Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The International Perspective

Have I mentioned on the blog how much I love cycling? Possibly not, but don't worry because at some point I'll blog at length about how different types of bike suit different people in different circumstances - just like services.

Cycling is on my mind at the moment because although I love the solitude of the open road, just me and my Brompton, I also love my annual cycling holiday with great friends, and my next trip to Ireland is coming up soon. Over the last day I've been getting emails from all of my cycle buddies updating me on what has been happening in their lives. The thing is I don't get to see them between trips, because they are scattered across the globe - except for a strange concentration around St. Paul, Minnesota. When we do meet up I love getting their different takes on the world. Sometimes that take makes perfect sense, sometimes it doesn't, but we are united by a common language, which is a laughable attempt at an Irish accent, to be sure, to be sure.

Now just before anyone accuses me of cheap racial stereotypes I'll just interject that I'm actually half Irish myself, and the  best ITIL project I was ever involved in was for the Irish Electricity Supply Board. In fact it quite justifiably won the itSMF Project of the Year award ten years or so ago.

Where was I before my thoughts began to wander towards a snug little Irish bar with a couple of musicians and a good craic? Ah yes, the internationalism of ITSM.

Just like my cycling friends I've acquired a bunch of  fellow travellers on the ITSM road from around the world. That ITIL should lose its strongly UK centric bias is great, but I can't help being protective of its Britishness. Sometimes coming across somebody else's interpretation of ITIL is like coming across an Irish theme pub run by Australians in an Italian ski resort. Yes, that is the voice of experience.

I'm now going to be hugely Anglo-centric and arrogant.

The UK has been at the forefront of developing new models for IT delivery.

Lots of things you might be sat there thinking could never happen have been a norm of IT in the UK for years. To give you an example I can't remember the last time I worked for an internal IT department that actually provided technical services rather than managing how they are delivered.  Recently I revisited a business I knew well and found out that in effect the out-sourced IT department was providing services to an out-sourced front office business unit. Front office, not back office.

Then there is the issue of the ITIL hype curve. Yes I know ITIL world wide adoption has become massive. Yes I know that means you can add a couple or more 0s to how many people are "ITIL qualified" But in the UK ITIL is just one of those things IT people are expected to know about, in the same way every manager level IT job advert in the UK says you should be PRINCE qualified.

Do you want to take away one major lesson from our experience in the UK? It is this: If you think you have achieved ITIL Nirvana after eighteen months, and can let the programme wither on the vine, then you are condemned  to repeat it all over again two years later when you realise you never really understood ITIL the last time around, in the same way that someone who isn't Irish will never really understand the craic.

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