itSMF International needs to unite the ITIL community
itSMF International is creating a committee to improve the development of chapters. This is a Good Thing, great to see.
I humbly suggest that chapter development is just part of a bigger issue for itSMFI: chapter integration. This is the dead elephant in itSMF's room: the problem so big that everyone studiously ignores it.
Basically, itSMF's international organisational architecture is screwed, for historical reasons. Each chapter has gone its own way and established its own infrastructure.
There is no common charter, or constitution, or database, or communication system, or much of any sort of infrastructure really. There is a set of rules somewhere - but I don't believe they are public - that sets expectations such as the annual tithe paid to itSMFI, the need for certain services and monthly meetings and a regular newsletter and a website etc
So every one of fifty-something chapters establishes and maintains its own constitution, processes, administration, website, newsletter, membership database, bookshop, conference, emailing system... all using volunteer labour and member's money.
Is this efficient? Does this maximise service to members? No.
Does it minimise inter-country politics and in-fighting, and avoid confronting the dead elephant? Yes.
Right now we are in the extraordinary situation of itSMFI competing with local chapters for membership of multi-national organisations, and undercutting on price for book sales to those global members. We have someone who looks to be from within itSMFI seriously suggesting that itSMFI is not there to be the front face of itSMF to the world, but rather the back-end rump service provider for the chapters.
itSMF has no way to contact or ask all members worldwide. Fifty newsletters and fifty websites give fifty different messages to the community. There are no regional conferences for clusters of countries. There are no(?) shared functions between countries. Membership of one country's chapter means nothing officially in another.
It's a fragmented mess.
I'd like to see:
- One entity worldwide: consistent brand, rules, code of practice, chapter governance...
- One membership, worldwide. Or at least one membership database and administration.
- One newsletter, worldwide, with the option of local or regional ones if desired
- One website, worldwide, with news/events/forum as it is now, but also with a homepage for each chapter, with a local view of events
- One bookshop worldwide, with local fulfillment if desired
- One email engine, worldwide, with the ability to send locally
When we see itSMFI delivering this kind of value then we'll be happy for them to take much more than the current 5% in order to pay for it.
But the IT Realist says it isn't going to happen any time soon. Where would HQ be? The Poms aren't going to let go of it, the Yanks have no claim to it, and it will be permanently fixed in the UK over the Yanks' dead bodies (not to mention the Dutch). Can we find a neutral spot: Zurich perhaps? Singapore?
Or perhaps Beijing. The USA is the superpower for only a few more decades...