If you do a
quick search on IT best practice frameworks, you will find no shortage of
foundations/architectures on which to build your IT organization. COBIT
(Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology), ISO9000 (International
Standards Organization set of quality standards), CMM (The Capability Maturity
Model), and Six Sigma are just a few. Another framework which is gaining
interest in the United States is ITIL.
stands for IT Information Library and it is a framework developed in Britain in
the 1980s that addresses service delivery and support of IT services. Widely
accepted internationally, it is just beginning to make significant inroads in
the US. Privately, IBM, EDS, HP, Mead, and GM have adopted the framework. In
the public sector, the states of Virginia and Wisconsin and Oklahoma City,
among others have embraced the framework.
what makes ITIL so special? Combing the literature, it appears that the
consensus opinion on ITIL is that it is unique because of its strict focus on
service delivery and IT operations as opposed to general techniques involving
quality management or the implementation of standards. To many that have become
involved with ITIL they see it becoming the de facto standard for all IT shops
in the US as it has become so internationally. I have read in one source that
the US and Canadian Governments will soon require IT contractors to use ITIL,
but I have not been able to confirm that through any other sources at this
Specifically what is ITIL and how do I access the library?
as mentioned above is a collection of best practices that has been developed
into a series of 8 books that run about $114 dollars each. They are:
Service Support: Covers the basic processes
involved with support to the enterprise such as Service Desk, Incident
Management, Problem Management, Configuration Management, Change Management and
Service Delivery: This book focuses on the
planning and delivery of services and includes topics such as Capacity
Management, Financial Management for IT Services, Availability Management,
Service Level Management, and IT Service Continuity Management.
Planning to ImplementService Management: "This book answers the question Where do I start with ITIL?'. It
explains the steps necessary to identify how an organization might expect to
benefit from ITIL and how to set about reaping those benefits."
Infrastructure Management: As the title infers, this
book covers everything about managing your telecommunications infrastructure
including Design and Planning, Deployment, Operations, and Technical Support.
Application Management: Covers the management of
applications from inception to retirement and everything in between.
Software Asset Management: Seeks to explain what
software asset management is, why it is important and how to manage them.
Security Management: This guide focuses on
the process of implementing security requirements identified in the IT Service
Level Agreement, rather than considering business issues of security policy.
The Business Perspective: "This book is
concerned with helping business managers to understand IT service provision. Issues
covered include Business Relationship Management, Partnerships and Outsourcing,
and continuous improvement and exploitation of Information, Communication and
Technology (ICT) for business advantage."
can obtain these books here: http://www.itil.co.uk/publications.htm
or via www.amazon.com
Do you need another framework?
I have to be
honest with you, every time I read about another framework my first reaction is
to roll my eyes. I have been around long enough to experience many "better
than sliced bread" phenomenon that—if only implemented—will make my
organization a superstar. And, of course, there are always an army of
consultants to be hired and classes that need to be taken and certifications to
achieve in order to "realize the potential" of the framework.
in that sense ITIL is no different. You can invest the time and resources in
understanding the framework to build up expertise in order to implement it
(which several organizations have) or you can hire someone to help you along.
like many of the frameworks that have come into vogue before it, integrating
the processes involved with ITIL takes time—usually measured in years.
with all that said, frameworks can prove beneficial. I think there are very few
if any IT organizations in existence that can claim to be perfect and have no
need for improvement. Most can stand some enhancements to their operations. The
tough questions are: where can we improve and how do we go about doing it?
That's where frameworks are beneficial.
this framework intrigues me—partly, I guess, because it was originally written
by government workers, and I intend to research it further. If you are
similarly intrigued, here are some places, besides the books, that you can get
information to see if ITIL is right for you and your organization:
ITL Community Forum http://www.itilcommunity.com/index.php
IT Service Management Forum http://www.itsmf.com/index.asp