Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Official Statement From Pink On The Increased ITIL Exam Fees From January 1, 2014
I’ve already blogged a few times on this subject.
I’ve attached the official statement we’re making available to our customers explaining what we’re doing about the ITIL exam fee increase that becomes effective January 1, 2014.
Unfortunately the increase has become unavoidable, but we’ve come up with some interesting tactics for keeping costs down overall for our customers.
The important points to note are:
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get in touch with me right here by posting a comment, or call our Customer Service Representatives.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Hindsight v Foresight
We often talk - usually in a rather cynical way - about “the benefits of hindsight”. But great leaders, really great leaders, can think through issues and connect dots to come to a very clear picture of the future - foresight. Combine this reasoning with the ability to speak eloquently and plainly and you often can have no doubt, and no misunderstandings, of the message the leader wants to get across.
One of my favourite examples comes from the eve of the American Civil War. William Tecumseh Sherman, famous for his ruthless methods once the war was underway, made this chilling and severe finger-wagging speech to the confederate states as they were threatening to secede from the Union.
You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.
If only we had such clear thinking and speaking from our leaders today.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Q & A On ITIL Exam Price Increases
Why are some Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) reporting different % price increases for ITIL exams?
I’ve seen quite a few comments through various social media channels this week showing some confusion about what’s going on behind the scenes when it comes to the new cost of ITIL exams.
Some seem to be under the impression that Axelos is charging everyone different rates because different ATOs are quoting different price increases. At first glance that may seem odd, but if you understand how exams are provisioned and sold by Exam Institutes (EIs) then you’ll see how different ATOs can report different price increases. Here’s what I mean:
So keeping all this in mind, if the royalty goes up - it goes up by the same amount for everyone. The price the ATO will pay will need to increase, but the % increase will differ based upon the price the EI charges its ATOs.
For example, say an ATO pays $100 to the EI for an exam. And say the EI pays Axelos a $50 royalty out of that $100. If the royalty were to go up to $100, then the exam would now cost $150 and the ATO experiences a 50% increase in its exam fee.
However, if another ATO was already paying $200 per exam; and the royalty change was the same - $50 to $100 - then the new exam fee would be $250 and this ATO would see a 25% increase.
The % increase all depends on how much the ATO is paying the EI for the exam. That’s why there are variances in % increases.
The figures I’ve used in my example are made up by me. They’re for illustrative purposes only.
Certification • Industry News • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
The Good News, Bad News & Lessons Learned From “The Great ITIL Exam Fee Increase Scare Of 2013”
I already blogged about the frustrations we’ve experienced waiting for the final details of the impending ITIL exam fee increase.
In fact, here at Pink HQ there’s been a LOT of hot air expounded in the past 3-4 weeks about this, culminating in a “Hot Air Fest” lasting a couple of days at the end of last week! The target of our frustrations being the ITIL Accreditor (Axelos) and the EI community (Pink’s primary EI being PeopleCert).
Between those two “groups” they’ve just taken way too long to roll out this major change. In the process I believe they lost sight of the impact on their customers - the ATO community and the exam students themselves.
Anyway, while we were waiting for the Accreditor and EIs to sort things out we didn’t just sit on our hands. We went into a huddle and came up with some policy statements about how we wanted to handle this situation.
Firstly, we took the bull by the horns and reached out to the CEOs at Axelos & PeopleCert to let them know what we thought. I can’t give you a verbatim report of those conversations, but what I can say is that it felt good! We managed to get our concerns across loud and clear. In return we received assurances that this was not what we can expect in future. Acknowledgement of a decent lead time when rolling out changes is now embedded into the thinking of the “powers that be”. So there’s been a big “lesson learned” right there. I can tell they’re more than a bit embarrassed by the way things have unfurled and they won’t let this sort of thing happen again.
Secondly, I challenged our team to come up with ways we can save on costs to mitigate the increase in exam fees for our customers. After all, our customers keep telling us they’re being challenged to do more with less. Budgets get frozen (at best) or reduced year after year in IT. That’s just the way the world works. In order to reign in escalating expenditures we all have to look at ways to increase efficiencies and productivity. At Pink we shouldn’t think we’re any different. Our first reaction at a time of stress like this shouldn’t be just to pass on increases to customers. I’m not saying we can always absorb every increase in costs, but we should at least try to look for savings we can pass on. It’s the right thing to do. It would be just plain lazy and arrogant to do otherwise.
So, with that commitment in mind - what happens next? Well, let’s take a big breath and acknowledge the bad news.
We now know that ITIL exam fees are going up by almost 100%. So what are we, at Pink, going to do about it? I always like to look at the opportunities that come along with problems. The problem here being the impending increase in costs. So how can that provide us with an opportunity?
We’re looking for cost savings anywhere we can find them in our Education business. By reducing costs elsewhere then hopefully we can avoid charging our customers more for training, even when the exam fee has increased. There are still more sums to be done, and we need to work through changes to some of our processes to see if our ideas for cost savings definitely can be realized. But in the meantime we’re going to absorb the increased exam costs as best we can and look at things again early in the new year. So that’s the good news! if you look at our website you’ll see training courses today cost the same as they did last week. And we’re not going to increase prices in the foreseeable future.
It would be irresponsible of me to say prices will never go up, but at least I can tell you there’s no increase planned right now. If we do have to make some increase, then it won’t be for a while yet.
So take advantage - book your ITIL training & certification with confidence now! Whether you want to do a course next week, or in January, or next July (whenever) register now and you’ll pay today’s fee, no matter what the price might be later.
Certification • Industry News • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Hold On, This Is Going To Be A Bumpy Ride!
The “stuff” is really starting to hit the fan in the world of ITIL exams. In particular the impending price increase.
Yes - in case you haven’t heard - ITIL exam prices are going up from January 1st. Unfortunately, the folks that pull the strings are continuing to mis-manage the whole process and - as of today - we still don’t know what the actual cost of an ITIL exam will be less than 5 weeks from now! Some Examination Institutes (EIs) have informed some of their Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) but not everyone has been told - Pink being one who’s still waiting. The excuse we’ve been given is that the Accreditor (Axelos) still has not told the EIs what additional procedures they need to see in place to improve quality etc. So the EIs fear they may have increased costs which they’ll need to pass on. Whatever!
Come on guys - get yourselves sorted out and start treating your customers with some respect! We have an order book of over 1000 exams to be delivered after January 1st. Those customers have contracted at 2013 prices for their exams. You don’t expect us to go back and ask them for more do you? This isn’t a Charles Dickens novel we’re living in here!
I have a lot more to say on this subject as a result of some emergency planning meetings we’ve undertaken here at Pink HQ the past couple of days. So watch this space.
Certification • Industry News • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Thursday, November 07, 2013
My Session Materials From Today’s 9th Annual ITSM Conference in Mexico City
Today I presented “How To Justify An IT Business Alignment Project To Executive Management” at Pink’s 9th Annual ITSM Conference here in Mexico City.
I began my talk by explaining how today - November 7 - is a very, very, very significant day for me, and how it is actually linked to today’s topic - “Alignment”.
Thank you to all the wonderful people who spoke to me afterwards with warmth in their hearts and smiles on their faces. You know who you are! And my very best wishes especially to Roberto. Good luck, buddy!
Events • Leadership • Practices • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A Customer Service Agent Trying Their Best With A Wacky Process
A few weeks ago I was doing some personal online banking and found myself using my bank’s chat feature. This is where you have a back-and-forth “conversation” with a Customer Service Agent in the browser window instead of actually speaking over the phone. On reflection I wonder how a live phone conversation might have been different from what we typed to each other. What do you think?
You are currently number 2 in the queue.
Thank you for your patience. An advisor will be with you shortly.
You are currently number 1 in the queue.
You are now connected with an adviser.
Priyanka: Hi, you’re chatting with Priyanka. May I take your name please?
DAVID: David Ratcliffe
Priyanka: Hi David, how may I help you today?
DAVID: I have been trying to make a payment to an individual and I get to the step where it says I need a card reader ...
DAVID: ... the system seems to think I don’t have a card reader, but I do have one. I picked it up in the branch.
DAVID: It has not been set up yet though.
DAVID: When I try to set it up I am told I don’t have one yet and I need to order it.
Priyanka: Please be informed that you will need the card reader in order to make online payments.
DAVID: I have the card reader right here.
Priyanka: I understand that you have received a card reader from the branch and you can definitely use it, however, to activate the card reader feature on your online banking, you need to order a card reader from your own online banking.
Priyanka: You will be able to use the card reader that you have after two working days of ordering one from your online banking.
Priyanka: May I help you with the steps to order?
DAVID: Really? So even though I got one in the branch some time ago I can’t start using it now?
Priyanka: I am sorry you need to order the card reader from your online banking.
DAVID: I am confused. Why do I need to order a card reader when I already have one??
Priyanka: As the card reader that you have is received from branch, you will not be able to use this for making online payments.
DAVID: But that’s what I discussed with the person in the branch. She told me to take a card reader so I can make my online payments. what will this card reader do for me if I can’t make online payments?
Priyanka: I can understand your concern. I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to you. Once you order the card reader online you will be able to use this card reader also after two working days.
DAVID: So I “order” a card reader online. But I don’t actually get a new card reader. Instead after 2 working days I can start using the card reader I already have. Is that it?
Priyanka: Once you order the card reader online. It should be with you within 15 days. However, you can use the card that you have after two working days of ordering the card reader online.
DAVID: So I end up with 2 card readers???
DAVID: OK - I’m speechless!
Priyanka: As it is mandatory to order one card reader online from your own online banking id.
Priyanka: I can understand your concern. I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to you.
DAVID: I guess I just have to wait then.
DAVID: Thank you.
Priyanka: You are most welcome.
Priyanka: Thanks for your understanding in this matter.
Priyanka: Thanks for chatting with me. Have a great day ahead.
Priyanka: Bye and Take Care.
DAVID: Well, to be honest I don’t understand. It seems like such a silly process. But I understand it’s not your fault.
DAVID: Thank you, good-bye.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
For Me - The Most Spectacular Booth At Fusion 13!
Hats off to Manage Engine!
They promised they’ll be taking “The Green Bubble Beauty” to Pink14 - good.
Monday, October 21, 2013
17 Years Later & We’re Back Here Again
Time for a little reminiscing.
There’s lots of old friends and acquaintances I’ve run into during the past 24 hours, but I want to mention one in particular. Ken Wendle. Some of you may already be wondering why I’m giving Ken a shout out (Ken himself will likely be as puzzled as anyone if he gets to hear about this!) But here’s why. The last time I was in this building was for the HDI Conference in 1996 - at least I think it was 1996, maybe it was 1997?? In the early 90s Pink Elephant was not yet on the USA scene and neither was ITIL. Back then I was a freshly minted “ITIL Service Manager” working for myself as a jobbing ITSM consultant. One of my side projects was co-producing a series of smaller support events for HDI. As part of the deal I struck with HDI’s Founder - Ron Muns - I was given the opportunity to have a booth at the big HDI Conference here in Nashville.
With me so far?
So there I was, a one man band standing in the most spartan booth in the exhibit hall. And amongst the leaflets I had on my table was a bunch of booklets I’d picked up from the CCTA (the CCTA was the UK government body responsible for developing ITIL). A gentleman stopped for a chat and I showed him this new fangled process model called ITIL. He went off with one of those booklets and I didn’t hear anything from him again for a few years. That was Ken!
The rest is history, as they say. Shortly afterwards I co-founded Pink Elephant in North America with my wife and business partner, Fatima Cabral, and Ken became a leading light in the early itSMF USA. Seeing Ken today I noticed his hair is very grey. And my hair has almost all gone. We must have looked quite youthful 18 years ago. I guess that’s what ITIL can do for you! Be careful.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
The 5 Most Important Leadership Qualities For ITSM
I’ve attached here the slides I used to support my talk at the “2nd Annual IT Service Management Leadership Forum” in Scottsdale last week.
This was a follow-up to my opening keynote session last year where I discussed 29 qualities we observe in our leaders. Since then I have presented versions of that session at other industry events around the world and recently decided I really need to focus in on the most relevant qualities we need to see in our ITSM leaders.
I’d be delighted to receive and comments or questions. Also if you’d like me to come and talk to your group about leadership in ITSM - please get in touch! My contact details are in the attached PDF file.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Latest Newsletter From “Newco” (Capita)
A few days I ago I mused on what the Cabinet Office & Capita will be calling their new joint venture company when it is set up next month. I thought I’d try to prompt a little discussion and a few ideas via Twitter. (To be honest, I was just getting tired of typing “newco” every time I needed to refer to this new entity).
Well, there was a small response with a few - mostly silly - ideas. Then today the 2nd Edition of the Best Management Practice e-Bulletin was released by Capita and included a short Q&A with the new CEO, Peter Hepworth. Guess what the first item is on his agenda when he officially starts his new role on July 1? Naming the new JV!
The main theme of the e-Bulletin shows that actively listening to the practitioner community is high on the agenda in these early days of the new era. Good to hear!
You can read the complete e-Bulletin here ...Best_Management_Practice_eBulletin_Issue_02.pdf
Friday, June 14, 2013
Corporate Values & The Inspiration Wall At Pink HQ
Most organizations today can highlight some documented values they would like to be associated with. The purpose being to encourage specific behaviours in support of the organization’s beliefs and goals. Often, however, these values can be identified with the best of intentions, but end up as simply a temporary rallying cry for the troops.
Are they discussed every day?
Are tough decisions made in light of our values?
Do we mutually remind, encourage and support each other when going about our every day tasks?
Morality, ethics and generally accepted definitions of goodness are often at the heart of any organization’s values. But we’re all human and sometimes under stress we can fall short of the standards we set for ourselves. So anything we can do to help remember what’s important is worth considering.
Here at Pink HQ when you enter our office you’re greeted by a wall containing the names of everyone who works at this location. Each Pinker has pledged “... to positively demonstrate Pink Elephant’s C.O.R.E. values and to be highly inspiring in every word and deed.” Our C.O.R.E. values are - to be:
Enterprising & Energetic.
If you’ve ever interacted with any of our Pinkers I hope your experience has been memorable and you recognized that these values are indeed a part of who we are.
Leadership • Photos • Pink History • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Monday, June 03, 2013
Leadership In IT Service Management
I’ve been observing a number of discussions recently - on a variety of social media platforms - about what we should look to for the reasons why we struggle to perform well enough in IT Service Management. I find it frustrating to see that people with strong opinions still believe it’s either the tools you use, or even the framework you follow. Really? You cannot be successful because your framework is restricting you?
It seems to me we suffer from some strange disease these days where we’re always looking to assign blame elsewhere. We aren’t prepared to accept responsibility for our own weaknesses or mistakes. It’s always someone else’s fault!
Back to IT Service Management - the most influential effect on whether your ITSM organization is effective or not has to be the roles you and your co-workers play. Specifically how well you understand your purpose; the quality of your decisions; and your resolve to make adjustments as you proceed through your plans. If the guidance in your chosen frameworks are compromising the activities you’re responsible for - then do something about it! And that probably does NOT mean you should throw the framework out. All frameworks today, including ITIL, are static and cannot reflect every single situation never mind the evolving environments we work within.
It’s important to remember it’s YOU who has the brain. It’s YOU who makes the decisions. It’s YOU who needs to research your business drivers. And it’s YOU who ultimately makes the choices.
An ITIL book isn’t in charge, you are!
When we envisioned the “IT Service Management Leadership Forum” almost 2 years ago, we set out to help you understand how the world of IT Service Management continues to evolve, and what you should do about it. One of the techniques we use at the event is to encourage all participants to interact and share their experiences. It’s not just about listening to “chalk & talk” presentations from others.
I hope you share an honest awareness of your role as a leader in ITSM. And you’re fully accepting of your impact on your organization’s success. Isn’t it exciting to think that it’s more about YOU than some inanimate tool such as a book or some software?!
I hope to see you at PinkForum13!
Monday, May 13, 2013
News From “Newco”!
I just received the attached document - a newsletter from “Newco” - with some answers to perceived FAQs around the recent announcement about “Best Management Practice”.
The newsletter requested recipients pass on this news - so here you are!
Certification • Industry News • (1) Trackbacks • Permalink
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
How Certification Can Help Translate Knowledge Into Results
Here are the visual aids from this afternoon’s talk at the APMG Showcase event in Toronto.
You might wonder how certifications can help with results - well it’s not a direct cause & effect; the point of my talk is that you need to VERIFY that the training & certification you have in mind actually will generate the kind of behaviour changes and positive organizational results you need.
EDUCATION - imparts knowledge.
TRAINING - delivers competence.