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The Challenges of Modernising ITIL: The AXELOS Chronicles

By | August 27, 2013 in ITIL

AXELOS ITSM Chronicles

Continuing our series of looking at the changes going on in the ITSM area, I want to examine perhaps some of the issues facing the newly formed company to take the ITIL and Project Management Best Practices into the future.

Fact File:

  • Nov 2012: Tendering Process for the Best Management Practice Portfolio announced. Formerly owned by the UK Government Cabinet Office, but widely adopted in organisations globally for IT Service Management and Project/Programme Management Best Practices.
  • April 2013: Tendering Process completed and a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita Announced.
  • July 2013: Joint Venture becomes AXELOS, and appoints CEO Peter Hepworth as they get ready to be fully operational Jan 2014.
  • July 2013: AXELOS runs first workshop with Project & Programme Management and IT Service Management community representative


That Was the Past, What’s the Future?

There is some interesting stuff emerging from AXELOS in the wake of the newest updates from the workshops, earlier this month, looking at modernising the approach, amongst other things.

This has particular resonance for me—now I do not consider myself particularly long in the tooth but it is a sobering thought that I have worked for 21 years and shockingly I theoretically have the same amount of years ahead of me. Depressing thought.

Now I try to put myself back in my 23 year old shoes when I first started work – learning about technology, grasping concepts perhaps more rapidly than older counterparts, full of enthusiasm for the journey ahead.

In a way, that is how I feel about some of the new directions of ITIL.

Keep It Simple

I have never seen a more compelling argument for this old adage. As I look back through engagements, I have found that the best successes came from sitting down and really talking to people.

And now, as ITIL finds itself being applied to (gasp) departments other than IT departments, organisations find that they have to talk to people in plain, simple language for the non-technical to understand.

Committing a Cardinal Sin?

Before you get too excited, allow me to slip back into [/old cynic mode] —way back when I travelled to work on the back of a pterodactyl, I worked with a ticket management system that allowed an operations help desk raise trouble tickets, which sometimes (if you were lucky) was linked to alerts that the operations folk monitored.

Does any of that sound familiar now that my dinosaur has been replaced with a turbo diesel Audi?

If I raise a call with service desk now, as a grumpy old consumer—I am often given a reference number for my call.

If I resort to logging my issue online, I am sent an email with my reference, and to be perfectly honest with all of you, dear readers, as a consumer I could not care one jot if the issue I raised was a request, incident, problem or however else you want to describe it.

So you can maybe understand my surprise when I was not once, but twice roundly taken to task by committing the apparent cardinal sin of referring to a service request record as a ticket.

Heavens, I even used to include in my presentations to clients a slide called The Anatomy of a Ticket where I showed them the various fields and all that good stuff you find in a… record.

For all the years I worked on customer transition and transformation projects from one service management tool to another, I can honestly say I never had anyone pull me up and question my use of terminology.

I honestly do recognise the need for calling things by their right name, I really do, but as we have to react to more of a business view of how we provide services, perhaps a little latitude is called for.

How Do We Make Words Cool?

Well, let’s not get carried away here—we are talking about IT Service Management and stuff we have to negotiate every day.

At the end of last year, I sat in on a very interesting pitch at the itSMF UK 2012 Conference by Aale Roos, about Unlearning ITIL.

In truth we are not unlearning anything, but rather working more closely across an entire business to try and talk a similar language.

Some of the emerging themes coming out of AXELOS talk about being more in tune with the business—and ultimately it is purse-keepers of a business that shed the big bucks to buy a service management tool.

The Old/New Faces of The New Order

Perhaps I am unfairly focussing on age as I sit exactly half way between a life half worked, and a life full-lived. Instead perhaps I should look at the depth of experience that was involved in the initial workshops – contributors, practitioners and even a young penguin!

But they all had one thing in common—they wanted to work together to help bring some changes to the perhaps old, tired and grumpy ITIL.

The terminology is important—it helps us all work from a common level of understanding.

But let’s apply some common sense now—after all best practices are just common sense, written down.

There used to be a lot of whimsical chatter about the falling of Castle ITIL, and I think some of the old guard are going to find it hard to let go to the initial principles. It is completely understandable, but maybe it is time for a new guard to take over, in a world where the exact terminology as per the exact page in the book is perhaps less important than the actual business problems that needs fixing.

Onwards then, to the next chapter of the AXELOS Chronicles.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Ros Satar

About Ros Satar

Ros Satar started out her life in ITSM tackling Configuration Management head on in 2005. Ros worked as an ITSM Solution Architect and Process Consultant before deciding to combine a career in IT with journalism, now working as a freelance ITSM Analyst and Consultant.

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