Vendors involved in itSMF: good for ITIL or not?

Do some vendors push the envelope of what is acceptable behaviour for those involved in itSMF? You bet. So how do we deal with this for the best interests of ITIL? Not by banning vendors, that is for sure. We need better user representation and better controls.

Ian made a good thoughtful comment about vendor involvement in itSMF. But Ian was not saying "chuck the vendors out" like some do.

To repeat a point I have made in the past, it is not about whether you have vendors in the organisation. You must.

  • Vendors are people too. they have a right
  • you can't define what is or isn't avendor. I make a proportion of my income from local ITIL consulting. Am I a vendor? I make a tiny portion of my income from advertising on this blog? Am I a vendor? I hope to publish a book on ITIL (or two). WIll I be a vendor?
  • Vendors, as Ian says, provide much of the energy and money for the organisation

It is not about whether we should have vendors, it is about how good the policing is (I can't use the word "governance" here any more). itSMF must have good policy on conduct and disclosure (for general members and for office holders), and then enforce it well. Neither of these things exist now.

Vendors can be good or bad, all depending on how itSMF harnesses and uses the energy.

Now the next issue is good or bad for who or what? As Ian mentioned in his comment, I've said before that itSMF exists for ITIL the industry not ITIL the community of users. Fine. That is not a secret and itSMF can exist for any reason we wish. Sadly there is a popular misconception amongst members that itSMF exists for them. iTSMF should either clear up the misunderstanding and let those people go join a member organisation if they wish, or it should change its official purpose and de facto purpose to serve the members better. There is much talk right now from a number of senior office holders to suggest itSMF wants to do the latter. This makes a great change from the "let them eat the books" attitude of the previous regime. We shall see.

For the overall health of ITIL we need both industry and user representation, from itSMF and/or somewhere else. And we will need well-policed vendors to make both functions happen.

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