Interfacing Technologies - the miracle fix to the ITIL problem
Today we have a product review. Scott Armstrong of Interfacing Technologies was kind enough to draw attention to his product with a comment on this blog, so we will take a look at its capabilities.
We can start with Scott's helpful comment
Agreed too many companies try to ride the ITIL buzz hype. Best support I found for ITIL implementations is at a company called Interfacing Technologies [link removed]), they have built out the entire list of ITIL volumes into a comprehensive process hiearchy (including roles, documents, interactions between processes at multiple levels, etc.). I recommend it for anyone who is struggling with a costly & lenghty[sic] ITIL initiative.
I can imagine this is really is the best support Scott has found, as he works there, as the Sales Manager. So his recommendation might need to be taken with the tiniest pinch of salt, especially as he didn't disclose that connection when making it.
But I bet the product is great anyway - that's why we have all heard of it.
So I went to look.
Warning: visit the site with your PC on mute, as it drones at you immediately on landing. Wading through the frankly nauseating hype (sample: "By implementing a Service Oriented Architercture (SOA) through Business Process Management, your company will flourish beyond all expectations") I worked out that IT sell a process modelling tool.
The IT site is a quintessential example of the "silver bullet" marketing technique: technology as a solution to a business problem.
"By building effective flowcharts ...your business process reengingeering project will be effective". So that's why so many BPR projects struggle! Not enough flowcharts!
They've built four sets of process:
ISO Quality Assurance
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
Enterprise Risk Management
ITIL Process Framework
Our interest in this context is the last one, since Scott commended it as "the entire list of ITIL volumes into a comprehensive process hiearchy (including roles, documents, interactions between processes at multiple levels, etc.)". Since it is "for anyone who is struggling with a costly & lenghty[sic] ITIL initiative" I'm sure it can solve the ITIL problem as easily as it did the BPR one. And sure enough "Implementing the ITIL framework is easy with Interfacing Technologies". Great news!
On a page headed "What's new in ITIL v3?", IT inform us that
The ITIL v3 core volumes are:
Continual service improvement
Well it's close enough, right? Show the punter you know your subject.
After much discussion of ITIL V3 we learn that...
Interfacing Technologies’ ITIL Process templates provide guidance in the following areas:
Service level management
IT service continuity
Yup, ITIL V2. It's that old bait-and-switch trick again. They talk about V3 long enough that the less ITIL-educated reader is not going to notice this is a V2 product, they hope. Of course it never once actually says explicitly that Interfacing Technologies's product is ITIL V3 compliant. That exercise is left for the reader. Just the kind of people one wants to do business with.
When we get to the nub of it (at long last)
With Interfacing and as your partner [sic] in implementing the ITIL framework, our process clarity can help fill in the gaps and make it easy for you to reap the benefits of the guidelines. We provide the ITIL Process Templates that tie all ITIL requirements together.
...Interfacing Technologies sell process templates. They have the bells and whistles of "our comprehensive Enterprise Process Center™ BPM package for superior ease of use". They have some integration with Unicenter TNG and - of course - with Visio.
As far as I can ascertain the tool provides workflow management to drive ITIL process, which is probably the useful part of the solution but not that you could tell from the marketing crud. For a site doing V2 ITIL, this tool might actually have some use.
Now I'm the first to enjoy a good process diagram, but I venture to say that Interfacing Technologies's claims of a new dawn with all our ITIL problems solved and implementation as easy as anything might just be a bit overstated.
In fact I'd go so far as to say Scott had a damn gall agreeing "too many companies try to ride the ITIL buzz hype" then claiming to solve the ITIL world's problems with a BPM tool. A V2 tool at that.
The spiel ends (at last) with some startling statements:
You can rely on the fact that
- ITIL will continue as a single, consistent standard worldwide,
- ITIL is clearly distinguished from unofficial, unapproved course providers,
- ITIL is in accordance with international best practices, endorsed at the highest level by the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in July 2005.
No I don't know what any of that means either. ITIL isn't a standard and there are two of them right now. The training waters are murky with unapproved providers and what has that to do with the Interfacing Technologies tool? And most of all what the freak has G8 got to do with ITIL? I googled away but I can't get a match. As far as I can tell the Gleneagles Summit was more absorbed with AIDS and global warming than ITIL. Anyone?
So sadly we are left with the conclusion that Interfacing Technology's solution is yet another technology solution to a culture problem, that it is unbelievably over-hyped, that it is outdated, and only peripherally addresses the ITIL world - a world that Interfacing Technologies seem to have only a tenuous grasp of.