ITIL® and Me

In the trenches with ITIL and ITSM.

Dearest Microsoft Outlook,


We’ve been together since, wow…it’s been so long I almost can’t remember…at least since the year 2000, when I began my first IT job at Chemical Abstracts.  Ok, so we did frolic together a little before that time, but those were personal POP email addresses and it didn’t really count.  No, we became an official “item” when I first connected to a corporate Exchange account.

Through the years of Outlook 97, 2000, 2003, and 2010 we did it all.  From basic settings such as my signature (which I constantly had to recreate since it was always stored locally), all the way through compacting PST files to free space on the server and stop those annoying “Your mailbox is getting full” messages.  Let’s not forget the many times I had to rebuild an end-user’s profile…wow, what long hours that took, especially when the person wanted every little setting exactly how it was before.  But with each reply, forward, and missent email (I still don’t understand why you have a ‘Recall’ feature, which never really worked), our relationship grew beyond anyone’s comprehension; even mine.  I’ll admit I spent a few years with Groupwise, but during that time it was you I longed for, yearning for the days of a familiar Microsoft product to manage my email.

Honestly though, the signs were there that we were drifting apart, and it has nothing to do with the “Kill Email” movement that passed by me without a second glance.  The end started when I purchased a Mac and I was relegated to using Outlook Web Access.  Sure, you updated it so it would work well on Chrome, preventing me from having to switch to Parallels and using IE, but that was only a temporary period of elation.  And yes, I did go with Outlook 2011 for Mac OS, and it generally worked well…for about  day, but after periods of annoying freezing, which could only be fixed by rebuilding my ‘profile,’ I simply gave up on trying to run a local client.  And let’s not even bringing up the Mail and Calendar updates for Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks – that pretty much sealed the deal with running Outlook as a local client.

Outlook, I wish I could say it’s not you, it’s me, but that simply wouldn’t be the truth.  It’s you.  I’ve moved on to a different employer, one that embraces the cloud; something you just were not designed for, despite Microsoft’s best efforts with Office 365.  I do understand my new mistress, Google, isn’t perfect, but who is?  My Calendar and Mail apps connect with it, mobile device configuration is a breeze, and I get the added benefit of integration with Google Hangouts, Google Apps, Google+, Google Drive, and well….everything Google.  In short, it’s simply that you weren’t able to keep up with my new way of life.  And while you could say I’m the one that changed, it’s really been the entire industry and you’ve had a tough time keeping up.

I won’t say you’re a bad product, Outlook.  In some cases, you work out well for many different organizations.  Look, even SysAid has a great blog post on you vs. Google,, and it mentions many great features with Office 365 that your father, Microsoft, has been building and pushing to keep up with competition.  In fact, I won’t even say this is a final goodbye for us.  One day you may change and we’ll reunite back in productivity bliss.  Until that time comes though….it really is you.




It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, and honestly, it’s because life as a consultant in the ITSM world keeps me damn busy.  Alas, it’s that time again where I’m switching employers.  Fortunately, and now unfortunately, I had the chance to work with my original “ITSM Crew” from several years ago.

Since my former coworkers have retained their awesomeness, there really isn’t much to add to the tribute*.  I do want to thank them for putting up with me, again, for several months.  I know it wasn’t always easy (especially during my grumpiness of Passover), but it truly was a highlight to spend several hours with each of them, be it during work, laughter, or even the occasional intoxicating beverage.  If you’re looking to network with some really smart people in the IT world, then please look no further than this group of extraordinary individuals:

Jacob Dunmoyer:

Emily Long:

Brett Anderson:


In the immortal words of Douglas Adams – so long and thanks for all the fish!


(* see

I’ve been hearing and reading so many “ITSM is dead” and “IT is dead” statements that I couldn’t simply ignore the propaganda and sit here without some kind of generic response, akin to something The IT Skeptic might state as these being “Attention-seeking declarations of death.”  I can’t exactly explain the reason for wanting to respond.  Since I work in IT, it may be I want to look for some rationalization for staying in the industry, or maybe I’m currently in a “down the revolution” type of mood…or it simply can be I have a level-head and fully subscribe to The Hitchhiker’s Guide mentality of “Don’t Panic.”  For whatever reason, I just want to put out my two cents (or .07 shekels, based on today’s exchange rate) and reiterate that IT isn’t dead; it’s simply evolving.  In fact, it’s been evolving for the past several decades and (unfortunately for the revolutionaries out there) it’s not going to go away anytime soon.  Change?  Yes.  Disappear?  Hell no.

First, we need to examine the credibility of this statements.  I did a wonderful search (thanks to Google) regarding statements of “IT is dead” and came across an excerpt that an author argued “the IT department is dead.”  While I’m sure the statement brought a lot of attention to the book, it’s 2014 and I am still happy to know for a fact that at least one organization has an IT department (ok, several still do).  Sure, the author makes a valid argument that cloud computing will essentially destroy the reason for maintaining an on-premise data center, but through the wonderful teaching method called experience, few organizations have been able to go “all cloud.”  Through the need to maintain secure data, be it government regulations or CEO paranoia, many companies still keep computing on some kind of infrastructure, being worked on by the technical skills required to provide the backbone that allows businesses to function at the speed of technology.

Second, some of us in IT like revolution.  A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine stated “ITSM is dead.  It’s the status quo.”  While I agree the popularity of ITSM has changed in the past few years, thanks to an economic downturn that forced organizations to improve internal processes, ITSM is far from dead.  In fact, it’s far from the status quo.  But I don’t want to ignore that ITSM is changing.  ITIL has now been privatized, ITSM tools are branching out more to the enterprise (at least ServiceNow is), and users are becoming better able to help themselves, bringing about “Shadow IT.”  In short, ITSM is in the middle of an identity transition (or an identity crisis), but futile revolutionary movements such as the SM Congress won’t help to speed things along.  I love revolution just as much as the next person, but trying to force IT through a transition when people aren’t ready will only slow down the evolution.

Third, and probably the most important reason to consider that IT isn’t dead, is the fact that many companies out there are huge.  In fact, massive, and with global infrastructures.  While a small start-up can go all cloud and have the ITSM singularity of IT existing with “the business,” not everyone can change that quickly.  Banks, pharmaceuticals, healthcare; all these industries take a while to change and it’s not going to happen overnight.  In fact, some of the companies in the more “traditional” industries are conservative, and they tend not to change unless there’s a published best practice.  Unfortunately, “best practice” doesn’t come around until it’s already been done, and proven, for a few years.

I’m happy to admit that I’d like to see the death of the IT department.  As people grow in familiarity with the technology, and as technology becomes easier to manage, it’s eventual that every person will have a basic set of IT knowledge to be their own support.  Does that mean IT will really die?  No.  Similar to the H. G. Wells novel The Time Machine, in which the infrastructure of a utopian world is hidden, the majority of IT will go “underground,” to create and provide the services used by the aboveboard business.  At the same time, let’s just hope the Morlocks don’t start eating the Elois.

I was recently playing with the Hebrew translation in ServiceNow and I came across something interesting while looking at the translation for “Service Catalog.”  Apparently, in Hebrew “Services” is the same translation as “toilets.”  Don’t believe me?  I couldn’t believe it either, so I had to confirm it in Google Translate…

services and toilets in hebrew

Services and Toilets in Hebrew






Since I know a little Hebrew, I was kind of puzzled with reading something that said “Toilets Catalog.”  Needless to say, I had to take this IT matter to my wife who is fluent in the language (the first, and probably the only, time I would take an IT issue to her for counsel).  With no fault to the Academy of the Hebrew Language, my wife confirmed that the translation is correct and she didn’t really see the same humor.

I couldn’t resist Tweeting out my discovery and the responses have been pretty funny.  All joking aside, I have come to realize that IT Toilet Management (ITTM) may be the next evolution for IT Service Management.  Here’s my top 10 list of reasons for making the change….

  1. In ITSM we really deal with a lot of crap.  From people to processes, and all the archaic technology in between, it’s far from a stress-free environment without problems.  Since we try to make IT a better place by dealing with crap, how is that any different from a toilet’s job?
  2. In the book, Introduction to Real ITSM by the IT Skeptic, there’s a great job description called “Dreck Manager.”  I see this as a viable role in ITTM.
  3. I’ve heard my colleagues state that “IT Service Management is dead.”  Since ITSM is dead, it’s time for ITTM to rise!
  4. At parties, there will be a lot less questions when you tell people you work in IT Toilet Management.
  5. Problem Management and Plunger Management both start with the letter “p.”  There won’t be as much work to rewrite the frameworks, and both processes essentially do the same thing.
  6. Certifications such as “Toilet Foundation,” “Toilet Expert,” and “Toilet Master” could double as certifications in both ITTM and the plumbing community (thanks to Daniel Breston for this one).
  7. A new library titled “Plumbing and Information Technology Library”, or PAITL, could be written that actually contains information for applying processes (such as how to plunge a toilet).  Not only that, the readership would probably be quadrupled since amateur plumbers will buy the books, helping Axelos to get their ROI sooner.
  8. PAITL would still be relevant when it’s published.  How often do processes in plumbing really change?
  9. Describing ITTM to the IT community would be much easier.  Everyone loves plumbing analogies.
  10. We could rename “Service Catalog” to “Toilets Catalog,” proving that once again, ServiceNow is leading the vendor community in innovation.


I could carry on with a few additional reasons, but I’d rather let others in the community add to the list.  Needless to say, I’m glad others have humor in our industry – it’s boring enough without it.