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6 January 2011 | Aidan Lawes Blog
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Crystal Balls
This week Aidan provides you with some of his predictions for 2011...

  Aidan Lawes

A very happy new year to everyone. I wish I felt optimistic about the coming year, but unfortunately I think that we are in for another challenging period in general.

As always, there will be those whose personal experience is at odds with the “average” or “norm”. So economies, market sectors and industries will perform in widely divergent ways, but overall the trend will be of slow growth, continued pressure to reduce costs (of which people will form a large element) and the potential for industrial and civil unrest as harsh medicines are doled out. Many of the fault lines in the global economy remain, with some of the symptoms having been treated but with the underlying root causes still in existence.

This is the time of year when all the futurologists and seers peer into their crystal balls and come up with predictions (guesses?) about the coming year and beyond. One article I was reading looked back at some of the technology predictions made in 1989 and whether or not they had come to pass. Some of the perhaps more predictable ones had, e.g. the continued power/capacity increase coupled with associated reduced size/cost; pervasiveness of IT in our everyday lives; the integration of IT and communications technologies. Others such as Artificial Intelligence had evolved as technologies even if they hadn’t achieved their full capabilities due to social and political factors, e.g. embedding a chip in each human containing personal medical information has many attractions, but the scope for privacy breaches (big brother tracking?) remain a source of concern to many. Some advances escaped the pundits altogether, e.g. no one at the time predicted the internet in its inexorable rise and hence nothing about the social networking phenomenon.

Current predictions include the continued integration of technologies with each other and with biological/genetic engineering culminating in a complete synthesis of human/machine. Again many of the technologies have been proven but immense ethical and social barriers stand in the way of their adoption.

There’s an old saying about how to make God laugh – with the answer being variations on revealing your 5 year plan or any future predictions. It’s therefore clearly flying in face of all rational thought to try to predict what might or might not happen in some given timeframe. So, regardless of consequences, here’s my sixpence worth for the coming year – confined (mainly) to “our world” of service management.

  1. Some commentators will continue to attack ITIL, raising some valid points of criticism, but still missing the key point that ITIL is not, never has been, and never will be “the solution”.
  2. The new edition of ITIL will disappoint many since the changes are largely presentational – consistency and clarity issues are tackled but there is no new material per se.
  3. The training market space will become even more confusing with a multitude of similar offerings, many overlapping others, from different exam bodies available. The focus will remain on gathering bits of paper leading to the meaningless “ITIL Expert” accolade.
  4. Delegates will continue to roll off the Foundation conveyor belt with limited knowledge, few enhanced skills and a hazy understanding of service management.
  5. Tool vendors will continue to cobble together modules that address aspects of service management and peddle their wares as being “the solution” that the client needs.
  6. Public sector organizations will continue to outsource large elements of their operations in the desperate hope that the salesman’s pitch about the cost savings will come to fruition, but without understanding how and where the savings are really going to come from.
  7. Businesses will continue to bemoan the lack of transparency in terms of the value proposition from investing in technology, without taking any of the steps necessary to truly integrate the technology within the business so that value is measured in business terms alone.
  8. Redundancies in the corporate world will lead to a growth in small consultancies and training organizations, some of whom will actually know what they are talking about.
  9. Smart organizations will avoid the above pitfalls by developing competence in their people, investing wisely in technology and sourcing arrangements and focusing on the business outcomes they desire.
  10. New Zealand will win the Rugby World cup.

Of course, while I fervently hope that the last two predictions come true, I fear that too many of the others will also. I would be delighted if I’m proved wrong on these at least.

May you live in interesting times!

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!! 


10th January 2011

Hi Aidan

An interesting list of 9 predictions – I’m ignoring number 10 (Ah, if only it was thus)

I don’t have any predictions, but I do have a concern for the year. My concern is that a growing number of people who misuse a certain trademark by accident or out of ignorance of ‘the rules’ – to pass a critical (but possibly ill-informed) comment or to praise – will find themselves under attack just as if they were deliberately out to ‘pass off’ the trademark for commercial gain. In truth my concern is both for the casual misusers and for those responsible for policing, the latter seemingly holding the telescope at the wrong end whilst standing on ice of a dubious thickness. Of course I do not support any blatant ‘passing off’ misuse for commercial gain – less so because of its impact on the owners of the trademark, more because of the impact on those seeking quality training, etc.

John Groom


(ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.) 

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