Thursday, July 30, 2009
Did You Know This About The EI?
I did some research recently for a series of white papers and articles on how much ITIL has traveled since its humble beginnings 20 years ago.
As of July 01, 2009 there are eight (8) ITIL Examining Institutes (EI). Each EI has accredited many training organizatons (ATOs). Here is a list of the EIs along with the number of unique ATOs for each. The ATOs include organizations offering both ITIL V2 and V3 courses. By the way, some organizations still offer some V1 courses, though often without certification.
Of course some new ATOs may have been accredited since, some may have gone out of business, and some may have been acquired by, or merged with, other organizations.
The EI are, in alphabetical order:
- 37 single organizations
- representing 44 different offices/locations
- 63 single organizations
- representing 65 different offices/locations
- 7 single organizations
- representing 7 different offices/locations
- 6 single organizations
- representing 6 different offices/locations
DF Certifiering AB:
- 8 single organizations
- representing 8 different offices/locations
- 270 single organizations
- representing 627 offices/locations
- 59 single organizations
- representing 87 different offices/locations
TÜV SÜD Akademie:
- recognizes all of EXIN’s ATO
In total, there are 367 ATOs. They have a combined total of 844 offices/locations in 62 countries.
There are also 40 organizations called ATP, which are Accredited Training Partners. The organizations offer the course material created by another organization.
For those of you who are wondering, the official ITIL website provides a list of 307 ATO offering ITIL V3 certifications.
For more information on the EI and ATO, please visit the official ITIL website at:
More information can be found about each EI and a link to each EI’s website is provided as well.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
You want some service with that meal?
Recently, I had an interesting and pleasant experience I would like to share. I want to share it because it is rare when something this positive happens in the world of “service.” I travel for a living going from city to city client to client delivering consulting and training. So I am usually spending my evenings in a hotel and taking my meals in a restaurant. So I sort of consider myself an expert on “service.” An expert in that I see “service” all the time. Mostly service from restaurants, hotels, taxis, rental car companies, airlines and airports, anything to do with travel.
I would say that for the most part, I would characterize the service I see as a professional traveler as MEDIOCRE. Nothing to write home about service, dull, ordinary and unmemorable.
Airlines? Don’t get me started. They mostly seem to be in a funk these days. Is it the economy, finances, low pay, poor treatment of employees? I don’t know, maybe all of the above. But as a customer I shouldn’t have to suffer. The people that work at the airlines are plodding away looking forward to the end of their shift, often not caring what I say or think about the level of service I am getting or not getting.
In the not too distant past, I had an extremely unpleasant experience on a flight (airline to remain nameless). So when I arrived at my destination, I took the time to stand in line at that airline’s customer service counter to share my frustration and to give “tips on how to better deliver service” (remember, I consider myself an expert). After waiting in the line for about 45 minutes I finally got to the front of the line. Since I had plenty of time to gather my thoughts, I concisely and articulately shared my brief story, being sure to make suggestions for improving the situation in the future rather than just venting in anger. To my surprise, the agent several times interrupted to suggest that I write a letter to the airline instead. Incredulously, I replied that “you are Customer Service. I’m telling you because I assume that is your job.” The agent replied, “it doesn’t do any good telling me anything. If I pass this along to management they will just ignore me. They always do.” “Harrumph,” I said, although under my breath I said something much more colorful! It seems at this airline, poor service and pretending to have a customer service counter is the standard.
Aside from airlines, most of my service experiences are in hotels and restaurants. I will spare hotels since they seem to get it better than most. They understand that there is a lot of competition for the business traveler and act accordingly.
But restaurants-still not so much. I have noticed many restaurants are seeing fewer people eating out than before due to the economy. They are lowering their prices in many cases to lure people back. But restaurants are more than “food businesses.” They are also “people businesses.” That piece often eludes them. Now I am not a food snob just because I have an expense account to help pay for meals. So I still frequent fast food restaurants regularly. The focus there is “get them in-get them out” like an assembly line with little time or effort spent on making the experience pleasant.
I also visit “sit-down” restaurants too. Here is where my expectations are higher and often not met. The staff seems to be more focused on themselves than the customers.
But I recently had the pleasure of dining at Max’s in San Ramon, CA one evening after visiting a nearby client. I had been on my feet all day working with the client and I was tired and hungry. I had eaten at other Max’s in the past and remembered they had a very diverse menu, so I figured I could find something that I liked. But I had never been to this Max’s. But I will be going back.
I left the client and went back to my hotel so I could change into more comfortable clothes. I then drove the short distance to the restaurant. After quickly being seated I encountered my waitperson and immediately noticed how pleasant and helpful he was in helping me decide what to order. I was served and began to enjoy the meal. He came back to my table a number of times to see how I was doing or if I needed anything. I also noticed that he frequently glanced over to my table presumably to see if I need my drink refreshed, etc. A very attentive server indeed. He checked at the end of the meal if I would like some dessert, then after I declined he brought my bill. As I reached into my pocked to pull out my wallet for the credit card, my heart nearly dropped out of my chest. MY POCKET WAS EMPTY!!! Panic began setting in as I racked my brain to figure out what happened. Did I encounter a pickpocket in the parking lot? Did I drop it in the car or elsewhere? Then I began to mentally retrace my steps back to the last moment I remember having the wallet. That moment was back at the hotel when I was changing my clothes. I don’t remember transferring my wallet into the pants I had changed into.
But that didn’t change the fact that I had just finished a meal for which I could not pay. I motioned for the server and said I think I need to talk to the manager. He asked if he could help me with anything first. I explained my dilemma, hoping I would not end up arrested or worse, doing dishes in the kitchen for the rest of the night.
The young man said the manager didn’t need to know. He put me at ease by saying I could just leave and return with the wallet at my convenience. He said he would hang onto my bill until I returned. He didn’t ask my name or my car license number or anything else. He just put me at ease and trusted me with no questions asked. I was almost speechless but excused myself promising to return in 30 minutes or less. He smiled and said, “no worries, take your time.”
I drove back to the hotel, picked up the wallet and quickly returned to the restaurant. I walked in and caught his eye. He smiled and walked toward me as I extended the credit card. The transaction was complete in seconds. Now this could have been ugly and could have turned out badly for me. But throughout the meal and the tribulations afterward, this young man continually proved how well he was able to deliver world-class service. I gave him perhaps the largest tip I have ever left in a restaurant. When he glanced at the credit card slip he said I didn’t have to do that and asked if I was sure about the amount. But I did have to do that and I told him he had made what could have been a very unpleasant experience into one of the most memorable meals I had ever had. Yes, I did have to leave a big tip. That’s the kind of behavior I want to encourage. I wish I had more stories like that, but I don’t. It’s a shame really.
Service-it’s ugly out there, usually, but not this time!
Does this personal story translate to IT services?? Let me know what you think.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
The IT Service Management Triumvirate
Business Management principles were formalized “eons” ago based on the best practices of successful businesses. The high level guiding principles of a successful business could be viewed as based on People, Process, and Product. Business Management principles were introduced into the “business units” but somehow IT was either overlooked or not considered an integral part of the success of the business. But times are a changing and technology has become a vital and integral part of the success of the business – not only enabling and supporting the business processes but also the people, products and services. The delivery, management and support of stable, reliable and available technology are essential to the success of most businesses.
So late in the 80’s, after the client / server environment had exploded our controlled mainframe environments and IT became a reactive, firefighting, “techie” culture, along came ITIL best practices introducing a formal framework of processes, or rather process improvement, into IT organizations. Not surprising they followed the principles of business processes – the assembly line approach to creating stable, reliable and available products and services – only in IT language. But IT organizations struggled with and still struggle with introducing process improvement, and becoming a proactive, customer and service based culture. Why? Because the other two very important ingredients are missing from the “success” formula – People and Technology.
Enter ITSM (basically Business Service Management) which incorporates the success triumvirate of People, Process, and Product. Adopting ITSM will open the door to the corporate boardroom for IT CIOs to be strategic players in the business’ strategic planning and budgeting sessions. Implementing processes and process improvement using the ITIL framework is only the tip of the iceberg. ITIL is merely one facet, albeit an important facet, of the equation and can be considered the “process tool”. IT Organizations also need to adopt a “people tool” or framework for their organizational culture transformation (e.g. J.P. Kotter’s Organizational Transformation framework). And, equally important, is IT’s Product – the technology that enables and supports the business processes, people and products. IT also needs to have the “product tools” to automate the delivery, support and measurement of their “business within the business” and their business objectives. The vendors are seeing the merit in this and are rapidly moving from “help desk” and component-focused solutions toward service- and financial-focused enterprise solutions in the form of ERP for IT and Business Service Management architecture.
Does your IT organization have all the necessary “tools” to become an IT Service Management business?
Thursday, July 02, 2009
ITSM Presentation Tool Kit
A PinkATLAS customer recently submitted an interesting forum question which I would like to share with you along with the suggestions offered by a couple of our consultants.
Our customer is preparing a one-hour overview of ITIL and ITSM to an audience with limited to no understanding of ITSM. They asked for some non-IT analogies which would make it more exciting and understandable.
This could be a tall order! Here is what two of my esteemed colleagues had to offer.
The analogy provided is a car manufacturing example. Setting the stage that the concept of IT Service Management is all about delivering value to customers; ask your audience to take on the role of the board of directors and to identify what they need to do to successfully market a new, next generation hybrid cross-over vehicle. Then relate each phase of the service lifecycle to building and selling this new vehicle. Next ask your audience what they need to consider in order to deliver value to the customer, that is, utility and warranty, as it pertains to vehicles; using Service Strategy, page 17 Value Creation (Utility and Warranty) Figure 2.2 and page 39 Asset Types (Capabilities and Resources) Figure 3.9 as a reference. Then ask them what they have to do to enable success in this venture; using the 5 aspects of Service Design to relate them back to running this business enterprise. Then ask them if they would ever consider building thousands of vehicles without first testing to ensure the design delivers what is expected and then testing each individual car as it is produced to ensure it works properly. Now they are ready to build the cars and sell them. At this point they move into operations and look at the entire vehicle supply chain in an operational context. Ask them how they are going to support the customer experience after the car has been purchased? Finally, ask them how they will know they are successful; what needs to improve; and, what customers are happy and not happy about. It is this Continual Service Improvement phase that feeds the experiences of customers and the organization across each phase of the lifecycle to identify and implement service improvement.
A couple of techniques were also provided with the key being to have fun, think outside the box and be creative in how to get your point across.
1. Add a movie or video clips to the presentation. First you want to find movies that can illustrate the ITIL processes and the framework in an entertaining way. The most popular and useful is the Apollo 13 movie. Another movie which has been successfully used, which provides a bit of humor to discussions, is the National Lampoon’s Vacation. Matrix also has interesting clips for examples. Play a clip to reinforce points or illustrate processes and ask your audience to identify the processes they saw reflected.
2. Run a Jeopardy show. Host a “show” with participants from the audience answering questions about ITIL and ITSM. Add a bit of humor to the show by throwing in a “ringer” who is prepared to provide some off beat and “colorful” answers. In between questions, run “advertisements” related to ITIL and the ITSM program you are launching. Have the sponsor on the stage as a participant and provide prizes for the game.
The key here is have fun – think outside the box and realize that the ITIL framework applies to much more than IT – be creative about how you get that point across.
I invite you to share analogies, techniques and examples that have worked for you or you think could work and which we can all add to our presentation “tool” kits.