Crap Factoid Alerts: Strong Commitment to ITIL3, 72% trained, 94% planning, 89% predictable costs....

An ITIL V3 report from Sunrise Software is rich in crap factoids, since the report itself suffers from all the methodological deficiencies we have described before. Mercifully this one may not get much airtime so we rate the risk Medium.

First, that methodology.

The survey was carried out online over July and August 2008 and targeted senior IT decision makers in organisations with 200+
employees across all sectors. The results are based on the replies of over 350 respondents who agreed to take part. The overall numbers included 60% representatives from private sector organisations and 40% responses from
the public sector.

Good info, but we are not told what the actual wording of the questions were, how the organisations were selected (e.g. visitors to Sunrise site???) etc. Most importantly, the results are self-assessed by the respondents, with no objectivity (the old "How clever were you...").

Our biggest concern is some clues that the survey was in fact myopically focused on service desk only (which may be why we don't get tos ee the wording of the original survey). Sunrise area service desk vendor and like most vendors we suspect the world ends where their product ends. E.g.

32% said that most of their processes were designed around ITIL. At the other end of the scale, only 18% said that their service desk was totally free of ITIL influence whatsoever. It is interesting to note that nearly half of these service desks that are currently no-ITIL zones were considering it for the future. [emphasis added]

So just how "senior" were these "senior IT decision makers " who responded? Were they service desk managers? And just how broad a scope were respondents thinking of when they said "most of their processes were designed around ITIL." This is important: if you asked someone who owned Incident Management only, then one would expect a very high level of ITIL adoption.

The strongest Crap Factoid of the report is "46% said they were planning to take steps over the next few months to incorporate ITIL 3 into their processes" which is already being cited. 46% of what? Of those who were aware of ITIL V3? Of those who have already adopted ITIL? of all respondents? We are not told: there is no graph or data or further elaboration of any sort. And what "steps"?

There are other smaller quibbles typical of such surveys, such as the interpretation that "only 6% saying they foresaw no further progress [with ITIL]." In fact 57% said "As and when relevant" which sounds pretty vague and non-committal to me.

One learning we can take from the report is "According to well over half of those who have implemented ITIL, the biggest challenge they have to face is the cultural change". This may well be due to the facts that (a) ITIL (V2 and V3) is weak on organisational change and (b) the people aspects are almost always under-done.


Kudos to Sunrise

I want to say kudos to Stuart at Sunrise Software for actually responding to my questions and continuing a very open and much more frank conversation about the polarized project success in the UK with ITIL. Much of what was reported in the survey was based upon ITIL V2. I'm not sure folks here in the US actually understand that the challenges they are facing now with absorbing ITIL V3 (yes even a year plus after launch) are echoed elsewhere, and especially in the UK.

Stuart explained how they see 'rushers' and 'thinkers' as projects. The 'rushers' those who want to implement ITIL all in one go as quickly as possible, often spurred on by vendors, consultants and generally those who will not suffer the consequences of a failure. Typically these projects fail. And... the 'thinkers' - those who plan and phase their projects - as you might suspect these have much more success.

Senior management please look away..... Another telling opinion is that more money is presumed lost in failed ITIL efforts overall, than benefits gained and stated.... hhmm..

For those who claim to know me this leads me back to what might sound like a familiar conclusion - ITIL is not the solution - its a contributor to a solution. It is but one element and certificate centric consulting, or 'buy my tool because its associated with ITIL' selling must be exposed for what it is - not playing with a full deck (of cards)...

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