By Dick Stark
The 19th annual Pink Elephant Conference, held February 16 to19 in Las Vega, is IT’s annual tribute and awards ceremony to all things ITIL. It’s fun and entertaining–words, not often found in the same sentence as ITIL. Here are a few things I learned at this year’s show.
There is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse. So said Canadian Astronaut Col Chris Hadfield, as he delivered the keynote address. Chris spent four months in the international space station and is well known for his rendition of David’s Bowie’s Space Oddity which he sang from Space.
What do Astronauts and RightStar consultants/sales people have in common? Answer: problem-solving skills. Astronauts practice endlessly, work every contingency, and visualize failure. They work the “problem” like it really happened. So, I excitedly observed an Apollo 13 ITSM simulation held in our office yesterday. All organizations solve problems constantly and ITIL (and mature ITSM) provides an excellent problem-solving framework. Returning Astronauts safely and troubleshooting a tricky Remedy job just have different priorities. The challenge for those in IT, is knowing the difference.
I see dead IT services. Anthony Orr, BMC Director in the Office of the CTO, led a session entitled, “Plan, Direct, and Operate your Service Catalog.” The CEO expects that the CIO, will among other things, simplify IT, and a Service Catalog, can improve the overall value of service delivery, control costs, influence user behavior, and improve customer satisfaction (self-service experience). Anthony discussed how IT struggles to understand who is using IT services, why they are using those particular services, and the value to the organization. A way to “bury” dead IT services is through a requestable catalog (manages requests for end-users) or a product catalog (like Definitive Media Libraries of approved software versions to support production baselines). In this way, IT gains insight into what matters for the customer, not what IT thinks the customer needs.
Business users are no longer beholden to IT. Forrester’s David Cannon, ITIL Author and VP, in his session, “Why Your State-of-the Art ITSM Implementation Just Won’t Cut It,” discussed technology commoditization. Thanks to the cloud, vendors are getting much better at delivering services such as hardware, operating systems, storage, and network capacity. A coming “apocalypse” threatens to significantly alter the way IT services are delivered—from service provider to broker. Only those working in IT on projects that are more complex are safe.
David pointed out that Service Catalog and Asset Management initiatives provide the most value. To survive the coming “apocalypse,” IT must establish a service management office, better understand business needs, simplify the CMDB, establish vendor management programs, and drive cultural change.
Interesting, Pink’s annual thought leadership paper on the evolving service organization showed a decline in interest in some ITIL service areas. The overarching trend, however is the importance of IT’s role of business value generation and business enablement. Remember ITIL is a framework and organizations don’t need every part of ITIL implemented to achieve value.