Malcolm Fry (a well-known expert in the Service Management community) was at the SDITS (Service Desk and IT Support) event in the UK last week, and was quoted as saying "When are we going to stop lying? No one is going to do all of ITIL". I've known Malcolm for some time now, and it was great to catch up with him at SDITS - we agree on so many things, and this is definitely one of them.
Despite Malcolm's comment, many IT organisations feel they are being pushed to 'implement' ITIL V3 - and don't know how to do it. Leaving to one side for a moment the argument that you can't 'implement' ITIL because it is only guidance on good practice, many faced with the challenge start with looking at the core ITIL V3 books (all 5 of them). Anyone faced with this extensive body of knowledge would be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the sheer size and volume of content.
In the past I've told people to get a life and not bother reading the ITIL books (slightly tongue-in-cheek but with a serious message).
I'd like to take this a bit further and provide some practical advice for those being challenged to 'implement' ITIL. Start by ignoring ITIL for a moment and look at the ISO/IEC20000 standard, a much easier read as even the new version of part 1, released during April 2011, only has 26 pages of content - and this is the only bit you need at this stage. You don't even need to read it - you can find a qualified ISO/IEC20000 consultant to talk you through it and articulate the value and benefits in an hour - we usually do this for our customers free of charge.
I usually describe ISO/IEC20000 as being the minimum level at which you can demonstrate you are competent at Service Management. It's not designed to be the absolute pinnacle of best practice, it's supposed to be what you need to be able to demonstrate that you adequately support your organisation. If you don't measure up against the requirements of the standard, then you need to improve - and do it quickly. So many organisations around the world are going for certification, or at least alignment to the standard, that if you don't meet the requirement you are being left behind.
Business Service Management is about understanding how the technology function supports their business colleagues and customers - ISO/IEC20000 requires you to demonstrate how well you do this, and therefore can be seen as a necessary step in BSM. However, it's not just a 'tick in the box' exercise - you get real value from using ISO/IEC20000 as it includes the most necessary parts of an effective service management capability. Many find ITIL V3 too difficult and most organisations will never need to do all of ITIL.
Remember that ITIL is suggested best practices, it's not designed to be implemented, it's there as guidance - use the bits that help you and ignore the bits that don't. ISO/IEC20000 could be much more useful to you in developing your service management capability and delivering improved and tangible value to your organisation and customers.
Although the standard is framework agnostic, so you could use it even if you don't use ITIL at all, the language and structure is based on ITIL, and in effect it specifies the minimum amount of ITIL you need. So, it's an excellent place to start, and could just give you exactly what you need to meet the demands and realise some massive benefits in terms of efficiency and effectiveness across your organisation.
Isn't it worth getting an independent assessment of where you are against the standard? This can act as a baseline for your continual improvement - and it typically only takes a couple of days to perform. This will tell you exactly where you are in your BSM maturity, and identify many opportunities for benefits and value (efficiency and service quality improvements, cost reduction etc.) so why wouldn't you do it?