Stumped by ITIL? BMC says go fly a plane

Want to get better at ITIL? Pretending to run an airport may get you to your destination on time.

Service management software vendor BMC has an itinerary for CIOs struggling to reach the destination of a successful ITIL adoption: pretend to run an airport.

The idea comes from Atwell Williams, a Solution Architect in the office of BMC’s Chief Technology Officer. Williams has a background in aviation and says that as BMC tried to communicate the best way to understand IT service management concepts “we recognised it is possible to sit in class and attend an ITIL foundation course and come away academically educated, but not be able to apply it in the real world.”

The company decided an airport was a good way to demonstrate the interdependencies of common business processes IT departments enable or participate, because “an Airport is like a lot of IT environment, it has different services and people who are required to keep it running, but they don’t talk to each other.”

BMC considered a racing car simulation and a NASA launch scenario, but Atwell says the company realised “not everyone is a NASCAR fan or a rocket scientist, but everyone has been to an airport.”

The exercise introduces IT teams to the basics of an airport’s operations.

“There are processes going on like catering, fuel delivery, planes taking off and landing,” Atwell explains. “When things go well, the airport makes money. When there is an incident the teams have to work together. We have all the roles from IT: service delivery, support, technology specialists and they have to get the airport running again.”

Atwell says the simulation has two goals.

“One is to help people understand how to use this tool called ITIL. The other outcome is the notion and understanding of everything they do in business terms. Far too often, everyone thinks about IT in IT terms: I was at a CIO roundtable where the discussion was about metrics and value.”

“Just getting folks to think in terms of understanding their jobs and roles from the business perspective – that’s another key takeaway,” he concluded.

 

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