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.