The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) of South Africa has embarked on a comprehensive industry survey in order to gain an understanding of the level of maturity of IT service management within a South African context.

George Ambler, chairman of the itSMF South Africa says: “We want to position the itSMF as a credible industry body that can speak with authority on the status of ITIL in South Africa. The survey is a means of achieving that  The research results obtained from the survey will be based on ITIL version 3 baseline maturity assessments that will be conducted on a large sample base.  The conclusive results will allow itSMF to identify the gaps that exist in IT operations and service management as well as providing recommendations to address these shortcomings,” says George.
As the ‘custodians’ of service management IP in South Africa, the itSMFsa’s members will have at their disposal a highly valuable study giving insights into a rapidly growing industry in South Africa – one which ultimately underpins virtually all business processes.  The survey is aptly titled ‘the face of IT service management in South Africa’ and was kicked off on 15 June 2009.  The results are expected to be finalised in October and will be presented during the itSMF annual conference taking place on 14-15 October 2009 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.
Digiterra, a highly skilled IT services company has stepped onboard in a big way and is leading the survey from a project management perspective by serving as a technology enabler as well as funding the survey in its entirety.
“The strength of the survey lies in the collective energy of itSMF’s members. Each member will benefit greatly from participating in the survey as they will be privy to information that will be invaluable to the industry in which it operates. Digitera has pledged the sum of R1,6-million to get the project off the ground. The financial investment alone indicate the importance of this project,” says CEO of Digitera, Christopher Jones.
The survey will be conducted using two distinct approaches, comprising of:
* An abridged online survey – this will provide a simple self maturity assessment based on two criteria: The types of activities and the extent to which the organisation engages in them; as well as an assessment of the degree of value that is gained from the activity.
* A comprehensive survey – based on a series of questions that are directly related to the types of service management activities that an organisation participates in and the extent thereof.  It is an independent maturity assessment that will be benchmarked against ITIL prescribed practices. It will include a gap analysis, experience-based recommendations in addition to recommended guidelines that should be followed.
“The purpose of the survey is to understand the degree of proficiency of service management in the industry and the extent to which it has been adopted and in which specific areas. The ultimate indicator will be the actual value that IT service management has within a South African context. The survey will highlight areas that South Africa should be focussing on in terms of service management and will serve as a clear indicator of aspects that companies need to address in order to receive a better return on investment,” explains Christopher.
The framework in which the survey operates has very modestly set targets of 25 comprehensive surveys and 125 online surveys. The final resulting sample is however expected to be larger than this. In addition to Digiterra’s support, Foster-Melliar has pledged R250 000.00 to the project as well as professional ITIL consultants to facilitate the study, with Digiterra project managing the process as the main sponsor.
“Foster-Melliar is passionate about service management, and when this opportunity presented itself, we jumped at it,” says Foster-Melliar CEO, Russell Steyn.  “This initiative is spearheaded by the itSMFsa and as such the initiative is unbiased and vendor neutral. We believe that there is immense value in an initiative like this for the South African market, and we are proud to associate ourselves with the itSMFsa. The success of this and other itSMF initiatives means that the interests of IT Service Management are being promoted in South Africa, and in turn that will benefit all role players, including ourselves, but more especially the users of ITSM,” says Russell.
“There have been many ITSM and ITIL surveys in the past, each with their own level of coverage and success. Good surveys are hard to come by, as there are many factors that could influence the data or the results. This survey is not really a survey in the true sense of the word, but rather a research project. It is an invaluable initiative that will allow South Africans to really see the true state of Service Management in the country.
"As with a normal survey, you would be able to see the snapshot of where participating companies are, but in addition to this, as an annual and perpetual initiative, the trend analysis and benchmarking potential becomes a huge driver for more and more companies to sign up, come on board and participate. This effectively gives the South African market an up-to-date, real time view of what is happening in the field of Service management,” concludes Russell.