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ITIL Version 3 Service Strategy: An Early Review

Jun 18, 2007

The IT Skeptic

Finally there is a third 70 pages of theory and strategy for the organisation and operation of an IT operations business unit. It seems very good, but will again spawn an industry simplifying and explaining it for those who have a job to do.

The book claims to be targeted at “IT organisations” (p10). I don’t see this happening. Even in the largest organisations, one person at most will have the will, interest, time and priorities to study hundreds of pages of densely packed theory.

The target audience for this book is ITIL consultants who can pre-digest it and deliver only the essential conclusions to users. Consultants can study it as one module of their master’s certification, though heaven knows what many will make of it, what exactly can be distilled into a short course, or how much will be assimilated over a few days. This book would be a suitable foundation for a semester’s full-time university paper. Lucky for me that I have a background in electrical engineering systems theory, a graduate degree in operations research, and a lifetime’s reading of scientific literature, or I’m not sure how I would have otherwise survived my first encounter with it.

I predict the book will only really come into its own (a) at the Advanced ITIL certification level, the new level introduced in Version 3 which is yet to be defined and (b) at tertiary institutions offering qualifications in ITSM. Actually (a) and (b) may well prove to be the same thing, i.e. OGC/APMG will look to more substantial institutions to deliver Level 3 certification than the comparatively lightweight operators that constitute current ITIL trainers.

As a result this book presents the same conundrum that all five books in the suite do: ITIL has been taken to another level of maturity and sophistication. That is all well and good for those who are (a) already on the journey and (b) have a business need to grow beyond Version 2’s simpler view of the ITSM world. It is more problematic for those just starting to look at ITIL.