A supposed to be big news that didn’t make the expected kind of ripples in the ITSM domain recently was regarding the joint venture of Cabinet office with Capita which will have the joint ownership of Best practice frameworks like PRINCE2 and ITIL®.

If you haven’t already, you can read the details of this joint venture here,  here:  and here.

A few other names were being used in speculations prior to the announcement – but the name Capita Inc as the joint venture partner seems to have come as a surprise to many in the domain.

Though I don’t have much first-hand exposure or understanding of the situation and development around that, here are a few observations (aided by opinions and discussions of various experts in the domain) :

  • The announcement focuses absolutely nothing on the objectives or impact on the best practices themselves or to the respective domains – but too much on financials, tax-payers money etc.  This could also be a reason why there have been less ripples in the industry than expected. Good or bad, it throws up unnecessary focus (or at least speculations) to ‘valuation’ of the best practice frameworks – and in turn to that of ITIL®. Stephen Mann in his Forrester blog  felt this was “possibly be the worst advertisement for ITIL® ever released”!
  • For some of us in the ITSM domain who has been constantly complaining or criticizing the way ITIL® was run so far – this could be the change that could bring the change in approach.  For the time being at least that is an optimistic possibility.
  • With the 51:49 stakes-split (in favour of Capita) shifts the governing control to Capita. Will the interest of Cabinet office get limited to just the commercial ROI from their 49% stakes – time will tell. As many in the industry has already commented on, the significant fact here is: the governing control of ITIL® is moving to a public entity to a private company. (In my view, this could actually turn out to be a good thing).
  • Probably the biggest element of scepticism thrown in by Capita being the joint venture partner (and the governing owner with 51% stake) is – Capita being a private, profit-driven service provider who is competitor to many significant contributors, promoters and adopters of ITIL®.  Two distinct threats arise here:
    • As  Mr. Mann wonders in his blog,  “Will those who have previously invested so much of their time into creating and enhancing ITIL® (such as Stuart Rance of HP and David Cannon of HP, then BMC, and now Forrester) still volunteer their services to bring ITIL® up to speed with modern IT service delivery needs?” or will “Will ITIL® now be written by Capita?”. Like most in the industry I too hope ITIL® continues to be an industry collaborated framework. Anything on the opposite will be the worst thing to happen to ITIL®.
    • Will the other big service providers who have been contributors and promoters of ITIL® find adopting/promoting ITIL® as an obvious marketing for their competitor?
  • Another factor that is becoming clearer is – most of the practitioners who use/learn/get certified in ITIL® doesn’t know or care who the owner of the framework is. This in another way explains the subdued response to the announcement in the industry. Many of the clients and students I have been interacting with have the least interest in the ownership of ITIL®.  This is yet another example of how majority of the consumers are concerned about the quality and outcome of the product (or service) – and not the owner or producer of the same.
  • Many view Capita’s acquisition G2G3 ( just before the joint venture announcement as a positive sign to their intentions to better portfolio around ITIL® and ITSM. As David Ratcliffe of Pink Elephent puts it: “The timing of Capita’s acquisition of G2G3 – just days ahead of the announcement of the partnership with the Cabinet Office – looks to me like Capita may have their act together with a strategy for how to promote and deliver more valuable training in the ITSM field”.
  • There are continued scepticism too. Rob England (ITSkeptic)  states:   “both the Cabinet Office and Capita appear happy to let that speculation run wild. Where is the soothing explanatory broadcast by Frances Scarff to the ITIL and Prince2 communities? The meet-the-customers webinar from Capita? Stony silence from the walls of Castle ITIL®. All in all, looks like more of the same for the long-suffering users
  • As per the communications so far, there is not going to be any impact (at least for now) on the certification scheme, examination institutes, Accreditations etc. A comforting thought for the time being – but not sure how long.
  • There is definite lack of enough clarity at this point. As  James Finister in his blog has presented the fairy tale that could end (or continue ever after) in any which way!

The debate is continuing, but all of us are in a wait and watch mode. Clarity on the future of ITIL will emerge in due course of time!