[hemmerling] ITSM – From Trainer’s Goldmine to transparent Market – A Travel in Time

Book ”The ITSM Experience: Real Life Remarkable ITSM Experiences - 2010 Edition”. Publisher: Ivanka Menken, Art Of Service The Art of Service. Publishing house: Emereo Pty Ltd (30. August 2010). ISBN-10: 1742444741. ISBN-13: 978-1742444741.

The editor Ivanka Menken wrote me in 2011 “Due to copyright restrictions we can't use the word ITIL on the cover or in the book”. Therefore, the editor replaced the word ITIL by the word ITSM in my contribution. This causes some incorrectness in the article published on the pages 141-145. Here at this place I publish the correct version of my article:

ITSM – from trainer’s goldmine to transparent market – a travel in time

Written by Rolf Hemmerling

I am an engineer with focus on IT quality management.

My name is Rolf Hemmerling, I am engineer in information technology (Dipl-Ing.(FH), equivalent to Bachelor of Science ) living in Hannover, Germany. One of my core competences is quality management for IT infrastructures, based on ISO 9000 and ISO 27000. I am interested in ITIL since 2005, but certification is still in the queue and planned for 2011. In fact, my daily work, if I have a contract as consultant with a data center to improve quality management, does not follow the rules of V2 or V3 exactly, so far.

My role as companion and attester of the ITSM revolution - A Travel in Time.

Nevertheless or even just because I have this special unique look from my ISO 9000 / 27000 base outside to ITSM, I think this makes me the right person to describe the progress of ITSM by the way marketing of ITSM is done, by naming my own marketing experience.

Minus 5 Years from Today

The first time I heard the word “ITSM” was in August 2005, on the free-of-charge “Business Breakfast 2005” of Hitachi Data Systems in Hamburg. As Hitachi sells hardware, it was a serious surprise to hear something about IT management. At that day ITSM was just a new word for me. Oh I was not doing IT management or quality management at that time, so no blame on me.

The next encounter, in the same year in November, was more intensive and impressing: There was an free-of-charge evening speech event “ITIL - A temporary fashion or a guarantor for a cost efficient IT service management?” at a local university in my town, Fachhochschule Hannover - University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Now ITSM was a new methodology I was willing to take a deeper look at.

Minus 4 & 3 Years from Today

In September 2006 and September 2007, I visited the full-day conferences “ITIL from theory to practice” organized by the German chapter of the “Information Technology Service Management Forum” (itSMF). I was delighted about the number of people and their job roles. I noticed that even the boss of the data center of a local university visited the conference. Obviously the topic was “hot”. The general message of the speakers and the experts was “Attend an expensive 2-days ITSM course and pass the ITIL Foundation exam directly afterward, as part of the course”. The second message was “No ITSM exam without expensive course”. So I learned, that ITIL (at that time; still V2) was a goldmine or if you prefer, cash cow for ITSM trainers.

By the way, at that time, 2006 and 2007, the visit of the conference, including lunch and drinks in a high-quality hotel in Hamburg, was free of charge.

Minus 2 Years from Today

In March 2008, I joined the online full-day symposium “itSMF e-Symposium Sponsored by CA - Moving Your ITIL Implementation Forward - What are Your Next Steps?”, organized by itSMF and CA. The question was symptomatic for my own situation: What shall I do next?

Minus 1 Year from Today

The answer to this question was to visit the regional meetings of the German chapter of iTSMF, regularly, starting in January 2009 until today, both in my hometown Hannover and in Hamburg. So I joined the round table of ITSM experts and learned the ITSM vocabulary easily, also by playing ITSM simulations like “Fox Port'” and ”'The Challenge of Egypt' ( I still did not play the famous “Apollo 13” ITSM simulation, though ). Btw, since then, the yearly conference “ITIL from theory to practice” of the German chapter of iTSMF was not free of charge, anymore.

By a brief market research, I learned that now with the forced move from ITIL V.2 to ITIL V.3, the expensive ITSM training courses usually got longer for 1 day due to the larger amount of contents, resulting in a higher price.

In 2009, I had a 6-months project in a medium-size datacenter to introduce a quality management system. I used the standard ISO 9000 and ISO 27000 approach, successfully. I knew that I did not have the time to do something “new” for me in a real life project, while the client company expects easy going work, not “try and error”.

Today

In August 2010, on the German IT conference “ICE Lingen - Intelligent Communities for Europe”, I learned by talking to ITSM experts, that the rules for ITIL foundation certification had changed since they were advertised on the “ITIL from theory to practice” conferences: Nowadays, it is possible to train for ITIL 3 Foundation certification by reading some books, and of course communicating with colleagues in the office or at the regional iTSMF meetings.

And to do the exam without expensive course, e.g.at any training and certification institution which is a partner of the “Prometic” network. I even noticed that the famous German TÜV-South consulting institution offers regular ITSM 3 Foundation exam “open to everybody without course” in their event calendars.

The trainers concentrate on company in-house teaching, which is still a cash cow, and on teaching the higher levels of ITSM.

Future

With the option to take the exam without expensive course, I am going to prepare for the ITSM 3 Foundation exam in late 2011. As freelancer, it is more important to deliver good work based on good information (gained by own experience, read in books and learned from colleagues) that to have a paper with a certification that I passed a test - remember an ITSM certification has not the quality of an engineering graduation. It’s just the result of a passed test.

Conclusion

Taking ITSM as an example how successful marketing works:

First when the methodology and technology are new, the “introductory” advertising events are free, but the real money is earned by concatenating an expensive training which just is good to be trained to pass the test, with the exam.

In a later stage of the market, advertising events are not free anymore, as the importance of the topic is well known, so that managers are targeted who are willing to pay ( the company's money ) to participate in conferences.

On the other hand, instead of going to more and more expensive conferences, the experts organize themselves in special interest groups with affordable annual subscriptions (e.g. iTSMF) and meet at regional events, to share experiences, knowledge and information.

The market gets transparent: It is not mandatory anymore to take an expensive course as prerequisite to pass the exam. This is good for all self-employed IT experts and IT experts in small and medium size companies which are unwilling or unable to pay for expensive trainings just to pass an exam.

As you need to learn the lectures anyway, not taking an exam preparation course means to invest time to learn with books - with a higher risk not to pass the exam successfully, but with the option to learn more for the profession than just for a test.

Rolf Hemmerling

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