Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wise move ISACA?

Note.. the title of this blog is a QUESTION, not a statement.

itSMF has announced a memorandum of understanding signed between itself and ISACA - the traditional owners of the COBIT framework.

While the MOU may be more symbolic than anything it signals an interesting turn of events and begs the question - Why now?

Why now does an MOU come into place between itSMF and ISACA, when both organizations have been around and known each other for years. Please don't tell me: "because the modern day professional needs to see commonality and cooperation between such bodies". That is a cover all statement for taking any action at any point in time.

What has been the trigger that has lead to an agreement now? Let's say that the bodies have been talking about an announcement for 6 months. Who approached who and why?

These are the sort of questions that as a professional body the itSMF should supply to its members, but I wouldn't be holding my breath for a "non-political" response.

Could it be a flagging membership in both organizations?, could it be the itSMF answering a call from the OGC to boost interest levels after v3 has not taken hold as rapidly as they may have liked? - all questions open to interpretation.

What would be interesting is some hard hitting, no nonsense response from the itSMF on such questions. There are people in the organization that have the capability to shoot from the hip (I was speaking to one just a week ago); so let's get their view on this MOU.

Is it real or is it a union of convienence?

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Just what is the definition of "not for profit"?

I read with interest about the new "not for profit collaboration" between the itSMF and the HDI - Services Futures Group.

I wonder if the term "not for profit" is bandied around a little bit too much based on the past track record of the involved parties.

Picking an example at random. The itSMF web site for many years proudly held itself out to be a "not for profit" body. It is easy to check the words that were used on the home page of the web site over the last few years.

2002 - Not for Profit
2003 - Not for Profit
2004 - Not for Profit
2005 - Not for Profit
2006 - Not for Profit
DECEMBER 2006 - NEW WEB SITE... now redirects to
2007 - No sign of being a not for profit entity anymore

So, right at the end of 2006 and this year the words have been dropped and now the web site redirects to

I am no web guru, but isn't this a bit topsy-turvey. Wouldn't we now expect to see "not for profit" emblazened on the landing page, when the .org is in use.

I wonder if the changing web site is a reflection in the changing commercial interests in the 'formerly known as not-for-profit" itSMF. I wonder if the change is a reflection at all on some disillusionment in the itSMF that is posted on several blogs.

Either way the HDI and itSMF have created the Service Futures Group a "not for profit" collaboration. I will be watching their .org web site with interest to see what "not-for profit" papers, kits, etc. can be purchased there, all under the banner of "not for profit"!!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Latest from Exin...

Things are really heating up in the battle of Examination Institutes (EIs). Exin have outlined their plans for the future and while ITIL and the relationship with APMG features, it is certainly not dominant.

Exin have for many years offered a variety of certification programs, but the latest news from them can be seen as a focussed effort to break away from relying too heavily on ITIL.

First bit of news. In the past if you wanted to take the Exin Service Quality Management Foundation (SQMF) exam, (which is Exins answer to the itSMF ISO20000 program) - you first had to pass the ITIL Foundation exam.

That requirement is now gone. So now anyone can take the globally recognized ISO 20000 Foundation certification exam - very good news and well done to Exin. This move demonstrates that understanding ISO 20000 does not require ITIL theory knowledge, but Exin still state the ITIL understanding will help or the participant should have some good working experience in IT; but it is no longer a pre-requisite for taking the exam.

Secondly in the ISO 20000 field, Exin have published the long awaited second level - Service Quality Management Advanced (SQMA) syllabus and certification.

Pilots for this program were held in the Netherlands (makes sense as this is Exin's Head Office location) and Australia (also makes sense as the Aussies are big adopters of new initiatives and proud to lead the way !!).

Exin state that the SQMA program will involve theory elements, but also practical work assignments. However, it yet another attempt to completely confuse the market the way that Exin are describing their program leaves me trying to work out how to position it all.

Yes, there are explanations, but the fact sheet on the Exin Service Quality Management program ISO/IEC 20000 is a combination of both ITIL and ISO 20000 certification.

Here is an example of where the confusion comes from.

Exin "The ISO/IEC 20000 SQM Foundation program is targeted at a ....."

Exin "Exin's SQM program consists of two Foundation exams: Foundation in IT Service Management (based on ITIL) (ITILF) and SQM Foundation (SQMF)."

Deeper reading and analysis uncovers the strategy.

Exin are looking to create a certification for ISO 20000 consultants, based on ITIL and ISO 20000 certification. This could be seen as competition to the APM Groups Diploma in IT Service Management, as the complete Exin track is 4 courses...

1. ITIL Foundation (ITILF)
2. ISO 20000 Foundation (SQMF)
3. ITIL Managers
4. ISO 20000 Advanced (SQMA)

Either way Exin are putting up alternatives and this can only be a good thing for the marketplace.

So, in summary - you can now take an ISO 20000 Foundation certificate without having to first take the ITIL Foundation course and exam.

Next, Exin have announced end dates on all their single practitioner exams.

In effect, all the single practitioner Exin courses are now defunct. So for those vendors that invested heavily in the development of material and the accreditation; well perhaps that work can be used as part of developing the Clustered courses that Exin bought in several years ago.

It would appear that all the single practitioner exams will disappear effective immediate EXCEPT Serice Level Management and Security Management (both expire 1 January 2008).

Next on the "Exin news" is the statement that Exin will offer the APMG ITIL v3 Foundation exam. We knew this was going to happen, but interestinly, and in an even more apparent move to stamp their mark on the ITIL certification world, the certificate issued will be an APMG certificate.

Now perhaps this is by agreement between Exin and APMG or perhaps APMG have dictated that all ITIL Foundation certificates will carry the APMG stamp - but the days of Exin certifications for ITIL Foundation are at an end. I wonder if this is the case for ISEB as well?

Exin take great pains to point out that passing the APMG exam - whereever it is taken is recognized and acts as a starting point for the "broader IT Service Management certification program".

So, the wheels are turning in what was always going to be an interesting few months.

Exin's decision to broaden the availability of the ISO 20000 certification (SQMF) can only be seen as a good thing and APMG have no way to prevent that from happening. However, it would appear that the move by Exin is a clever one in terms of starting to give the marketplace a different path to travel when it comes to certification.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

itSMF to develop their own materials !!

Brian Jennings, big wig chief of the itSMF International community announced today, at the first itSMF Taiwan (one day) conference the news that itSMF are going to develop their own intellectual property.

Brian stated that in order to make the itSMF all that it should be, their needed to be additional funds... how does your intrepid reporter know this... easy, I was there and I took notes!

So in the space of a few short months we have moved from a vendor neutral, non-profit organization for Service Management professionals to join, to one that is openly looking to make profit.

And the itSMF has a captive market for selling its own material !! Every member - corporate and individual supplies all their details as part of thei registration process. I wonder if there is a tick box on the application form regarding the deilvery of sales material?? :-)

Is this another jab at the vendor community that has supported itSMF over the years, with sponsorship dollars OR is it a sweetheart deal between the itSMF and some "choosen few" vendors.

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