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The Small ITSM Consultant Dilemma

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Going The Extra Mile May Not Be That Far - improving customer service

An ITSM consultant memory of mine

I was an IT director for a major bank when it was decreed by management that we would have an audit of our maturity level from some ITSM consultants, assistance with our current processes and tools, and a strategy for improvement. I had neither asked for this nor was I under any pressure to improve or change what we were doing. On the contrary our customers loved us, staff were happy and we had a healthy relationship with regulators and supplier partners.

But in came the consultants: a Principal ITSM Consultant to oversee the programme of work, Associate ITSM consultant with the ‘required expertise’ for the daily activity and contact and Junior Consultants with experience and knowledge, though not the level of expertise as the Associate. In plain English, 7 people:

£3,000 a day for the Principal and Associate Consultant

£1,500 a day for the Junior Consultants

I had many years of IT, IT Management and IT Service Management experience. I also had the ITIL®v2 Red Badge or Managers qualification. Day 1 they all trooped in and my Service Desk Manager, Operations Manager and Applications Manager and I met them to affirm the scope, general introductions, etc. It became apparent that they only had ITIL® Foundation level certification, none had managed or set-up a service desk, none had ever worked in a 24 by 7 high transaction environment, none had ever created or defended an SLA, none had ever managed infrastructure and the list goes on.

All they had was the barest knowledge of ITIL and the Excel spreadsheet of their employer to perform their tasks. When shown Incident, Change, Release notes or an SLA they could not tell me at a glance if they were good or bad. We kindly thanked them for their time, asked them to leave and proceeded to create our own report for management which was gratefully accepted.

Why am I telling you all this? Have you ever wondered just how good someone is? Wanted proof? Wanted more than just a reference (I mean who ever gives a bad reference contact?). Have you really wanted to know that for the money you were about to pay, the result would truly help you be better, faster, safer and maybe even at less cost (no employee cuts please)?

When I first met Axelos at a British Computer Society event, I asked and have kept asking them to help me prove as a consultant that you think I am ok. You can be certified as a plumber or doctor or accountant, why not as a Service Management consultant? When Axelos announced their Consulting Partner Programme I was salivating at the possible opportunities. They promised scope of use of material, marketing material and leads, use of their logo, mention in their world-wide list of consultants and ability to share and create material.

Sigh: If it sounds too good to be true then it must be!

I read the brochure with its misspellings and mention of a document that does not exist yet, but that you should read in conjunction with the brochure. I pondered:

  • How they felt that a small consulting organisation would have 10 clients in a year with references (do they not realise how many single person ITIL consulting companies there are?),
  • I shuddered at how I would have to also pay for the use of their Maturity Model OH WAIT I HAVE TO QUALIFY FOR USE
  • And even have to join at some unknown cost their Product Consultant Scheme,
  • That to use certain Axelos material but they do not tell you which is in or not, might require a license (cost)
  • And if they change their IP guidelines you might get hit with more cost,
  • And if I grew, I would have to have 10% of my consultants on the scheme
  • Biannually you have to submit a report telling them what I did, clients, size, scope of work, reference case study
  • And if you did not keep this up, you were out!

The more I read, the more I heard the kerrrching of the cash register. This was not a win-win scenario.

But I like the people at Axelos. I truly do have respect for their knowledge and their desire to grow and improve service management, add Agile, lean and DevOPS and create a better environment for all. So I thought I will go to the site and see their material, get inspired by their content, get a peek at this great list. Hmm, can’t seem to find it, or maybe you have to join first.

When compared to ISACA for COBIT it is very expensive. When compared to what most small consulting companies will use ITIL for, compared to the Axelos licensing requirements, it is very expensive. So my quest goes on: a way to prove to the world just how good a consultant in IT Service Management really is. I am not joining this one, I will get a license.

What do you expect from their scheme? Are you joining? Did I misunderstand their intent? Let me know.

Join the conversation by commenting below – we welcome your feedback.

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Daniel Breston

CEO at Qriosity
Daniel has been described as an IT Improvement Detective because he searches for the reasons why things are not working and then finds ways to make IT services and operations better, easier and more effective. This typically leads to real cost savings, but not by cutting staff. His desire to understand everything he can about the organisations he works with, by asking the right questions, led to the company name – Qriosity – being deeply curious is what differentiates Daniel and Qriosity from other ITSM consultancy firms.
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