Every word in the thesaurus: how to distinguish between PinkVerify and ITIL compliance

[Update June 2009: This article has a poignant irony to it, now that OGC have unilaterally decreed that ITIL is, after all, a standard that one can certify compliance against]

A little clarification is in order after my recent article on ITSMWatch, re my position on PinkVerify. Bill Irvine of Pink Elephant published a response on ITSMWatch clarifying that PinkVerify does not claim that certified products are ITIL compliant. "In order to comply with something you need a standard". Funny, that's what I thought "certification" required too.

Never mind: strictly speaking I never actually said that PinkVerify claims to certify compliance. The line was "PinkVerify ... in my experience ...is not a good indicator of compliance to some of the criteria that follows".

This may sound like now it's my turn to play with moot semantics, but let me explain why this hair is being split: while PinkVerify never claims ITIL compliance, I doubt Pink are so naive as to really believe that vendors will not make the implication.

So a vendor can pay to have their product tested to obtain a licence to put the distinctive logo on their brochureware ... and say what to their prospects?

Well perish the thought that a vendor salesman would ever use the word "compliant" when drawing an executive's attention to their certification. And I'm sure all product buyers are savvy enough to make the clear distinction between compliant and "verifies" "certification" that the product is "compatible with ... Service Support processes" "to ensure ITIL processes are effectively supported to at least a minimum level ... to help ...identify some of the products that at least meet ITIL’s guidance".

So it is quite true that Pinkverify does not claim "compliance". But it certainly does assert assessment, validation, verification, certification, compatibility, comparison against criteria, explicit demonstration of commitment, reassurance, diligence, support for definition and requirements, and guidance met, which does not leave much else in the thesaurus.

The second time I mentioned PinkVerify in the article was to suggest some questions for buyers to ask vendors about "their supposedly ITIL-compliant or ITIL-supporting tool (including some PinkVerified ones)". So I assert that some PinkVerified products do not meet all of the criteria I listed for what I believe is a reasonable standard for ITIL compliance. Obviously therefore I am setting a higher benchmark than the "minimum level" used by Pink Elephant. This is not to say that PinkVerified products do not meet the PinkVerify standard, only that they don't all meet mine.

And of course the main point of the article was that in the absense of any lead from OGC or itSMF I'm as free as Pink Elephant to set my own standards for ITIL compliance ... er .. I mean ... compatibility.

Finally, let me repeat what I said on the ITSMWatch forum: I like and respect Pink Elephant and their people (of whom I have met quite a few). They do good work and they are always very generous with sharing their IP publicly. I am not suggesting any dishonesty on their part. I do believe there is more marketing and less value in PinkVerify than in their other services and offerings, but I don't allow that to influence my broader view of the organisation and nor should you.


Hi, I am one of the

Hi, I am one of the aforementioned vendor sales guys that you techies like to disparage so much and I just wanted to let you know I found this blog while searching for what exactly is the right term to use to describe our Pink Elephant certified IT service management solution.

I believe the correct term is ITIL compatible and that is the term we will be using to describe our ITIL compatible IT service management solution.

I remain, however, completely certain that my clients, and yes even the techies among them, will not be willing or able to distinguish between ITIL-compliant and ITIL-compatible. For them, it doesn't really matter as long as the solution delivers what it promises and we can show that to them.

No need to descend to name calling.

No need to descend to name calling. The IT Skeptic resents being labelled a "techie". In fact I hope to be viewed as the nemesis of techies.

Good luck selling your ITIL-compliant solution.

Pinkverify from the inside

I have actually undertaken the Pink Verification process for a toolset and was duly awarded 'verification' for those process. The level of rigour applied to the required responses was low. It was galling as a product supplier who's functionality far exceeded the minimum requirements to pay for the verification but it was necassary as customers were actually requiring it. Other products of dubious quality were similarily verified, so this actually weakened our point of differentiation.
So when the ITIL Skeptic states "This is not to say that PinkVerified products do not meet the PinkVerify standard, only that they don't all meet mine." I can only agree.
Verification is a revenue stream. Making verification too hard undermines that revenue. Nuff said?

Verification or simply good promotion and marketing

Those that believe ITIL is a good framework please raise your hand. ==> Way to go!

Ok those that are using to improve their internal IT processes to better support and manage their business please stand up...... Congratulations, a round of applause

Ok those that have a tool that can assist the above folks with automating this process, bend over and I'll give you a rubber stamp...........Now we will put your name up in lights for the world to see!!

(The more we have lining up for that rubber stamp, the more valuable it is! Let's deny a few so we can control supply and demand......)

Pink has done a great job promoting and marketing the obvious.......

Found: A split hair

"I doubt Pink are so naive as to really believe that vendors will not make the implication."
Reading through BMC's ITIL and CMDB Synergy whitepaper this afternoon I read this:

"According to a report from Pink Elephant, the independent organization that verifies ITIL compliance, IT needs to move toward an integrated suite of tools that enable IT service modeling, process integration and shared data access."

The Skeptic is prescient.



I used to correct sales people continually

Hahaha LMAO.

I remember when I sold a service desk, I was regularly correcting sales people who talked about our PinkVerify ITIL compliance because Pink had made it very clear to us we were not to use the word.

It was nearly as good as the hideously autocratic services director in an Asian country who told a major client he would help their company achieve ITIL certification. After the presentation I asked a couple of his staff who was going to break it to him that there is no such thing and they all went pale.

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