There hasn’t been a Blogging Idol post discussing IT ServiceManagement and ITIL processes, so here goes a short post – the questionof how (or whether) adopting ITIL best practices helps during today’stough economy is worth some consideration.

For those who need a reference for ITIL, try the “holy grail” of ITIL.  There’s also the ITSMf website (the Canadian version).  I just bought what looks like aninteresting book called Measuring ITIL by Randy A. Steinberg (it can beordered from Trafford Publishing). Suffice it to say, ITIL has become both the accepted vision and acomprehesive guide to managing Information Technology using aservice-oriented approach.

I was first attracted to ITIL almost ten years ago because of thesimilarity of the ITIL approach to the services/protocols constructsused in the OSI model fornetwork architecture.  Since I was fairly involved in developing theOSI model, it seemed natural to believe the ITIL story.  Many companiesaround the world have taken up the challenge of adapting ITIL to theirown needs, so the story must make sense.

But, here’s the question:  Is it be cost-effective to startimplementing Service Management using ITIL during a period whn ourfocus is on reducing  budgets and slashing costs?  How can you justifythe investments in ITIL when customer projects are being delayed?

I think the answer, while hard to quantify, is fairly intuitive. First, ITIL provides the basis for a set of repeatable processes - oneof the measures of a more mature organization (according to the CMM thinkers).  Second,Service Management allows the IT department to act more like a business- with measures of quality, quantity and timeliness – thereby improvingcustomer relations and fostering transparency.  Third, IT staff can allbe trained to use the same approaches, which should improvecollaboration and allow better definition of roles andresponsibilities.   Forth, most Vendors of Enterprise ManagementSystems have now aligned their products to ITIL, so there are moretools to choose from to automate the processes.  The sum total isimproved efficiency and effectiveness, resulting in lower costs andgreater satisfaction.

The key, during the recession, is start small, focus on pain points(i.e., solve a business problem) and use whatever funds are availableto get the biggest bang for the buck.  The transformation to an fullyITIL-based management system does not need to be an all-or-nothingchange, but does have to be well-managed and well-supported.

I’d love to hear your experiences with ITIL during these times of turmoil.  Feel free to comment!!  

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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