This is one of the most frequently discussed and debated topic.

Still, I am amazed at the number of organizations or teams who still talk in those lines – even when ITIL in its third ‘Avtar’!

Why would any organization want to ‘implement’ ITIL ? Every body knows and undertands that ITIL is not a tool or an application to be ‘implemented’. But still we want to ‘implement’ ITIL. Organizations expect an external consultant (read ‘expert’!) to come and ‘implement’ ITIL for them.

Nice thought, huh ? One expert comes, implements the ITIL best practices, you thank (err.. pay!) him or her and thats it!

For those who thinks this sentence is a bit of exaggeration, here is one of my real life experiences:

  • One of the client where I had a presales visit and discussion(fortunately or unfortunately didn’t get a chance to work there) wanted us to do this: Plan, implement ITIL best practices, handle the process management for some time, transfer to them and leave (In Build, Operate and transfer – BOT – model!) He was very clear that they don’t have resources with the required skills and time (!!) from his team to work on that initiative.
  • Another client, where I worked, there were two teams working in tandem : One on ITIL ‘implementation’ and other on ISO/IEC 20000 certification. Each of these teams has their own plans, directions, activities; and whenever they talked to each other, there were sparks flying (Okay.. here I exaggerated a bit ;-)).  The cracker of a moment occurred, according to me, in one of the meetings where I asked about how they are following a particular process. One team member asked me very seriously: ” Are you asking about our ITIL process or ISO/IEC 20000 process?”. I had to use all my skills to convert a chuckle or a frown (depending on how I wanted to take that) into a smile and say:    ” I want to know about ‘your’ process!”


So that is the key. Organizations need to have ‘their’ processes. The objective of any initiative should be to improve, benchmark or certify their processes – utilizing global best practices or against global benchmarks and standards.

For me, the questions any consultant should have in mind when he talks to the client are –

  • What is the objective here? – a problem solving? an improvement? benchmarking? or certification?
  • What is the exact problem or shortcoming that the client is trying to solve?
  • What is the exact, ‘measureable’ improvement that the client is trying to achieve?
  • What are the timeline objectives the client have in mind (though most of the time these will have to be rationalized!)

Once you know the objectives and the need clearly, you can take a call which reference will help you in satisfying that need:

  • ITIL (V2 or V3 :-))?
  • ISO/IEC 20000?
  • Any other frameowork, methodology or standard?
  • Any combinations?
  • Or just your own plain experience ,knowledge or common sense?

That will make one a ‘domain consultant’- and not a ‘framework consultant’, which most of the organization will be more appreciative of!

I always used to ask myself , “do you want to be called  ITSM consultant or ITIL consultant? ” and my answer is always the same and the obvious!