The IT Skeptic Awards for 2008

Every year the IT Skeptic website starts the New Year with our Awards. (You can see last years' awards here).

The Three Silver Thimbles for the Grossest Statistical Trickery goes jointly to BMC and Forrester for obfuscation on a scale never before seen by the IT Skeptic even by the ethically challenged standards of the software industry. They triggered Chokey the Chimp's most severe Crap Factoid warning of the year by claiming the pure crystaline essense-of-bullshit figure of $1M savings per year from CMDB, achieved only by ignoring obvious and essential activities, underpricing others, and totally ignoring the license costs to buy the product (you read that right: license costs zero). An extraordinary effort. Do not let anyone look you in the eye and quote this figure. The IT Skeptic re-analysed Forrester's data and deduced that rather than save a million a year, BMC Atrium CMDB just about maybe pays for itself after two or three years in a favourable case, if you can get them to give it to you for $100k. May we never see a report like this one again. The industry is way overdue for some code of practice around this sort of thing.

The Service Management Entrepreneural Championship for 2008 was won by Ron Muns who cashed in his HelpDesk Institute, also known as ThinkHDI, also known as Think Service Inc, for a cool $30 million, give or take small change. An inspiration to us all.
Runners up were for charging twenty thousand dollars for a set of ITIL process maps. No services, just a download.

The Trump Medal for Most Inappropriate Empire Building goes to TSO for charging 5,750 big fat British pounds (real money) for a corporate annual subscription and £2,500.00 for an individual one (yes, you read that right and yes, per year!) to an ITIL Live (TM) portal that originally was going to be "available to the ITSM community at no cost".

The Ironic Twist is awarded to APMG, OGC's accrediation agency, whose own accreditation was suspended by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. A supplementary Ribbon for Valour is awarded for getting the accreditation back. Even the most strident of APMG critics must be sympathetic about having to wend such byzantine pathways of bureaucracy.

The Terminological Debasement Cup is not awarded this year because far too many people use "governance" when they mean "management" to be able to single out a recipient.

The Andrés Escobar Memorial Shield for Best Own Goal goes to EMA for declaring there is a CMDB tidal wave when the IT Skeptic's assessment of their own numbers reckons 2%-5% of IT shops have something like an ITIL-defined CMDB.

The Acapulco Gold Medal for Most THC-Induced Marketing goes to Managed Objects for thinking social collaboration (which just happens to be a current fad) might be of some relevance to the tightly controlled backroom CMDB, which led to their product MyCMDB and a "What are they smoking?" response from the IT Skeptic.

The Alf Garnett Cultural Sensitivity Totem-pole goes to David Wheeldon for eating fish and chips in Singapore.
No, just kidding about that one :-) Happy retirement David.

The Marie Antoinette Memorial Cake for Most Patronising Attitude goes to the ITIL Qualification Board for referring to the "itSMF UK Q&C committee", one Aussie and possibly a few others as the "itSMF community".

The Shoe-in-the-Door Most Intrusive Product of the Year undoubtedly goes to Plaxo (which was not a new system in 2008 - it just annoyed me and apparently others again)

The Little Blue Pill for services to fiscal sanity goes to Google book search for providing a way to access the ITIL Version 3 books (and many others) online that is legitimate and free.

The Robert Soloway Big-House Award for the Worst Commercial Comment Spammer (on the IT Skeptic blog) goes to manny from stratavia for fine fiction. Runners up were:

  • the un-named Indian SEO bumbler from or on behalf of NewStar (yeah let's name names) for ineptness beyond the call of duty (comments now deleted)
  • scott from Interfacing Technologies for sheer chutzpah

The Coronation Street Pint For Longest Running Saga goes to the ITIL Qualifications Board for the ITIL V3 Foundation syllabus.

The Transparency Cup goes to itSMF USA for clearly making the first of "the specific objectives of the Corporation" be about "commercial organizations and vendors of products and services". itSMF members get a mention in the eighth objective.

The Pink Slip for Most Career-Limiting Move goes to the unnamed executive at EDS who announced "EDS Asia Pacific Standardises on BMC Software Atrium CMDB to Improve Service Delivery” one month after HP acquired EDS. (Thanks to William Vambenepe for pointing out this one)

The Deng Xiao Peng Memorial Spittoon for Services to Democracy is won for the second year in a row by itSMF International, this year for deciding that if you aren't one of the itSMF establishment you can't speak to the organisation's leadership.
Runner up was APMG for running a public survey for "your valuable feedback" on the ITIL V3 Foundation Syllabus with a whole five days to hear about it and respond. No mention of a sign saying "Beware of the leopard" but one wonders.

The Onan Award goes to FHD, a London advertising firm, for their daring new logo for OGC.

We present The Cobbler's Children's Shoes to OGC, the gurus of release management who put out the second edition of ITIL V3 by stealth.

The Dumbdown Cup is presented to OGC for the long-promised Lifecycle Process Model for ITIL V3. It is pretty much useless in its published state.

The Bell-less Prize for Mathematics goes jointly to Dimension Data and Datamonitor for revolutionising statistical science by declaring that deliberately selecting a skewed sample population is merely a "methodological nuance" and then drawing conclusions based on a 10% swing whose "statistical significance ...could be the subject of further scrutiny".

Finally, the one you have been waiting for …Envelope please… The Grand Sagan Candle for IT Skepticism goes collectively to the people of the Netherlands. After a few days in the Netherlands, the IT Skeptic can say it is an unusual country. It is unusually flat, with an unusually large number of canals and ditches, but that is not what is meant. It is unusually friendly and orderly and honest but that isn't what is meant either. It must be the only country in the world that is widely skeptical about ITIL. The Dutch seem to be naturally open to options. They want to see the possibilities before committing to a course of action. They respect dissent and are curious about debate. And they are hard working and diligent, systematically working though the considerations and covering all the angles. No wonder they take to bodies of knowledge - process and frameworks and methodologies - like the proverbial ducks to water (of which they have plenty: ducks and water and BOKs).
A special mention goes to Jan van Bon and Herman van Bolhuis for the Best Practices in IT Management conference in the Netherlands in April 2008, and for assembling Ian Clayton, Brian Johnson, Paul Wilkinson, and the IT Skeptic, aptly described as "The most unbalanced team you can currently find."

Happy New Year everybody!!!!!


Thank you

Thank you for the Skeptic’s Banner of Best Individual Contribution to
The trophy looks really nice on my virtual fireplace. I wonder if other nominees will come to pick up theirs.



Nice. Two in particular I like:

ITIL Live - quite inappropriately named since as far as I can see it's dead in the water. I signed up for the free demo - I thought that maybe TSO had restricted access to parts of the product for the purposes of the demo - but no, it really is that poor. I'm now getting TSO chasing me to sign up for a subscription. They have reduced the price for a single-user licence to a mere £950 (+VAT) for the first year (then presumably it's back up to the normal rate of £2500). Surprisingly, TSO say the take-up has been "slow". I spoke with a couple of the reviewers of the material - I think they were regretting becoming reviewers, because the quality of the material is so poor, but it was published anyway.

The second imprint of the ITIL v3 books. Not sure if this is OGC or TSO to blame. I'm on the itSMF UK Publications committee, and at a recent committee meeting the TSO representative was giving an update and just mentioned in passing that the second imprint had been released; there was the sound of a collection of jaws hitting the table. All the points you raised were mentioned. They didn't seem to see the problem! There were two of the v3 authors present - they were a little surprised that they had not been asked to review the changes before publication.


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