring some of the original texts. Grounded realism was the order of the day for the most part and I had a lot of great conversations with people sharing realistic approaches to solving real problems.
Then something happened, ITIL started becoming a common term in the mouths of CIOs and IT Leaders and the training shops and consultancies glommed on to it like it was the second coming. As the movement grew, some of that healthy skepticism was replaced with hype. That hype, while great for the bottom lines of a lot of companies who sell products and services in the industry, has somehow diluted the essence of what can be a great tool when properly applied in a realistic manner.
I think the thought leaders in this industry have an obligation to take back the reputation of Service Management and specifically ITIL and reset the expectations of what it is and how it should be used. Specifically, we need to start having honest dialogs again and reward the healthy skepticism rather than brand those who dare point out flaws as critics and heretics.
There have been way too many hype driven trend in this industry and the businesses that fund IT are growing weary of throwing good money after bad. If we can’t find our way back, I fear the business will stop looking for us and start finding their own solutions, and believe me when I tell you their is no shortage of vendors lined up at your CEOs door with a great story of how they can do everything you do cheaper, faster and better.
Time is short and a lot of damage has already been done. As I said in a tweet last week, If you haven’t asked your business what they need from you to be successful lately and your aren’t part of the solution, you may just be the problem.