Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Much Does Your ITIL Consultant Really Know?

OK, so here I am on my soap box again. Please bear with me...

The idea for this consulting company began with my realization that there are many Service Management consultant impostors out there. There are many companies where someone noticed all the buzz around ITIL in the IT industry and realized that a lot of money could be made by adding ITIL to their portfolio. This is despite the fact that they lacked the internal expertise to be effect or to add any real value to their potential customers. Although there are many buzz words swirling around in the IT vernacular, particularly related to Service Management, how many real ITIL experts are there?
According to Gartner, not many.

One of my recent realizations is that as hordes of people jump on to the ITIL bandwagon, is that white papers are created and submitted, web casts are aired, presentations are given at local and national conferences but it is all just hype.

However, few of these people writing or presenting know very much more than high level information about IT Service Management.

That's the thing about ITIL, all you have to know is a little bit more than your audience and you will have no difficulty in convincing people that you're an expert. I've witnessed these supposed "experts" giving presentations at LIGs and at vendor sponsored conferences about topics that they have little or no knowledge of. The reality is, however, that most consultants are not really providing any real value to their customers.

This seems unimportant to the customers of these consultants because most of them either don't understand or simply want to just be able to say that they are "implementing ITIL."

So how does an organization, serious about realizing the benefits of the ITIL guidance, go about discerning whether their prospective consulting firm has the experience necessary to steer them along the best practice trail? It's plain and simple:

Ask for References.
A reputable consulting organization should have no fewer than 5 verifiable client references. It may also be helpful to closely examine the employment pedigree. Where did they get their training and when? Is it from a organization within the IT Service Management world? It's helpful to know that most experienced Service Management consulting companies are from either the UK or The Netherlands.

The Management Consulting companies in these countries have been practicing and delivering ITSM services for over 15 years. An experienced Service Management consultant will probably have some prior experience as a consultant with one of the management consulting firms from one of these countries.

More than likely, an individual (even certified Service Managers) who has spent their entire SM career at one company (non-consulting) will probably not have the insight and experience necessary to effectively architect successful Service Management solutions for other organizations. My personal experience over the years has shown me that just because someone can talk the service management talk doesn't mean that they can walk the walk.

My advice once again to those organizations looking for qualified ITSM Consultants is to vet them carefully. Just because someone says their an ITIL expert, doesn't mean that they are or that they can help you to derive the desired value from your ITIL Process implementation.

If you are interested in learning more about ITIL Service Management consulting companies, please send me an email or post a comment to this site.

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