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ITIL Still growing... Rob England

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ITIL growing by 20% every year. Up to 60% of organisations using ITIL.

That’s what the sensational headlines will say when folk read the new white paper on the Best Management Practice site. The white paper is “Review of recent ITIL® studies”, written by me, with help from a number of expert reviewers (fortunately): David Favelle (UXC Consulting), Karen Ferris (Macanta), Mark Flynn (Felix Maldo), Dan Lee (Beetil), Richard Pharro (APMG), Kim Riordan (APMG) and Robert Stroud (CA Technologies/ISACA). Unlike most white papers, the reviewers’ opinions are included as comments in the text, along with the skeptical author’s milder opinions.

The headlines may say these things but of course that isn’t exactly what the paper says. The reality is – as always – more complicated. The paper is a meta-analysis - a review of existing studies to consolidate the results. It turns out there weren’t a lot of studies found: 23. The studies were
chosen because they were published in the last three years, and had statistical information from multiple organisations about ITIL adoption and benefits. The quality and rigour of the studies varied. They weren’t all “scientific” by any means.

The data was quite variable, which reflected two main influences: the wide range of definitions of
“using” ITIL, and the differing populations that each study surveyed. So the numbers that you see in the headline (and will probably see in more headlines) are best guess averages, with wide margins for error. Nevertheless, these statistics will likely take on a life of their own – people like simple numbers not complicated explanations.

But you are smarter and more critical than that, so go read the paper and form your own views.
Whatever conclusions you come to from the data, I think everyone reading it will agree that ITIL is still growing (which is not what you always hear in the chatterverse). Most readers will also agree that there is scope for ITIL to continue growing for some time to come. Beyond that, this skeptic thinks any conclusions are debatable.

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