Home > ITIL the Elephant in the room > The local Bar always leads to ugliness

The local Bar always leads to ugliness

We spent an enjoyable evening (if you enjoy pulling the fingernails from consultants!) at our local bar last night.

It’s convenient, close to the office, cheap (so full of the kind of clientelle who turn the other way when the pliers come out) and has a back door exit with no cameras so that when the paramedics and law enforcement are eventually called, ones compatriots and oneself can slip away before the music starts. (Apparently fingernails do grow back!).

Anyway, to the point of this post…we have a consortium of vagrants on site currently implementing a proof of concept for an asset discovery, CMDB and BSM “service”. I’m sure you can work out the types: pin stripes from ACME Consultants and TwoOrThreeLetterAcronym Vendor who appear irregularly and talk to our management and tell them how nice their new clothes are looking, and then the boiler suited, green behind the ears, newly College Badged workers (interspersed with some nice folks from a sub-Continent).

Well, our senior management have signed up to this very cool deal…let Vendor/Consulting Consortium demonstrate their wares. On our dime and our time. (Yes, our dime…we are paying for the software and the proof of concept).

Now, guess what the bright sparks of our Senior IT Management have set as the “acceptance” and “success” criteria which “automatically” triggers the “full deployment”? Now, if you think there is any acceptance criteria, or ROI, or value proposition, then you are thinking way way way harder than anyone in our Senior IT Management. There is no value proposition to prove, no ROI, no nothing. They are just “implementing” it!

Now, when we read things like this http://www.itskeptic.org/organisations-have-failed-their-it-bad-parents#comment-9190 then you begin to realise why ITIL consultants love senior IT managers – because they have the run of them.

Anyway, we digress.

There we were into the 6 beer (each) which our “guests” were buying for us (to befriend the natives), and which they will then subsequently charge back to our company (with margin!), which will come off our company IT Budget and bottom line reduce our meager end of year bonus as mere IT people. We began to ask the interesting questions (we’d gone past “do you come here often”, “where are you from”, “do you like our local sausages” and had begun to run out of civil conversation) about the project.

We asked a very naiive question: Which other companies have you delivered this solution to? (lots of looking at each other and general blankness. Seems they have done bits but not all before).

So we asked another question: How long will it take to implement in a multi-national the size of ours? (hmmm, this is now getting scary – they could not answer that).

OK, the innevitable: What kind of return on investment will we realise? (well that just about blew their own fingernails off. Apparently ROIs are not measured…)

Folks – we are a multinational corporation. We are being sold on the promise of the fully integrated automatic asset discovery, CMDB maintenance and BSM solution.

Each of us involved in this collective have been in IT for more than 15 years and have not seen a working CMDB / BSM implementation in that time.

ITSkeptic (how can he be an IT Skeptic, it pays his wages!!!) says we’re negative because we dis his process mandates. He delivers a paper saying IT people are the problem. The problem is non-IT people in senior IT management roles, over their heads, promising the earth without consultation with the experts, leading to the experts being sidelined.

The sidelining of the experts leads to IT Management engaging the employment of consultants who are straight out of college, who do not have to take on the responsibility of the actual day to day work running the (so called) solutions they are promoting.

Now tell us ITIL folks, if rigid processes, scaffolded in place by ineffective and maintenance heavy technology are our future, how are we to react to the very real demands of our customers.

Who are we to tell them that they cannot adapt their business in time with their market demand. We are their servants.

ITSkeptic has it all wrong. IT people are not the problem. We are servants and simply want to do the right thing for our customers. It’s the privilege of working with your ITIL governance that causes us to be incapable of serving our masters.

Get the accountants and vultures out of IT and we’ll be able to start supporting our customers effectively again.

  1. March 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I agree – sort of.

    I’ve worked with some great IT people who’ve been able to advise on technical solutions, implementations and solve a myriad of problems (if you’re lucky, before they really arise).

    I’ve also worked with a lot of IT people whose first reaction to any question was “it won’t work” and others who act almost as resellers of external solutions.

    I do agree that poor management and over-management is a big part of the problem, and consultants who have no vested interest in the outcome don’t help.

    The best ITers I’ve worked with have been able to cope with my pencil boxes and arrows drawings and create sensible solutions and the best of the best are able to understand a business question, and work from there.

    • March 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Louise, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Are you in an IT department (on our side of the fence) or in Consulting or Vendor-land?

      Please see this post (we’ve just inflamed ITSkeptic again) which we think agrees and expands on what IT needs to be.


      Clearly, we think we’re like the best “ITers” as you call them – give us the napkin with the ketchup sketch and we’ll work it out with you, but it’s getting harder and harder as the process wieners constrain any changes and build protective barriers between us all so that we can no longer collaborate!

      • March 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

        I’m sitting on the fence!

        I work in a semi-technical team (project managers, geeks, one design guy and some content managers) within a communications department.

        My communications colleagues see me as technical, my IT colleagues see me as communications.

        Years ago a very clever man told me that I’d have a job for life acting as an interpreter between what business thinks it wants and what IT thinks it should deliver. I spend a lot of my time bringing those two things closer together while begging for more funding to sustain valuable projects.

        I’ll check the post you suggest.

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