Who now controls ITIL?
Who now controls ITIL? Who sits atop this multi-billion-dollar empire and calls the shots? The real power behind ITIL is still fragmented, although one wonders for how long. The IT Swami predicts!
One of the reasons I publish my books independently is because many publishers think they own you. They think it is their book, which they pay you advance (if you are lucky) and fee or royalty to write. I'm getting clues that TSO are coming to see the ITIL books as "their" product. (They reportedly saw no problem in issuing a revision of the books without asking the authors or OGC). I hope not. I hope they remember they are the servant contracted by OGC to provide outsourced publishing services, and that OGC and their other providers can say and do as they wish about ITIL brand and content without being answerable to TSO.
Then you have itSMFI publishing books that are heavily branded as "official" books, Van Haren still(?) the "official publisher" to itSMFI, itSMFUK publishing their own books and a few other chapters too. Watch itSMFI battle to get that lot under control. ISACA are moving to bring content under a single umbrella (easing out ITGI) - it is time the ITIL community did too but it will be a much longer road.
The web presence
[Updated: removed the detail to a new blog post]
TSO and APMG both maintain websites "on behalf of" OGC. TSO also maintains their own commercial site with a confusingly similar name to the "on beahlf" one. Neither of them provide any user community- that is left to itSMF to do. All of the sites have entirely different look-and-feel. Page ranks of pages are [corrected:] 6 or less, while for purposes of comparison the less popular ISACA quietly maintains a page rank 8. The Wikipedia entry is rubbish. ITIL's online brand presence is a dog's breakfast - ill-conceived and poorly executed.
The web presense is a big part of any brand in this decade, but the number one aspect of brand is of course the trademark.
Who owns the ITIL brand? The trademark is still under OGC control but see "The Future" below. Right now OGC defend it as fiercely as a sedated shitzu.
One wonders how much the itSMF brand is associated in the public mind with ITIL. Not too much I suspect. I find awareness levels of itSMF way below those of ITIL. Nevertheless ownership of that itSMF brand bears watching. The itSMF trademark is still held by itSMFUK, though obviously itSMF International want it. Watch this space, stuff is going down...
Books don't make a lot of money (except maybe the core ones). Some of the really big money is in the training courses and certification.
A panel of Castle ITIL known as the ITIL Qualifications Board seems to control this under the figurehead of APMG. The Examination Institutes are APMG's primary customers (not OGC and certainly not us). The training vendors are the ones who pay the money to APMG so APMG will not want to alienate them.
Services remain uncontrolled by anyone. The ITIL Expert certification does not have the respect or awareness yet to make it essential for an ITIL consultant, and OGC shows no sign of wanting to control the service provider companies. Look how quickly one entrepreneural person grabbed the product certification space. There is an opening here for someone.
ITIL drives a big software industry in Service Desk, CMDB, Event Management, SLAs, Catalogue and so on. Now that APMG are setting the standard for ITIL compliance, it would seem they are calling the shots. Right now APMG have the vendors by the balls, but the money is with the vendors so I am predicting it won't take the industry long to get control of the compliance scheme just as they did the certification scheme. There will be a vendor backlash and we'll quickly see a Board of vendors "guiding and advising" the compliance scheme.
Back when this blog turned three I tried to contact the IT Swami for a contribution but I had to settle for Rob England. The Swami has finally surfaced. Apparently his latest research assistant Chantelle had a San Pedro cactus in her front garden - "had" being the operative word. Although he finished the resulting soup some weeks ago he still tends to incoherency, but by merging seven emails I came up with the following synthesis:
Nobody independant provides governance of ITIL. Every official body is drawn from the same old inner circle of OGC, TSO, APMG (and the EIs) and itSMF. As we have seen, multiple powers struggle for control of it. Sharon Taylor has put her own personal stamp on many aspects - which hasn't delighted everyone. She is a nice lady but it is neither suitable nor sustainable that one person try to bring it all together - it needs an official organisation. For COBIT it is ISACA, for ITIL it could be itSMF... or ISACA.
OGC seems to have a certain reluctance over their stewardship of ITIL. They've reduced their ITIL-focused staff down to pretty much nil. As ITIL grows so does the controversy, the problems, the power games, the onus. Maybe OGC would be glad to be shot of the thing. There is no reason it has to remain Crown property for ever.
OGC has already effectively turned itSMF down once, in the CAR tenders. itSMF has matured since then and continues to do so. ISACA already has the maturity, the reputation, the strong brand. ISACA are far from perfect (some of the qualifications structure bears closer inspection on this blog some time) but if it came to a race for some future OGC tender for ownership they might have a lead on itSMF. Hopefully all parties would see the sensible way out of such a situation and a merger will result. COBIT and ITIL under one roof is an attractive prospect. You read it here first.
With ownership of the brand and the copyright, one organisation could wield real power over governance, management and control of all aspects of ITIL. If the vendors can be kept in their proper place - that is as equal members - and there are the right governance structures, then that could be a Good Thing.