Published on October 26th, 201212
Why are we still debating ITIL rather than guiding a revolution in business technology?
Despite claims that its currency is diminishing, ITIL still dominates conversations in the ITSM industry. James West explains why we must call time on ITIL for the foreseeable future.
Back in August, I wrote an article arguing that while our industry needs ITIL more than ever, our attachment to the best practice framework is also holding us back. The ITIL Paradox article was very well received, tweeted and retweeted numerous times, with industry commentators arguing the various points raised by the article in the comment section.
In my view, it was almost a throw away piece, but it obviously struck a chord and expressed an opinion which many of us have shared at some stage. More recently, we published a guide for service desks supporting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which was far more challenging to research and create. In my opinion, it is practical and helps address one of the most pressing issues facing the ITSM industry, and for those reasons it’s something ServiceDesk360 and our sponsors are extremely proud of producing.
While the feedback has been excellent for this guide, it’s slightly disappointing that there aren’t as many comments or shares as the ITIL Paradox piece. Yes, I know that human nature means we are more likely to comment on something we don’t agree with. It’s the same phenomenon which causes us to complain to a cinema or restaurant after a poor experience, but we never reach out to congratulate the same businesses when we have a great time.
Yet I feel the reaction to both of these indicates a wider problem in our industry. The ITIL Paradox asks us to consider reducing our reliance on ITIL, and to instead put the challenges and needs of the business first. I worry that the message isn’t strong enough, so I’m going to be even bolder in the next paragraph.
ITIL interests no-one outside of our department. If it helps solve business challenges, then it is of value. However – and this is the key point – if we continue to waste so much time debating the merits/limitations/minutiae of ITIL, the revolution in business technology will pass us by.
If this seems extreme, consider this research which says even IT has little faith in the service desk’s ability to support user-owned devices. The service desk has some catching up to do, but the problems it faces are not insurmountable, as our guide suggests. However pouring effort into something which will have little direct bearing on the future of business technology support is misguided and delusional, and in this critical context, we must push ITIL to one side and take positive action.