“Many paths, one mountain.”
– One interpretation of a popular notion among adherents of Zen Buddhism and other belief systems.
“First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then, you win.”
– Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, who could easily have been describing the arc of the typical disruptive IT project.
For much of the three decades and change I’ve been in the IT business, people have been telling IT decision makers that they need to run their departments like a business. But what if the business were run more like IT?
Don’t laugh or run screaming from the room. There are developments afoot that just might make this approach make good business sense.
For years, IT leaders have used recommendations from the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to create and execute consistent practices for delivering and managing the services that support their businesses. And today, companies such as ServiceNow customers Brit Insurance and CERN (where the World Wide Web was created), are using ITIL recommendations as a foundation for extending better service management beyond IT. Or, as analyst Roy Illsley of Ovum put it on Twitter during Knowledge12 last May, “ServiceNow has taken the IT out of ITSM, it is all service management and should be shared with other functions.”
Now, an emerging option seeks to bring the focus on process optimization ITIL has enabled for IT to those “other functions.” That option is USMBOK™, the Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge™. This ambitious effort is spearheaded by Ian M. Clayton of Service Management 101, who helped to introduce ITIL education to the United States.
And why did Ian undertake such a Herculean task? Here’s how he describes his vision.
“Irrespective of service industry or type of service business, I believe passionately [that] the more successful organizations seem to use a common lexicon of terms, principles, and operational methods. In my opinion, there should be no reason why any service business, even an IT organization, should invent or use any other set.”
USMBOK seeks to do nothing less than to create the foundation for that common lexicon. Or at least to begin the discussion that leads to its creation at enterprises where decision makers share Ian’s vision.
USMBOK is new, and there will be many twists and turns in its evolution. But I can’t help feeling that it’s going to be important, and that its importance will grow to be more pervasive more quickly than ITIL did. (Remember, the first ITIL guides were published from 1989 through 1996, according to Wikipedia.)
What should you do? Begin learning about USMBOK now, to see if it offers anything useful to your organization, within and/or beyond IT. (If you’re planning to attend the ShareIT conference November 13 in Calgary, where I’ll be a keynote speaker, you might start with Ken Gonzalez’ session at that event, as I plan to do.) You might also consider engaging other members of the ServiceNow community, to see what they think about USMBOK and its implications. And of course, feel free to engage with me (email: email@example.com; Twitter: @DortchOnIT), to share what you learn or to suggest other questions I might ask and of whom I might ask them.
Michael Dortch, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, ServiceNow