In addition to explaining his role as Head of ITSM, Kaimar talks about:
ITIL culture differences
Changing perceptions of ITIL
Training provider challenges
Biggest challenges to success for AXELOS
Plans for the next 6-12 months
In the second part of this video, Kelvyn explains:
What AXELOS will be selling
The ITIL and Prince2 value proposition
AXELOS partner programme
Please note that owing to this interview being filmed live at the Pink Elephant event, there are some minor volume issues and background noises throughout this video.
AXELOS is a new joint venture company, created by the Cabinet Office on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) in the United Kingdom and Capita plc to run the Best Management Practice portfolio, including the ITIL® and PRINCE2® professional standards. Its goal: to nurture best practice communities, both in the UK and on a truly worldwide scale, establishing an innovative and high quality, continuous learning and development destination that is co-designed by and co-created for those who use it. Visit www.axelos.com for for more information.
About Pink Elephant
A global company with a proud and pioneering 30 year history – the world’s #1 supplier of IT Service Management and ITIL® education, conferences and consulting.Visit www.pinkelephant.com for more information about the company, services and products.
This video was filmed at the 2014 Pink Elephant Conference. The 19th Annual Pink Elephant International IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition will take place at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, February 15-18 2015. Registration is now open.
In the run up to the official go live of the joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita in January 2014, AXELOS CEO Peter Hepworth and team have been busy attending conferences and workshops gaining community feedback to help shape and guide the future of ITIL.
Ahead of itSMF Estonia on the 11th December I chatted to Peter about what AXELOS have planned for 2014 and how you can get involved.
Your 12-month strategy roadmap has just been announced. Is there anything that you personally are particularly excited about?
Having a clear roadmap is a very exciting prospect. It’s hugely important to us to progress ITIL in the right direction and so the debate and improvement ideas that have been put forward by the community have been listened to very carefully.
The good news is that what we’ve been hearing from the workshops has validated for us that we are on the right course.
When will the Axelos website be up and running?
Official go live is 1st January 2014 which is when the initial website will go live. We will developing a full service portal during 2014.
How do you feel about ITIL Foundation being compared to the driving test: You don’t learn to drive to pass your test, you pass your test to learn to drive and then forget most of what your driving instructor taught you as soon as you leave the test centre?
The ongoing success of ITIL would suggest that many companies find a way to make the framework fit very well into their company and keep it relevant. I hope that in the future more companies and practitioners will be willing to share their experiences with others so that the wider community can learn from these successes.
ITIL is big here in the UK but there have been comments by practitioners in other countries who seem bemused by all the fuss over something that barely reaches their radar ordinarily. What, if any, plans do you have to increase the reach of ITIL?
I am attending conferences in the USA, Japan, Australia and Germany, and obviously Estonia in the next few weeks and we are currently translating ITIL into new languages. As well as translating we are also concentrating on making the content more culturally relevant and localised however ITIL is already very strong in many territories.
The ITIL Foundation app was recently released on iTunes, are there any plans to extend the platforms it is available on?
Yes. At the moment we are in test and learn mode and then we will start thinking about extending to Android and Windows devices and other translations. The feedback we have received so far has been very positive and we’d like to thank everyone that has been involved in testing.
What are you most looking forward to at itSMF Estonia?
As with the other conferences I have attended the bit I look forward to the most is the debate and improvement ideas that come direct from the community.
To find out more about the itSMF Estonia Conference visit its website.
‘Today is the first major milestone as we build towards becoming fully operational in January 2014. Over the next few months we will be in listening mode, working alongside product users, trainers and examiners to gather together their invaluable expertise. With thoughtful investment and innovative learning techniques, we are looking forward to developing this unique suite of management tools.”
The JV team should be congratulated for getting out there and engaging with the industry. Although I suspect practitioners and training organizations will soon grow impatient with ‘Listening’ and want to hear a lot more ‘Action’.
Chris Barrett (currently a Transformation Director at Capita Consulting) is one of the first of the newly appointed management team for the new joint venture company, and spoke to us at the Knowledge 13 event, Las Vegas.
The Issue of Communications
The first question had to look at the communications, lack of and standard of (which is ironic given our collective jet-lagged state, at the time).
The first e-bulletin had just come out, and it is clear that the press office still needs some time to settle in to converting dry releases into something that gives the waiting ITSM public some further insight, without jargon.
At several times, he was keen to emphasis that Capita is actually more of a red herring/misnomer (which explains why a number of questions were pointed directly at Capita Group).
He said: “If there was one thing Capita was good at, it was fulfilling a remit – for example stripping out costs from a business.”
“But if people are thinking this is a land grab, they would be completely wrong.”
“We are not a corporation, we are a small joint venture.”
“The idea is to grow and invest in the community – this is about a duty of care, and custodianship.”
Whilst communications have been light and/or dry as toast, there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes.
There will be a twitter feed and a continuation of the e-bulletins, but resources to manage the media side of operations are yet to be appointed.
The Team To Be
In terms of the physical set up, the Chief Executive has been chosen, and the management team are being finalised.
TUPE discussions are continuing regarding members of the Cabinet Office and TSO, due to come across at the end of this year (UPDATED: See comment from Chris Barrett of the Capita JV below)
For many who have actively contributed to the best practices publications, the emphasis on being a non-corporate joint venture still allows them have that airtime – if they so choose.
“Can it be altruistic?” I asked Chris
“It can be, if it serves the community and if we cut them out, how stupid would that be.”
Here is where I think the balance of power shifts.
Let’s be honest – people who have actively contributed in the past do not really need the kudos of adding that involvement to a CV or resume any more.
But there are also many people coming up now, through the ranks, with strong practitioner knowledge, and with the support and encouragement of those previously involved.
There is also an opportunity for those who have, in the past, rebelled at the gates of the fortress – surely now is their time to help shape the best practices to what they believe it should be?
Or will they choose to ignore this emerging spirit of collaboration with the community, and continue to throw stones into the moat?
Pragmatism Over Theory
A number of questions came in through various social media feeds, for us to ask and interestingly a lot seemed to focus on how Capita does things now.
Capita favours the pragmatic approach – referring to principles where appropriate but not purely for the purpose of using them for use’s sake.
It therefore stands to reason that going forward, the emphasis continues to be on the pragmatic application of these established best practices, to demonstrate real-world benefit.
As with everything that took place before, a lot of consideration will need to be given to the release programs for new versions.
This, in turn, led to an interesting revelation that the Cabinet Office themselves do not see the Swirl brand as having traction outside the UK’s shores, despite the information email ID being swirlenquiries.
Spending Spree Or Visionaries?
Interestingly, the most recent acquisitions (Knowledge Pool and Blue Sky) were never part of the original plan, but the inclusion of G2G3 was part of the original bid.
Even if they had not been acquired, the plan would have been to involve them anyway, and they look to be all set now in terms of training and simulation approaches.
Chris was asked whether the joint venture were looking to create their own, newer community, for example in the mould of Back to ITSM?
The plan is to have to have a portal approach and a formal home for people to land on.
Ideas being considered are a subscription-plan for more detailed material – this was seen as no different to paying money for training courses.
What is the Joint Venture NOT going to be
Chris confidently lined up his views:
“Not going to stagnate
Not going to be purely theoretical
Involving real practitioners and serving community members
Not going to be “Castle ITIL”
I wanted to be honest with Chris – those statements are pretty bold, but as someone still active both in consultancy and analysis on the ITSM side, this is good fighting talk.
Meet Them At The Gates
Whilst I can see a sense of continued cautiousness from those who have been discussing the future, the new joint venture are very much seeking and wanting continued dialogue.
The sense of community was a recurring theme, and as a member of this community, I think we owe it to the joint venture to try and meet them at the gates of our beloved “Castle ITIL”.
For readers outside the UK the early announcements may benefit from some context.
The UK treasury is between a rock and a hard place financially so joint ventures that generate cash from government owned intellectual property, whilst allowing the government to hold (49%) of the coat tails of growth in the future is good publicity.
This explains why most announcements in the popular press or general IT press in the UK have focussed on the ‘cash generated for taxpayers’ angle rather than the implications for ITSM.
“The government expects to earn £500 million over ten years from the deal” Computerworld, 26th April.
Unsubstantiated rumours from SITS13 suggest that APM Group/TSO, Pearson and EXIN/Van Haren were the other companies bidding for the portfolio.
Forgetting where it all started?
I have been interested to see industry veterans and ITSM spokespeople alike bellyaching about the irrelevance of ITIL after the announcement. I find this short-sighted nonsense similar to those irate individuals who get frustrated behind learner drivers.
Is ITIL the ITSM gospel? No. But it is the starting point and development path for a huge amount of individuals in the industry who work in ITSM yet don’t necessarily associate themselves with the ITSM industry.
Is ITIL perfect? No. But everyone has to start somewhere and as a framework for unifying an industry and generally raising standards I would say, in the context of other IT disciplines over the last two decades, it is true success story.
So what does the future hold for ITIL under the stewardship of Capita?
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Capita – The Good
Capital Plc. is a FTSE 100 publicly listed company with 53,000 staff, which has shown good growth over the last five years despite a grim economic climate.
So it has exactly the right resources required to give the frameworks the attention they deserve. Equally, you could argue that Capita could easily write off the entire mess if it isn’t happy with it without batting an eyelid, but overall a well financed company on the up has to be better than a cash strapped government running the show.
“We should view the investment opportunity as a possible means to further professionalise the approach and delivery of ITIL – moving away from the cottage industry to a proper business model. So hopefully this will mean a more professional and co-ordinated writing and editing approach for consistency, plus I hope e.g. we can see more clear business metrics and data that support the value derived from ITIL”
The UK government spun off the former defence research department (DERA) in 2001 in a similar fashion to form Qinetiq, which is now a FTSE 250 company, pocketing over £250m for the UK taxpayer on exit in 2008. So at first glance the model works if executed correctly.
Just before the announcement of the joint venture, Capita also acquired G2G3. This is a good sign according to Pink Elephant President David Ratcliffe:
“The timing of Capita’s acquisition of G2G3 – just days ahead of the announcement of the partnership with the Cabinet Office – looks to me like Capita may have their act together with a strategy for how to promote and deliver more valuable training in the ITSM field. I just hope I’ve read this correctly and am not setting myself up for a huge disappointment! (Fingers, toes and everything else crossable all crossed!)”
Mark R Sutherland of G2G3 is clearly pleased at the platform this provides his company:
“Capita’s strength, scale and global reach. As part of the Capita family, G2G3 now has access to resources that will help us strengthen and build upon our products and services and bring our latest innovations to life. We are clearly at a ‘tipping point’ with respect to our capabilities; the application of gaming dynamics and experiential learning across enterprise organizations is about to go mainstream – and we’ll be ready to make it happen.”
Mark also makes an interesting point regarding the ITSM industry as a whole:
“a chance to build a future for our industry which is based on community, collaboration and engagement.”
Stuart Rance with ‘Two speed ITIL’ and Stephen Mann with #Back2ITSM may perhaps now get some formal recognition. Is Capita listening? Let’s hope so.
Capita – The Bad.
So far so rosy?
Those outside the UK might not be familiar with the public image of Capita.
Capita does not have the strongest reputation. The satirical magazine Private Eye regular refers to ‘Crapita’ as an example of ‘failures and setbacks in the public sector’ and cynics will argue that Capita is an expert at winning tenders rather than delivering them (to be fair I hear this of all outsource companies).
Lost convicts, the CD with everyone’s inside leg measurements or accidently dropping the cat down the well – all archetypal Capita public bungles. Although you could argue that this goes with the territory of managing high profile public services (National census, criminal records, TV licensing, Major city call centre, health and safety executive etc.). As the saying goes: Where there’s muck there’s brass.
For an industry crying out for more collaboration and industry participation the last thing we need is a big faceless corporate. Especially, as Chris Evans points out, if they take an industry best practice framework and try to apply their own badge to it:
“When any large organisation is involved in something, they will exert a proportionate influence. Be it an alliance of countries/airlines/software companies, it is inevitable that they will want something out of the deal. My concern is that ITIL (specifically as it is my day job) which has always been ‘industry’ best practice, might slowly evolve into ‘CapITIL’ where the organisational thinking of the parent company controls the direction of the product. It is true that Capita as a services provider and outsourcer has a strong perspective on their market and that input will of course be welcome in future development but there is a risk that the model will lean towards their world and not the more holistic picture.”
Capita – The Ugly
Finally, it is worth considering the nature of Capita’s core business.
Capita is a Business Process Outsourcer. So Capita’s competitors might argue that a Burglar Alarm company just bought the Police Station (I’m sure there are more appropriate metaphors). The new joint venture will have a job on its hands to persuade the Accredited Training Organizations and others in the ITIL supply chain of the true vision and motives of the, yet to be named, joint venture company.