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An army of ITSM’ers

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Last year over 1.5 million people took their driving test in the UK.

Budding drivers refer to the ‘Highway Code’, a high selling booklet designed to teach trainee drivers about navigating roads, cooperating with others drivers and staying safe.

So can we assume that the UK gained 1.5 million new road safety enthusiasts with a passion for road markings and road signs?

No.

It means 1.5 million people took their test. They went through the motions, they learnt a skill in order to meet the minimum requirements to get the job done and get on the road.

@ClaireAgutter

Claire Agutter of ITIL Training Zone recently stated that 20,000 people take their ITIL Foundation every month.

So we have 20K more ITSM enthusiasts? Call me a cynic, but I think not.

We have 20K people a month that ‘went through the motions, learnt a skill in order to meet the minimum requirements to get the job done and get on the road‘. In the case of ITIL foundation maybe it is to get that next job, make their CV more appealing or because the boss said so. Maybe some of them are tomorrow’s ITSM revolutionaries?

I think it is fantastic that ITIL training has such a good throughput but think it is a little misguided to use ITIL training as the litmus test of the ITSM industry.

In another correlation with driving tests, road safety campaigners are frustrated that few people refer to the Highway Code once they have passed their test.

“Millions of copies of the book have been sold, although whether many people refer to it once they’ve passed their driving test is doubtful, a point of frustration for many road safety campaigners.” The Telegraph

What do you think? What is the true indicator of ITSM Industry health?

Martin Thompson

Martin is an independent software industry analyst, SAM consultant and founder of The ITAM Review and The ITSM Review. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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  • http://twitter.com/Helpdesk_info William Goddard

    Great question! It reminded me of a presentation by Chris Dancy I saw years ago on the business of ITIL http://vimeo.com/9609997 . What is the indicator of ITSM health for me? It appears to be “investment” in something most would consider the “Holy Grail” of IT Operations and Service. If more and more people are taking the courses, educating themselves and if the expected value is ever achieved, more investment will be made in the space through more courses, books, software etc etc… The numbers Claire Agutter presented demonstratesand suggests that there are a lot of people getting their drivers license and making that investment for many reasons other than a CV update or Job. The more people talking about X will help it become more mainstream and hopefully with the masses on board, maybe we can actually get to the place of best practice with defined set of uses and tools where business actually achieves the theoretical benefits that today’s framework teaches. Mind you…if we actually have “do XYZ” and achieve IT operations bliss…what are all the consultants and practicioners do? That’s a question for another day

    • http://twitter.com/itamreview Martin Thompson

      I don’t think we’ll ever get to IT Operational bliss, someone is always trying to build a better mousetrap that needs managing. Nice idea though :-)

  • http://twitter.com/ClaireAgutter Claire Agutter

    Firstly thanks for reading my tweets, this one seems to have started some good conversations.

    I don’t think that every ITIL Foundation delegate becomes a fully fledged ITSMer, but the sheer volume of numbers suggests that ITIL (or service management) is embedded in global IT shops right across the globe – to me a positive.

    Whilst we can’t use Foundation numbers to measure engagement, or whether the training did anything positive, they are evidence of common ideas, common start points and a common language.

    The value of ITIL/ITSM to me has always been what is done with it AFTER the training. The training (like the highway code) might give you the basics and the formulas, but it’s experience, some tough lessons and context that lead to value.

    The other issue with this metaphor is guess is that the Highway Code is the ‘must dos’ (more ISO20k?). We have the freedom to disagree with ITIL and Castle ITIL in ways that we don’t have freedom to disagree with the code, and the people who enforce it ;-)

    Claire

    • http://twitter.com/itamreview Martin Thompson

      Good point Claire, you don’t get 3 points on your license for ignoring the ITIL code :-)

      • http://twitter.com/Simo_Morris Simon Morris

        But maybe repeat and persistent violations of the ITIL code should result in revokation of your licence.

        “I’m sorry sir, this is the 4th offence of raising a change 10 minutes before the CAB starts… hand over your licence”

  • http://www.itskeptic.org/ Rob England (The IT Skeptic)

    I like the analogy

    In theory ITIL is only theory, adopt and adapt, but in practice it is a standard. I’ve recently argued that the ITIL “owners” need to stop trying to argue otherwise and accept fact.

    people are tested for certification in it, products are tested for compliance and contracts specify compliance as a requirement. fact.

    So the driving license works well as an analogy. So we should indeed question just how many passionate ITIListas there are out there. This is supported by the small proportion that go on to intermediate level and even smaller number of masters.

    But the number of trainees is indeed a good measure of
    - awarenessof ITIL.
    - ITIL being mandated in job descriptions

  • http://twitter.com/itamreview Martin Thompson

    More discussion over at the Back2ITSM FB page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/back2itsm/permalink/408749022512164/