Do Customers Care About ITIL?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the last decade or so, there have been a lot of “new” ways to do things, or at least “new” ways to measure how well we do things. I remember a company that I worked with in the early 2000s; it was looking to implement CMM. They were struggling to get to CMM level 2 at a time when I was receiving multiple communications each week from different offshore outsourcing vendors who were all claiming to be CMM level 5 certified. In some ways it was depressing; in others it became meaningless--everyone was certified and it didn’t mean a thing when it came to their ability to help me in a practical sense.
Next came Six Sigma. That’s a great idea when it comes to production, but in an IT services industry it is less meaningful--the number of repeated instances rarely make the difference between two or three sigma and Six Sigma meaningful (it is meaningful in transaction systems, but that’s largely running the same code with fewer variables than a production environment).
Now we have ITIL, and my age-addled brain has to wonder if I am reliving history. I know that ITIL isn’t new, but it has only recently exploded as the “must have” for the IT company on the move. So is this a meaningful differentiator that will make potential customers choose us over the competition, or is it just another thing that you have to do in order …

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