Home > ITIL the Elephant in the room > ITIL: A Service Management History Lesson

ITIL: A Service Management History Lesson

OK, for those of you who go back a little way…feel free to comment on the accuracy of this, but the timeline is supposed to demonstrate how the ITIL Process Weanies Took Over:


(Network Fault) SNMP, HP OpenView, SunNet Manager, Network Managers, Cabletron SPECTRUM…

(Event Management) Net/Alert, MAXM, NetExpert

(Performance) Concord, Desktalk

(Traffic) Etherview, Netmetrix, Netscout, Sniffer…


(Compute and Application Fault) Patrol, Eco-Tools…

(Systems Administration) Tivoli…

(Trouble Ticketing) Remedy, Clarify…

(Event Management) Boole and Babbage CommandPost


(Event Management) Micromuse Netcool, IBM Tivoli TEC

(Systems Administration) CA-Unicenter


(Root-Cause) SMARTS

(Accounting) AMDOCS

(Configuration) Metasolv


(Root-Cause) RiverSoft

(Event Correlation) Micromuse Netcool Impact

(Server Monitoring) Mercury, Netcool ISMs

(Configuration) Cramer


(Root-Cause) Micromuse Netcool Precision

(Systems Monitoring) NetIQ

(Systems Administration) Voyence, NetOps, Atrium

(Business Service Management) Managed Objects, IBM Tivoli TBSM


(Predictive Fault Management) Netuitive


OK, so this is a short and mucho abbreviated summary…but just look at it. There has been no fundamentally new innovations in IT Service Management technologies since 2000.

Oh yes, there are derivative works, lots of multi-variate correlation (Integrien etc.), lots of agents (Abilisoft etc.) but nothing that takes a fundamentally new approach to manage the fundamentally new technologies which we use to build our modern infrastructures.

So, what happens…where tools are not fit for purpose, we pile on the people. And what do people who are not equipped for the job (because of inadequate tools) do? They blame everyone else.

So, with a climate of finger pointing, budget constraint and an IT Department effectively run by accounts, what happens? Outsource!!!

What happens when you outsource?

(1) Invariably you need a measure of the competence of the people for the role they are carrying out – ITIL Maturity!!! (summed up very well here: http://www.itskeptic.org/uselessness-itil-process-maturity-assessment ) to prove that although things are not working very well, the people doing the work cannot be blamed for their lack of knowledge, coherence or lack of delivery.

(2) You put processes in place that have totally meaningless Service Level commitments: We answer the call within 4 rings, we always call back within an hour and then every hour after that for the duration of the incident to let you know the status. Never though do you get a commitment to resolve. I do love getting a call from one of my outsource suppliers, interrupting whatever I am doing at the time (I am very busy), to tell me that they have nothing to tell me!

(3) You get change managed to the edge of any profit your company was hoping to make. No matter what anyone tells you, Outsourcing does not pay. You see, we can never actually first time audit all the things our organization does. We always miss things and they come back to bite us as our outsource “partner” increases their charges to support those ‘little’ things that we missed when we originally wrote the contract. They know it already and they are banking on us not being thorough enough…because if we are thorough, you can be damn sure that they cannot deliver the service any cheaper than we can.

The rise of ITIL and it’s adoption is as a direct consequence of the lack of innovation in IT Service Management technologies that are effective in reducing the cost of managing modern infrastructures. ITIL is simply a ‘cover my arse’ badge of merit.

The sad thing though is that real technical experts and technologists, who we really need to support us, are marginalized by ITIL. Typically these people are not process people, they are doers, but modern IT management is not about doing, it is about being seen to be following and adhering to process. A process followed is better than a problem solved because a problem solved has no ITIL badge of honour!

So, here we are:

ITIL Rules.

CMDB is fundamentally impossible to implement and achieve a return on investment or value.

No CMDB, No BSM (Business Service Management).

No BSM, No impact management.

No BSM. No Service Management.

No CMDB or BSM, No Continuous Service Improvement.

And the value of ITIL is…

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