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ITIL v3 Should Ease Alignment

Version 3 of the IT best-practices framework is designed to offer real business interconnectivity. In this Q&A, an advisor to the ITIL v3 project explains why.
Mar 21, 2007

Jennifer Zaino

One of the features of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) that will be emphasized in Version 3 is its focus on business-technology alignment through continual service improvement. Recently, bITa Planet spoke with Robert Stroud, a member of the ITIL Advisory Group (IAG) for the ITIL v3 update project, about how ITIL v3 may change how organizations move forward with ITIL implementations.

Stroud also is an ITIL reviewer, mentor and board member of the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF), as well as director of brand strategy for CA's Business Service Optimization business unit. CA’s Business Service Optimization software includes asset, configuration, enterprise change, service, project and portfolio, business process, and mainframe resource management software.

bITa Planet: Explain ITIL’s lifecycle approach to implementation, continual improvement, and business-technology alignment.

Stroud: The industry used to do technology for technology’s sake. Now technology is being leveraged for business advantage. There’s this notion around IT and business alignment. We know that it’s not enough to buy new technology — we need to see value out of it. The same is true in v3 — looking there at the “plan, do, check, act” lifecycle to link processes together, to get from the beginning to the end process, and one of the outputs of that is to get value all the way through….

In terms of the new guidance, one of the things is, if you look at ITIL v2, the ten books cover most of the areas we look at in v3. But we’ve come up with a logical flow of doing things. So at the core, we’ve started with service management strategies, and these are clearly designed to align IT and the business. And understand the business metrics to measure to and imperatives to run to — a key point sometimes missed in terms of implementation of lots of things, not just ITIL.

From there, we give the process of guidance to design, implement, and operate services, and then surrounding it all is continual service improvement. Some elements we’ve placed to assist are organizational charts, key measurement metrics,… linked back to base elements like the cost to deliver IT services, so you can have those considerations upfront, and elements like management of knowledge through the lifecycle. Sadly missing in v2 is, how do I manage the knowledge — we’ve defined processes to develop, verify, implement and refine that knowledge.

What is your perception of the state of ITIL implementations today, and how will ITIL v3 change these?

We see a lot of single-process implementations. Someone might do incident and problem management, and get those to a mature level. [Incident/Problem Management is the resolution and prevention of incidents that affect the normal running of an organization’s IT services.] Then they start the change management process, and so on. These are kind of in silos.

One of the benefits of IT and business alignment [which ITIL v3 focuses on] is that feedback loop. For instance, there’s an incident that impacts a major production system, you quickly rally the troops to resolve that by checking first the knowledge store of previous incidents, and then from there you see a pattern emerge, and schedule a change. It shows the interaction between processes. It’s thinking through the business service you are delivering. Customers are very good at base processes. Now they want to see the real business interconnectivity.

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