By: David Norfolk, Practice Leader - Development, Bloor Research
Published: 20th February 2012
Copyright Bloor Research © 2012
If Service Management is important to you then the ITIL 2011 update is something at the top of your agenda. If it isn't, then I'm sorry, you're missing a trick. How can delivering a business outcome to the business not be important to anyone who expects the business to pay their wages? If you want more information, check out the BCS CMSG (Configuration Management Specialist Group) or buy the book Shirley Lacy and I wrote on Configuration Management; CM is one of the foundations of ITIL. Delivering business outcomes to the business is important and ITIL is a repository of "best practices" for doing so.
So, I was at a free BCS CMSG meeting to discuss the implications of the 2011 update on Service Transition, listening to Shirley Lacy (author of the 2007 Service Transition book and Project Mentor for the 2011 Update) and Stuart Rance (author of the 2011 edition of ITIL Service Transition and co-author of the ITIL V3 Glossary; his blog is here) - at the BCS offices in London, with networking and wine and food afterwards.
First, the good news. The 2011 Review found no treason to change the core contents of ITIL Transition (although, to be fair, that was in the spec. for the update) but it found plenty of opportunities to remove inconsistencies, clarify things, add structure and add better examples. The information content was good already, now it's more accessible.
In detail (but this isn't an exhaustive list, probably every page has some changes):
The bad news? Well this really isn't going to affect anyone much in the near future, but ITIL grew out of the need to manage large, monolithic, in-house IT systems. It does this very well and its service management focus means that it copes well with SOA and so on too.
But in the next generation of the "universe of things", where business outcomes are delivered from conglomerations of services, mostly neither owned nor managed by the organisation delivering the outcomes to customers, then detailed ITIL practices may start to look less relevant.
I'm convinced that the logical kernel of ITIL will still be useful, but the implementation baggage which surrounds this, and which makes it so useful in practice today, may be less useful when services all come from a Cloud (whatever that means). If there ever is an ITIL V4, I hope it separates out the ITIL kernel more completely from the physical implementation details.
To be fair, ITIL probably already does this to a reasonable extent, with its service lifecycle model and process improvement focus, although this may not be obvious to everyone. Nevertheless, the Universe of Things may need different "best practices" and I'm not entirely convinced that ITIL will be able to simply evolve in order to cope - and this won't fit well with its current emphasis on backwards compatibility.
Still, the bottom line for the ITIL 2011 update, today, is that it is just an evolution, which makes ITIL more consistent and easier to read and use. It will make the job of both ITIL evangelists and the people trying to use it easier and I can't see any reason not to welcome it.
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