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David Ratcliffe, President, Pink Elephant

If you're interested in what we're doing here at Pink Elephant, then feel free to post a comment - I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


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    Recent Entries

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    So Much Choice For ITIL Education

    You bet!

    I heard today that this small world has over 350 Accredited Training Organizations. And then there’s a myriad of un-accredited folks trying to make a living for themselves advising all those ITIL newbies.

    One thing’s for sure, you’re going to learn more effectively with a decent coach than you will on your own. I don’t have the latest official figures, but I know from past research that 80-90% of those who sit the Foundation exam after attending a recognized course will pass (at Pink our current Foundation pass rates are above 90%). Whereas only about half of those who go it alone - without attending a course - will pass. That’s a big difference, don’t you think?

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/29 at 05:54 PM
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    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    What To Do When There’s No Budget?

    Thanks to Michelle Lange for bringing this article to my attention. It’s by Denise Dubie of Network World.

    Denise quotes a Forrester research report that states - contrary to conventional wisdom - ITIL adoption is NOT on the increase when budgets are tight. We should normally expect to see organizations gravitating to frameworks like ITIL in order to make the process improvements that result in greater visibility of costs & deficiencies (incidents & problems) while promoting optimized IT service quality, and the business being enabled by IT to save money and/or grow revenues. It’s at times like this that ITIL should come into its own. So why are organizations stalling?

    Here’s my two cents.

    Adopting ITIL, or “Implementing ITIL” as some people like to say (but not me- see my other posts on this subject!) is viewed by many people as a big project you do because - well, “.... ITIL’s chock-full of mostly common sense, so what do we have to think about? Let’s get going!” In fact the rich organizations (especially in better times) will say something like “This sounds great - let’s have ITIL! How much does it cost and who do I make the cheque out to?”

    OK, maybe I’m being just a tad flippant here, but my point is that I don’t believe there’s enough thought and planning goes into the typical “ITIL project”. Cost/benefit and risk analysis are bypassed in favour of the “common sense justification”. “If it’s such a good idea - let’s just do it, especially when we have money in the budget!”

    Fast forward to late 2008 & 2009 and those budgets are tightened up. Now, before the IT folks go ask for funds, they have to really think about what direct business benefits the organization can expect to derive from ITIL. And that’s a big challenge right there. IT organizations that have not yet started working according to ITIL are most likely quite immature - that means they’re pre-occupied with the nerdy world of IT infrastructure management, or at best IT systems management. It’s going to be really tough for them to show much benefit from this thing called ITIL. ITIL’s all about “IT service management” and they’re not thinking “service” yet. Honestly, they’re not. They talk a lot about “service”, sure, but they’re still managing boxes and measuring throughput of data. Business outcomes are the furthest thing from their mind! Here’s the test, ask an IT person in an insurance company to tell you what their job might be. In these infrastructure/systems focused organizations you’ll hear “I’m a network analyst”, you won’t hear them say “my job’s to help the organization sell insurance policies”.

    So, it’s something of a chicken & egg problem. Until people REALLY understand what we mean by IT service management, and until they can explain how ITIL can REALLY help a business to control costs and grow revenues or market share (whatever the corporate objectives might be) then getting started on an ITIL project when budgets are tight is always going to be a huge challenge.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/23 at 04:38 PM
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    10 Things You Possibly Might Not Know About Pink Elephant In 2009!

    1. We now have a “Self-Paced Online” version of the ITIL Foundations course. It’s delivered via the Internet and includes a web-based Foundation exam at the end. You can start, pause, re-start and finish the course anytime you like, and from wherever you happen to be. You can also go back and review any portions of the course as many times as you like over a 12 month period.

    2. We also now have an “Instructor Led Online” version of the ITIL Foundations course. It’s also delivered via the Internet, but in real time. You “attend” and interact with other “attendees” as well as the Instructor, just as if you were in a classroom together. At no additional charge you also have access to the “Self-Paced Online” version of this course (see #1 above) so you can review all of the Foundation content as often as you wish over a 12 month period.

    3. The “Self-Paced Online” ITIL Foundation course is now included – at no additional charge - for all attendees of our traditional classroom based ITIL Foundations courses. Pink presents the classroom course in over 50 cities around the world as well as inhouse for hundreds of customer organizations each year.

    4. We now have a “Personal Education Pass” which allows you to attend as many of our publicly presented courses as you wish in a 12 month period. So, if you plan to attend more than 1 course in a year, a Pass is almost certainly going to save you money. In fact, if you’re planning to do the V2 Service Manager program you need to buy the Pass - it’s cheaper than the V2 Service Manager course fee!!

    5. We now have “Team Tickets” to make it more affordable for organizations to establish competence teams. It’s got to be more effective for an organization to have their IT service management improvement efforts led by multi-disciplined teams rather than an Expert individual.

    6. In August we launch our new “Regional Education Symposium” concept - in Scottsdale, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore. The Symposium is where we present multiple courses in the same location at the same time, providing attendees with greater opportunities for networking and participation in optional value-add sessions – just like at a Conference. In the UK we call this “PinkWEEK” – and the first offering is scheduled for Wokefield Park (Reading) in September.

    7. All of our Consultants have attained “ITIL Expert” status in the ITIL V3 certification scheme. We aren’t called “The ITIL Experts” for nothing!

    8. We don’t want you to “Implement ITIL”. Seems like an odd thing for us to be saying – surely we have a vested interested in promoting the use of ITIL? That’s true, but “use” is the key word here. You don’t implement ITIL for the sake of it. You refer to the ITIL guidance and practices that will help your organization achieve short-term & long-term objectives. That’s it. Do what’s necessary.

    9. As of early June, we already have over 300 “early birds” signed-up and confirmed for our 14th Annual ITSM Conference next February. The first of those signed-up and pre-paid within a week of attending the 13th Conference – last February! They have the confidence that Pink will once again deliver the best ITSM event in the industry.

    10. Pink is trying to be Green. I have posted about this subject before, but it’s always worth taking the opportunity to remind ourselves this is a never ending initiative. Our recent efforts to develop product for delivery via the web is undoubtedly going to reduce the Pink carbon footprint (think of all the travel we will NOT have to do!) But that’s not all - for the past 3 years we have discontinued printing those huge manuals for our conference attendees. You know what I mean – those massive binders that include copies of handouts for EVERY session (even though you can only physically be present in less than 10% of the actual sessions on the agenda!) Instead we make all materials available for download from our web site. Print what you need! And in 2009 we discontinued providing drinking water in plastic bottles. Instead we gave everyone a personal flask to re-fill from coolers. If you have ideas for how Pink can be more Green - please let me know.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/23 at 05:54 AM
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    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Properly Planned ITIL Education

    I just read a blog post by The ITIL Skeptic where he describes - (in his trademark blunt style!) - how many organizations waste money on ITIL education.

    That’s not because ALL ITIL education is worthless, just that it should be properly planned - especially who needs what, when and why. I couldn’t agree more. That’s been the theme of my rant on the recent Pink Perspective 2009 tour.

    The “ITIL Powers That Be” will have you striving for an ITIL Expert designation, regardless of who you are and what your organization’s needs might be. For me that’s simplistic at best and closer to being downright irresponsible at worst. In my view, ITIL education falls into one of 3 broad categories:

    1. Awareness - for virtually everyone in IT. This could be either some form of half-day to full day overview of what ITIL is and why it’s important to you, your team and your organization. Or the full Foundations class, for those who’s work routines need to change significantly because their role involves multiple ITSM process (think Service Desk for example).

    2. Deeper Knowledge - depending on your role or the project you’re now responsible for. This is where all the various advanced courses come in. Choose the module that fits your needs right now. Your thinking should be “I need this module in order to deploy or improve specific processes and activities”, not “I need this module because it gives me x credits”!

    3. ITIL Expert - for those who need to demonstrate a wide breadth of knowledge of the whole framework. After all, it is holistic and hopefully someone is steering your ITSM ship! Only two types of people fit in this category - industry consultants and “Service Management Champions” (internal consultants). BTW - see my previous post on how your ITSM steering is probably better served by a team approach rather than individual Experts.

    That’s it.

    Notice the word “certification” hasn’t appeared anywhere up until now. That’s a whole different ball game! Certification provides benefits primarily to the individual, rather than the organization. However, it can be used as a motivator by an organization to get everyone’s attention and make the point that “we’re serious about this and we want you to treat it seriously too”.

    Keep in mind, whatever the education being undertaken - unless you’re a freelance consultant - your ITIL education is being paid for by “the boss” and therefore it should derive benefit to the organization. And I’d even say those benefits should be relatively short term (when you get back to work, what will you now be able to do that will improve things?) Embarking on an ITIL Expert program that can take anything from 3 to 7 years to complete for an individual is not something many organizations can justify these days.

    (1) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/22 at 09:36 AM
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    Friday, June 19, 2009

    ITIL V3 Certification for Service Catalog

    So here’s me, over the past 3 weeks at the Pink Perspective events, ranting on about how long it has taken to get a new complementary certification through all the red tape at APM Group. Then - three days before the end of the tour - we get the announcement!

    That’s right, we now have a new certification to add in to the ITIL V3 scheme. You can read all about it here.

    And if you want to get involved right away, here’s the course Pink already has to prepare you for this certification.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/19 at 09:23 AM
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    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Pink Perspective 2009 Survey

    If you attended this year’s Pink Perspective events then you’ll remember George Spalding reminding everyone to complete this year’s survey. There’s still a number of folks who have yet to give us their feedback, and the more responses we have the more accurate the data will be.

    If you haven’t already, you’ll be receiving a further reminder email in the next day or so. It will ask you to go to the PinkREADY site and sign-in to complete the survey.

    All data is completely confidential, no record is kept of any individual’s responses.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/18 at 09:59 AM
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    Sunday, June 07, 2009

    Pink Perspective 2009 - North American Tour

    Download copies of the slides from here.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/07 at 04:06 PM
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    Tuesday, June 02, 2009

    Pink Perspective 2009 - Singapore & KL

    Download copies of the slides from here.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 06/02 at 05:43 AM
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