The itSMF does not exists to represent the interests of its members - they say so themselves

Look, let's get this clear once and for all: the itSMF does not exists to represent the interests of its members. Many people seem to be under that illusion. I have said this before: the itSMF is not an ITSM practitioners' society, despite the "forum" in its name. Its purpose is not to give the ITSM community a voice, or to represent or certify ITSM professionals (though I think it should be). Read the itSMFI website.
In the old days the itSMFI website actually had a page describing itSMF and ITSM. it said:

The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) is a global, independent, internationally recognized not-for-profit organisation dedicated to IT Service Management. itSMF is wholly owned and principally run by its membership. It consists of a growing number of national chapters, each with a large degree of autonomy but adhering to a common code of conduct.

The itSMF is a major influence on, and contributor to, industry best practices and Standards worldwide, working in partnership with a wide range of governmental and standards bodies worldwide.
The current mission of itSMF International is to harness global resources to strengthen IT Service Management, support its growth into new markets, direct its expansion into new models and protect its integrity.

The current vision of itSMF International is to become and remain the leading IT Service Management (ITSM) community worldwide.

What are our aims?

To develop and promote industry best practice in service management
To engender professionalism within service management personnel
To provide a vehicle for helping members improve service performance
To provide members with a relevant forum in which to exchange information and share experiences with their peers on both sides of the industry

Nothing there about representation. Seek in vain.

Now the website has a footer which states

itSMF® International is a not-for-profit organisation and a prominent player in the on-going development and promotion of IT Service Management "best practice", standards and qualifications.

Nothing there about representing a membership either.

and an About page

The itSMF® is the only truly independent and internationally-recognised forum for IT Service Management professionals worldwide.

This not-for-profit organisation is a prominent player in the on-going development and promotion of IT Service Management "best practice", standards and qualifications and has been since 1991, when the UK Chapter started as the foundation Chapter.

As businesses depend more and more on technology to promote and deliver their products to market, so the benefits of adopting "best practice" IT Service Management and of becoming part of the IT Service Management Forum become more apparent.

The itSMF provides an accessible network of industry experts, information sources and events to help you and your staff address IT service management issues and help you achieve the delivery of high quality, consistent IT service internally and externally through the adoption of "best practice".

Globally, the itSMF now boasts over 6000 member companies, blue chip and public sector alike, covering in excess of 40,000 individuals spread over 50+ Chapters.

Each chapter is a separate legal entity and is largely autonomous.

The itSMF International Executive Board is the separate International entity that provides an overall steering and support function to existing and emerging chapters.

...which at least refers to "a forum" and 'an accessible network", but don't expect member opinion gathering, representation, or even accreditation.

The itSMF exists in theory to promote ITSM and in practice to promote ITIL. Members are a source of funding not a reason for existence, which explains an awful lot about the way we are treated.

There are professional bodies trying to establish themselves but the itSMF let it slip away in the UK when they should have kept it in-house, and it is turning into a bunfight in the USA between at least three groups. It is an ugly mess.


There are important comments

There are important comments related to this topic to be found here

The itSMF International

The itSMF International lacks the ability to bring strong leadership to the service management community, or the adeptness to bring forth a strong voice to give full time attention to our industry.

communities of (different?) interests

While we all supposedly share an interest in the Right Road to IT Service Management excellence, let's face it....we all have different perspectives.

Trainers are interested in training, consultants want to consult, tool companies want to provide tools....presumably the Customer should be at the top of the stack, making clear what thier needs and wants are from these other players.

In fact, one could say a Customer Advisory Board (no pun intended) should set the course. The itSMF USA bylaws provide for an (optional) advisory board, but can include vendors, users and government or even (horrors!) non-IT professionals.

Perhaps there should be Customer Advisory Boards that align with V3's coming additional guidance by industry segment....

but then again, we'd need a new Glossary to deal with the inevitable confusion over which CAB we were talking about (or did that change in V3? hmmmm...)

a body to represent ITSM practitioners

I think you are off on a slightly new direction there John. itSMF should take the interests of the customers into account.

But what is missing is a body to represent ITSM practitioners no matter where they work, whether end-users, consultants or vendors. In the same way that engineers, doctors, architects and most professionals have their institutes, societies or associations. I'll have a new article on that soon.

Practitioner Representation

Then there is the Institute of Service Management (IOSM) however despite being a member I’m not wholly sure what it does other than add a line to my CV. As I'm already paying subs to the BCS, itSMF and ISOM I'm not sure I'd want to be paying yet another chunk of money out for another body to represent me. Perhaps the IOSM could take on this challenge for its 380+ members.


Let's face it, itSMF has been a front for self interest for years. But try to raise this in some places and the likes of Jan van Bon shout you down, as they seem to see nothing wrong, and even today push itSMF at the expense of all else.

The fact is that itSMF is hierarchy of self interest.

They act like a corporation, gathering money from members AND from vendors for 'marketing access'. That last bit says a lot. Now they are on the verge of generating even more money through direct publications.

They are NOT part of the open movement. They are NOT an open forum. They are NOT driven to serve their members as their prime objective. Yet they generate a fortune and spend it on what? On their own jolly hierarchy, their own secretariat, their own get-togethers People might care to remember that next time their subs are due.

APMG really are an awful development, but at least they accept openly they are driven by profit.

Be assured

Be assured,
"the likes of Jan van Bon" see plenty of stuff that goes wrong. At least, I do.
But that has never withheld me from working in and for this community. And it's not a self-interest issue. Believe me, my wife and I could both have driven a Rolls Royce if I would just have sold my expertise in the format of consultancy hours, like so many of my esteemed colleagues do. I just like this field and I see it as a great privilige to be able to contribute to it.
Instead of moaning and complaining I have a different approach: I simply try to do the right thing. It's a great feeling to NOT have to think about politics and commerce, and just go for a result that is helpful for many others.
And I'm not the one "to see nothing wrong, and even today push itSMF at the expense of all else".... Just have a look at the news items on itSMF at the ITSM PORTAL International, and you know why some itSMF officials are quite 'skeptic' about me. And that was BEFORE there was an ITSkeptic... I've never been afraid to say what I mean and I will keep on doing so.

I see plenty of stuff going wrong, but at least I try to do something about that.

I am a great fan of this blog and read it from head to tail. I think the skeptic does a great job by managing this platform from an critical but fair position, balancing the halleluja messaged we see all over the web. I wasn't actively participating, but if (anonymous) people get personal, I feel I must respond.

We're going to see a couple of extremely interesting months ahead of us, and the ITSM market will be completely reshuffled within a year. I hope that this community can refind itself, in the spirit of the itSMF I once knew when we set up the Dutch chapter, a long time ago. The 'vendor problem' was tackled very effectively there, and - as I remember - it really takes no more than a few strong minds to do so. Once done so, the market place we live in can be managed at everyone's advantage, buyers and sellers, if we just take care of the balance.
My best regards,
Jan van Bon

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