ITSM analogies

Many of the misconceptions about ITSM spring from the god-awful analogies we use. Restaurants, utilities, consumer electronics... none of them bear any resemblance to the realities of Real IT.

I've talked before about how restaurant menus are totally misleading as an analogy for an IT service catalogue. The catalogue of the company running the catering service to operate the restaurant would be a closer analogy.

And I've talked about how the consumer electronics industry and your personal digital experience have nothing to do with how real IT is run. What Apple and Amazon achieve with billions of revenue and a retail market is irrelevant to how you serve your internal corporate users.

The Cloud industry is full of piffle about how IT will soon be a utility, like water or electricity. This too is crap. Any old water will do. But it's my data. I care very much about its integrity and I can't easily switch to keeping it somewhere else. Cloud is not a utility. Switching from one Storage As A Service provider to another would be bad enough. To move from one SaaS app to another is a nightmare.

A better analogy is child-care. It is not just about outputs and service levels. I care also about fire safety and building security and how you vet your employees. It's not a commodity, and it's not a black box. As a customer I will perform close due diligence on the service provider, and I'll continue to monitor the internals of the service mechanisms.

The post-modernist air-heads centred in the USA are determined to dumb everything down to simplistic models and digestible sound-bites. It may work for trivial things like invading countries and selecting the leader of the free world, but for complex systems and issues like IT it is dangerously misleading. Don't over-simplify ITSM analogies. As Einstein may or may not have said "As simple as possible but no simpler". Restaurants, consumer products, and utilities are too simple.

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