ITIL's Service Bureau Approach to IT Yields Big Benefits, Say Experts

Ann All

Not surprisingly, since the United Kingdom is the home of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), European companies still lead their North American counterparts in the adoption and execution of ITIL.


According to an Aberdeen Group survey, 55 percent of European companies manage IT as a service, using ITIL guidelines, vs. 33 percent of North American companies. The European companies meet 65 percent of their service level agreement (SLA) targets, compared to 41 percent for North American companies.


Regardless of their location, the companies with IT service management (ITSM) implementations that earn Aberdeen's "best in class" designation enjoy on-time delivery of their IT services 85 percent of the time, reports ITPro, 20 percent higher than the industry average.


While it's unclear exactly how the firm arrives at its conclusions, it offers some other interesting stats: Best-in-class companies achieve 83 percent efficiency of IT processes, 112 percent better than other companies. And their ITSM implementations yield cost savings of 63 percent.


Aberdeen predicts that uptake of ITIL will be higher in North America than in Europe over the next 12 months, with 26 percent of North American companies planning to adopt the framework, compared to 16 percent of European companies.


Though its numbers differ somewhat from Aberdeen's, research firm Computer Economics also forecasts healthy growth for ITIL in the next year. In an interview with IT Business Edge, VP Mark McManus told us that 45 percent of U.S. companies would implement at least one ITIL discipline (not necessarily a full-blown adoption) in 2008, up from the current 33 percent.


McManus said that the recently released version 3 should spark added interest because of its more practical approach to ITIL implementation and an increased focus on business benefits.


Dana Gardner, principal analyst for Interarbor Solutions, made a similar point in his interview with IT Business Edge, noting that version 3 promotes a business-friendly service bureau approach to IT.

Think about market forces and competition when it comes to how people to compete in an unfettered world. Well, ITIL v3 is going to take a look at the same kind of market forces and relate it back to how IT performs within an organization. It's going to ask IT to perform much like a professional services business works outside the organization, with an emphasis on things like customer requirements and a constant incremental improvement process.

In fact, says Gardner, ITIL may help do for IT what Six Sigma helped do for manufacturing.

... Just as manufacturing had gone through a series of fast periods of growth, there were some opportunities in the post-WWII period to revisit some of the big issues like design and design-for-quality, which is what Six Sigma is about. Manufacturers also began looking at product design that took into account, for instance, the ability of the item to be manufactured. So, with the evolution of IT, we're seeing the same sort of stepping back to take the wider perspective, and trying to be more proactive rather than just reactive. ... Just as there have been other technological leaps or cycles over decades or centuries, we are now at the point of becoming more professionalized in how we conduct IT.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 24, 2007 8:45 AM Ralph Rodriguez Ralph Rodriguez  says:
Hello Ann. Spot on comments regarding ITIL. Reply
Oct 31, 2007 9:16 AM Jason Raimes Jason Raimes  says:
I'm still incapable of grasping what is so great about ITIL. Its just basic text book service management coupled with workflow/process management based systems management. [expletive deleted] The new version goes to all new hights in delivering nothing new but hot air, while at the same time taking what vendors promote and proclaiming its "best practices". And ITIL certified tools... yeah, sure. Just what we needed, another easily creatable tool provided with dozens of not so necessary features to make it less reliable and more costly, but "all in all worth it, because its off the shelf software". If managers even bothered to get familiar with what systems management basics are and what the basics of service managemnet and process management, this thing would have died years ago. Leaves me to wonder what the IT managers did do to get and maintain their basic training. Just gives me the shivers to think how much this stuff and the consultants pushing it are looked upon. Reply

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