Adam Poppleton and Ken Holmes
Peter Wheatcroft CEng FIET FBCS CITP FCMI
8 out of 10
One of the persistent comments about ITIL is that it only applies to large organisations - and, to a large extent, the recent releases have served to reinforce that perspective. Of course, IT service management - of which ITIL is a part of but certainly not all the topic - is relevant to any size of IT function, but there has been a scarcity of publications to explain that and justify the benefits that can be obtained.
As UK plc progressively downsizes, more SMEs are being created that need to provide IT services to their internal users and / or external customers and it is appropriate that BSI have now published a book specifically aimed at teams of 25 or fewer IT staff.
Adam and Ken have written an easy-to-read and well summarised book that captures the essence of service management in its 150 pages.
There are pragmatic descriptions of the basic service processes such as incident and problem management that are consistent with the formal ITIL publications but that are more concise - small IT teams are always pressed for time! There is also an emphasis on the importance of relationship management and customer interaction, mainly from a process perspective.
Following an excellent introduction, the book launches straight into standards and formal methods and there is a lot about ISO 20000 and gap analyses, although there is no mention of the targets which IT teams should aim to meet in order to exemplify best practice. The authors recommend that ISO 20000 should be used as the standard against which SMEs perform a gap analysis, which is wise, although very few small organisations will certify to this standard so some caution is needed here.
The one disappointment is that, although IT service management is about people, process and technology, only a third of one of the 10 chapters covers the people aspects and there is little technology consideration either - this is mainly a book about service processes. Given that SMEs will have a more personal relationship with their customers than large ones, the people aspects of service management are more critical and it would have been good to see more emphasis given to this aspect.
But overall, a commendable book that SMEs - and also some consultancies - will benefit from reading.
Further information: BSI