itSMF International needs to unite the ITIL community

itSMF International is creating a committee to improve the development of chapters. This is a Good Thing, great to see.

I humbly suggest that chapter development is just part of a bigger issue for itSMFI: chapter integration. This is the dead elephant in itSMF's room: the problem so big that everyone studiously ignores it.

Basically, itSMF's international organisational architecture is screwed, for historical reasons. Each chapter has gone its own way and established its own infrastructure.

There is no common charter, or constitution, or database, or communication system, or much of any sort of infrastructure really. There is a set of rules somewhere - but I don't believe they are public - that sets expectations such as the annual tithe paid to itSMFI, the need for certain services and monthly meetings and a regular newsletter and a website etc

So every one of fifty-something chapters establishes and maintains its own constitution, processes, administration, website, newsletter, membership database, bookshop, conference, emailing system... all using volunteer labour and member's money.

Is this efficient? Does this maximise service to members? No.

Does it minimise inter-country politics and in-fighting, and avoid confronting the dead elephant? Yes.

Right now we are in the extraordinary situation of itSMFI competing with local chapters for membership of multi-national organisations, and undercutting on price for book sales to those global members. We have someone who looks to be from within itSMFI seriously suggesting that itSMFI is not there to be the front face of itSMF to the world, but rather the back-end rump service provider for the chapters.

itSMF has no way to contact or ask all members worldwide. Fifty newsletters and fifty websites give fifty different messages to the community. There are no regional conferences for clusters of countries. There are no(?) shared functions between countries. Membership of one country's chapter means nothing officially in another.

It's a fragmented mess.

I'd like to see:

  • One entity worldwide: consistent brand, rules, code of practice, chapter governance...
  • One membership, worldwide. Or at least one membership database and administration.
  • One newsletter, worldwide, with the option of local or regional ones if desired
  • One website, worldwide, with news/events/forum as it is now, but also with a homepage for each chapter, with a local view of events
  • One bookshop worldwide, with local fulfillment if desired
  • One email engine, worldwide, with the ability to send locally

When we see itSMFI delivering this kind of value then we'll be happy for them to take much more than the current 5% in order to pay for it.

But the IT Realist says it isn't going to happen any time soon. Where would HQ be? The Poms aren't going to let go of it, the Yanks have no claim to it, and it will be permanently fixed in the UK over the Yanks' dead bodies (not to mention the Dutch). Can we find a neutral spot: Zurich perhaps? Singapore?

Or perhaps Beijing. The USA is the superpower for only a few more decades...



I have been part of a local itSMF chapter for a few years now.

We do our best to meet the needs of the local Service Management community in our area.

Currently we are in transition to a new model with our National Chapter providing backoffice, bookstore, and e-mailing system (who has the money & time to put together a newsletter?).

I like being part of the board because it allows me to connect with other professionals right in my community........but

I find your comments to paint a disturbing picture of those at the top or should I say in the back.......lurking in the shadows?

Sponsorship of local chapters conflicting with National is becoming a common debate in our meetings. It's our task to come up with a model that serves the local players who cannot afford the big $ of going with a national sponsorship.

not even a national structure

You raise a good point that I missed. In some countries it is not even a national structure but further fragmented. Fortunately i believe this is rare. Hopefully the new chapter support processes will do an even better job of mentoring your country towards a unified structure. There are plenty of examples to work from. Here in NZ we have one national infrastructure, with local committees in the three regions receiving an allowance out of national funds, running the local meetings, organising speakers for them, and organising local sponsors for those meetings. National sponsors support the annual conference. This two-tier sponsor structure would address your concerns I think.

Fantastic Rant Skeptic

So... It sounds like you need to engage with the new Chapter Development Committee that they've set up. Why don't you do so and champion the cause. Do it now though or forever be on the outside. And for god's sake do us all a favour and put up or shut up!

dead mice

I make more contribution to itSMF than most members and have done for years. Whether I did or not does not make my arguments less valid - you are resorting to ad hominem attack which is uually a sign of someone bereft of intelligent counter-argument.

You also completely missed the point of the post, which is also a sign of....

The new committee will do a great job of cleaning out the dead mice while the dead elephant bloats. (hmmm I think we need a new metaphor here: deckchairs and Titanics?)

Sounds like a chicken's way

Sounds like a chicken's way out... sad! You would have been a good person to help change things - you ought to have the balls really. Instead, I guess, you'll always be outside the tent pissing in! And yes, cange the metaphor - you've used it 4 times at least on this site as far as I can see.

Twice actually

Twice actually. ITIL’s dead elephant: CMDB can't be done and here. Three if you count Dead cat syndrome which is actually an entirely different metaphor. If it is death in general which upsets you, then you might also count Is ITIL Dead in the Water?, which brings us to four. I am glad, I'd hate to think you were wrong about anything.

And visitor is?

I think you at least owe it to Rob, and the rest of us for that matter, to reveal your identity?

Rob is in no way alone in wondering how the whole itSMF structure is organised and driven. I can say with some certainty that when the ITIMF was formed it was very much meant as a user group, if only because nobody back then had any idea it would spawn such an industry.

South Africa

The headquarters should be in South Africa. People love coming for meetings here, and then going on safari or staggering round the wine routes!


Regional Chapter Liaison


With regards to one of your points I would like to update you:

>There are no regional conferences for clusters of countries.
The Chapters in the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Macedonia) are holding their 3rd Regional Conference on May 27-28 in Macedonia. This Regional Conference rotates around these Chapters (with Slovenia & Croatia holding the last two events)

There are Regional liaison between Chapters with the Nordic Group (Norway, Sweden, Denmark & Finland) most active in working together on areas of mutual interest like Events & Conference, Marketing collateral. There is also co-operation between Chapters in Asia Pacific (they collaborated on an ITIL Implementation Survey) as well as between Australia & New Zealand.


Thankyou for that update - it is good to see there are clusters.

I hope the two northern ones are more substantial than the Aus/NZ one you cite, which is still at the discussion stage - there is no commonality between the two countries (too bloody right mate).

Actually one isn't: "mutual liaison" sounds like discussions. So we are down to one shared service: a rotating conference between five countries.

This doesn't exactly invalidate my point about massive redundancy of effort does it? How about membership? Websites? Newsletters? Administraion?....


Totally agree. Kinda like a fragmented, tribal IT organization. :)

John M. Worthington
MyServiceMonitor, LLC

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