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M&A Main Driver of ITIL/ITSM Adoption

ITIL Initiatives also require process re-engineering, study finds.
Jun 2, 2006

ITSM Watch Staff

Results from research undertaken by Datamonitor into global enterprise adoption of IT infrastructure library, or ITIL, initiatives, reveal that mergers and acquisitions are a principal catalyst driving enterprise ITIL-based implementations forward.

While regulatory compliance has been cited as instigator of numerous IT reengineering projects, in this sample, it proved only a minor factor. Furthermore, while much attention has been directed to the importance of documenting return on investment (ROI) to green-light IT initiatives, it was only a minor factor here.

ITIL initiatives are the moral equivalent of reengineering. While IT has never had a good track record in the past for maintaining project scope and timely delivery, ITIL offers a rare opportunity for redemption.

ITIL has focused the spotlight on an area long neglected by IT: service management and delivery. Traditionally, most organizations relegated 'help desks' as low-priority budget line items because it has been perceived as an overhead cost that contributed little business benefit. Yet, ITIL became one of the first major IT initiatives that actually emerged in the aftermath of the dot com-post Y2K-9/11 perfect storm.

In Datamonitor's in-depth study of ITIL adoption, M&A emerged as the principal catalyst driving ITIL adoption. When corporate restructuring occurred in the wake of M&A, process change became inevitable. As the public face of IT, service management was considered a reachable place to start.

Close alignment between ITIL and COBIT, another framework that is aimed at cultivating more effective IT governance practices, was also discovered.

Furthermore, while so-called reengineering projects have lost favor because of their disruptive impacts and loose scope, the study found that ITIL projects require nothing short of process reengineering.

The study also revealed that ITIL adopters have only partially learned how to avoid the pitfalls of traditional reengineering. Not surprisingly, one of the chief hurdles was maintaining firm control of project scope. This is especially critical when compiling the change and configuration management database (CMDB) that is pivotal to ITIL adoption.

Another was maintaining a delicate balance between securing the level of top management commitment to gain mindshare, while avoiding the pitfalls of top-down initiatives that fail to set realistic goals or secure grassroots buy-in.

One approach for gaining bottom-up support was developing a career ladder that can help service desk professionals better compete with emerging resources offshore, while opening opportunities to advance to operational management positions. However, given that service desk is typically considered an entry level position with an average turnover of 12 to 18 months, career ladder development remains challenging.

Overall, organizations that have successfully embraced ITIL have discovered follow-on process improvements that bolstered business agility and boosted the quality of IT service delivery.