Friday, January 04, 2008

Does ITIL Really Matter? - A Debate (of sorts)on the Relevance of ITIL

I found this question regarding the relevance of ITIL on the Tivoli Mailing List and made the following comments:

You guys are all missing the point and furthermore so does most of the IT industry. Unfortunately, over the last few years, some of your criticisms of ITIL based Service Management have been proven correct. Although the ITIL Library has been around for over 20 years, it has become a buzz word, commodity and a fad. This is especially true in the U.S.

The concepts, initially developed from the best examples taken from practice, have been polluted by those who know little or nothing about management consulting. This has made it extremely difficult to distinguish between the chatter surrounding the real value of adopting ITIL and that around ITIL for the sake of ITIL.What I’ve noticed is that many organizations opt for the second (ITIL for the sake of ITIL)forgetting that ITIL is not an end in and of itself. Rather, it is a means to an end.

Therefore, any organization that attempts to utilize the best practice guidance outlined in the library will ultimately be unsuccessful in delivering any real value. ITIL initiatives must be linked to clearly defined organizational objectives and all measurements must reflect the progress, or lack thereof, toward meeting these stated goals. This is a point that is lost on both the critics and cheerleaders of Service Management.

Additionally, it cannot be rolled out in a vacuum. Any undertaking related to changing the way work is done within an organization (ITIL fits into this category) has to have the participation from multiple departments and divisions including, HR, Business Units, IT Operations, Support Oranizations, Procurement, Suppliers, Development and User groups.

In short, (and I could go on), achieving the benefits of implementing IT Service Management requires a level of planning and invJestment that most organizations either don’t understand or are not seriously interested in making. And why should they when it is so much easier to just publicly say that your organization has “implemented ITIL?”

The danger in this is reflected in the comments posted on this site and is being reverberated in IT organizations across the US.

To read the entire comment thread, go to
: John Willis' Website
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