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.
The event brings together ITSM practitioners from the private sector – banks, telecoms, energy sector, software companies, etc. – and the public sector for mutual experience sharing.
While the majority of the delegates are from Estonia, a sizable number of delegates from neighboring countries (the Baltics and the Nordics) and the rest of Europe are already confirmed to attend, after hearing feedback from their peers about last year’s event.
What you can expect
One full day of presentations, all in English, from well-known and respected specialists and practioners from both Estonia and abroad, covering topics including, but not limited to: Business Relationship Management; Problem and Knowledge Management; getting value from proper approach to services and processes; the future of the service desk; and the beyond cool way Estonian public sector provides IT-enabled services to citizens
A special presentation from the CEO of AXELOS, Peter Hepworth, sharing his vision on the future of ITIL
An international forum with Axelos, where the aforementioned vision will be discussed and delegates have an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and provide input
ITSM Optimiser – making the most of ITSM (an interactive workshop that looks at current and new trends and practices, providing attendees with new ideas and options on how to make the most of their ITSM operation, processes and tools)
Memorable Metrics – producing reports that are valuable and actionable (this session identifies issues with current IT reporting (particularly operational reporting) and provides practical suggestions on how to improve and develop really useful reports and metrics, targeted for different stakeholders)
Our very own ITSM Research Analyst Rebecca Beach will also be in attendance. If you would like to schedule a catch up and/or one-on-one meeting with her at the conference please contact her directly. We are interested in hearing from all attendees whether you are a vendor, end-user, consultant or other!
We hope to see you there!
itSMF Estonia Conference
Wednesday 11th December (with pre-conference workshops on Tuesday 10th December)
On the 12th September AXELOS (the new commercial joint venture between the UK Government and Capita) arranged an evening at the BCS offices in Covent Garden to discuss its plans for the future of ITIL, and the rest of the Best Practice Management portfolio, now that they’re the new custodians.
When I arrived, long before the presentation started, I couldn’t help notice a large crowd of people already there (I’m normally the first) – inside and outside the event rooms people where busy chatting, networking and enjoying the refreshments. The atmosphere was building – attendees were genuinely excited and concerned as to what AXELOS had planned.
AXELOS is a hot topic
It’s currently the hottest topic in the ITSM space – reflected when a week before the event the venue was fully booked. Luckily for us nobody was disappointed – BCS had the capacity to move the event to a larger room to accommodate a diverse audience that included ATO’s, consultants, penguins, ITSM tool vendors, sector analysts, and practitioners like myself to hear what Chris Barrett – Director and “opening batsman” for AXELOS had to say about the new joint venture.
AXELOS themselves are in their infancy and are still pulling together a management team and working towards full autonomy by 1st January 2014. The new joint venture will no longer be bound by government constraints, “the shackles are off”, which in my opinion can only be a good thing. Asked who keeps AXELOS on the straight and narrow – Chris replied “the community”.
Over the 90 minute session Chris walked through his slides giving the attendees an enthusiastic insight into the JV which was reciprocated by a lively audience who came armed with an arsenal of questions.
Quality, relevance and innovation were the themes running through the presentation and are clearly a strategic aim of the JV. The quality is there, but Chris is keen that AXELOS raise the bar, improving the framework and making it more relevant to specific groups such as practitioner’s and CIO’s.
This will come with ideas such as
Stronger links to its community and stakeholder groups with a more open and less isolated stance
Referencing areas that other frameworks do well that isn’t a key strength of ITIL and complimenting the ISO standards that ITIL helps to underpin
Different flavours of courses – refresher, advisory and tailor made training for an organisation could be offered as well as of off shelf learning
Internationally they’ll focus on areas that are more relevant to different regions, cultures translations and local nuances; these will be carefully thought through to grow the brand
Training was a hot topic and as with any change people get anxious, some were hanging off each and every one of Chris’s words. He explained it isn’t about doing away with how things are done now – but exploring opportunities such as gamification and giving the end user more options.
The best training in my opinion still comes from having a trainer who has been there and has the experience (and scars) to convey the learning’s. Whether this is via slides, e-Learning or gamification doesn’t matter. It’s about how it feels and the choices that are the best for each individual.
It’s no secret that G2G3 was recently acquired by Capita (the bigger half of the JV) and naturally there will be some influence. Chris added that in his mind this adds to the quality and fuels the innovation, but stressed that it would not be mandatory, simply an added choice for ATO’s. Personally I can’t wait to try it!
An idea being bounced around is to modulate ITIL. Benefits of doing this would be not having to have a refresher every five years, keeping it progressively updated and relevant, improved interaction with MSP and Prince2 leading to the possibility of a common glossary, and learning the parts of ITIL that are relevant to you. For those in the audience that have been “doing” ITIL for a while, this approach has a sense of ITIL V2 about it.
The AXELOS plan and challenges
Short-term – Minimal disruption to the ecosystem
Medium-term – Continue relationship building with the various stakeholder groups and organisations such as The BCS, ITSMF UK and SDI
Long-term – Developing brand ITIL and ultimately achieving the goal of making ITIL a global framework truly recognised internationally, developing new Best Practice Management products and working with other frameworks.
This is nothing short of an ambitious vision from AXELOS. Inevitably there will be difficult key decisions to be made and “not everybody will be pleased, but everybody will be listened to” – Aspects of ITIL and the Best Practice Management Portfolio need to be nurtured and invigorated and it’s reassuring to know that this is the direction AXELOS is taking.
Chris had a good innings and took a record breaking 49 questions from an empowered audience that evening and probably many more afterwards. I guess he may have come away from the BCS that night feeling like he scored his first century.
As always, if you have an opinion as to the future of ITIL, please respond to this blog or email AXELOS direct. You can also follow what’s happening by looking for their communications on Twitter or Google+
Since the UK Government transferred ITIL (and the rest of their best management practice portfolio) to AXELOS there have been lots of suggestions about what they should change. I’ve been involved in discussions about the future of ITIL with many people, face-to-face and in social media, and there is clearly a lot of passion as well as many creative ideas. This article is my contribution to the ongoing debate.
Three is the magic number
When I think about ITIL, I think of three distinct things, and it is really important to distinguish these, and to make sure we plan what is needed for each of them.
A body of knowledge that can be used by IT organizations to help them create value for their customers. This body of knowledge is available in the form of five core publications, plus a number of complementary publications, but I think of knowledge as something that lives in people, that they can use to do something useful. In this sense, ITIL really is owned by the huge community of service management practitioners who use it to inform decisions about how they will plan, build and run IT services.
A collection of training courses that people attend to develop their knowledge, understanding and competence. These courses are based on the ITIL publications, and often lead to certification, but they are distinct from both of those. The purpose of the training should be to help people develop knowledge, understanding and competence that they can use to help them improve how they manage IT services to create value for their organizations or customers.
A set of exams that are used to certify that people satisfy the requirements of specific syllabuses. These exams are used to demonstrate that people have knowledge of ITIL when applying for jobs or tendering for contracting opportunities.
One mistake I have seen in many discussions is to confuse two of these things. If we don’t look at the requirements for each of them separately then we will never plan well, but if we plan them each independently that won’t work either!
Here is what I would like to see in each area.
Body of Knowledge
The body of knowledge has a number of problems which should be addressed in a future release.
It needs to adapt to a rapidly changing world. It doesn’t offer sufficient guidance in areas such as Supplier Integration and Management (SIAM), integration across the service lifecycle (ITIL service design has virtually nothing about application development for example), management of complex virtual and cloud environments, and many other areas. It would be great if ITIL could adopt ideas such as Rob England’sStandard+Case for example.
Even though the 2011 edition fixed many inconsistencies, there are still some contradictions between how terms are used in the different publications and how inputs, outputs and interfaces are defined.
The books are very long, and somewhat repetitive. It is a huge challenge for most people to actually read them!
The ITIL body of knowledge also has a number of great features which I would hate to lose. Probably the best feature of ITIL is that it is NOT a standard, it is a narrative. It tells stories and provides examples of how other organizations have done things that can be copied. Any future development of ITIL must retain this narrative approach.
I think we could resolve the issues with the ITIL body of knowledge by defining a service management architecture. This could be done at a fairly high level and would allow us to simultaneously define a lifecycle, and processes, and many other views and ways of thinking about service management.
The architecture could show how the bits fit together without providing excessive detail of how each part works. We could then charter authors to write narrative that fits within the architecture. This would retain the narrative approach that ITIL does so well but put it within a more formal structure which would improve consistency.
It would also allow for different narratives that could even contradict each other, that fit within the same architecture. For example there might be different descriptions of incident management for use in a complex multi-supplier environment and an in-house IT department.
I don’t think we should be in too much of a hurry to create a new version of ITIL, it’s more important to get this stuff right than to get it fast, but I would love to see AXELOS working towards this vision of a properly architected approach to IT service management, especially if they can adopt the ideas I have previously suggested in ITSM Knowledge Repository – proposal for ITIL owners to ensure that we get input from the widest possible community of ITSM practitioners.
I see many different problems with ITIL training courses:
In my opinion they are too focused on the exams rather than on helping people to develop knowledge, understanding and competence. There are some very good training providers, but price pressure in the market drives many of them towards lower cost, shorter, exam-focussed courses.
People often leave the courses with a complete misunderstanding of what ITIL is, and how it could be used to help create value for their customers.
Due to the above issues, many people think that ITIL is a rigid framework of bureaucratic processes, this leads to some very poor practices that don’t provide value to anyone.
Very large numbers of people attend ITIL Foundation, which is often simply an exercise in cramming facts. There is a lot of material to learn in a fairly short time, and only a very talented trainer can motivate people to really care about creating value for customers while communicating this amount of information in the time available.
Almost all of the courses focus on ITIL exam syllabuses. These may not be appropriate for everybody in the organization, and many people would be better off with more focused training that teaches them how the things they do contribute value and how they could improve their practices.
There are a number of things that could be done to improve ITIL training. I would like to see more training organizations provide courses that focus on how ITIL can be used to create value, rather than on fact-cramming. I love the ITSM simulations created by G2G3 (and other organizations), and I am very encouraged that Capita (the majority owner of AXELOS) now also own G2G3.
I think the main thing that is needed to improve ITIL training is to somehow separate it from the exam system. We could do with some really good marketing of non-examined training courses that help practitioners develop the knowledge, understanding and competence that they need to create value for their customers.
I don’t think the ITIL exams should be changed in the short term. It will take a long time to create a new version of ITIL, especially if AXELOS follow the suggestions I have made above, and I think that making significant changes to the exam system before there is a new version of ITIL would create significant problems for the market. It would take more than a year to create a new exam system, and training organizations would then have to create new courses.
There would be confusion over the value of the retired exams; training organizations would incur a huge expense to create new courses for the same expected revenue; and if there is an expectation of a new version of ITIL in 3 to 5 years then the ITIL exam market may stall completely. These issues are amplified by the need to release exams and training courses in many languages to support the worldwide community.
In parallel with work to create a new version of ITIL, I think that AXELOS should work with all the stakeholders in the exam system to understand what is working well and what could be improved. The first step of this should be to identify the correct stakeholders. We talk to exam institutes and training organizations, but spend far too little time trying to understand the needs of the organizations that use ITIL. AXELOS should talk to a wide range of IT organizations, IT recruiters, outsourcers and other users of IT service management about what they want from an exam system.
I think we should be working towards releasing a new version of ITIL, based on a formal architecture, in 3 to 4 years, and I think we should create a new exam system at the same time. Meanwhile we should help create more value in the short term by creating more innovative training courses that are not solely focused on the exams.
Following on from the two-day AXELOS workshop, ITSM Review reached out to the attendees with three simple questions:
How did the workshop go?
What were the key achievements?
What do you think are the key opportunities for the future?
We also asked the AXELOS team to summarize their thoughts from the two days. The following article is an overview of everyone’s responses – common points made by attendees have been moved to the introductory paragraph of each section.
So, how was it?
The workshop was deemed a great first step from AXELOS (and hopefully the first of many). It was a dynamic, open and customer centric series of discussions and debates, which were received well by all those who provided feedback.
“Good to feel part of a team – level of consensus very encouraging” – Ivor MacFarlane, IBM
“The workshop was wonderful, it was a great opportunity to participate with other thought leaders”– Anthony Orr, BMC
“It was exciting. I’m now much more optimistic about the future of ITIL” – Claire Agutter, ATO Council
“It was refreshingly forward thinking. I felt that my input was listened to and all divergent views were given respect” – Sharon Taylor, Aspect Group Inc
“It was great to see AXELOS’ openness and receptiveness to suggestions and feedback from the workgroup for improving the highly successful ITIL framework” – Colin Rudd, itSMF UK
“I really enjoyed sharing thoughts, ideas, challenges and opportunities with other experts and I was amazed by how much consensus there was about most of the issues we faced” – Stuart Rance, HP
What were the Key Achievements?
The consensus was that the future of ITIL looks very positive. The collaborative approach was praised and the group felt that there was a real focus on increasing the success and value of ITIL to both businesses and individuals. AXELOS are listening (and they do realize that more input is needed from a wider cross-section of stakeholders from different geographies) and are clearly focused on opportunities to deliver value to the market without radical disruption or alarm. They also realize that market research and communication are critical before making decisions and open dialogue with the community is therefore very important.
“The key achievement for me was the recognition by AXELOS that our community is diverse and complex and that there will need to be extensive consultation and care to avoid unnecessary disruption to the services. It was clear that this is not an exercise of ‘fixing’ ITIL but of actively planning its future evolution to meet needs” – Sharon Taylor, Aspect Group Inc
“The biggest achievement was in listening to the “voice of the customer”, listening to those who actually use ITIL” – Andrea Kis, Tata Consultancy Services
“Lots of input provided from different perspectives, covering ITIL content, exams, training and ecosystem” – Stuart Rance, HP
“There was a welcome absence of politics and person agendas, it was all about the success of ITIL” – Jayne Groll, ITSM Academy
“The ‘role-diversity’ of attendees allowed us to not only see the bigger ITIL ecosystem but also to offer different perspectives on legacy issues” – Stephen Mann, ServiceNow
Where are the Key Opportunities moving forward?
Everybody agreed that AXELOS need to keep the momentum going and must continue to have open communication with ITIL users, stakeholders and the wider community. They need to remain committed to providing visibility of the ‘what’ and ‘why’ behind ITIL moving forward and must ensure that there are no surprises for the market by sharing with us their long term plans.
“There is a real opportunity to elevate value of ITIL to organizations, executives and community as a whole” – Anthony Orr, BMC
“For me, the key opportunity would be the “onion” layers of content that could be available to the community (some for free, some for a fee), including benchmarking and more practical application. Couple this with potential digital technology to deliver dynamic intellectual property and the industry becomes better able to adapt and supplement” – Jayne Groll, ITSM Academy
“The opportunity is to continue to collaborate with ITIL users, stakeholders and the community and use these discussions as a basis to improve and develop a business model that supports timely, well planned, inclusive, transparent and communicated information. The JV model releases former constraints of ITIL management and frees up the innovation opportunities to bring ITIL forward in step with need and not chasing them.” – Aspect Group Inc
“Global-best-practice looks like it could finally become global best practice” – Stephen Mann, ServiceNow
What did AXELOS have to say?
“The workshops tackled a vast array of content regarding the future of ITIL and PPM, all in a relatively short time. It was intense but we maintained a positive outlook, stayed focused on the future and left no elephants in the room.
It was good to move from listening to doing, in this case to work through the main priorities that need to be addressed. We’ll now factor those into the planning process for this year and for 2014 when AXELOS is fully operational.
Key achievements included the development of ideas and concepts like the “Onion” or “Doughnut” (for PPMers) that provides a framework to enable community collaboration, development of modular materials and potentially tackle “two speed ITIL”. It was also useful to discuss the needs of the wider global community and also what this all means to the end user or practitioner.
Where to next? Well it’s great to have crossed the start line and now these workshops have provided us with a script for wider stakeholder engagement. The skill is going to be in maintaining the momentum whilst focusing on the priorities and this is where AXELOS will need to demonstrate leadership.
Overall, great debates, great ideas and great opportunities.” – input provided by Chris Barrett, Director at AXELOS.
It’s a great start. There was much consensus, risks and opportunities were agreed, and the two-day event ended on a very positive note.
AXELOS knows that it needs to elicit more, focused input, particularly from other regions, and that communication in general is critical.
So, there is still a lot to do, but on the evidence of this workshop it’s clear that AXELOS is doing all the right things – and AXELOS knows that the world is watching and waiting.
Again, if you have an opinion as to the future of ITIL, please respond to this blog or email AXELOS direct. You can also follow what’s happening by looking for their communications on Twitter or Google+
Yesterday a number of ITSM professionals convened in London to talk about the future of ITIL. From the get-go, it was stressed that the purpose of the meeting was to provide input to AXELOS’ thinking and not to make decisions.
Who was involved?
It was a passionate group of people that represented: ITIL authors, examiners, consultants, service providers, vendors, penguins, and AXELOS. The attendees were:
And of course ITSMPenguin. Everyone had opinions and ideas to share and it was a good mix of people.
Some attendees travelled a long way to attend: Anthony from Houston, Sharon from Canada, Jayne from Florida, and Rob Stroud would have attended from New York but for personal reasons. Even though most of the attendees reside in the UK, they work for global organizations and as such have global experience and global views. Not withstanding this, we all agreed on the need for more input across geography, culture, industry, and language.
If you wish to provide your input please respond to this blog (in the comments section) or email AXELOS direct.
You can already see much of the input from things people have already shared with the ITSM community:
The discussions included the scope, content, and structure of both ITIL and the ITIL exam system. And started with people suggesting ideas for strategy and principles for ITIL going forward. It was surprising how long this took (shouldn’t we already know this?) and not unsurprisingly everyone agreed that ITIL should be driven by business and customer needs.
Other suggestion related to:
Having a visible set of values
Separating architecture and structure from narrative and examples
Collaboration with a wide community of practitioners, examiners, trainers, consultants, vendors, and industry bodies across geographic and industry boundaries
An emphasis on relevance to end-user organizations
Quality being more important than time to market.
From a content perspective, AXELOS introduced the concept of what it calls the “Onion Model”, shown below, that encompasses the previous feedback on how there is a need for different types of content and, importantly, community input to the ongoing development of ITIL.
The centre has the very stable ITIL core
The next layer has modular content such as role or industry-specific information
And then further layers have more practical content such as templates, guides, and case studies
The very outside layer is community owned and community driven with AXELOS and the community curating and promoting this
Content is able to move inwards as it becomes accepted best practice.
Training and exams
We discussed the importance of people, culture, and organizational aspects. In particular the need for more practical guidance about how IT organizations can benefit from the experience of others, and how they can start to gain value from ITIL within their own organization.
There was a lot of passion around training and exams. An interesting point was the absence of guidance on the development of skills such as negotiation and management as part of effective IT service management. Everyone recognized the need to make the exam system more valuable to both individuals and employers. But there was a consensus that that any change requires more input, more time, and needs great care not to disrupt the status quo. Again, if you have an opinion as to the future of ITIL exams, please respond to this blog or email AXELOS direct.
Following day two of this workshop (a second blog will follow), AXELOS will continue to seek out global community input.
If you want to follow what’s happening, please look for their communications on Twitter or Google+
‘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’.