Sunday, September 02, 2007

Experienced ITIL Consultants Are Few and Far Between

Research Note
15 October 2004

Many consultants claim they can implement the Information Technology Infrastructure Library approach to managing IT services. Try to hire one of the few experienced advisers who can really add value to your project.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has been around since the mid 1980s, and is well established in many parts of Europe. IT organizations in North America, Scandinavia and parts of Asia/Pacific have suddenly taken a keen interest in it.

They are being driven by a strong desire to: improve their operational environments as a result of keen market competition, increase user expectations, improve credibility with the business, improve availability and manage increased complexity. IT organizations have also tried, and failed, to implement IT operations management tools without having sound processes. Therefore, a key endeavor will be to improve core processes.

The demands for ITIL consulting and educational services have always been small but steady. As a result, they have been dominated by small, specialized consulting companies like QWR, CEC Europe (now part of Hewlett-Packard), Manage One (now part of Hewlett-Packard), Fox IT, PinkRoccade and Pink Elephant.

The bigger consulting companies like PA Consulting Group, Fujitsu, IBM and Hewlett-Packard have long had small IT service management, ITIL consulting and education practices, but with only a handful of experienced consultants. Some consulting companies also developed their own service management frameworks, but have gravitated toward using ITIL — or have based a substantial part of their framework on it.

Gartner estimates that, globally, there are fewer than 200 ITIL certified (beyond Fundamental level) and practicing consultants with more than three years' experience in ITIL implementations.

Many organizations and vendors have trained their staff in the foundation ITIL course, but this does not make them experts in practicing and implementing it.

Core Topics
IT Services and Outsourcing: Consulting Services
Enterprise Management: IT Service Management

Key Issue
What are the drivers and inhibitors of growth in the consulting market?

Tactical Guidelines
Choose your ITIL consultants very carefully and use them sparingly to build programs and provide strategic guidance.

The current wave of interest in ITIL means that, so far, demand has far outstripped supply in 2004. As a result, finding an experienced ITIL consultant to work on a program will be very hard, very expensive, or both. This is likely to remain the same for the next 18 months to two years.

Gartner would always advise selective and focused use of consultants on ITIL implementations. It's sensible to use consultants to help with planning, program and change management, building education and awareness programs, reviewing the service model and adapting tools.

But using large numbers of consultants to "do" ITIL is almost always a bad idea because the bulk of those consultants will have had very limited training and experience in implementing ITIL. And this is a change the organization needs to carry out itself to help buy-in, and to get the behavioral change it demands.

ITIL consultants should be used strategically and sparingly, and not as ITIL implementation project managers. IT organizations need to look carefully at the resumes of the consultants that will be working on their projects — and, specifically, at the ITIL and service management engagements they have worked on.

If they have less than two years' real experience, the company needs to question the additional value the consultants will bring, beyond that of an extra pair of hands.

Bottom Line:
Companies implementing the Information Technology Infrastructure Library may unwittingly engage inexperienced ITIL consultants to undertake a project that has significant risks associated with it. Organizations need to pay close attention to the specific ITIL experience of each consultant working on their programs.

They should focus their consulting budget on a small number of experienced consultants and use them strategically in the program, rather than on a larger number of inexperienced consultants.

Entire contents © 2004 Gartner, Inc. All rights reserved. S. Mingay, M. Govekar


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