Q&A: CA’s Robert Stroud on ITIL

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 Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). In an e-mail interview with executive editor Anna Maria Virzi, he provided tips for companies looking to adopt ITIL.

Q: What are your top tips for an organization implementing the Information Technology Infrastructure Library?


  • Understand ITIL is a journey, not a destination
  • Establish where you are and where you want to go
  • Identify the route or path you will travel
  • Investigate the roadblocks and establish goals along the way
  • Achieve small successes quickly to demonstrate value for the implementation project

    Q: What benefits can a company realize from ITIL?


  • Automation of manual processes enables organizations to free up resources to focus those resources on projects, which deliver more strategic value and increase competitive advantage.
  • Quality, automation of repetitive tasks will ensure that service is delivered in a repeatable and consistent manner, thereby delivering significantly greater cost and time savings.

    Q: What are the limitations of ITIL?

    A: ITIL describes what needs to be done to improve service to the business—not how to do it. Many ITIL and service management consultants and service providers who help companies build their ITIL plans often focus entirely on process improvement and organizational issues. Achieving tangible efficiency gains and ROI [return on investment], however, requires the automation of appropriate components of the ITIL processes—usually repetitive procedures and workflows—through technology.

    To increase the chances for success, look for consultants who are skilled across the essential elements of ITIL—people, process and technology—and who have a pragmatic, outcome-based approach to an ITIL project.

    Many companies choose to concentrate on a single ITIL process, such as incident management. But ITIL processes are by nature inter-related and inter-dependent. So if you want to drive down the number of incidents, you need to quickly find the root-cause of persistent problems. To reduce the number of problems, you’ll need to consider change management.

    Organizations that get too far down the path with one process before considering related processes may spend significant time and money in constantly revisiting and refining the initial process as they implement others. The best way to improve service is to simultaneously work on enhancing two or three process areas.

    NEXT: How ITIL Works With Other Frameworks