No trouble spotting the biggest news in service management this week – with COBIT 5 available. I guess with both ITIL and COBIT having released new versions over the last 12 months, that should tell us something about the SM industry. Mostly, I think it tells us that as a concept and topic to take seriously, service management is not going away any time soon.
But I suspect we might reading more in the next few weeks of the ‘should I do ITIL or COBIT’ type of question. That’s a shame, because it is still not a sensible question. Both ITIL and COBIT are expanding their scope of course and that means more and more overlap, but I can’t – admittedly after quick glance through only –see where any real conflict.
Of course COBIT is still a product of ISACA and it builds upon a philosophy of control and governance. ITIL initially came from a team set up to advise on approach rather than massive detail and that still shows even in the 2011 version I think. And I do still believe any serious SM profession would have both on their (electronic) bookshelf, the way a good cook will have books by more than one cookery author on their kitchen bookshelf.
Analysing the content, requirements and fine print can come later – and will open us up to all sorts of interpretation and contextual adjustment. But some things hit you straight away. The core COBIT product is available for free and takes up 685k of pdf file. The core ITIL books cost around £300, weigh five kilos and/or take up 77.4MB of my hard drive inside a fancy secure Adobe reader to make sure I don't pass them on to anyone who hasn’t paid their £300. Now I know that there are lots more books around the COBIT 5 core than give you more detail – and ISACA charges for those - but still I must confess to liking the idea of free entry to the gig even if it doesn’t get you that near the stage.
Putting a positive spin on the size differential and the lack of real conflict, you can see that it shows how the two products can be seen as complementary: COBIT’s distillation of what should be done and structure with ITIL’s more wordy guidance.
And COBIT’s heritage shows through with several pages on maturity assessment – great stuff for the ‘give me a number’ crew.
But maybe the most encouraging thing is the differences that exist – the pretty clear realisation that frameworks aren’t competition but different perspectives. Everyone in this business is really concentrating on helping each other get better at delivering value to the customer. COBIT 5 will help so this is a good week.
Now all I need is a long flight somewhere to give me peace and quiet to read it carefully.