Many ITIL projects are overcapitalised renovations
I have been discussing ITIL ROI with the Spanish ITIL community, via Antonio Valle's blog with the magnificent name "Gobierno de las TIC. Conocimiento Adquirido". I was asked the question “How is the relationship between an architectural project and a house?”.
Unless one is setting up a data centre from scratch, I don't think the architect analogy fits. An ITIL adoption is usually more like renovations.
I have renovated three houses now. In all cases they were fit for habitation already. It was not money well spent: the house didn't leak, the doors were secure, it was sanitary and there was no fire risk. So renovation was just for our own satisfaction. It was overcapitalising - we would not get a good ROI when we sold the house.
[In two countries now I have seen the fiscal illusion where people see a rising capital value on their home and use that “free money” to renovate it. It is no different to renovating a house that has a falling value. Unless the renovation further increases the value of the house by more than you spend, it is money you could have had but now you don’t.]
Now if I want to squander my money changing the way my house looks it is my right: it is my money. ITIL project money isn’t mine. So often, adopting ITIL is like ripping up perfectly good carpet so you can polish the floorboards: it is very satisfying but there is no business case for it.