Axelos and itSMF sign an ITIL agreement to nothing much

Axelos and itSMF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding over ITIL. It took a while and it doesn't seem to say much (though who would know for sure as we don't actually get to see it). I guess this is a reflection of the strategic importance of itSMF to the business of ITIL, i.e. not much.

The commercial arrangements around ITIL have been evolving rapidly. Axelos has been busy with the EIs and ATOs, and with the jilted partners APMG and TSO (aren't you glad you won't be at that Christmas dinner).

Meanwhile itSMF has been standing to one side, shuffling self-consciously. itSMF didn't even rate a mention in Axelos's roadmap for ITIL. Finally something has happened. Axelos and itSMF have announced a Memorandum of Understanding. According to the press release

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) announced today sets out a framework of how AXELOS and the itSMF will cooperate in multiple countries worldwide.
The agreement includes a commitment by the two parties to collaborate on the development of new products and promote each other’s activities and services via appropriate media such as websites, conferences and seminars.

ImageAnd that's all we have: a press release. In good old Castle ITIL fashion we don't actually get to see the MoU. The ceremony is announced from the castle walls but don't expect an invitation to watch.

Mind you I'm guessing the MoU doesn't say anything more than the press release anyway.

It clearly wasn't Axelos's top priority to work out how to interact with the representative of the ITIL user community. Nor did Axelos see any need to offer any share in the profits from ITIL: there is no mention of support for itSMF beyond a vague "will bring benefits to our 40,000 individual members" which sure doesn't sound like money to me. The best Axelos offer is "we value the opinions and knowledge of their members". The whole document sounds like a skit from Yes Minister.

itSMF International is in disarray and its finances are parlous. This is nothing new: it is the final stages of a decline that has been going on for many years. It doesn't reflect on anyone in particular: lots of good people have volunteered their time to try to stop the topple. But itSMF is built on sand: its lack of power and governance and structure will do for it in the end. So Axelos don't need to offer anything, and they probably see any financial support as a bad bet. itSMF may well implode even if they find some funding.

Which is a shame, because the itSMF community volunteers will no doubt continue to work their guts out contributing to and promoting and translating and supporting ITIL around the world. TSO got a free ride from itSMF with a world-wide launch of ITIL V3, and cheap labour for the translating. Looks like Axelos will be able to do the same. The fact that itSMF have been unable to wring any financial commitment out of Axelos up front shows their poor bargaining position. It is sad to see.

Nevertheless, itSMF finally got a peck on the cheek so we can feel noticed now. It will be interesting to see how it pans out when Axelos actually want something from itSMF in future.

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