ZIFFPAGE TITLEITIL and Other Frameworks

By Anna Maria Virzi  |  Posted 2006-07-31 Print this article Print

Robert Stroud, named to I.T. Service Management Forum USA's board in June, is a 25-year information technology executive. He is director of brand strategy for CA's business service optimization unit and has contributed to titles on the Information Technol

ITIL and Other Frameworks

Q: What is the most popular library or framework and why?

A: ITIL is currently the most popular framework in the industry. There are multiple reasons for this, including the maturity of I.T. I.T. serves as an interface with the business and I.T. services require automation for problem identification and resolution. Additionally, as I.T. becomes more increasingly complex, ITIL enables organizations to establish best practice processes to understand, prioritize, document and deliver I.T. value in accordance with business requirements.

Although ITIL is the leading framework today, it utilizes and interacts with other industry best practice frameworks and standards, including:

  • COBIT (Control OBjectives for Information and related Technology): an I.T. governance framework that is used as a component within many organizations to achieve Sarbanes-Oxley compliance initiatives.
  • ISO/IEC 20000 I.T. Service Management Best Practice: an organizational certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that developed from ITIL. Approved in 2005, it is the next step in the maturity of service management. Unlike ITIL, which provides individual certifications, ISO/IEC 20000 provides organizational, auditable certification. As ISO 9000 becomes more widely accepted, this may become a "cost of doing business" over the next few years.
  • ISO 17799: a generally accepted ISO standard for security that is utilized by large and small organizations to ensure an industry accepted level of organizational security of data, access and identification.

    Q: Should some companies avoid ITIL? If so, please characterize.

    A: No. ITIL is clearly becoming the de facto standard in service management and the lens through which the delivery of I.T. services will be measured. The goal is to improve service and not just implement a best practice framework. By implementing ITIL industry best practices, organizations of any size can achieve greater scales of efficiencies and deliver enhanced value.

    Q: How can a technology manager win business support for ITIL?

    A: Buy-in starts at the top. I.T. managers and senior executives need to ensure a recognized project management method is being used, and risk planning is well understood. Teams must engage in joint planning to establish project goals, communications initiatives, a measurement framework, and roles and responsibilities to drive business success and a speedy ROI.

    Q: What are some metrics that companies collect and analyze once they've adopted ITIL, which they may not have collected before?

    A: Although organizations have different requirements, risk factors, risk avoidance, mitigation and impact scenarios are important, and cost monitoring metrics and regular communications are key. Service level impacts—particularly the cost of downtime and outages in lost revenue—are especially meaningful to the business.

    Q: What size investment does a company typically have to make to adopt ITIL?

    A: ITIL investments vary primarily depending on the size and level of maturity of the I.T. organization, and the desired goal or end state the organization wished to achieve by automating systems and improving service levels.

    ITIL focuses on unifying people, process and technology through a comprehensive, consistent and coherent set of best practice approaches for I.T. service management processes. Since the ultimate goal is to optimize the bottom-line performance of the business, not just to implement a best practice framework, the benefits are sufficient to justify ITIL investments in organizations of any size.

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    Executive Editor
    Anna Maria was assistant managing editor Forbes.com. She held the posts of news editor and executive editor at Internet World magazine and was city editor and Washington correspondent for the Connecticut Post, a daily newspaper in Bridgeport. Anna Maria has a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island.

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