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I believe that most would rightly accuse me of understatement for saying that both the commercial and government IT worlds are not comfortable places to be at the moment, whether permanently employed or contractor although things are looking better than they did twelve months ago, overall the short to medium future still looks fairly uncertain.  Lack of confidence can spread faster than swine flu although usually with more certain effects.
So why do I refer to a great time?  Well, given the current uncertainty it seems like a reasonable question and based on what I consider to be good service management practise my immediate reaction is to ask - "Well, what do you want out of it?". Here are some thoughts on the current situation.
The times we are going through will usually bring in some expected and common answers, in which words like 'flexibility', 'efficiency', 'effectiveness', 'sustainability', and 'value', are usually amongst the front runners.
I would suggest that these words and the thoughts behind them have always been there, although maybe they are now being spoken more loudly, but they are the areas that have lasting importance as drivers for ITIL implementations.
Another pair of driver at the nuts and bolts end of the spectrum being 'the local bus' and 'Overload'.
'The local bus', is the thought about the consequences if, within your organisation any core group, e.g. your service desk team, were all waiting for the bus and it mounted the pavement and took them out at one attempt.  Please note that this is not a suggestion!! How would you be able to manage your services?
If you feel that you would cope then the chances are that your documentation is robust and its location is well known and your processes straight forward.
If, on the other hand you can only foresee further disasters then you ought to be doing something about it.
The 'Overload' query is almost the reverse and fortunately is also probably more likely....
You arrive one morning to find that your organisation has taken over Joe's IT Emporium from down the road and you will be required to manage and process twice the workload - now the question is 'Is our documentation and associated processes such that we can expand rapidly and still maintain quality, how do we make the most of the potential economies of scale?'.  
A further question and I would love to know your views on this one: Is good service a differentiator?
My views are that in challengingly hard times the balance is essential, not everyone has a business plan that includes the world's greatest service, nor should they have if that level of service is perceived as coming in at a commensurately high price.  We can discuss in service management terms what quality is, but I believe that consistency is a major component.
So 'Best Practise' sits ready to deliver just that, but with the wonderful caveat of making it fit to the organisations requirements and structure.  Definitely a place where the flexibility requirement makes itself felt.  
In subsequent articles I will give some views around the ITIL disciplines and how they integrate and meet the requirements that the queries above lead to.  I will also consider outsourcing and some of the Service Management questions that have dogged the industry.  Your opinions, questions and views will be most welcome, like most I can still learn from both my own and other peoples experiences.  So please don't by shy.
About the Author - Colin Mayers is the Managing Director of Mayers Consulting. Colin operates across all market sectors and provides a breath of experience with regards Service Management. As for formal qualifications he holds the ITIL Managers Certificate, ISO20000 Internal Auditor and Consultant Certificate and also the Prince 2 Practitioner.
If you wish to contact Colin please use the comment box at the end of this article and ITILnews will ensure they are forwarded to Colin.
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Tags; invest in ITIL,ITIL implementations,government IT,service management,service desk team,economies of scale,Best Practise,ITIL disciplines,Colin Mayers,Mayers Consulting,ITIL Managers Certificate,ISO20000 Internal Auditor,Consultant Certificate,Prince 2 Practitioner
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