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Low Barriers to Entry for ITIL: $100 Books?! No free downloads?!

As I’ve noted before, I’ve always had a hard time finding cheap or free ITIL books. Back when I worked at BMC, thanks to Anne Gentle, I got my hands on a copy of Service Support, a $109.79 value. It’s an indication of why part of my coverage is systems management when I say that I loved reading that book.

But $109.79? That’s a little high for even an on-ramp. ITIL to me is an open standard, so it’s damaging to the spread of ITIL to have such high barriers to entry. I can’t imagine that the OSS systems management people we’re starting to talk more and more with (and find more and more of each day) would find value in shelling out that much money for a book. There’s even higher prices for getting digital versions of the books.

Pricing Out Your Users

The danger for ITIL is this: if the OSS systems management people grow their influence, and there’s no ITIL baked into that software, it’s going to be harder to get companies standardized on the practices in ITIL. Put another way, the long tail often ends up creating it’s own standards when it can’t get or doesn’t like the existing standards: compare Web Services to web services, or even RSS to ATOM.

It’s not NIH, it’s NBH: No Budget Here.

Now, you could argue that the OSS systems management crowd will not grow their influence if they don’t cater to ITIL. Indeed, that could turn out to be the case, and it’ll be an interesting theory to test out in our OSS systems management analysis. That would be equally tragic because those folks would then have to spend serious cash to get access to the open standards they needed.

(In a much more abstract phrasing, this issue is one of RedMonk’s core concerns: bringing more people to the party by lower barriers to entry benefits everyone.)

Free Downloads

Clearly, what I’m saying here is: why can’t I download the complete ITIL books for free after doing a quick search for “free ITIL books”? To me, providing free downloads for all the ITIL books seems like the best guarantee for ITIL’s success. That success would benefit everyone in systems management, ’cause ITIL is pure goodness.

Disclaimer: BMC, where Anne works, is a client.

Categories: Marketing, Open Source, Systems Management.

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6 Responses

  1. Did you considered that we may be in a cycle? You already covered half of the cycle but, Opensource folks have the reputation of being keyboard cowboys who follow no processes and have no discipline (i.e. set up a lab? what for? qualicy cycle? No, let's just do it in production and sort it out later). So, I wonder if there are a lot of people in the OSS communities that really feel the need for information on ITIL.
    Then again, I'm seeing that ITIL is becomming one of those key words that is recognized as a good thing but no one actually knows what it does and what it's for, … It's a cycle of lack of demand and lack of offer.

  2. I hear you, my friend. The phrase “cycle of lack of demand and lack of offer” is right on for many buzz-word architectures. There’s definitely a wide open chance to get the perception that ITIL is such a buzz-word.

    Having said that, the info in the ITIL sources I’ve read is actually very nice and “real,” it’s not just a bunch of vacuous spew. The value for me is that ITIL sets the context in which systems management applications run. And very much so, I mean “context” in the sense of “common sense”…just as Design Patterns was “common sense” that no one had documented before.

    It’s that documenting, and the resulting common understanding, that gives ITIL it’s value.

    Now, I might even say that as with SOA, ITIL might have been/is hyped beyond it’s core competency. It’s not cure all for your IT woes. BUT, there’s an incredible amount of value in the seemingly simple act of the ITIL folks having documented the day-to-day life and best practices of running an organization’s IT.

    It’s that aspect that gives it one of the major benefits of a de facto driven open standard: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just read the book. So, I’d like to see the OSS systems management tools at least compliment and certainly not impead those benefits.

  3. I hear you!

    I have found a number of sites from which I am cobbling together the ITIL information…. will share with anyone who emails me directly – hoping for same.

    Yes – I want an open standard that doesnt cost the earth to study!

  4. Hi,

    I am in the same boat, looking for all ITIL info but do not want to buy all the books, especially when I am out of contract at present.

    Any help/links would be great. What about

    Mark CampellFebruary 5, 2007 @ 7:21 pm
  5. Gentlemen,
    I can ensure U that (sorrey for being rhetoric) in our entropy and chaotic world (and especialy from the point of view of business and IT interaction) such things like ITIL must become a "religion" for IT-managers. But it sound strange to pay for information to become an apologist of it.

  6. itilmonkey.con is awesome! but the guide is for V2. I used it and I thought it was awesome!

    I would advise getting into other books as you advance because just makes it easier to understand