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Free or Open Source ITIL Tools? 40

alister writes "Like a lot of people, I've completed an ITIL (what's that?) Foundation Certificate and am looking to put it into practice. Picking the right tool for an ITIL implementation makes life a lot easier, but I can't find many around. I'm wondering if there are any free or open source software that helps an ITIL implementation, or if not, recommendations on a tool for a medium-sized (40 IT staff, 1200 users) organisation. There's a lot of software out there, but most of it is designed for organisations with hundreds of IT staff... and priced accordingly."
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Free or Open Source ITIL Tools?

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  • Brown nosing. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 )
    I like people who do things and get things done.

    I despise people who spend all of their time developing, re-developing, refining or recreating standards, policies, mission statements, or anything else. There is so much money wasted on a lot of silly organizational ISO adherance and Six Sigma crap that people would be just better implementing a policy of "get shit done and do it right". Besides, as soon as you're done implementing... whatever... some other brown noser will want to make a name for himself wit
    • ...people would be just better implementing a policy of "get shit done and do it right".

      Today, October 21, 2005, marks the beginning of a new era for my company. The "get shit done and do it right" era is here and now.

      You should seriously consider writing a book and selling it to the HR asshats. Just today I had to sit in a meeting and listen to the same "we need to focus on the objective, people. You are all important members of the team."

      Perhaps during our next "brainstorming" session (aka, nap time) I
      • Last week, every employee in my company (about 40,000 strong) got a self-published book from the CEO entitled "WHAT WE MUST DO". It was 50 pages. I'm not totally clear, still, what we must do. It was mostly a bunch of feel good pipe dreams. On the positive side, the binding glue smells really good. I kept several copies so that when one wears out, I'll have plenty of glue-sniffing goodness remaining.
    • Like it or not, it has to be done. Why? Because your competitors do it and your customers expect it. Nobody says you have to like it. I have yet to personally encounter people or a situation where it prevented me from getting shit done and getting it done right.
    • Re:Brown nosing. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by platypus ( 18156 )
      ITIL and similar standards are important. For instance Service Management - "keep shit running" if you prefer - is important since for nearly every company your Service Mgmt. Processes (not Tools, this is just the second step) have to interface to external partners.
      One thing is that therefore, there needs to some kind of commonality. Beginning with a certain size of operations on either side, "just call the IT guy" doesn't cut it anymore. You have Service Level Agreements, first, second, third level support
      • I am not inherently against having a company standard. What I'm against is the continual changing of standards which don't improve anything within the company, but succeed in bringing executive attention to said brown noser. If you're going to have a new standard or philosophy every 24 months, what's the point?

        Six Sigma, ITIL and all of these other countless "programs" that executives are in love with are a lot like all of the twelve step programs and self help programs that new agers are also in love with.
    • I'm printing this out in 72pt font or larger and putting it on my office wall monday.

      After TQM a few years ago (SPC was moderately successful), followed by a full on assault of CMMi, I'm now living through "Lean". Lean has tied up 20 people for a week, with 3 consultants to identify 10 things that will allegedly save $100k in 1 year if we successfully implement them. By a conservative estimate, we spent $40k to identify these potential savings that I cynically do not think will happen.

    • There is so much money wasted on a lot of silly organizational ISO adherance and Six Sigma crap that people would be just better implementing a policy of "get shit done and do it right".

      You need competent people to do that. ISO exists largely to keep incompetent people from "doing stupid shit", to continue your vernacular. Competent people often see this for what it is and leave for other companies, further compounding the problem.

      • I was out of the office for a couple of days last week. While I was gone, the team needed to get something to Prod "right away." They forgot to attend the CCB meeting, so they went around procedure because this was 'so important.'

        In the process, they ended up using an old version of the promote to production process which is the old version BECAUSE IT DESTROYS DATA in certain circumstances.

        All of the people who could have caught it were in the CCB meeting, so no one saw the problem until - you guessed it
        • In this case, documentation did not help, because the 'urgency' dictated that documented procedures be ignored as 'red tape.'

          These kind of systems don't work at all if there are no consequences for not following them. Some places (auto industry especially from what I hear) fire you if you purposely ignore the ISO standard, no matter what the reason (life saving measures excepted, I'm sure).

          In my experience if there is no such consequence it's because senior management doesn't really buy in and they want to
  • Good Luck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kelleher ( 29528 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:28PM (#13849523) Homepage
    All the people I worked with that pushed ITIL spent their time wasting mine in meetings, producing little and scampering around with the latest "cool" vendor. I'd be surprised if someone with an opensource leaning would be taken in by ITIL or if someone taken in by ITIL would produce something opensource. I'm just glad it died a quiet death at my place of employment.

    Before you mod this a troll, go read up on ITIL. On the surface it doesn't look bad, but the extremes the consultants can push it to are ludicrous. And the consultants almost always will...

    • Re:Good Luck (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seumas ( 6865 )
      You'll probably still get modded as a troll.

      There are people who make up for lack of skills and competance by basing their entire careers around starting company initiatives to adhere to something or other. Employees laugh and get frustrated that the process and policies and standards the last brown-noser made them spend days and hours and dollars learning and testing on last year is being replaced by yet another new one (and a new set of tools again) by yet another new brown-noser this year - and the full
    • ITIL, Six-Sigma, and PMBOK [wikipedia.org] are all tools. Unfortunately they are also words that can be used on the uninformed into thinking something else is of value by virtue of its association with one of the above.

      Basically the pushers and consultants were committing an association fallacy [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:Good Luck (Score:5, Informative)

      by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @09:56PM (#13850014) Homepage Journal
      Agreed.

      A few years ago at work they started a big push to ITIL-ize and CMM-ify everything. From my perspective, nothing has changed except I have to fill out a bunch of absolutely useless paperwork to do anything, and every once in awhile I have to log into the vile abomination known as PVCS Dimensions.

      It doesn't seem to be about actually *improving* anything - e.g. making it less likely that mistakes will happen - just about making it *appear* like it has by producing a bunch of electronic paperwork that no one reads.

      The tools you use are less important than how you use them. Everything I've seen of ITIL makes me think that its goal is to try and change the tools, not the thought process behind what they're being used for.
      • Re:Good Luck (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nik13 ( 837926 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @11:11PM (#13850343) Homepage
        Same here... We were using a simple web app I had made ages ago but that still served the purpose well. It had all the customer/trouble ticket info, priorities, deadlines, etc - just nothing like escalation and stuff we never have used to this day, even with our ITIL solutions...

        We've installed, tested and have been demo'ed various ITIL solutions, each uglier than each other. In general, the more features they had [that we didn't need], the uglier, clunkier and bloated the interface became. I remember one heavy Java web app that only worked with IE and had all kinds of frames with scrollers in both directions and no means of navigating it that made any sense... After an hour of watching them do stuff, I still had no f'n idea what was where or any of the basics (it was so bad that we're still laughing at it as of today). I has been rather time consuming to find the app, and even the one we have now isn't exactly great IMHO (we ended up with Remedy - it was pretty much forced onto us). As part of this test process, we've tried just about anything we could find on the web - including open source stuff from sourceforge (or anything that ressembled it), and we didn't find anything really outstanding (much less anything using the ITIL model with customizations or anything like that).

        Now we pretty much have to turn away users coming for quick help (90% of the problems) and tell them to call the helpdesk instead. It's frustrating to them to have to call unecessarily for something trivial, and it is also somewhat frustrating to us. I'd much rather take care of it right now than wait till they call the helpdesk, that a trouble ticket is created and everything (sometimes it takes well over an hour before I hear from that person again, if they even bother at all).

        All this in the name of being able to analyze all the stuff we're forced to type. You never know, printers running out of toner and such could be something common, and this precious data will enable them to identify these common things (funny how nothing's ever been identified like that so far).

        The only good thing I've seen about this is sometimes a work order tends to be delayed for some reason (lazyness or otherwise), and this may force you to act on it sooner, but overal, 99.9% of the time it's just annoying and useless overhead. It's costed us many, many thousands in licenses, and we had to hire people to man the helpdesk, get some workstations for them and somewhere to work (office space, furniture, etc). We're not one bit more productive than before, tickets don't generally speaking get handled faster, people aren't one bit happier about support, managers aren't happier, ...

        At some point they had managed to make me believe it would be a good thing, but so far it still only has been a pain in the butt.
        • Are you doing road runner tech support? I used to work for them and they really didnt want us to do tech support, they just wanted us to have call times of 18 mins or less when I got hired, when I left it was 12 mins. Even if we knew how to fix the problem, if they werent using IE or Outlook Express on widows or mac, we couldnt help them, and I was a mac user using netscape I cant remeber what email app I was running(god Im old) but it wasnt outlookexpress *shudder* it was whatever was popular on a mac in 9
        • Employees should demand to see the Help Desk statistics (in summary form) and demand that an audit be done regularly to determine if the statistics have ANY relation to reality, AND if they're being used by the PHBs. Often the information-gathering is dumped on us ("you simply MUST categorize that toner problem as to which printer vendor supplied the printer") but no one creates or reads the statistics at all, other than to check to make sure that the grunts are filling in all of the boxes. A fun hack (bu
    • Re:Good Luck (Score:3, Insightful)

      by duffbeer703 ( 177751 )
      Its like anything else... in the right hands, any tool can fuck up its intended task.

      ITIL is an interesting way of running a good IT shop; you'll probably find that a good IT department runs ITIL-like processes without the high dollar consultants or outrageous software implementations.

      IT managers would get alot of value out of reading and understanding applicable parts of ITIL instead of paying some goofball consultant $200/hr to make work for the staff.
  • by Will_Malverson ( 105796 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:32PM (#13849557) Journal
    Never use an acronym without defining it. Telling someone they can look it up doesn't count.
    • If you don't know, you don't have much of a useful opinion to offer. Go pollute another thread.
    • Yeah, that whole acronym thing threw me, too - even the link didn't clear it up until I really started reading it carefully. Your suggestion is spot on.

      Regarding your "speaker pop" problem, I did some some checking and thinking. Googling "audigy speaker pop" led to some interesting links - yours is not the only system. This kind of thing is actually a common issue in the audiophile community, you might do some checking there - all kinds of solutions have been created. You might find such a solution at a pla

  • Whatever it is, it doesn't sound very pro-open source. It doesn't even render properly under Mozilla, so I still don't have a clue what it's about. If they can't even get a tiny bit of HTML to follow the standards, then what use it this thing?

    (Admittedly I'm running on a CRT at 1600x1200 with a largeish font, but still...)

  • by Bravo_Two_Zero ( 516479 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @10:23PM (#13850123)
    Our new IT ops director came from a place with well-defined practices and policies. We're really just a few steps from the wild, wild west, but with SOx controls. I think he sees ITIL as a Rosetta Stone of processes so that a handful of silos can't hold the business hostage. In that context, I understand it. I can't say I agree with it fully, but I can try to meet him halfway.

    Fortunately, he's not the sort to let consultants come in and manage us. My (barely informed) opinion of ITIL is that it's a lot like butter, sun or beer... it's fine in moderation. Few things work well in unmanaged excess.**

    ** So help me, if I have one more vendor ask me "are you considering server consolidation," I will lose my ever-loving mind.
    • So help me, if I have one more vendor ask me "are you considering server consolidation," I will lose my ever-loving mind.

      Give it a few more years. Everything's cyclical.

      Virtual machines on mainframes -> loosely-coupled PCs -> virtual machines on "mainframe-class" servers with thin clients

      Locked-down IBM/DEC vendor procedures -> no procedures -> ITIL.

      I can't wait to see what the next cycle brings. :)
  • More/alternate info (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2005 @10:27PM (#13850147)
    You can also get some sort of overview at http://www.itil-itsm-world.com [itil-itsm-world.com], though a lot of the "meat" requires you to purchase their documents.

    I started reading the overview (work-related), and let me just say it's one of the BEST somnambulents around.

    Having dodged the ISO9001 bullet, and having been through the throes of CMM (before there was a CMMi), I can completely understand the skepticism that ITIL's being greeted with around here. Like anything else of this ilk, it's really really easy to go overboard to the point where it's useless. However, I'm hopeful I can reign in my manager and his boss to the point where we take the good (like examining what we currently do, and putting effort into what we should but don't), while avoiding the bad (like months of meetings everyone sleeps through and paperwork that no one ever reads).

    The fact of the matter is that the higher-ups are hearing more and more about ITIL, and so it WILL eventually be coming down the pipe to those of us that will have to implement or live with it. And even though there's currently no free (beer/speech) or open source software that does everything, a lot of tools out there already do support at least some aspects of ITIL. The trick is to know how to tie them together, or at least use each for those aspects of ITIL to which they're suited.
    • Where ITIL has its place is to direct IT leadership that have gotten distanced from technology and/or haven't kept up wtih things since their days as a tech.
       
      Besides keeping management in line, ITIL (or any other methodology) forces techs to document their setups and procedures, something many of us aren't good at (or just don't like to do it).
  • Wiki (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CXI ( 46706 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @11:52PM (#13850533) Homepage
    Now that a few posts have better describe what you are asking for (a documentation library), can't you just use a wiki? Does this magical ITIL acronym require something more complex to match it's buzzword nature?
  • Seeing as all the comments thus far are contributing nothing other than to bash ITIL/CMM/Six-Sigma/etc, I'll give a weak stab at this.

    Google: itil "open source"

    Now stop and determine what your goal is, what you want to accomplish by implementing ITIL. *Then* go looking for software solutions, or develop one in-house. Looking for a piece of software to drop ITIL, COBIT, or any of those other IT risk/product management frameworks leads you to a line of vendor gas-bags who have no idea what the framework is

  • I'll bet you won't find anything for free, but believe it or not, Microsoft bases its Operations Fraework (MOF) loosely on ITIL. Here's the overview: Microsoft Operations Framework [microsoft.com].

    It's not the end-all of systems management, but it's a whole lot better than no guidance at all. I'm still surprised at the skill level of some Windows system administrators...I thought the whole dotcom thing was shaking out most of them.

    I'm far from a "grizzled old veteran", but I've been expsed to IT since the early 80s and

  • Anyone who mentions something specific about ITIL, or uses the phrase "best practice", is almost invariably a wanker. How about you do your job in a sensible way, before we all sit around circle-jerking about acronyms, Process (with the capital P) and org charts?
  • When I think about an ITIL toolset, or any IT toolset, I look at open and not so open tools...

    Service Desk -- phone system + ticketing system integrated with email -- I don't know about the open source space here

    Incident Management -- a non-technology system like ICS is very helpful, but then using a general tracking/ticketing system to record stuff is crucial - remedy, bugzilla, rt... they all work

    Configuration Management -- you just need a database - excel can perform the function sometimes, but

Bus error -- please leave by the rear door.

Working...