My first ITIL spam. ITSM is going to the dogs.

As one more item in the growing pile of evidence that the ITIL community has become the ITIL industry - that professional decorum is giving way to avarice - I just received my first ITIL spam. Whilst it makes a change from modifying my reproductive capabilities, it is none the less spam, and the fact that it comes from a reputable company is all the more disappointing.

itSM Solutions is - according to the subject line - "Looking for Assistance" in "ITIL Training & Certification". That is called the hook: don't say you want to sell something, say you are asking for help or similar emotional appeal.

There follows a suitable pile of buzzwords to establish credibility and press all the appropriate buttons, followed by "Who would be the best person in your organization to contact regarding an ITSM training or services partnership with our company?" in very large bold letters just in case I tune out and don't bother to read the rest.

It is from "Doug" the "Sales Support Specialist". Doug must be a part-timer because according to the itSM Solutions 2007 corporate fact sheet they only have three "principal partners" and none of them are called Doug.

itSM Solutions evidently operates a "worldwide network of Open itSM Solutions Alliance partners" so it is just possible that they have a partner or could find a partner in New Zealand. There is nothing in the email about why I have been chosen to receive it. It is addressed to "Dear itSM Solutions Student" which isn't me because I have never (knowingly) attended an itSM Solutions course. So this email was not sent to me, but I can't actually prove that the email wasn't deliberately sent to New Zealanders. However my remoteness and the odd addressee certainly suggests to this skeptic that the email is an untargeted blast, a.k.a. spam.

My only connection with itSM Solutions that I know of is a subscription to their good newsletter "DITY Weekly Reader", so I presumably somewhere agreed to receive such emails when I signed up: it is the same mailing address on the newsletter and the spam. I usually make damn sure I don't, but I miss a few. The sign-up screen only says I am signing up for "an itSM Solutions(R) LLC Do IT Yourself(TM) (DITY) mailing list" and the privacy policy assures me "Each email sent contains an easy, automated way for you to cease receiving email from us, or to change your expressed interests." No it didn't.

Now itSM Solutions don't spam me often (this is a first as far as I recall). They don't offer the impossible, the fake or the downright fraudulent. Their service is genuine and seemingly reputable (going by their customer list). I might even be interested in their offering (unlike most spam: my interest in reproduction shifts from participant to coach as my son grows up; I have no plans to invest in Nigeria nor money to do so; and I don't need another Rolex even on the remote chance that they are real). So on the scale of spam ugliness this is mild.

But it is indiscriminate, not consciously with my permission, offers no opt-out, and is crudely touting for business. It is spam, and it is a sign of the changes seeping through the ITSM community.

In a recent IT Career Planet article I was guardedly optimistic about the rise of professionalism within IT. I am less optimistic in the narrower domain of ITSM.

The attempt to form an institute is floundering on the bad decision to do it separate from itSMF; the lack of international governance; complete disinterest from the power-broker OGC; and petty in-fighting in the USA. Nobody in power seems in the least interested or concerned by the unseemly scrabbling going on: in fact many are setting the pace. We know the USA's definition of professionalism includes ambulance-chasing lawyers and breast-rearranging surgeons (rapidly spreading to other countries), but I would have hoped the wider world had higher standards of professional decorum.

This kind of thing needs to be frowned upon by all of us, and stamped out by those who can, if they can be made to care.


Not only spam, phone too

Here in Finland they don't just send e-mail to try to sell ITIL version 3 upgrade courses, but they make phone calls also. I find it very difficult to believe that i would benefit any from knowing whats new. Seems like ITIL is mostly a product intended for trainers to sell to management level people. What i however don't understand is why they are calling and spamming me, as i don't sit on any training budget, nor would i be inclined to spend any of my own money on ITIL...

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