the ITIL Squeeze in 2015

© Copyright CanstockPhoto.comAXELOS are doing a few troubling things lately, that may or may not point to an ITIL Squeeze in 2015 as AXELOS seek to capitalise on their purchase of ITIL (and the rest of the Best Practice portfolio) in order to meet their British Government payments.

I'm unclear exactly what AXELOS thinks they can control other than the trademark, and rumour has it they may not even have clean unconditional ownership of that. ITIL is not original, it is not patentable. The content of the books themselves is AXELOS's copyright but I doubt copyright of the terminology or process names and structure could be enforced.

It's worth reminding AXELOS that ITIL is a community artefact. It was developed by many, with thousands of contributions including my own small bit. It was promoted and supported by many more volunteers, e.g. I served as NZ itSMF newsletter editor for seven years.

Put another way, I'm not sure what OGC sold AXELOS nor whether any of it was ever really OGC's to sell - they were arguably custodians not owners.

As a tiny intellectual property creator myself I know there is no money in it and the internet has destroyed all respect for intellectual property ownership or value. AXELOS have some big payments to make - they'll need to shake us down one way or another to make them.

There are a few things that may be early warning signs of an ITIL Squeeze:

1) AXELOS are rumoured to be closing down the Complementary Qualifications Scheme.. AXELOS's theme is "ITIL and ..." which is "a complementary approach acknowledging organizations’ need for a best of breed combination that blends different, but compatible, principles." if the rumour is true they don't seem to be fostering any partner extension of the training syllabus.

2) Their Partner Programme is nothing but benefits right now, a happy place for consulting firms as AXELOS brings them all under the wing. Already the Partner Programme members are "certified" for "the AXELOS badge of quality". Which is just great unless it becomes mandatory in order to provide ITIL consulting.

3) Forewarning of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme (confirmed in a news announcement as coming in 2015), which will "provide you with a new AXELOS status to show the currency of your skills and knowledge".

The Partner Programme gets the organisations; CPD will get the individuals. I hope the Partner Programme and CPD are not the thin end of the wedge for charging for usage of ITIL by consultants.

Other than these troubling signs, AXELOS make the right noises and are doing some interesting things too, e.g. an agile PRINCE2. So Happy New Year: roll on 2015. Watch this space closely for the ITIL Squeeze.

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