So, Why ITIL?From compliance to complexity, businesses worldwide are turning to ITIL for answers.
For Keith Parent, CEO and president of the Court Square Group in Springfield, Mass., which manages servers and computer platforms for a wide array of customers, the driver to adopt the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices was consistency for both his internal IT department and customers.
Just about a year ago in the Sussex region of the United Kingdom, where ITIL was born, 20 IT service departmental teams were reorganized to create a new shared IT service function for the Sussex Health Informatics Service, which since 2004 has provided IT and associated support services to all national health organizations in Sussex.
ITIL training for over 100 personnel recently started with the hope that the practice will enable the organization to deliver better quality services and align more closely with the needs of their 25,000 customers, according to Marion Pavitt, Operational ITIL Manager for Sussex Health Informatics Service
And for Par Pharmaceuticals in Woodcliffe Lake, N.J., a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer with about 800 employees, the biggest driver (to deploy ITIL) and reason to justify the expenses is to be in better compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley regs, explained Pat Millington, senior manager of IT Process and Quality. Just at the start of the ITIL implementation process today, Par is concerned with incident management, change management, auditing of operational tasks and access control, which she believes ITIL will provide.
Enter ITIL and ITSM
As the world becomes more complex and IT is woven throughout organizations, these are just three of the many organizations that are exploring the ITIL process as part of the larger IT Service Management (ITSM) field, which experts like Kenneth Wendle said quantifies IT in the services it delivers, not just the technology it manages.
Wendle, who is HP's Client Engagement manager for Worldwide ITSM Practices, has watched the evolution of the field from the notion that technology equaled computers, then data processing and data management systems, all of which became IT. With the advent of Web-based, e-commerce companies like eBay, Wendle said IT has evolved from the back room to being in the customers face and the discipline around IT has become more vigorous.
Whether the business is Court Square or Par Pharmaceuticals, or the organization is Sussex HIS, Wendle sees a shift in IT departments from managing things like hardware and software to functions that are core to the business such as service and value. ITSM is about quantifying IT in the services it deliveries, not just the technology it manages."
Yes, you can engage in ITSM without using the ITIL process, but Wendle asks: Why would you want to? Its a good resource, providing best practices from service lifestyle to strategy to design, all way to the service being retired or mothballed. And it covers 20-odd processes that relate to functions within IT and assigns roles and responsibilities, which are then adapted to an individual organization.
Consider the challenge facing the Sussex HIS with multiple offices serving thousands of clients. To support its vision of delivering reliable, fit-for-purpose and cost-effective IT services, the Sussex HIS took the decision to adopt an ITSM approach to IT. According to Pavitt, Sussex HIS believed that ITIL processes could create a framework that would mean high-quality services better aligned to their customers needs. Given the recent reorganization of 20 IT teams, Pavitt said the goal was to fast-track ITIL implementation and create acceptance of ITIL across the entire organization.
"We needed to bring our people on board, and fully engage all IT staff responsible for managing and executing ITSM processes," she said, while helping them appreciate the benefits of what she considers one of the most widely accepted approaches to IT service management.
Most daunting, though, was finding a way to provide over 100 staff certified ITIL training, which Pavitt said represented a significant challenge and expense as training centers were not close by. The solution was to team with ITIL consultants at Pink Elephant to form the Sussex ITSM Consortium. Courses were then provided at venues organized by Sussex HIS across the region and were made open to the public or commercial organizations.
Millington has similar hopes for ITSM as she jumps into the process at Par Pharmaceutical. In a field that is crawling with auditors, she wants to ensure that IT staff are as cognizant as possible of the regulatory environment surrounding the business, particularly as Sarbanes-Oxley focuses on IT processes, as well as the companys financials. With a very short paper trail, auditors today scrutinize the IT processes to ensure all is in compliance.