I promised a second blog based on the English-language presentations at the itSMF Norway annual conference but then I had a better idea … rather than just giving you the something akin to Twitter highlights I decided to be cheeky and ask a couple of the presenters to write blogs based on their presentations. Smart or lazy, I think it is better for you the reader.

Here is the first from Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks – no stranger to writing blogs for my Forrester blog roll. The second is by Stuart Rance of HP and this will appear soon. Paul’s topic?

“How to improve the Return On Value (ROV) of an IT service management training initiative”

To quote Paul: “Hardly an innovative, exciting, sexy subject when everybody wants to hear about cloud, BYOD, social media, and all that new stuff.” BUT Paul was asked to present the same session he delivered in 2012 given that it was one of the top 3 well-received the previous year. I personally thoroughly enjoyed it – Paul is good at making you believe that there is “a better way” when it comes to changing the way we think about IT service delivery.

What were Paul’s key messages?

What was so important? Why should you read on? What should YOU now do differently?

Paul set the scene nicely. In his words (with a little editing by yours truly):

  • Many IT organizations are attempting to make the transition from being too “internally and technology focused” to being more “customer and business value focused” which represents a transformation of IT behavior and culture – a significant change and a “management of organizational change” issue. It’s not an IT service management (ITSM) best practice framework issue.
  • This transformation means new knowledge, skills, and capabilities are required. Not only for employees but also leadership skills for managers to help ensure that the transformation succeeds.
  • Many organizations are sending staff on training, gaining ITIL (the ITSM best practice framework) certificates but failing to gain the hoped-for value or successfully transforming operations. We are very good at the education and theory, after all there are more than 2 million ITIL certificates, but we are poor at the experience and practice, confirmed by the fact that 70%-80% of organizations do NOT get the HOPED for value from their ITSM  investments.  Current approaches are not working, new approaches are needed.

During the session, 85% of the 100+ attendees admitted to “doing ITIL” – surely something that focuses them on IT services. But less than 5% could answer the question “What is the definition of a Service?” 5% seems to be the global average! So far 6000 people have been asked the same question, with the same results.

So what is a service?

“A service is a means of delivering Value to customers by facilitating Outcomes they want to achieve without the ownership of specific Costs and Risks’ (V, O, C, R).”

The fact that very few knew (Stephen: or they could be shy), confirms one of the top-chosen ABC worst practices world-wide: often ITIL is the objective, not what it should achieve! Too few people know WHY they are doing ITIL or what results it should deliver for their business. Too few people know how to translate the theory into practice, aimed at achieving agreed V, O, C, R goals.

Looking beyond ITSM to CIO challenges …

Some key challenges facing CIOs today:

  1. Increasing business demand for, dependency on, and complexity of IT … IT MUST make change happen.  FAILURE is not an option.
  2. Financial uncertainty puts pressure on budgets for training and consulting … Pressure on costs is creating a RISK that organizational change and growth initiatives may fail.
  3. Training and consulting investments will be heavily scrutinized and must demonstrate a good return on value … Organizations will be looking beyond traditional forms of training, e.g. gamification.

So what can we do to help ensure we succeed? There are two opportunities: one is an approach that managers can useto maximize the return on value of a training investment, the other goes “beyond traditional forms of training” – business simulation, a form of gamification, to help translate theory into practice.

Consider the 8-field model for improving return on value

The 8-field model is an approach for ensuring your training investment delivers sustainable value. It’s based upon two key questions: “What problem am I trying to solve with a training intervention?” and “How can I evaluate the value of the training intervention?”

One part of this model focuses on evaluating the impact of the training in terms of results, e.g. V, O , C, R. In Norway in response to the question: “How many people evaluate their training investment at this level?” only 2 hands (from the 100+ attendees) went up. Global figures show this to be about 3% on average.

Surely an strong indicator of our poor (or lack of) approach to effectively managing the ROV of our training investments and an opportunity lost in terms of moving us forward. It also factors into the second CIO bullet as we increase the risk of change and growth initiatives failing.

Final thoughts (from me)

There is no question that IT organizations continue to see ITIL education as an investment (and employees see it as an investment in themselves). BUT, as with all investments, where and what is the return on that investment – the ROI?

For me it boils down to: When are we going to value execution over examination success? Maybe Paul’s 8-field model is a starting point for success?

As always you thoughts and comments are encouraged.

If you like this blog, you might also like:

How Gremlins And Vanilla Ice Can Help Us Deliver Better IT Services

The ABC Of ICT – The Top 10 People Success Factors For IT Service Management

The ABC Of ICT – The Top 10 People Issues