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The Pillars of ITIL are Crumbling

Is it time for OGC to hand over the reins?, asks ITSM Watch columnist The IT Skeptic.
Mar 28, 2007

The IT Skeptic


OGC is not creating or controlling a community of ITIL practitioners and users (see

  • ITIL Must Embrace the Collective ), and itSMF is not it either. The OGC has plans for a wide-ranging “portal” that certainly looks impressive on paper. We hope it will address the whole issue of creating an online community and embracing 21st century collective technologies. If not, the IT Infrastructure Management Association might fill the vacuum?

    Industry Regulation and Governance

    What control is there over the ITIL industry (other than exam certification of trainers)? When vendors of products or services are given the right to use the trademarked term ITIL, what obligations do they agree to? What body governs what they do to ensure they do not misrepresent the concepts of ITIL or their capabilities to deliver them?

    In theory it is OGC, but there is no mechanism equivalent to IPESC or ICMB to effect this in practice.

    Individual Certification

    Other than the content, this is the other Pillar of ITIL that OGC did well: establishing the ITIL Certification Management Board (ICMB) and accrediting the trainers and examiners. But the mechanism is under a cloud of uncertainty since OGC recently sold exam certification to a private company, APMG.

    The ICMB seems to have gone-to-ground. The ICMB comprised OGC, itSMF International, EXIN (a Dutch certification company) and ISEB (a certification body run by the British Computer Society) before the CAR tender awarded certification to APMG.

    Does this body still exist? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Neither OGC nor itSMF International nor itSMF UK nor itSMF USA have updated their information in this area. Their websites indicate that it still exists and oversees ISEB and EXIN who in turn used to accredit training providers. No mention of APMG or the changed playing field since CAR.

    One of the solid Pillars of ITIL now trembles.

    Product Certification

    Why was Pink Elephant left to do PinkVerify as a commercial offering? Because OGC consciously stepped away from the whole issue of product certification. Nor does ISO20000 appear to address it (yet).

    There needs to be an open transparent non-commercial product certification mechanism run by an independent body and we needed it about ten years ago.

    Organizational Certification

    Why did so many consulting firms all have to (re-)invent their own ITIL assessment or maturity measurement?

    ITIL emphasises the Deming cycle and assessing "as-is" status. But it provides no standard mechanism to measure ITIL status within an organization. This was forgivable in the first version. It has been an obvious crying need ever since.

    Perhaps with v3’s emphasis on a lifecycle we can hope for an assessment standard (though early indications are not good).

    A Standard

    Why did we wait so long for BS15000? A standard would have addressed the organizational certification issue and possibly the product one too, and given ITIL additional credibility in business. The result is that BS15000 and now ISO20000 came out so long after v2 that the evolution of the industry meant the new standards are well in advance of what is in ITIL.

    The ITIL content is out of synch. We all hope that ITIL v3 is going to bring them back closer.


    Through mechanisms like IPESC and use of copyright, OGC have managed and governed the ITIL books well. Through the ICMB they controlled the individual certification industry. So we had three pillars that were in good shape.

    Certification is now on uncertain ground and we all watch to see whether it survives the advent of APMG. As for the content, we wait with baited breath. In all of the other Pillars, OGC has taken no official role and has let them drift or not exist.

    Someone needs to govern them all ("One ring ..."). Perhaps it is time for OGC to find a new owner for ITIL, or alternatively to step up to a higher level of management of the ITIL environment.

    The IT Skeptic is an ITIL professional and active itSMF member who, for obvious reasons, prefers to remain anonymous. More thoughts from the IT Skeptic can be found at IT Skeptic.