Sunday, October 21, 2007

Got ITIL Experience?

lets see...not much to write about service management today except that I am becoming somewhat disheartened because it seems that the opportunity for better, more rewarding jobs within Service Management is being diminished.

A scouring of the job board postings reveals little more than a plenitude of extremely technical jobs with Service Management knowledge and experience as an afterthought. There is still a lot of immaturity regarding IT Service Management.

Employers are searching for potential new hires with both skill sets. The trend is for potential employers to select those with technical skills first and SM skills second. The implication is that SM is such a breeze that anyone with barely a foundation certificate fresh off the printer and a button from EXIN can handle it. This is, of course, in addition to their day job as network administrator, enterprise architect or integration specialist.

This attitude seems rather dismissive of Deming, of OD research, and of all frameworks created by expert consultants in the management consulting realm.The two skill sets require opposite thinking and processing of information. A technical brain is hard wired to find a technical solution to problems whereas a process oriented brain seeks a process related solution.

As an ITIL Service Management purist I believe that most IT related issues can be solved with good processes. Technology has never really solved any problems. It is merely an enabler, not the key to innovation. Ideas are the key to innovation. Process enables efficiencies which in turn can create the environment for innovation.

I've found though that while many very well known Internet companies have little interest in adopting best practice processes, they've still been able to remain quite successful despite the apparent need for quality, availability and control. This is, perhaps, due to the relative youth of this industry.

True IT discipline and control may be just around the corner, but for now, most of the opportunities seem to be in those organizations which sell products and services, rather than those in the Internet and web-based services industry. Could it be that the pace of these companies is so fast that there is no time to develop efficiencies or discipline?

The perception is that processes and control tend to stifle innovation. More established businesses with supply chain and customer relationship management issues simply have to be more disciplined.

With Google's earnings over $80 billion and Yahoo's at $36 Billion, its difficult to justify the need for creating efficiency. Those companies that have chosen to meander down the ITIL Path have done so only half heartedly rather than fully embrace best practice principles.

Somehow word has gotten out that an organization doesn't really need expertise to develop and implement a successful Service Management program (or to reap the benefits of Service Management best practice). This belief is directly related to my previous blog on the so called "ITIL Lite" phenomena.

It seems that there is a widely held belief that the benefits of Service Management can be reaped without doing all of the hard work. This mentality feeds directly into the bacon and egg breakfast scenario often used in management consulting. Like the chicken, IT professionals are only somewhat involved in creating the kind of environment and making the required sacrifices and compromise necessary to reap the efficiency and cost saving benefits desired.

Not many it seems, are willing to, like the pig, have skin in the game and be committed to making the tough decisions and creating the kind of organizational culture required to fully realize the benefits.

The prevailing attitude is that everything can be solved with technology. And as long as the tech bubble continues to grow, this assumption may prove to be correct.

However, I predict that in 2-5 years, these companies too will be looking for ways to build more control and discipline into their IT processes.
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