Chalk and Cheese continued: ISACA vs itSMF

With a new itSMF Board meeting as we speak, perhaps it is salient to review what we got in 2009 as members of itSMF and ISACA, two similar-sized organisations with supposedly similar functions and similar annual membership fees. I've written before about how the two are chalk and cheese, and that remains true.

In 2009 ISACA has done the following:

  • ISACA published a significant amount of valuable guidance, including
    • Risk IT: Based on COBIT®
    • Val IT™ Mapping: Mapping of Val IT™ 2.0 to MSP, PRINCE2 and ITIL V3
    • Implementing and Continually Improving IT Governance (a new version of one of the core COBIT guidance books)
  • ISACA also conducted several studies, such as An Executive View of IT Governance and Building the Business Case for COBIT® and Val IT™: Executive Briefing.
  • To fill the need for a comprehensive model to guide information security professionals, the association released an introduction to the Business Model for Information Security (BMIS), which is independent of any particular technology and is applicable across all industries, countries, and regulatory and legal systems. The full model will be released this year.
  • The ISACA® Model Curriculum for Information Security Management was developed, as were 10 key IT audit/assurance programs.
  • Always a leader in international education, ISACA held successful Computer Audit, Control and Security (CACSSM) conferences, ISACA® Training Week events, e-symposia and other events around the world, including the first ISACA virtual conference.
  • ISACA joined the Cloud Security Alliance and issued a white paper, Cloud Computing: Business Benefits With Security, Governance and Assurance Perspectives.

and itSMF I dunno. Where do I go to get such a report to members? I found it eventually, buried in a post about the Chapter Leaders Conference. Not worthy of an announcement of its own? or a link to to be sent to all members?

Let's see, there was

  • The Chapters conference where all the country leaders got together at great expense and then published nothing at all that I am aware of
  • Some translations done for OGC - anyone got a list? (not mentioned in the annual report - I found two French books produced)
  • The prISM program, created by itSMF USA and piloting there
  • The itSMFI signed an MOU with the BCS to further collaborate on research and certifications pertinent to the ITSM market, which has produced... um... nothing I know of
  • Engaged a Chief Editor and established an Editorial Advisory Board to create a strategy to look into the possibility of ... um... still waiting on the strategy
  • I suppose we could include stuff not actually done by itSMF such as launching the ITIL V3 update, and the new ITIL Master certification

You get my point.


itSMF Annual report

You're right, the Annual Report was difficult to find and is a good thing for people to see! It is now here:

and on twitter....

Translations of ITSM books

I guess communication is probably the issue for the translations that have been done through the itSMFI translation contract....
5 core books in Japanese
5 core books in German
Official intro and 3 core books in French
5 core books in Spanish publishing this month
Foundation Handbook in Danish
Foundation Handbook in Japanese
Foundation Handbook in Arabic publishing in March
Foundation Handbook in Swedish publishing in April
5 core books in Portuguese publishing in late May
2 more translations coming later this year in Japanese

Several other translations are under negotiation currently, so there will be more to add to the list in the coming months

So we haven't been sitting on our hands....the strategy for itSMF publishing has taken quite a bit of work, and the commercially sensitive nature of the negotiations to get this sorted have meant that we haven't been able to make much of that public, but watch out for some exciting publications due out in the middle of this year.

Kirstie Magowan
Chief Editor
itSMF International

More details

Skep, I usually like your posts, but in this case i disagree with you. This post is both inaccurate and misleading.

Inaccurate :
As of today, there are 4 books available in French : Introduction has been published in 2008, SO, ST and SD have been published in 2009. It's been done with contributions from France, Canada, Switzerland and Belgium, so it is really an international operation.
The detailed list of translations is here :
I don't know when the German, Japanese or Korean versions have been published but I guess some of them were in 2009. That's definitely more than just 2.

Misleading :
There is a major difference between ISACA and itSMF : ISACA Owns Cobit, whereas itSMF's self attributed mission is to promote ITIL, not own it. So you if you want to compare equivalent elements, you should compare ISACA and OGC. OGC did a lot of things, sometimes controversial, but you can't suggest they've been inactive.

Also, itSMF International is not itSMF. See - Lots of things going on all over the world.

And there are a lot of things going on at the country level that are not even mentionned on the itSMF page. I know at least about meetings in Geneva (Switzerland) in December, Nantes (France) in February, Grenoble (France) in March, just to name a few outside of UK.

Maybe itSMFi is just not as good as ISACA to take credit of their member's activities.

Philippe, no song this time

efficient and effective

ISACA has also done a lot for me locally which I have not listed in that original post. At an international level, ISACA does more. I may have missed some translations but may i point out those are a service itSMFI has signed a contract with TSO to produce: I'm not clear on whether itSMF is going to get paid for that? (it cost us money in 2009, the only record of payment in the accounts is for a thousand pounds which would hardly seem to cover the translations so far) If we are not then questions should be asked because TSO will sell the books for a profit and OGC will collect royalties.

it is true that ISACA own COBIT. I get it for free, all of it including the equivalent of the complementary publications, plus VAL IT, plus RISK IT, plus large amounts of additional IP, as part of my annual hundred and thirty bucks. i don't get stung an additional five hundred every time I want a copy.

it is NOT just an issue of communication. ISACA is efficient and effective, itSMF isn't.

Additional comments

Just to clarify what might not have been clear : I agree with the point that you don't get the same value from the money spent with the itSMF than with ISACA, but the points you use to prove it are not the good ones, thus my first comment. Your first post in 2008 ( was much better in that respect.


German itSMF

Hi Philippe,

In Germany 5 books were translated, a book for ITSM in the public sector was published, approx. 10 regional forums met regularly, next to the main yearly conference several meetings were held, ~8 work groups adressed a lot of topics and more.

The itSMF is just lousy in communications.

Marc -

Virtual conference

I attended the virtual conference. Some tech glitches but generally well done, and the presentations were top notch.

Charles T. Betz

virtual conf

Which one's that Charles? The UK run monthly webinars that are reportedly good. (I'm a reader not a listener so i never get time for webinars or podcasts). Or was this a USA thing? or International?

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