Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Two Tribes

I blogged recently on the artificial and unfair distinction that people draw between vendors, consultants and practitioners.  As 2012 progresses I'm being sadly reminded time and time again that we appear to be inherently tribal. I believe this is deeply damaging to ourselves, to those we manage, and to the organisations that we serve. To my mind a key part of the Back2ITSM ethos is to dissolve some of these tribal barriers and to leverage the cross cultural insights, but we can only do that if we face up to the current reality.

The Biggest Division of All

I want to begin by talking about what I believe is the biggest split in the ITSM world. It is an elephant that moved into the neighbourhood a few years ago, but seems to be putting on weight.

I'm talking about the split between the ITIL world and the Service Desk world. Having opened up the debate about Service Desk 2.0 it has become abundantly clear to me that there are those out here who do not consider the Service Desk to be full members of the ITSM club. What is so striking is that so many who hold this view appear to have little in the way of real world experience of 85% of the content of ITIL.

Going into an unknown future I think this is a very short-sighted view and symptomatic of how many who claim to be driven by ITSM are actually just opportunists along for the ride. The question the business is asking is "Who is adding value?" Ultimately it is up to the business to answer that question, not me, but I know who my money is on.

A Question of Geography

I have a Hootsuite twitter stream that catches all mentions of  ITIL, ITSM, COBIT etc.  I'm increasingly aware that a lot of the content in that stream is not in English. Needless to say as an employee of an Indian company operating on a global company based out of India I'm very aware that different cultures have different approaches. The divisions that worry me most though are those between cultures and geographies that can appear superficially similar. Just like the Brits and the Yanks the ITIL world is one divided by a common language. We need to be aware that what is accepted as the ITSM norm in a sleepy little place like London might not hold good on the other side of the world

The Haves and Have Nots

As I write this Pink12 is in full fling in Vegas. Perhaps fling isn't the best choice of term, though then again perhaps it is. as we know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless it is on Twitter. I have to admit I would rather be there this year than locked in an office writing this blog as displacement activity for producing a couple of sales pitches.

The truth is though I am incredibly lucky. I come across many dedicated ITSMers who cannot get funding to go to events in their own country, or to buy the ITIl books, or to get training beyond the foundation level. Those people need our help. We don't help them by brining out ever more complex education programmes and wholesale revisions of ITIL

The Connected and the Disconnected

In my first incarnation as an ITIL consultant I couldn't belief how many IT managers I met who had absolutely no experience of, or idea about, what other IT departments were doing. These were the dinosaur managers who had never worked outside of their own data centre, who brooked no argument and said they were willing to sack whoever was responsible for the poor perception of IT by the business, as they sat in front of a wall covered in six month old graphs plotting 100% availability despite the service failing more often than I've failed my driving test. Don't ask.

Today I come across managers who see no reason to use the internet or twitter to reach out to their peers, their stakeholders and their customers. I'm going to repeat something I used to say many years ago

"You can't hope to be world class whilst you only look inwards - you need to see what world class really means and learn from it "

The Givers and the Takers

We are exceptionally lucky in the ITSM world, despite the odd moan, in having a community that is willing to support others with advice that is hard earned but freely given. The list of names I could mention here would be a lengthy one. There are also many out there who want to sit back and listen to what the active community is saying. I have no problem with that at all. What I despise is those who see ITSM as purely and simply a way to build their own reputations and line their own pockets. I have a little list of the prime suspects, I suspect others have longer lists since I tend to give people and companies the benefit of the doubt.

The Winners and the Losers

We live in interesting times. The economic fallout is sill in progress, combined with changes in the way businesses operate and  how technology facilitates business. Many in the ITSM world are still living off the fat of the land. I am still idealistic enough to believe that the future belongs to those who can put the good of the community ahead of naked self interest.  I've talked about several divisions between tribes, but when you analyse them you begin to realise that really there is only one division that matters:  There are those who care, who strive and who deliver, and then there are.......the others.

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